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February 26, 2009

Captivated by Cape Town

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The beauty of Kirstenbosch Gardens, photo courtesy Derek Keats

With the global economy crumbling, finding an affordable yet luxurious destination to visit can be a bit of a hassle. According to Joshua Hammer – former Newsweek bureau chief and correspondent at large in Africa and the Middle East – Cape Town is the place to bag a bargain.

Hammer’s recent article in the New York Times describes in detail the beauty of Cape Town and its breathtaking landscapes, which he rediscovered during a visit to the Mother City last year.

Golden sandy beaches, scuba diving, winelands, tidal pools, and hikes – these were some of the highlights of his trip.

Hammer was particularly struck by the Kirstenbosch Gardens, which, he says exemplify “Cape Town’s juxtapositions of wildness and cultivation”.

“Its Table Mountain backdrop, with a tangle of forest clinging to the rough sandstone face, exudes the raw power of nature, while its meticulously landscaped grounds reflect the hand of man,” he writes.

Hammer, who lived in Cape Town from 2005 to 2007, says that experiencing the beauty of Cape Town doesn’t cost that much – which is always good news, and more so these days.

“It’s now possible to stay in a cheaper but still very good hotel room, rent a car, eat a couple of excellent meals and hike or mountain bike in the world’s most magnificent wilderness reserves, all for a total of $300 a day,” he says.

Hammer’s opinion of Cape Town’s affordable luxury is a popular one in global tourism circles, as his article comes right after South Africa was placed 34th on the New York Times 44 Places to Go annual list.

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