In search of the best of South Africa

Leaving Cape Town is never easy, even when faced by the adventure of a lifetime.  It is by far one of the most special places on the planet for so many intangible reasons, but it’s also – today – so well managed that it’s impossible not to compare what one is accustomed to as one travels.

Now that’s a bold and seemingly arrogant statement but two things prove it to be a fact.  Few cities in the world rate as highly in global lists – from best eating out to best hotels, from best worldwide cities to must-see destinations before you die, from creative hotspots to leadership in environmental sustainability.

But in a national context, the motion adopted by the Parliament of the Republic of South Africa says it all:

“On 25 October 2007, the National Assembly of South Africa agreed to a motion, noting that Cape Town was ranked the best city out of the country’s 283 municipalities.  The House further noted that the city won this award because of the way in which the municipality dealt with poverty, the level of access to basic services, its economic activity and infrastructure and because its citizens are well qualified.

“The House recalled that in July [2006] Cape Town was ranked by USA’s Travel & Leisure magazine as the number one city in Africa and the Middle East and claimed tenth spot* in the ‘best city in the world’  category.

“The National Assembly congratulates both the city administration and the residents of Cape Town on making it a world class city and a top tourist destination.” – Ms Baleka Mbete, Speaker of Parliament (now deputy president)

*Travel & Leisure magazine rated Cape Town as the third best city in the world in 2007.

One should not forget that Cape Town’s mayor, Helen Zille, was voted the Best Mayor in the World in 2008.

But I know I am going to find inspiring people, places and projects in these travels.  The spirit of 1994’s transition to democracy still exists in spite of the shenanigans of our political leaders.  The spirit of Ubuntu still exists in spite of crass commercialism and greed.  South Africans are still capable of great achievements that have the ability to move you!

South Africa is a land of diversity and contrasts, brimming with stories just waiting to be told.

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