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Why Cape Town ?

Why Cape Town? The Mother City has a big drawcard: Stunning scenery, a great lifestyle and the most friendly people. The easy  and relaxed pace of life as well as the cosmopolitan mix of the city's inhabitants attract many people from around the world. Many come for the manifold opportunities which the modern city at the foot of the majestic Table Mountain offers.

The magical location, the refreshing sea breeze and the energising, dynamic multicultural vibe of Cape Town charm locals and foreigners alike. It is no wonder, that tourists and expats rank Cape Town consistently among the top cities around the world. Let us show you what makes Cape Town such a major attraction for the global community.

The awesome Table Mountain range with the Twelve Apostles mountains, the white sandy beaches and not to forget the vicinity of the lush green Cape winelands as well as the fabulous local cuisine usually come up first when you ask about what makes Cape Town so attractive. Now read here about the latest accolades and why Cape Town is such a glorious gem:

Cape Town's Table Mountain and the Twelve Apostles - image by Hillary Fox, courtesy of CapeTownTourism

Latest Cape Town Accolades & Awards

'World's Leading Festival and Events Destination'

Cape Town is the best destination in the world for events, conferences, expos and festivals according to the World Travel Awards. In 2019, the city was elected again as the leading events destination in Africa. Let's see if the city makes it to the top of the world rankings again. Watch this space!

(World Travel Awards, 2018)

'Most Innovative Cities in the World' (World Economic Forum: January 2018)

Cape Town is listed among the world's most innovative cities. It is categorised as 'hybrid' city between the new world cities and the emerging world cities and ranks in this category among other important and innovative world cities such as Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Kuala Lumpur, Budapest and Prague. (World Economic Forum, 2018)

'Best City in the World'

Cape Town has been voted as the best city in the world by the UK Telegraph's readers - for the fifth year in a row! And what do you think British travellers named the three best countries? South Africa, Maldives and New Zealand came top!

(Telegraph Travel Awards, 2017)

Why Cape Town? Tourists and business travelers love to visit Cape Town and call this vibrant city one of the most favorite travel destinations in the world. Tourist numbers for Cape Town especially are growing well, with more than 300,000 people employed in the tourism sector in and around Cape Town in 2017 (Wesgro, 2018). Be assured some of these accolades will blow you away.

'Best Food City in the World'

Cape Town is named the favourite culinary city in the world by Conde Nast readers who also rank the Mother City among the 15 best cities in the world for travel in general.

(Conde Nast, Best Cities in the World, 2016)

Cape Town is a major conference hub on the African continent and many world-class exhibitions and conferences are staged here, and it is wonderful news to have Africa's top conference hotel, the Radisson Blu, located in Cape Town (according to World Travel Awards 2016). And with all these accolades, it is no wonder more and more people are considering to travel or even live in one of the world's most beautiful cities: Cape Town.

More Cape Town Accolades

Why Cape Town? What makes Cape Town stand out from all those splendid places around the world. What do we like about the Mother City of Africa? Let us start with the pure facts and most recent accolades the Mother City has achieved in the past years.


  • Cape Town is named best city on the African continent and also among the top 10 cities to visit in the world by Travel+Leisure magazine
  • US News & World Report Rankings recommends Cape Town among the top destinations worldwide - ranked 11th in their 'Best places to visit' category.


  • Cape Town is wins second place in 'Best Beach Destination in the World' by National Geographic
  • Cape Town is voted one of the best shopping cities in the World by Conde Nast readers in 2015.
  • TripAdvisor names Cape Town among the top ten destinations in the world.


  • Cape Town is the 'Number 1 place to visit' according to the New York Times in 2014
  • Cape Town is World Design Capital and hosts a variety of cultural and design events throughout the year.
  • The city is named among the most eco-friendly cities in the world according to BBC Travel.


  • Cape Town is the Best City in the World according to the Telegraph Travel Awards. 
  • In the Tripadvisor Travelers' Choice Awards, Cape Town has been named as one of the 25 best destinations in the world, ranking 16th. And the majestic Cape Grace Hotel at the V&A Waterfront is the second best hotel in the world. 
  • Cape Town's Boulders Beach was named in the Tripadvisor Travelers' Choice Awards as one of the 10 truly unique beaches in the World.

2012 - Why Cape Town?

  • Cape Town South Africa is voted the Top City in Africa in the Travel and Leisure survey and 4th best city in the world! 
  • CNN World calls Cape Town one of the ten most loved cities in the World. 
  • Table Mountain was elected one of the New7Wonders of Nature 
  • Two of the three best city hotels in Africa and the Middle East are in Cape Town, according to Travel and Leisure Awards: The One & Only at the Cape Town Waterfront and The Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa near Camps Bay. 
  • Muizenberg near Cape Town is one of the 20 best surf towns according to National Geographic.


  • Cape Town was named in the Tripadvisor Travelers' Choice Awards as  the Best Destination in the World. The award is based on reviews of more than 20 million users reviewing destinations and hotels around the world. Read more.
  • In National Geographic Magazine as well as in the Lonely Planet Awards, Cape Town South Africa is listed No. 2 of Top 10 Beach Cities in the World. 


  • In the World Travel Awards, Cape Town is considered to be one of the top destinations for business travelers.
  • Cape Town was the winner in the category 'Africa's Leading Destination' at the World Travel Awards with the Westin Grand Cape Town was voted the best meetings and conference hotel in Africa in 2010. 
  • Cape Town’s International Conference Center (CTICC) was during 2010-2012 one of the finalists in the category: world's best overseas conference centers in the M&IT (meetings & incentive travel) Industry Awards 2010

2008 - Why Cape Town?

  • National Geographic even added the Mother City to their listing of the 'Places of a Lifetime'.
  • In November 2008, the readers of the UK Daily and Sunday Telegraph voted Cape Town as one of the favorite cities in the world.

Why Cape Town for Expats? Here our 2019 update!

These are all great reasons to consider Cape Town not only for travel, but also for your next expat assignment. Even though as an expatriate you will not only enjoy the sweet life of a tourist, but will have to deal with the facts of work in an African country. Naturally, many questions regarding the quality of live of your expat destination will pop up. Go on and read on our site about the best reasons why Cape Town is the best place for expat living here, find more of the newest ratings by expats and links to some of the most recent expat surveys below.

  • In the Mercer Study 2019, Cape Town ranks on 95th place regarding the high quality of life for expatriates and their families.
  • The cost of living is low compared to many cities in the world. According to the Mercer Survey Cape Town ranks at 180 out of 209 major cities around the world and thus as one of the cheapest for expats earning foreign currency. Read more.
  • In the HSBC Expat Survey 2019, South Africa ranks at 30th place out of 33, South Africa ranks 7th in terms of leading a fulfilled expat life. As main negative reasons are cited: corruption, political insecurity, ailing economy and new restrictions for immigration.
  • In 2019, the University of Cape Town (UCT) ranks at 156th place among the top universities worldwide. It is also the top university in Africa (Times Higher Education, Global Rankings 2019).
  • PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC) ranked Cape Town as the 'African City of Opportunity' in 2019. Cape Town received high acclaim for its transport system and infrastructure, cost and sustainability.

Best Place for Expat Living? - 10 Good Reasons for Living in Cape Town

To tell you my reasons why Cape Town is one great destination for expats I had to make up my mind to limit the huge choice down to only ten good reasons. And trust me there are loads of more good reasons. Here the final choices we have come up with:

  • Beautiful scenery and attractions: mountains, winelands and great sandy beaches and for those city kids, there are play parks in many areas where you can mingle with the locals
  • Expat Lifestyle is outdoors oriented which is great for walkers, hikers, cyclists, sailors, surfers…and the whole family will loves it being out and about instead of looking for indoors entertainment most of the year
  • Mild Mediterranean climate with blue skies and lots of sunshine and mild temperatures, rarely 'too cold' or 'too hot'
  • Going out is affordable again, even for the big family. There is the most delicious (some call it 'exotic') food available in the various Cape Town restaurants. Great options now for vegetarians and vegans too. And grocery shopping for fresh fruits and vegetables will be fun again - great fresh produce is available throughout the year!
  • Low cost of living compared to many other expat destinations. Here you have lots of housing options (swimming pool, big gardens, sea view etc.) also at more affordable prices than in other world cities
  • Big potential for business expansions in the emerging markets
  • The lifestyle, the business customs and etiquette are similar to Western lifestyle and customs
  • First class health care in the private sector, cash is king, but private insurance here is more affordable than overseas
  • Good school options for kids in primary schools - especially for those families looking for intercultural friendships and those who can afford the private schools' fees
  • The South African people in general are open and very caring and welcoming, especially if you want to learn about this country and immerse yourself in the new cultures

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Image Credits for Why Cape Town: own images, shutterstock and Cape Town Tourism