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Two-Minute Tour: Cape Town, South Africa

The city was named the World Design Capital in 2014

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The Numbers
Cape Town is the second-largest city in South Africa, with a metro population of about 3.7 million people. It is also the country’s legislative capitol and seat of the South African parliament.

Cape Town’s real estate and construction markets have been booming since it hosted the 2010 World Cup and people began relocating there, building permanent residences or buying summer homes. Tourism is the underpinning of the Cape Town economy: There were more than five million arrivals at Cape Town Intl. Airport in 2017, including one million international arrivals.

Cape Town was also named the World Design Capital in 2014 by the Montréal-based International Council of Societies of Industrial Design.

The Pulse
On the shores of the South Atlantic Ocean, Cape Town is driven by a Mediterranean climate and a relaxed beach-and-waterfront lifestyle, according to David Milne, Head of Global Design and Architecture for Miami-based Burger King, who spent 15 years living and working in South Africa.

He says Cape Town is seeing an urban residential movement – especially to offbeat inland neighborhoods like Woodstock, Gardens, Observatory, De Waterkant and Bo-Kaap. But it’s the beachfront enclaves – like Constantia, Camps Bay, Hout Bay and Llandudno – that are still the coveted, and pricey, places to live.

The beaches and the waterfront are also the place for weekend activities, including shopping.

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The Hot Spots
The Victoria and Alfred Waterfront at Cape Town Harbor is perhaps the city’s most attractive retail destination. One of its anchors is the South African institution Woolworth’s, a supermarket, fashion house and home goods emporium. Another is Edgars department store, the South African outlet for European and American brands like Armani, Chanel, Gucci and Polo.

In the city, hip-and-happening Bree Street is Cape Town’s main culinary artery; Long Street is the city’s commercial hub; Truth Coffee Roasting on Buitenkant Street was named the best coffee shop in the world by the British news agency, The Telegraph.

Obstacles and Opportunities
Cape Town is currently facing a drastic water shortage. Although the government recently pushed Day Zero, the day when the city officially runs out of water, until 2019, rationing remains strict, with limits on showering, watering lawns, washing cars, etc. Posh restaurants are using paper plates.

All of this has the chance to threaten tourism, the city’s lifeblood despite a campaign promoting “Come to Cape Town for a dirty weekend,” says Milne.

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