CAPE TOWN, South Africa — Hunkering down against the wind-whipped, cloud-shrouded summit of Table Mountain, my first thought was that the bottom of Africa is pretty much the tops. The 360-degree vista of Cape Town was striking against a sky painted a rich lapis lazuli and from the pinnacle of the mountain the city quite literarily seems to unfold all the way to the ends of the earth. Indeed, the closest landmass to it other than Africa is Antarctica.
Poised just at the tip of South Africa's southwesterly coast, the entire Cape Peninsula encompassing Cape Town, the Cape Winelands and the beaches of False Bay juts spectacularly into the hammering waves, where they collide at the intersection of the warm Indian Ocean and the ice-cold Atlantic.
Hands down, Cape Town is one of the most beautiful cities in the world, and all eyes will be on it from June 11 to July 11, when the 2010 FIFA World Cup soccer tournament and the bend-it-like-Beckham bunch come to South Africa. The games will be played in cities all over the country, among them Johannesburg, Durban, Nelspruit and Pretoria, with several matches including the quarter-finals and semi-finals set for Cape Town.
If you've managed to, um, "score" tickets to the World Cup, here's our Cape Town Twenty — a must-do list of places to see and things to do while you're in the city.
IF YOU GO
Visit Cape Town Tourism at www.CapeTown.Travel . For packages, contact Giltedge Travel in Cape Town at www.Gilt-Edge.com or Hylton Ross Tours at www.HyltonRoss.co.za. Visit South African Airways at www.flysaa.com or call toll-free 1-800-722-9675.