Cape Town's Big Year

This South African capital reigns as the World Design Capital in 2014, an honor bestowed on it by the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design. The city will celebrate with a yearlong series of events and exhibits, and the following news and developments also support the Mother City’s must-see status this year.

By Elaine Glusac

Click here to read about seven trends in African lodging.

See: Through a new partnership with Iziko Museums of South Africa (, the Taj Cape Town hotel ( now promises guests behind-the-scenes tours and curator chats at 14 prominent local museums, from historic manor homes and the South African National Gallery to the city's Planetarium.

The V&A Waterfront, a harborside entertainment and shopping district at the foot of iconic Table Mountain, has launched new sign-posted running routes up to 3 miles long in the seaside quarter. The routes give runners splendid views of the mountain, working harbor, and offshore Robben Island.

The oceanfront Twelve Apostles Hotel & Spa will now pair you with a "sports buddy," aka an active staffer, to guide you on coastal bike rides to scenic Chapman's Peak, hike with you in the Twelve Apostles Mountain range, or even play tennis with you.

The lower vaults of the 1898-vintage St. George's Cathedral now house the Crypt, a new jazz club drawing South African headliners, such as vocalist Monique Hellenberg, as well as touring acts, such as Italy's Piero Delle Monache Quartet.

Eat: In maritime history, sailors regarded Cape Town as "the tavern of the seas" for its welcome supply of fresh food and drink. Thus, fittingly, the city has embraced its first gastropub: The Odyssey serves souped-up burgers and braised lamb on Bree Street in the Central Business District.

In the distinctly Dutch suburban wine district of Constantia, pair a local shiraz from the country's oldest wine estate, the 17th-century Groot Constantia, with a slab of ribs at the lively new restaurant B.B.QUES.

Worth the Drive: Venture out to the coastal resort town of Paternoster, a popular getaway about 100 miles north of Cape Town, for Reuben's at Abalone House restaurant. South African celebrity chef Reuben Riffel (right) features West Coast ingredients in dishes such as snoek - a kind of mackerel - soufflé and traditional malva pudding, a cakelike dessert made with apricot jam.

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