Cape Town is one of the three best cities in the world to visit, according to travel publisher Lonely Planet.
The list, published in Lonely Planet's Best in Travel 2014 guide released this week, is headed by Paris and Trinidad. Cape Town, in third position, is ahead of other global centres such as Zurich, Shanghai, Chicago and Auckland.
Cape Town was chosen for its newly acquired status as the world's design capital: "There's never a bad time to visit Cape Town," Lonely Planet declares. "In recent years the city has received a deluge of accolades paying homage to its undeniable natural beauty. This year the city is destined to get even prettier as it takes on the title of World Design Capital for 12 inspirational months."
The guide goes on to say: "Expect sculpture-lined green spaces, sustainable projects, and further regeneration of former industrial districts such as Woodstock and The Fringe, now the stamping ground of trendy shoppers and gourmands."
Bridging the gap
But the guide acknowledges that the work of the design team goes beyond making things look pretty: "The main goal of the design team, though, is to bridge the gap between Cape Town's disparate population, so venture on a tour out of town to see how innovation is turning things around in the disadvantaged townships, then explore suburban sights on the swanky bus system that's finally making Cape Town feasible on public transport."
The book also lists the top countries to visit - Brazil is No 1, with Malawi as the only African country, coming in at No 5.
Malawi, described as home of "the Big Five and beach life without the crowds", was also commended to tourists for high-visibility snorkelling in Lake Malawi, hiking "over hazy peaks in an otherworldly moonscape" at Mount Mulanje and the "haunting wilderness of grasslands and whaleback hills" of the Viphya Plateau.
The Greek Islands have been named as the best-value destination for 2014, with Italy's Heel and Nicaragua in second and third position. Ethiopia, at 10, is "one slice of Africa that rewards the curious as well as the deep-pocketed".
Top 10 cities
Cape Town, South Africa
Auckland, New Zealand
Top 10 countries