29 destinations to visit in 2009
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Cape Town( Nic Bothma / EPA )
Place: Cape Town, South Africa
Why it's a hot ticket for 2009: The dollar has strengthened considerably against the South African rand since the beginning of last year. In 2009, get the most out of your dollars with a trip to Cape Town, host of the 2010 World Cup. As the city readies for the tournament, visitors can expect improved infrastructure, including a planned high-speed rail, and increased security.
When you're in Cape Town, don't miss the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden, the District Six Museum (which tells the story of forced displacement during apartheid), and be sure to explore Bo Kaap, a religiously diverse area that's home to the first mosque in South Africa. (Ask at the Bo Kaap Museum for a tour guide.) There are beautiful and manageable hikes up Table Mountain and Lion's Head. Neighboring Simon's Town, an hour by train, is home to wild penguins.
If you are here in late June or early July, consider taking a daytime bus up the Garden Route, a scenic stretch along coastal South Africa, to the Grahamstown National Arts Festival. Talented musicians, singers, actors, filmmakers and dancers come to this festival from all over Africa. It is unforgettable.
-- Catherine Sweetser
Pictured: The 'Tweede Nuwe Yaar' (second New Year) carnival in Cape Town