Cape Town attractions undergo improvements

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CAPE TOWN, South Africa -- As this city grows as a tourist destination, there have been changes at several attractions.

The changes include:

  • The aerial tramway to the top of Table Mountain has inaugurated service aboard new, 64-passenger cars. The tramway is the most popular method of reaching the top of Table Mountain, a massive landmark that offers soaring views of Cape Town, the bay and the surrounding countryside.
  • South African countrysideIn the past, small tram cars meant that reaching the mountaintop could require hours of waiting in line. But the new, larger trams have greatly reduced the wait time.

    Scrambling for the best position in the tram car is no longer as great a concern, either. The new trams feature a round floor that rotates as the vehicle makes its way up the mountain so all passengers can get a view of the spectacular scenery.

  • The South African Cultural Museum now posts notices that its displays are "in transition" to better represent South Africa. Some exhibits that seem out of context now -- like artifacts from Egypt and Asia sandwiched between a chronological history of South Africa -- will be among the items to change. In addition, more multilingual signage will be used.
  • The District Six Museum is renovating the former Methodist church that serves as its home. The renovation should be completed by early 1999, according to museum officials. District Six had been a thriving neighborhood largely populated by what the former South African government called "coloured" people, or people of mixed race.
  • In 1966, the white minority government decided the neighborhood, which is near downtown Cape Town, would be redistricted only for white residents. The government planned on a six-year transition period to move all the current residents outside of the city. That time period eventually became 16 years, during which some 60,000 people were displaced and buildings were destroyed. But the white minority government's attempts to rebuild the neighborhood were largely unsuccessful, and the neighborhood today remains largely undeveloped, with new roadways charging through grassy lots where homes and businesses used to stand.

    The District Six Museum stands as a tribute to the people who made up the neighborhood, many of whom still visit the museum to relive their memories and write in black marker on maps where they used to live, where the businesses and Sunday concerts were. For information about any tourist sites in South Africa, call the South Africa Tourism Board at (800) 822-5368 or (800) 782-9772.

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