Photos: Cape Town calls

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  1. Spectacular view

    The Victoria and Alfred Waterfront in Cape Town, with Devil's Peak, left, Table Mountain, center, and Leeukop, right, in the background. (Corbis) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. Main Street

    The Main Street in Simon's Town in Cape Town, South Africa. Located on the eastern side of the Cape Peninsula, Simon's Town is home to a key naval base. (David Rogers / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. Colorful architecture

    A man walks through the Bo-Kaap area, a predominantly Muslim area of Cape Town with houses painted in bright colors lining many of the streets. (Dan Kitwood / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. Eggman cometh

    The "Eggman" from Benin laughs as he speaks on a fake telephone at Greenmarket square. "Eggman" has become a popular tourist attraction at the famous outdoor market where he walks around as a living sculpture looking for tips. (Nic Bothma / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. On the waterfront

    Diners sit outside the Den Anker restaurant on a waterfront pier in Cape Town's Victoria and Alfred Waterfront. (David Rogers / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. National treasure

    The King protea (Protea cynaroides) - the national flower of South Africa - is displayed at the world-renowned Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens. (Steve Ann Toon / Corbis) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. Fresh from the vine

    A farmworker picks red cabernet grapes on Ongegund Farm in the Durbanville Hills area. Smooth and elegant with a medley of tastes as diverse as the terroir which yields it, South Africa's wine industry has proved it ages well 350 years after grapes were first pressed in the Cape. (Rodger Bosch / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. Majestic mountain

    A climber abseiling down Cape Town's most famous landmark, Table Mountain. The majestic mountain rises 3,563 feet above sea level at its highest point. Of the many ways to ascend the mountain, the best way is to take the cable car ride to the top. (Henrik Trygg / Corbis) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. The easy way up

    The upper cable station on Table Mountain. From the top of the peak, sightseers can get a panoramic view of the Cape Town area. (Anna Zieminski / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. View from above

    An aerial view of the Clifton area. (David Rogers / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. Color on the sand

    Colorful beach huts line St. James Beach. (David Rogers / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. Scenic harbor

    The picturesque natural inlet of Hout Bay, just outside Cape Town. (Francois Xavier Marit / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  13. Charismatic critters

    African Jackass penguins waddle out to sea at Cape Peninsula. Named for their call, which resembles a donkey's bray, the penguins are found only off the coast of South Africa. (Nic Bothma / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  14. Monster swell

    South African big wave surfer Andy Marr surfs a wave at an offshore reef known as Dungeons off Cape Town. (Nic Bothma / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  15. Eye for adventure

    Kiteboarders glide across the water, with Table Mountain in the backdrop. (Dan Kitwood / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  16. Ancient overseers

    Camps Bay Beach is overlooked by the Twelve Apostles. (David Rogers / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
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  1. Victoria and Alfred Waterfront in Cape Town
    Corbis
    Above: Slideshow (16) Cape Town calls - Cape Town calls
  2. Image: South Africa FIFA 2010 World Cup tourism
    Jon Hrusa / EPA
    Slideshow (33) Cape Town calls - Scintillating South Africa
  3. Gianluigi Geurcia, Stephane De Sakutin / AFP - Getty Images
    Slideshow (10) Cape Town calls - 2010 World Cup stadiums
updated 12/3/2009 11:11:39 AM ET 2009-12-03T16:11:39

South African soccer and tourism officials on Thursday warned hotels, airlines and restaurants not to scare off future tourists by hiking prices during next year's World Cup.

With some 500,000 tourists expected to descend upon South Africa in mid-2010 and spend an estimated $850 million during the monthlong tournament, tourism officials say they fear visitors will be put off by exorbitant costs as hotels and guest lodges raise their prices.

Media reports have said that some hotels are planning to charge as much as $250 for a basic room that normally would be $100 to $150. Other reports point to homes along Cape Town's exclusive Atlantic seaboard renting for $1,000 to $35,000 a day — with one house reportedly renting for a whopping $1 million for the duration of the tournament.

But Cape Town-based tourism official Calvyn Gilfellan said viewing the tournament as a cash cow will harm South Africa's burgeoning tourism industry. Up to 290,000 extra visitors are expected to come over the five years after the tournament because of South Africa's heightened visibility, and Gilfellan said price-gouging could scare them off.

"We are extremely concerned," he told The Associated Press. "It would be like killing the goose that laid the golden egg."

Gilfellan is head of Cape Town Routes Unlimited, which oversees tourism in the seaside city and the surrounding Western Cape province, known for its vineyards and beaches, making it one of the country's top tourist destinations.

Cape Town will host several matches, including one semifinal. It expects 150,000 visitors on match days. Teams of the 2010 World Cup

Euphoria over winning the rights to host the first World Cup in Africa has started to evaporate amid concerns over rising stadium construction costs and locals' worries that FIFA's sponsorship deals and marketing restrictions will not benefit them.

After initial fears that FIFA's booking agent, MATCH, would not be able to secure 55,000 rooms, event organizers have said there will be enough accommodation.

Other concerns include infrastructure and transport challenges, and South Africa's notoriously high crime rate. Official government figures list up 50 murders a day, but World Cup organizers say the country has recruited more than 140,000 extra police, with 100,000 more in reserve, backed up by more vehicles and water cannons.

But those concerns appeared to be momentarily blinded by the arrival this week of stars like English soccer-player David Beckham and South African actress Charlize Theron, who jetted into Cape Town for Friday's draw.

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"(The World Cup) is enormously important for South Africa," Helen Zille, Western Cape premier, said Wednesday at the start of official events for the draw. "It's the biggest event in the world and its our chance to dispel the Afro-pessimism that grips the world still."

The normally sleepy Cape Town, famed for its striking Table Mountain, is getting a taste of times to come with the arrival of hundreds of foreign journalists and international soccer officials. Roads are closed and there is heavy traffic.

The main subject among locals and visitors alike: whether they are getting value for their money.

World Cup organizers say they are doing everything they can to ensure that.

"We want fair prices, we want quality services," World Cup chief executive Danny Jordaan told Associated Press Television News on Wednesday. "We want returning visitors and tourists and the only way we can get that is if people feel a sense of fairness in the prices."

© 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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