Cape Town: President Pratibha Patil on Friday became the first world leader to visit the Table Mountain here, a day after it was named a New 7 Wonder of Nature following a three-year global race to choose the world's seven most wonderful natural sites.

Patil who went round the mountain along with her grand children was told by a guide that it was more than a pleasant coincidence that she has visited the 1067 metre high natural wonder soon after the announcement.

Reports here said that Table Mountain is the 5th site to have its status confirmed, along with Halong Bay, Iguazu Falls, Jeju Island and Puerto Princesa Underground River.

The Amazon and Komodo Island remain on the provisional list.

The President was told that the Table Mountain was one of the oldest mountain in the world and has been formed some 500 million years ago as against the Himalayas which are much younger having come into existence 50 million years back.

Billy Magan, a South African guide of Indian origin, told the visiting dignitary that Cape Town is perhaps the only city in the world which has been set up around a mountain.

Nelson Mandela had on World Environment day in 1998 declared the Table Mountain as “a gift to the earth".

Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille described the title as "a great accolade for a unique wonder of nature that belongs to all the people of Cape Town, South Africa, Africa and the world".

Table Mountain's status as one of the New Seven Wonders of Nature has become official after an international audit confirmed the result of a global voting process.

Local media said that after hosting a successful 2010 FIFA World Cup, and Cape Town having recently been declared World Design Capital 2014, South Africans can be proud of yet another incredible achievement with yesterday's announcement.

Sabine Lehmann, chairperson of the Table Mountain official supporters committee (OSC), said the official confirmation would provide a significant boost to the South African tourism industry.


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