Cape Town, the legislative capital of South Africa, is the right spot for digital nomads who seek perfect work-life balance. It offers plenty of unusual attractions, like kayaking with dolphins or shark cage diving, is famous for its pleasant weather, beautiful beaches and has true metropolitan vibe. If you add numerous coworking spaces, digital nomads-friendly cafes and low costs of living you get an ideal place for remote workers from all over the world.
When to go?
Cape Town has a pleasant, warm Mediterranean climate characterized by dry, hot summers and mild, often wet winters. The annual average temperature is 17°C. February is the hottest month with an average temperature of 23°C, whereas June is the coldest month with an average temperature of 13°C.
Where to stay in Cape Town?
Many digital nomads decide to stay in the V&A Waterfront area. It consists of both residential and commercial buildings and is full of bars, restaurants, coworking spaces as well as leisure and entertainment facilities. It is not the cheapest are though, so not every digital nomad can afford to stay there.
If you want to be in the center of amazing city nightlife, you should consider staying in Green Point, known as Soho of Cape Town. It has a vibrant atmosphere and plenty of bars, restaurants, and cafes.
Woodstock is an area which nowadays attracts local and international artists and other creatives, it is also a hot spot for start-up entrepreneurs. Flats in that are more affordable and it is located close enough to the city center.
Other spots popular among foreigners are the CBD (Central Business District), Sea Point, De Waterkant, Three Anchor Bay or Mouille Point.
Accommodation in Cape Town for digital nomads
You can choose from a wide range of accommodation options: affordable hostels, high-standard hotels, guest houses or Airbnb flats. If you intend to stay in Cape Town from December till April, keep in mind that it’s the high tourist season, thus flat prices are higher than in another time.
Digital nomads who are on budget can find accommodation in hostels for as cheap as $15 per night (shared-dorm). Urban Hive Backpackers is located in the beautiful Victorian building in the city center. The hostel offers a fully equipped kitchen with free coffee and tea and a cozy living room perfect for working as well as relaxing. Altona Lodge, ranked 2nd on TripAdvisor, is more expensive but offers more privacy and high-standard services.
Airbnb prices start from around $350 per month. In more central locations you should expect to pay around $500-$1000 per month for a one-bedroom apartment. If you prefer to live in shared flats, you can look for a flatmate on Cape Town expats’ Facebook groups or search websites such as Gumtree.
Coworking spaces and good places to work
Cape Town won’t disappoint you with a great choice of coworking spaces. Additionally, due to a growing number of remote workers, new places pop up here and then on a regular basis. Most coworking spaces can be found in neighborhoods such as the City Center / CBD, Woodstock and Sea Point.
Inner City | Ideas Cartel on Loop Street is perfect for those who need to boost their productivity and prefer more luxurious solutions. The place offers shared private and custom-built offices. It also has in-house café, two restaurants, pleasant common space, and a gym.
Workshop17 Watershed is located in the famous Waterfront in a former warehouse. It welcomes both start-ups and experienced businesses, groups, and individuals. It offers more than 100 hot desks, standing desks, and dedicated seats.
The Bureaux has three offices and each of them offers high-standard facilities and services for remote workers, who can choose from hot desks, personal desk spaces as well as private office suites.
No 80 Hout Street, located in the city center, is an open-plan co-working studio space perfect for all creatives who like to meet likeminded people.
Digital nomads who prefer to work from cafes can also choose from various spots which perfectly meet remote workers’ needs.
Yours Truly is popular among locals and international hipsters and nowadays has four shops located around the CBD. It has fast stable internet connection, comfy chairs, and desks, pleasant interior, tasty coffee, and food. In the evening it often turns into a live music venue.
Hard Pressed Café is a place all coffee lovers should visit. It is suitable for digital nomads who like to have their work done over a good cup of coffee. Café also offers great bagels, sandwiches, and healthy salads. Folk Café is yet another place popular among freelancers since it offers enjoyable interior, fast and stable internet connection and plenty of seating. The café is proud of its menu full of local and ethical specialties as well as super-tasty coffee.
Truth Coffee Roasting is a famous, award-winning steampunk-themed café which attracts both tourists and local creatives from the very morning.
Where to meet digital nomads?
One of the best ways to meet digital nomads is to join events organized on a regular basis by coworking spaces. If you want to meet likeminded remote workers, you can also join the Cape Town Digital Nomads or Expat Cape Town Facebook groups. Another option is to find a local group on Meetup website and easily join and get to know both local and international hiking lovers, salsa dancers, programmers or even boardgames enthusiasts.
Cape Town International Airport is located 22 kilometers for the city and has many domestic and international connections.
The MyCiTi, Cape Town’s Bus Rapid Transit system is a comfortable and affordable way to get around and beyond the city. Uber is also a popular form of transport among Cape Town residents. In order to use it, you just need to download an app and have access to mobile internet to book a ride.
Those who prefer more ecological solutions can rent a bike in one of the bike-sharing companies, for instance, Up Cycles. Keep in mind though that many areas in the town are uphill, so be prepared for a proper workout while riding a bike.
Mobile internet / SIM card use
South Africa has four major mobile operators: MTN, Vodacom, 8ta and Cell C. There is no problem with getting a local SIM card – they are available in numerous locations: shops, kiosks or mobile operators outlets. You just have to remember that you need to show your passport while buying a SIM card.
Foreigners from most of the countries can easily get a 3-month visa, which can be extended to up to 6 months. Americans do not require visas in advance if they intend to stay for no more than 90 days. Before traveling to South Africa, visit the Embassy of South Africa’s website or contact them directly for the current visa requirements.
How to spend your free time in Cape Town
There are plenty of things to do and see in Cape Town, so you definitely won’t get bored during your stay. If you want to get to know the city better, you can join one of the free walking tours. You can find out more about Apartheid gloomy period, get familiarized with Cape Town history or get to know cool, off the beaten track locations.
One of the coolest things to do while staying in Cape Town is by no doubt kayaking with dolphins and whales. Head to the V&A Waterfront, book a guided tour in one of the licenced companies and enjoy that magical, unusual experience.
Cape Town is also famous for its beautiful beaches scattered by Atlantic and Indian Ocean coastlines. Llandudno beach attracts mostly surfers, it is also a perfect spot for making a picknick with a group of friends. Boulders Beach offers stunning views and is ideal for romantic dates. Clifton Beaches are divided into 4 sectors, the 1st one full of nearby luxury hotels’ residents. The 2nd is open to everybody, while the 3rd is usually occupied by local and international hipsters, while the 4th is preferred by families.
The city is also known for its street food markets, so if you are in the town, you should not miss the opportunity to taste local goodies. The most famous food markets are Mojo Market, V&A Food Market and Neighbourgoods Market located in Woodstock.
If you look for an astonishing view, head to iconic Table Mountain, one of the Cape Town symbols. You can get to the top either by cable car or on foot. If you want to hike, prepare yourself for a 1,5-2h pleasant walk uphill.
Short trips & adventures
If you want to have a short break for the city, you have plenty of options to choose from. Cape Town is a perfect base for shorter and longer trips.
- Robben Island – it used to be a prison island, where Nobel Laureate Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for 18 years before the fall of apartheid. Nowadays former apartheid-victims give insightful tours which will help you to understand the painful history of that place. You can reach the island by boat leaving from V&A Waterfront.
- Wine Tour – wine lovers should head to the Stellenbosch and Franschhoek area known for its vineyards and high-quality wine. If you book a trip via a licenced touristic company, you will have a chance to visit local winemakers and taste their delightful products.