A guide for Cape Town, SA, as a Digital Nomad Destination

by | Jun 8, 2023 | Lifestyle, Travel

A guide for Cape Town, SA, as a Digital Nomad Destination

Cape Town is a popular destination for digital nomads, offering a unique blend of natural beauty, rich cultural heritage, and a thriving tech community. It ranks top 20 on the popular digital nomad platform, the Nomad List, as of mid-February 2023. With its stable infrastructure, fast and reliable internet, and growing co-working spaces, Cape Town is ideal for remote workers seeking a new working environment.

The city is home to diverse culture, with an exciting food and art scene that is sure to keep digital nomads entertained during their downtime. The proximity to world-renowned tourist attractions, such as Table Mountain and the Cape Winelands, makes Cape Town a fantastic place to live and work while providing ample opportunity for adventure and exploration.According to the data provided by Nomad List, Cape Town is visited by approximately 1,370,000 tourists annually, with a return rate of 14%.

Cape Town

The Visa application

South African authorities, similar to other nations, require some individuals entering the country to obtain a visa, which serves as a permit for visitors. The available visa options in South Africa include the work visa and visas for medical purposes, among several others.

General work visas are valid for either the length of the employment contract or a maximum of five years.

Unfortunately, the country has yet to make good its intentions to introduce a digital nomad visa. This means a digital nomad looking to land in Cape Town has to leverage the different visa options available. According to information on South Africa’s Department of Home Affairs official website, digital nomads are best placed to enter the country on a tourist or a general work visa.

South Africa has a tourist visa for visitors who wish to travel to the country for leisure or business purposes. The type of visa required and the requirements for obtaining it can vary depending on the;

  • traveler’s country of origin,
  • length of stay,
  • purpose of the visit (i.e., freelancing or remote working)

Generally, a South African tourist visa allows a foreign national to stay in the country for up to 90 days. However, it is advisable to check the latest information on the official South African government immigration website or with a South African embassy or consulate.

Requirements for South African Tourist visa

To apply for a South African tourist visa, you will be required to provide the following documents:

  • A valid passport or travel document
  • Completed and signed visa application form
  • Two recent passport-size photographs
  • A yellow fever certificate, if required
  • Proof of sufficient financial means to support your stay in South Africa, such as bank statements or pay slips
  • Proof of accommodation plans in South Africa, such as a confirmed hotel reservation or an invitation letter from a host
  • A round-trip air ticket or evidence of onward travel arrangements
  • A cover letter explaining the purpose and itinerary of your trip
  • Any other supporting documents relevant to your specific circumstances, such as a marriage certificate or proof of employment, if requested.

In any case, the South African Department of Home Affairs may request additional documentation or call for an interview if necessary.

How to apply for a South African tourist visa

There are two ways to apply for this document. You may submit your request online using the e-portal, which is easy, efficient, and secure. Alternatively, you may visit the embassy or consular post in person and complete the process. These two options are necessary because some countries are not eligible for the e-Visa option.

Visa application through a local consulate or embassy

Currently, the South African visa application is mainly through a consulate or embassy since the e-Visa option is only available to a few countries.

Here is the full process;

Gather the required documents

You will need to provide documentation to support your visa application, including a completed application form, a passport-sized photo, and proof of travel arrangements.

Pay the visa fee

The cost of a South African tourist visa varies based on the type of visa and the processing time you require.

Submit your application

Submit your visa application in person at a South African consulate or embassy, or you may leverage the services of a visa expediting company.

Wait for processing

Processing times for South African visas can take several weeks, so it’s best to apply well in advance of your planned travel date.

Receive your visa

Once your visa has been approved, it will be attached to your passport. Upon arrival in South Africa, you must present this visa and your passport.

The e-Visa application process

Here are four simple steps that ensure you can furnish all necessary information and efficiently monitor the progress and result of your e-Visa application.

1) Create your profile

You will fill out a form that captures your passport details.

2) Submit your form digitally

Your application will only be eligible for processing once you have filled out the form giving all the required information.

3) Upload the required documents

You must upload all supporting documents to avoid rejection

4) Show proof of payment

Upload relevant bank slips as proof of payment.

As of mid-February 2023, the e-Visa system is only accessible to citizens from Cameroon, Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, and India. It is expected that the list of eligible countries will expand in the near future.

The e-Visa cost

Visas are costed according to their type. The cost of your type of visa (for example, the tourist visa) will be displayed during the filling and completion of your application form. It is stated in ZAR or South African Rands.

Frequently Asked Questions about the SA e-Visa

1. Q: Can I claim a refund if I don’t use my e-Visa?

A: No! Visa fees are non-refundable

2. Q: If I make a mistake during the application, can I modify an issued e-Visa?

A: No! You may only make changes before submitting your application

3. Q: If my application is rejected, can I claim a refund?

A: No! The visa application fee is non-refundable

4. Q: Is my personal information secure to share online?

A: Certainly, your e-Visa application for South Africa is secure and transmitted directly to the South African government, which takes responsibility for ensuring the protection of the personal details you provide in the application form.

5: Q: How do I get updates regarding my application status?

A: You can track the progress and status updates on your e-Visa portal dashboard

Difficulty in getting an SA Tourist Visa

The difficulty in acquiring a South African tourist visa can vary based on several factors, including;

  • The country you are a citizen of (does it have a controversial foreign policy?)
  • The purpose of your trip (are you coming in as an ex-pat or freelancer, and how long do you plan to stay?)
  • Your personal circumstances (do you have a clean record?)
  • Some countries have visa-free or visa-on-arrival agreements with South Africa, while others may require a lengthier application process.

Cost of living and cost of living arbitrage 

The cost of living in Cape Town can vary depending on factors such as the individual’s lifestyle, location, and spending habits. However, on average, the cost of living in Cape Town is considered relatively high compared to other cities in South Africa. For example, a recent survey shows Cape Town’s rent prices are 72.5 percent higher than in Durban. Still, rent prices in Cape Town are 66.7 percent higher than in Pretoria.

If you’re coming from a city in a developed country like New York City, you’ll find that Cape Town is more affordable. This presents an opportunity to save money, especially if you opt for a cost-effective lifestyle.

Assuming you rent in Cape Town and New York and considering the cost of living plus rent index, you would require approximately 2,527.0$ (45,294.3R) in Cape Town to maintain the same standard of living as you would have with 9,100.0$ in New York. This calculation is based on net earnings after income tax.

In Cape Town, rent costs are 80.4% lower compared to New York, and grocery prices are 70.8% lower. Additionally, dining out in Cape Town will be more budget-friendly, with restaurant prices being 66.7% cheaper than those in New York.

ItemsNew York, NYCape TownDifference
Meal (inexpensive restaurant)$25.00 (R455.48)$8.23 (R150.00)     -67.1%
McMeal at McDonalds$10.55 (R192.30)$3.84 (R70.00)     -63.6%
Water (0.33 liter bottle)$2.18 (R39.72)$0.64 (R11.72)     -70.5%
Fitness club monthly fee for one adult$98.26 (R1,790.17)$37.97 (R691.77)     -61.4%
1 pair of jeans (e.g. Levis 501)$64.29 (R1,171.41)$46.65 (R849.95)     -27.4%
1 pair of Nike running shoes (mid-range)$95.46 (R1,739.15)$85.99 (R1,566.64)     -9.9%
Fresh white bread (500g)$4.24 (R77.30)$0.94 (R17.09)     -77.9%
Eggs (12)$4.63 (R84.42)$1.79 (R32.60)     -61.4%
Apples (1kg)$5.68 (R103.50)$1.42 (R25.90)     -75.0%
Tomato (1kg)$6.15 (R112.03)$1.40 (R25.48)     -77.3%
Domestic beer (0.5 liter bottle)$3.16 (R57.56)$1.35 (R24.55)     -57.4%

Accommodation in Cape Town

Cape Town offers a variety of accommodation options to suit different budgets and preferences. From luxurious 5-star hotels to budget-friendly hostels, rental apartments, and guesthouses, visitors can choose from a range of options to suit their needs. 

For high-end luxury, numerous world-class hotels are located in central areas such as the Waterfront and the city center. These offer world-class amenities, including swimming pools, spas, and fine dining restaurants. Nomad List data shows that the current hotel median price in Cape Town is $1,048 / month and about $50 per night.

However, if you are keen on saving, many affordable guesthouses and hostels in Cape Town offer comfortable and basic accommodation at a fraction of the cost. Most of these are located in the city’s suburbs and are perfect for backpackers and budget travelers, including digital nomads.

There are also options for Airbnb rentals and homestays for those looking for a more unique and authentic experience. Airbnb rentals average at $2251 per month and $84 per night. You can also get good quality accommodation in rental apartments, with a one-bedroom studio within the city center going for about $1267 per month. These offer visitors the chance to experience local life and culture and are often located in the city’s more residential areas. 

Overall, Cape Town offers various accommodation options to suit different budgets and preferences, making it a destination for digital nomads. 

Top neighborhoods to consider in Cape Town

Digital nomads are drawn to Cape Town by its beautiful natural surroundings, relatively low cost of living, and vibrant culture. Some of the best neighborhoods for digital nomads in Cape Town include; 


Gardens is a cheerful and historic neighborhood located in the heart of Cape Town. Known for its stunning views of Table Mountain, this neighborhood is a popular destination for tourists and locals. With a mix of residential and commercial areas, Gardens offers a diverse range of activities and attractions.

One of the main draws of Gardens is its rich history. The neighborhood has a long and storied past, dating back to the 1600s when the Dutch East India Company established a vegetable garden. Over the years, Gardens has been home to many prominent South Africans, including former Presidents and members of the local cultural elite.

In addition to its history, the area is known for its beautiful parks and gardens. The most famous of these is the Company’s Garden, a lush and tranquil oasis in the middle of the city. This historical park is home to many species of indigenous plants and a variety of wildlife, including squirrels, birds, and tortoises.

If you are interested in shopping and dining, Gardens has various options for you. There is something for everyone, from local specialty shops and markets to modern malls and restaurants. The neighborhood is also home to several cultural institutions, including the South African National Gallery and the South African Museum.


Tamboerskloof neighborhood

Tamboerskloof is an upscale neighborhood known for its stunning views of Table Mountain and the city. It is more expensive than other areas but offers digital nomads a more peaceful and upscale environment.

Sea Point

Digital nomads are attracted to this neighborhood because of its proximity to the beach and vibrant nightlife. There are also several co-working spaces and cafes in the area.


This suburb is known for its lively arts and cultural scene, as well as its eclectic mix of Victorian-era architecture and modern street art. The area has undergone significant gentrification recently, attracting a mix of young professionals, artists, and musicians.

The neighborhood is home to several popular cafes, bars, restaurants, independent boutiques, vintage shops, and galleries. Woodstock is also a hub for creative industries, with many co-working spaces and design studios.

In addition to its bustling arts and cultural scene, Woodstock is also known for its location near several major tourist attractions in Cape Town, including Table Mountain, the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, and the beaches of Clifton and Camps Bay.


One of the most iconic landmarks in Observatory is the South African Astronomical Observatory, which gives the neighborhood its name. It is located on the slopes of Devil’s Peak and has been in operation since the late 19th century.

This is a student-friendly neighborhood that is home to many tech startups and digital nomads. It is known for its refreshing atmosphere and offers various affordable accommodation options.

Observatory is also known for its live music scene, with many popular venues in the area. Such venues include;

The Armchair theater

Address: 135 Lower Main Rd, Observatory, Cape Town, 7925, South Africa

The Obscene Parrot

Address: 177 Lower Main Rd, Observatory, Cape Town, 7925, South Africa

The Scrumpy Jack

Address: 45 Trill Rd, Observatory, Cape Town, 7935, South Africa

A Touch of Madness Restaurant

Address: 12 Nuttall Rd, Observatory, Cape Town, 7925, South Africa

You can discover more venues here

The neighborhood is a hub for local and international musicians, and it’s not uncommon to find street performers and impromptu jam sessions in the local cafes and bars.

Best Co-working and Co-living spaces 

Coliving spaces are obviously the best option for digital nomads keen on spending less and saving more. Here are some notable spaces whose features represent Cape Town’s facilities. 

The 91 Loop Boutique Hostel 

The 91 Loop Boutique Hostel is the epitome of style and convenience. With a work desk, free fiber Wi-Fi, a complimentary breakfast, and an on-site bar and restaurant, this hostel is much at just competitive rates. Their beds range from $15-$84 per night. 

The hostel has various room options to suit your needs, including double rooms, twin rooms, triple rooms, family rooms, dormitories, and air-conditioned pods. You’ll also enjoy the extra-long beds and air-conditioning, ensuring a comfortable and restful stay.

When you’re not exploring the city, you can participate in the hostel’s organized activities, including live music, board game evenings, beer pong championships, and excursions to the beach and Lion’s Head. 

Neighborhood East City Coliving & Co-working 

At Neighborhood East City Coliving & Co-working, you’ll find a modern, cozy atmosphere perfect for digital nomads and young professionals. The monthly cost ranges from $605 to $756, and the flexible lease options allow you to stay as long as possible.  

Located in downtown Cape Town, this co-living space is conveniently placed near plenty of coffee shops and a vibrant nightlife. You’ll find fully furnished rooms, private apartments, and suites, all with en-suite bathrooms and TVs. The communal areas are spacious and well-decorated, including a communal kitchen and outdoor space, perfect for relaxation and socializing. 

The Coliving space offers weekly cleaning services, air-conditioning, and even bikes for your convenience. You’ll also have access to organized activities, such as parties, events, networking, and yoga, to ensure your time is well spent. Plus, high-speed internet is available to support all of your work needs. Staying at Neighborhood East City Coliving & Co-working also gives you access to discounts from local businesses in the area. 

The list of these facilities in Cape Town is longer, including other spaces like 

Blockchain and cryptocurrencies  

Check with tax and financial professionals before buying any cryptocurrencies as laws and and do change quickly regarding cryptocurrency and differ from country to country. Cryptocurrency value changes quickly.  This article does not endorse or encourage anyone to buy cryptocurrency.

Blockchain and cryptocurrency adoption in South Africa is growing, but it is still in its early stages compared to other countries. According to Finder’s 2022 Cryptocurrency Adoption Index report, 4.6 million South Africans possess cryptocurrencies. This is only 7.57% of the country’s population, with 92.43% still to catch up. The index tracks the global expansion of cryptocurrencies by conducting a continuous survey of internet users across 26 nations.  

Like most other countries, the South African government has been cautious in regulating cryptocurrencies, sometimes trying to figure out the exact position to take regarding the new technology. However, there are instances when it has shown goodwill and support. 

For example, in 2019, the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) launched Project Khokha, a proof-of-concept trial aimed at exploring the use of blockchain technology in the country’s banking system. The project was successful, and the SARB has since indicated that it plans to use blockchain technology to improve financial services in the country.

The adoption of blockchain technology in the private sector has also been on the rise in South Africa. Several local companies use blockchain to improve supply chain management, secure data, and streamline processes.

Is Crypto Legal in South Africa?

In late 2022, the Financial Advisory and Intermediary Services (FAIS) Act finally defined crypto assets as a type of digital unit of value that is traded and not issued by a central bank. These assets rely on cryptography and decentralized ledger technologies.

Accordingly, the South Africa Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) officially categorized crypto assets as a financial product. Therefore, starting on October 19th, 2022, crypto assets became subject to FSCA regulations under section 1(h) of the FAIS Act. NEED LINK

This new designation mandates that anyone providing advice or serving as an intermediary for crypto assets must be authorized as a financial services provider or a representative of one. The deadline to apply for such a license is November 30th, 2023.

Can one pay for goods and services in cryptocurrency?

While cryptocurrency is not widely accepted as a form of payment in South Africa, some merchants and businesses have started accepting payments in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. One such enterprise is the Supermarket chain “Pick n Pay.” Additionally, some cryptocurrency exchanges allow users to buy and sell cryptocurrencies for fiat currency, which can then be used to purchase goods and services. 

Unfortunately, the use of cryptocurrency is still in its early stages in the country, and not all merchants may be familiar with it or willing to accept it.

Crypto taxation

According to SARS or the South African Revenue Service, cryptocurrency transactions are taxed under the same laws that apply to traditional financial transactions, such as exchange controls and income tax. For example, if a person earns income from cryptocurrency mining or trading, that income is taxable. Similarly, if they use cryptocurrency to purchase goods or services, the transaction is subject to value-added tax (VAT).NEED LINK

Tax laws surrounding cryptocurrency can be complex and may change over time. Therefore, as a digital nomad, it would be imperative to seek professional advice regularly to ensure you comply with all relevant tax laws. 

Blockchain startups in Cape Town

Cape Town has seen a growing number of blockchain startups in recent years. These projects leverage blockchain technology to create innovative solutions across various industries, such as finance, healthcare, and supply chain management. With a supportive ecosystem of XXXXXXors, accelerators, and government initiatives, the city is fast becoming a hub for blockchain innovation in Africa.

Helixa TCG 

In 2022, Helixa TCG was founded as the developer of a free-to-play, play-to-earn trading card game that uses NFTs. Players can compete against each other in the game’s TCG arena format and use the in-game NFT marketplace to buy, sell, mint, and trade NFTs. This enables players to manage their assets and participate in the game’s ecosystem while earning rewards for their gameplay

Umphakathi weAfrika

Umphakathi weAfrika is a decentralized marketplace established in 2018. They connect blockchain and cryptocurrency enthusiasts, entrepreneurs, applications, and innovations in Africa via Blockchain’s trust protocol and a learning algorithm. The startup also demonstrates the technology’s advancements in Africa, focusing on financial inclusion through blockchain and crypto applications. Additionally, they Promote collaboration between Africa and the rest of the world by creating opportunities.


Jetplane is a self-service launchpad that began in 2022. It assists NFT projects in gaining visibility, building engagement, and processing transactions. The project is premised on the Cardano blockchain, and it simplifies the entire NFT process by removing technical barriers. Jetplane is designed for anyone looking to speed up their web3 ambitions.


CRYPTANALYSIS was founded in 2017. It strives to establish a comprehensive crypto ecosystem where customers can access all the essential news, information, and tools to XXXXXX, trade, track, and stay informed about Blockchain & Cryptocurrency in one convenient location on the web. 


Founded in 2019, AnkerPay’s API effortlessly integrates into current point-of-sale software for merchants to accept Bitcoin and any newly added cryptocurrency. The API enables merchants to receive local currency, providing an all-inclusive solution, and is already integrated with about 3000 retail stores. AnkerPay is broadening its offerings for medium to large-sized enterprises.

The digital nomad communities 

The digital nomad community in Cape Town, is a vibrant and growing group of remote workers who have embraced the freedom and flexibility of location-independent careers. Digital nomads in Cape Town are typically organized around co-living and co-working spaces, meetup groups, and social media (TikTok, Telegram, Facebook, WhatsApp, etc.). Platforms like Nomad List also provide favorable spaces for digital nomads to connect and interact with each other. 

Popular recreational activities and fun spots

The list of places a digital nomad in Cape Town can visit is long, giving you a raft of options, especially if you stay in the city for a while. These places include;

The Table Mountain

Table Mountain is a popular tourist attraction known for its stunning views and unique biodiversity, with over 1,500 plant species found on the mountain. You can reach the summit via a cable car or hiking trails, and various activities are available, including nature walks and rock climbing. The mountain is also home to numerous endangered species, such as the Table Mountain Ghost Frog and the Table Mountain Beauty Butterfly.

Cape Point Nature Reserve

Cape Point Nature Reserve is a scenic and protected area located at the southern tip of the Cape Peninsula in South Africa. It features rugged cliffs, stunning ocean views, and diverse flora and fauna. You can explore the reserve through various hiking trails, enjoy scenic drives, and take a funicular ride to the old lighthouse for spectacular views of the surrounding coastline. The reserve is also home to several popular beaches, including the picturesque Diaz Beach. 

Go snorkeling 

Snorkeling in Cape Town is popular, as the region boasts some of the world’s most beautiful and diverse marine life. With the Atlantic and Indian Oceans meeting off the Cape Peninsula, the waters are full of vibrant fish, kelp forests, and colorful corals. 

One of the most popular snorkeling spots is the kelp forests in False Bay, where snorkelers can see colorful fish, seals, and even seahorses. There are also guided tours to explore the rock pools along the shore, which are teeming with small marine creatures like starfish, anemones, and crabs.

Another popular spot for snorkeling is Hout Bay, where snorkelers can swim alongside hundreds of Cape fur seals. The seals are playful and curious and often swim right up to snorkelers, making for a memorable experience.

Go-kart racing 

This is a popular recreational activity that involves driving small, lightweight racing vehicles around a specially-designed track. Several indoor and outdoor go-kart tracks in Cape Town cater to beginners and experienced drivers. Some tracks offer high-speed racing experiences with challenging turns and twists, while others are designed for family-friendly fun. Safety gear is provided, and drivers are briefed on safety regulations before racing. Go-kart racing is a fun and exciting activity that people of all ages in Cape Town can enjoy.

Enjoy the city’s nightlife 

Cape Town has a vibrant nightlife that digital nomads can enjoy. Various bars, clubs, and restaurants stay open late, particularly on Long Street, Bree Street, and the Waterfront.  

Transportation in Cape Town

A public passenger bus crossing through the city center

Cape Town has a well-developed transportation system that includes air, road, railway, and taxi services. The city is served by Cape Town International Airport, the second-busiest South African airport and handles both domestic and international flights. The road transport system includes a network of highways, expressways, and local roads that connect the city’s various neighborhoods and suburbs. Additionally, the railway transport infrastructure offers commuter and long-distance train services, with multiple stations throughout the city. To cap it all, taxi services are readily available and provide convenient transportation for locals and visitors.

Cape Town International Airport

This is the primary airport serving Cape Town city. Located approximately 20 kilometers from the city center, the airport is a significant hub for domestic and international air travel, handling millions of passengers annually. It features a range of modern facilities, including various shops and restaurants, as well as numerous transport options for commuting to and from the city center. With its strategic location, Cape Town International Airport plays a crucial role in connecting South Africa to the rest of the world. 

Railway transport in Cape Town

Passenger railway transport in Cape Town is operated by Metrorail, a division of the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA). Metrorail operates a network of commuter trains that serve the Cape Town metropolitan area and its surrounding suburbs.

The railway system in Cape Town is extensive, with numerous lines running throughout the city and beyond. These lines connect the city center with various suburbs and other towns in the Western Cape region, providing an affordable and convenient mode of transportation for residents and visitors.

Several railway lines comprise the railway infrastructure in Cape Town, and they include;

The Central Line: It runs from Cape Town station to the northern suburbs of Cape Town, including Bellville, Kraaifontein, and Kuils River.

The Northern Line: The Northern line runs from Cape Town station to the southern suburbs and northern suburbs of Cape Town, including Simon’s Town, Fish Hoek, Retreat, Wynberg, Claremont, Rondebosch, Pinelands, and Bellville.

The Southern Line: This one runs from Cape Town station to the southern suburbs of Cape Town, including Muizenberg, Kalk Bay, and Simon’s Town.

The Cape Flats Line: The Cape Flats Line connects Cape Town station to the Cape Flats area of Cape Town, including areas such as Philippi, Langa, and Khayelitsha.

The Airport Line: Links the Cape Town railway station to Cape Town International Airport. Of course, several other branch lines and short lines connect to these main lines and serve various areas of the city 

Cape Town city road network 

Bus transport in Cape Town is an important mode of public transportation for residents and tourists. The bus system in Cape Town is operated by different companies, including Golden Arrow Bus Services, MyCiTi, and others, and it serves both inner-city and suburban areas. Lately, there has been a significant expansion of the bus network in Cape Town, with the introduction of new routes and the implementation of modern, efficient buses. The bus system is an affordable and convenient way to commute around the city, and it plays a vital role in connecting people to schools, jobs, and other important destinations.

MyCiTi Bus Service 

This is a modern, rapid transit bus service that operates in and around Cape Town. Buses run on dedicated bus lanes, making them faster and more efficient than traditional buses. The MyCiTi system has several different routes, including ones that go to popular tourist destinations like Table Mountain, the V&A Waterfront, and Hout Bay.

Golden Arrow Bus Services

Golden Arrow is the largest bus company in Cape Town, and it operates on a traditional bus service model with set routes and schedules. They offer express and local routes, covering many destinations throughout the city and suburbs.

City Sightseeing Cape Town bus service

This is a hop-on-hop-off bus service specifically designed for tourists. The buses run on a set route that covers all of the major tourist attractions in the city, and passengers can get on and off the bus as they please. This is a great way for visitors to see the city at their own pace.

Intercape Bus Services

Intercape is a long-distance bus service that operates throughout South Africa. They have several routes that pass through Cape Town, making it a convenient option for digital nomads who want to explore other parts of the country.

In addition to these main types of bus transport, smaller shuttle services and private bus companies operate in the city. With such a wide range of options available, it’s easy to get around Cape Town and explore all the city has to offer. 

Taxi services

Cape Town has a variety of taxi services available to residents and visitors.

Uber is among the leading taxi service providers in Cape Town, as it allows users to request rides through a mobile app. Other ride-hailing apps such as Bolt, inDriver, and Yookoo Ride are also available. These services offer a convenient and affordable way to travel around the city, with fare estimates.

In addition to ride-hailing services, Cape Town also has traditional taxi services, often called “metered taxis.” These taxis typically operate from designated taxi ranks and can be hailed on the street. Metered taxis charge fares based on a meter, and users can negotiate a price before their trip.

As with any large city, safety is always a concern when using taxi services in Cape Town. You are advised to use reputable taxi services and exercise caution, particularly when traveling alone or at night.

Start (normal tariff)R15.00
1 km (normal tariff)R12.00
1 hour waiting (normal tariff)R48.00

Is Cape Town a safe city?

Cape Town’s alluring coast and stunning natural landscapes notwithstanding, it has some safety concerns that you should be aware of. The safety index of Cape Town varies depending on the area and the time of day. Some neighborhoods in Cape Town are relatively safe and secure, while others have higher crime rates, including theft, robbery, and violence. The central business district and some of the townships are generally considered high-risk areas, and visitors are advised to take extra precautions when traveling in these areas.

A recent survey published on Numbeo.com captures the city’s crime rate at around 85%. This is obviously high. The same report shows that the chances of being mugged or robbed are about 75%. However, unlike some racist cities, worries of being insulted or subjected to racial prejudice are at a moderate 55%

To ensure one’s safety in Cape Town, it’s crucial to take certain fundamental measures such as refraining from walking alone during nighttime, staying in well-lit and bustling places, and concealing valuable belongings. Additionally, it’s advisable to utilize reliable transportation options like registered taxis or ride-hailing applications.

Despite some safety concerns, Cape Town continues to attract many tourists, and visitors can enjoy a secure and pleasant stay by remaining vigilant and implementing appropriate safety measures.

Religious diversity

A new age spiritualist practicing Yoga on Table Mt

Cape Town is a diverse city with a rich religious composition. According to a 2010 Pew Research Center report, 81% of South Africans identified with the Christian faith. Approximately 15 % of the population either didn’t adhere to a particular religion or declined to indicate their affiliation. Some of these individuals subscribe to indigenous beliefs.

Among the population, 1.7% were Muslims, with the majority being Sunni. Accordingly, Shia religious leaders suggested that less than 3 % of the Muslim population is Shia. 

Less than 4% of the population was made up of Hindus, Jews, Buddhists, and traditional indigenous beliefs adherents combined.

In South Africa, many indigenous individuals blend Christian and indigenous religious beliefs. Meanwhile, The Church of Scientology reported having about 100,000 members. 

Lately, though, there has been a healthy interest in alternative spiritual practices, such as New Age beliefs and Non-Religious Spiritualism. Cape Town’s religious landscape reflects the city’s multicultural heritage and continued diversity.

Tradition and cultural norms 

Cape Town has a rich and diverse cultural heritage reflected in its traditions and cultural practices. The city is home to various ethnic groups, including the Khoi, Xhosa, Zulu, Malay, Indian, and Afrikaans.

One of the most prominent cultural practices in Cape Town is the Cape Malay culture, which has a unique blend of African, Asian, and European influences. The Cape Malay community is known for its vibrant music, dance, and food, with dishes like bobotie, bredie, and koeksisters being popular staples. The community also celebrates the Cape Town Minstrel Carnival, which takes place in early January and features colorful parades, music, and dance.

The Xhosa people, one of the largest ethnic groups in Cape Town, have a strong tradition of oral storytelling, music, and dance. They also practice the ritual of ukuthwasa, where young men go through a period of isolation and training to become traditional healers or sangomas.

In addition, the city has a rich history of anti-apartheid activism, with cultural practices such as protest songs, poetry, and visual art playing a significant role in the struggle for freedom and democracy. Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela and other anti-apartheid activists were imprisoned, has become an enduring symbol of resistance and is now a popular tourist attraction. 

The Cultural don’ts

Cape Town embodies a vibrant blend of cultural influences, including Dutch, French, Malay, English, Afrikaner, and Xhosa traditions. All these offer a wealth of delights for locals and visitors alike. Nevertheless, as a foreigner in a potentially vulnerable position, it is important to be mindful of certain things to avoid

Never throw a cigarette butt out of your car window 

Cape Town faces numerous wildfires during the summer due to the dry weather and strong winds. These create highly conducive conditions for spreading these fires.

Don’t accept a vendor’s first price

When shopping for gifts and souvenirs at Cape Town’s curio markets, such as Greenmarket Square, be ready to negotiate. Vendors typically won’t give you their best price initially, so you’ll need to engage in some friendly bargaining to secure a reasonable deal. 

Never accept offers for assistance at an ATM

It’s best to avoid accepting any offers for assistance while using ATMs in Cape Town. ATMs in the country are a favorite among quick-fingered criminals. In a matter of seconds, someone posing as a “good Samaritan” may offer to help but actually swap out your card and steal your PIN. Before you realize it, you could be several hundred euros poorer.

Never leave valuables exposed in the car

To avoid becoming a victim of opportunistic crime in Cape Town, never leave your valuables on display in your car. Like many other major cities, criminals in Cape Town are on the lookout for vulnerable targets, particularly tourists. As a precaution, do not flaunt cash, cameras, or jewelry. Also, avoid leaving items in plain sight on car seats or in the trunk, regardless of their value. By being vigilant and taking these steps, you can help reduce the risk of being targeted by criminals.

Political and economic stability

A busy commercial street in Cape Town

South Africa has experienced significant political and economic instability over the years due in part to its history of apartheid and its transition to democracy. However, the country has made significant progress in recent years.

On the political front, South Africa has a stable democracy with a strong constitution and independent judiciary. The country has held regular elections since the end of apartheid in 1994, and power has been peacefully transferred between political parties.

According to the World Bank’s collection of development indicators, compiled from officially recognized sources, the estimate for Political Stability and Absence of Violence or Terrorism in South Africa was -0.70658 in 2021. This score is on a standardized scale that ranges from approximately -2.5 to 2.5, with a lower score indicating a greater likelihood of political instability and violence. A score of -0.70658 suggests that South Africa may be experiencing some level of political instability and violence. However, this is only one indicator and should be considered alongside other measures of the country’s political and social environment. Additionally, this is a perception-based measure, reflecting how people perceive the likelihood of instability and violence rather than actual occurrences.

The economic situation

PricewaterhouseCoopers recently reported on the employment situation in South Africa, which saw a positive trend in the first three quarters of 2022. Non-agricultural employment improved by a net 1.2 million, resulting in 15.8 million jobs in 2022Q3. Despite this improvement, South Africa’s official and youth unemployment rates will continue to be some of the highest in the world in 2023, which poses social risks.

Language and language barriers 

Cape Town is a diverse city with many different languages spoken. Most people here speak English, particularly for business and government. However, it is not the first language for the majority of Capetonians.

The largest first language group in Cape Town is isiXhosa, which is spoken by around 15% of the country’s population. isiXhosa is one of South Africa’s eleven official languages and is the language of the Xhosa people, who are indigenous to the Eastern Cape region of South Africa.

Afrikaans is another commonly spoken language in Cape Town, particularly among the white and colored (mixed-race) populations. It is among South Africa’s official languages and evolved from Dutch, which Dutch settlers brought to the Cape in the 17th century.

Other languages spoken in Cape Town include isiZulu, Sesotho, Setswana, and several other African languages, as well as Portuguese, French, and other European languages. Cape Town is also home to many immigrants from other African countries who may speak a wide range of languages.

Therefore, you won’t face significant language barriers if you are a digital nomad from an English-speaking background.

Healthcare in Cape Town

In Cape Town, one can find public and private healthcare facilities. The Western Cape Department of Health mainly provides public healthcare services, targeting individuals who cannot afford private healthcare. Unfortunately, due to understaffing and an excessive patient load, these facilities can be inadequate in terms of wait times and access to care, especially in low-income areas.

The leading private hospitals in Cape Town

Private healthcare facilities are typically superior quality and are commonly accessed by those who can afford medical treatment.

Melomed Claremont Private Hospital

Melomed Claremont Private Hospital offers a wide range of medical services, including general surgery, orthopedic surgery, neurosurgery, plastic surgery, ophthalmology, gynecology, and many others. The hospital also has a 24-hour emergency unit that is fully equipped to handle medical emergencies of all kinds.

Life Healthcare Orthopaedic Hospital

The hospital is staffed by highly qualified orthopedic surgeons, nurses, and other healthcare professionals dedicated to providing their patients with the highest standard of care. It has state-of-the-art facilities, including modern operating rooms, advanced imaging equipment, and a dedicated rehabilitation center.

Life Kingsbury Hospital

Life Kingsbury Hospital offers a wide range of medical and surgical services, including neurosurgery, orthopedics, cardiology, gastroenterology, and oncology. The hospital has several specialized units, including a heart center, a neuroscience center, a breast care center, and a day ward.

Health Insurance for foreigners

Foreigners visiting South Africa for short periods are usually required to have travel medical insurance that covers medical expenses in case of an emergency or accident. This insurance typically provides coverage for emergency medical treatment, hospitalization, and repatriation.

Comprehensive health insurance is recommended for those planning to reside in the country for an extended period. There are several international health insurance providers that offer coverage for digital nomads and expats. They include;


Check with your doctor, this is not medical advice.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that travelers be up-to-date on routine vaccinations such as measles, mumps, rubella (MMR), diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, and influenza, travelers also generally consider getting vaccinations for Hepatitis A and B and typhoid, check with your healthcare provider.

Additional vaccinations such as rabies may be discussed with your doctor, if you have specific itinerary and activities planned or if you intend to visit a game reserve or go hiking in rural areas. A vaccination for meningococcal meningitis if you plan to spend time in the northern part of the country during the rainy season (November to April), check with your doctor.

Electrical standards

South Africa uses a 220-240V electrical system, which is different from some other countries. Therefore, if you’re a digital nomad or visitor from the US or Canada (110-120V) traveling to South Africa, you’ll need a voltage adapter to use your electronic devices in Cape Town. On the other hand, visitors from the UK and Australia won’t need a voltage adapter since their countries use a similar 220-240V electrical system as South Africa. However, they will need a plug adapter to match the different outlets.

Telephone and Internet plans

In Cape Town, several companies offer telephone and internet plans, including Telkom, Vodacom, MTN, and Cell C. These companies offer a range of plans to suit different needs, including prepaid and postpaid plans as well as different data, call, and text allowances.

Some plans are designed for mobile devices, while others are for fixed-line internet connections. Prices and plan features vary depending on the provider and the specific plan. Some plans may also come with additional perks, such as free access to streaming services or discounted rates for international calls.

Payment services and infrastructure

Cape Town has a robust payment services infrastructure like many other major cities. There are several payment service providers operating in the city that offer a variety of payment solutions to businesses and individuals. Here are some of the main payment services infrastructure in Cape Town


Most major banks in South Africa, including Absa, FNB, Standard Bank, Nedbank, and Capitec Bank, have a presence in Cape Town. These banks offer various payment services, including online and mobile banking, credit and debit card payment processing, and merchant services. 

Payment gateways

Payment gateways like PayFast, Peach Payments, and PayGate enable businesses to accept payments online via credit card, EFT, and other payment methods. These payment gateways are fully integrated with major South African banks, allowing businesses to receive payments directly into their bank accounts.

Mobile payment solutions

Mobile payment solutions like SnapScan, Zapper, and Yoco provide businesses with a way to accept payments using customers’ mobile phones. These payment solutions are especially useful for small businesses and sole proprietors who need access to traditional payment processing methods.

Cryptocurrency payment solutions

Cryptocurrency payment solutions like the Club Swan debit card and Luno and BitX digital wallets allow individuals and businesses to transact using cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum.

Tap-to-Pay and Scan-to-Pay 

These two payment methods have become increasingly popular in Cape Town and around the world. They are contactless, allowing consumers to pay for goods and services without touching a card reader or exchanging cash. Established businesses, including Woolworths and Checkers supermarkets, use this method. You can also tap–to–pay at restaurants and bus service companies like MyCiTi bus services. 

Currencies and the exchange rate 

ZAR, or The South African rand, is South Africa’s official currency. It is freely convertible and extensively utilized across the country. As a digital nomad, it helps to track the prevailing exchange rate between your home currency and the rand since it can substantially influence your budget.

Climates and seasons

Summer in Cape Town runs from December to February, with temperatures averaging 25-27°C (77-81°F). The city is bustling with activity during this time, making it a great time for outdoor activities, beach visits, and exploring the many attractions the city offers. However, it can get quite crowded during the peak holiday season, so it helps to plan ahead.

Autumn, from March to May, is a great time to visit Cape Town, as the weather is mild and the crowds have thinned out. Temperatures range from 20-25°C (68-77°F), and the days are generally sunny and dry. This is a good time to enjoy outdoor activities and explore the city’s many cultural and historical sites.

Winter in Cape Town runs from June to August, with temperatures averaging around 10-18°C (50-64°F). While the days are cooler and shorter, there are still plenty of activities to enjoy, such as wine tasting, hiking, and visiting indoor attractions like museums and galleries.

From September to November, spring sees the city come alive with blossoming flowers and lush greenery. Temperatures start to rise, averaging around 18-22°C (64-72°F), making it a great time for outdoor activities like hiking and exploring the city’s natural beauty.

Overall, Cape Town offers a diverse range of climates and seasons to suit different preferences and interests, making it a great destination for digital nomads looking to work remotely while enjoying the beauty and culture of this vibrant city.

SummerDec-Feb25-27°C (77-81°F)sunny and dry, can be crowded
AutumnMar-May20-25°C (68-77°F)mild, sunny, and dry
WinterJun-Aug10-18°C (50-64°F)cooler and shorter days
SpringSep-Nov18-22°C (64-72°F)rising temperatures, blossoming flowers

Popular cuisine

Cape Town is known for its diverse cultures and cuisines, making it a food lovers’ paradise. Here are three popular dishes in Cape Town that are sure to get your attention 


Bobotie is a traditional South African dish that is popular with Cape Town residents. It is a baked casserole with spiced minced meat (usually beef or lamb) mixed with dried fruit, nuts, and bread crumbs. The mixture is then topped with an egg and milk and baked until golden brown. Bobotie is typically served with yellow rice cooked with turmeric, raisins, and chutney on the side. The dish has a rich and delicious taste making it a must-try for anyone visiting Cape Town.


This is a classic street food dish that originated in Cape Town’s working-class communities. It is a foot-long sandwich with various fillings, such as French fries, spicy masala steak or chicken, and fresh vegetables. Gatsby is served on a large loaf of bread and is meant to be shared between multiple people. It is a filling and flavorful dish that is perfect for a quick and satisfying meal. 

Snoek Braai

Snoek is a delicious local fish often grilled over an open flame in a traditional South African braai (barbecue). The fish is typically marinated in a spicy, tangy mixture of apricot jam, vinegar, and spices before being cooked over the fire. Snoek braai is a simple but delicious dish showcasing the fish’s fresh flavors and the unique taste of South African spices. It is a must-try for anyone visiting Cape Town, especially if you enjoy seafood.

Common concerns

  • Some neighborhoods experience perennial water shortage
  • Traffic can be a problem in Cape Town, especially during peak hours
  • Certain parts of the city still register high crime levels 

Despite these concerns, digital nomads continue to land in Cape Town for remote work, tourism and leisure.

Always check with local country websites for the most up to date visa, health, tax and travel requirements before entering a country. This article is general information and does not constitute legal advice, check with a legal professional for visas, working visas, applicable tax and crypto laws specific to you.

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