Table Mountain view from Lion's Head sunrise hike in Cape Town

Why Cape Town Is The Ultimate Digital Nomad Destination

My love for Cape Town knows no limits. I’ve spent a lot of time in Cape Town and there’s no doubt in my mind that it is the most naturally beautiful city in the world. Along with Canggu in Bali, Cape Town is at the top of my list for digital nomads looking to do remote work. Whether it’s the perfect weather, or the stunning backdrop of Table Mountain and Lion’s Head, or the proximity to the most beautiful wine region in the world, there’s something for everyone in Cape Town.

Table Mountain view from Lion's Head sunrise hike in Cape Town

This post will focus on why I think Cape Town is the best city to be a digital nomad and why you should consider the mother city as a stop on your digital nomad adventures.

If you haven’t already read, make sure to read my Cape Town Travel Guide, as well as my Cape Town itinerary which will give you a good outline of how to spend a few days in the city if you’re not already sold on making Cape Town your base.

Signal hill cape town table mountain and lion's head view

Amazing Food And Restaurants

Cape Town is home to a world class dining scene. Beautiful restaurants featuring cuisines from all over the world can be found in Cape Town. There are also plenty of Michelin star restaurants and a few restaurants that even break into the top 50 best restaurants in the world list (although I’m not a fan of this list).

steak south africa fat butcher stellenbosch cape town

South African cuisine as a whole is delicious with plenty of spices and flavors. Meat and seafood are a huge part of the local diet and you’ll find some of the best steaks here with some of the cheapest prices.

In addition to the food, Cape Town is home to plenty of amazing bars with an ever growing craft beer and cocktail bar scene.

Unlimited amount of cafes

I’m a sucker for a good cafe and a good coffee. As someone that works remotely, I sometimes prefer to work in public spaces because I find I work better around other people than in an apartment somewhere. I was in heaven in with the cafes in Bali as the amount seemed unlimited so I always look for good work cafes in my future stops.

Cape Town cafe south africa avocado toast

Cape Town, while not the goldmine that Bali is, is home to plenty of amazing cafes that dish out delicious coffee. South Africa is after all, close to the coffee belt of Africa so you can expect amazing coffee beans to be used.

The Loading bay cape town cafe

Cape Town is filled with amazing cafes to not only have good brunch food and a coffee, but as places to work as well. Check out my best cafes to work from in Cape Town list for all my favorites.

Fast wifi and mobile service

Cape Town recognizes the importance of reliable internet connectivity in the modern world, especially for digital nomads who depend on a robust online presence for their work. In recent years, the city has made significant strides in improving its internet infrastructure.

High speed wifi is available in all the cafes and restaurants around Cape Town making remote work easy. Home wifi has also improved significantly in recent years and has also become cheaper.

Purchasing SIM cards, while not as cheap as other countries, is still very affordable. As an example, I paid R100 for 15 GB of data per month on Vodacom as of 2023/2024. There are even cheaper packages on MTN and Cell-C but I didn’t have a chance to try those.

Cheap Cost of Living

Cape Town is an affordable city to live in. While it’s not as cheap as budget travel places in SE Asia, it is far cheaper than cities in Western Europe. Cape Town offers a first world modern city with incredible amenities that you wouldn’t find in many other cities. Cape Town has proper infrastructure and things work properly (at least by South African standards). If you’re looking for a rustic island vibe, Cape Town is not in. If you’re looking for an insanely beautiful cosmopolitan city, Cape Town is for you.

Oldenburg wine tasting stellenbosch cape town

As with most places for digital nomads, rent is on the pricier side but everything else is very affordable. Things like going out to eat, having drinks with friends, and groceries are all much more affordable than even places like Portugal or Greece.

If you’re a fan of red meat, South Africa has one of the best steak cultures in the world next to Argentina. Steaks in South Africa are incredibly affordable and you can get a solid 300g sirloin steak for ~$10 USD at a nice steakhouse.

How much do things cost in Cape Town?

As a simple guide, here are what certain things cost in South Africa. I will use US Dollars in this as the rand is so volatile and listing prices in Rands now might make this post obsolete in the future.

  • Dinner out for two people with wine: ~$30-50
  • Beer at a nice restaurant: $2-3
  • Glass of Wine at a nice restaurant: $3-4
  • 1 bedroom apartment in the city center: $600 – $1,000 per month
  • 2 bedroom apartment in the city center:$800 – $1,500
  • Uber ride from Seapoint to the CBD: $5
  • Wine tasting in a Stellenbosch wine farm: $4-6

Do keep in mind that if you’re coming in with high Dollar/Euro/Pound salaries, you are probably living better than 95% of the people in Cape Town. Do not be a douchebag by flaunting your wealth and respect the fact that you are essentially geo-arbitraging your way to a better life by being in Cape Town.

The most naturally beautiful city in the world

I’ve said this countless times in my other posts about Cape Town, but I will say it again with a resounding voice.

Cape Town is the most naturally beautiful city in the world

– Johnny Africa

These are fighting words but I back it up with almost 100 countries of travel so I know a few things. Cape Town is a special place and I’ve never seen a place more naturally beautiful than this city. I say naturally beautiful because the city itself will never compete with a Positano on the Amalfi Coast or a cute Cycladic village in Paros, Greece but the nature is unbeatable.

maiden's cove cape town camps bay

Cape Town is blessed to be right on the coastline of the Western Cape. What makes it unique is that it is straddled between a stunning sandstone mountain range that’s highlighted by the world famous Table Mountain, Lion’s Head, and the 12 Apostles. These mountains are located right next to beautiful beaches and ocean giving the city that ultra dramatic effect.

It’s impossible to explain with words so I will simply post pictures of Cape Town and let you decide for yourself. Is anywhere else as beautiful as this??

The most beautiful wine region in the world next to Cape Town

Within 30 minutes, you’re already at the wine region of South Africa. Constantia is literally next door to the city center meaning you can wine taste and enjoy world class cuisine an Uber ride away.

Drive 1 hour and you’re in the heart of Stellenbosch and Franschhoek which to me is the most beautiful wine region in the world. I’ve been all over the world and have seen wine regions galore but I always come back to the Cape Wine region because it’s just so damn beautiful.

clouds estate south africa

I also love the wine tasting culture of South Africa where you can visit any winery and sit down with a wine tasting on the spot. No reservations and no feelings like you’re intruding on something, just amazing wine with even more amazing views.

stellenbosch sunset

Amazing Digital nomad community

Many digital nomads call Cape Town home. There is a big community of digital workers from all over the world calling Cape Town home. It’s not hard to see why with all the reasons I’ve listed on this post.

With the influx of Digital nomads in Cape Town, there are plenty of co-working spaces and co-living spaces that cater to this movement. I’ve seen so many co-living spaces and other digital nomad travel groups on my Instagram and Facebook feeds that I think it should be easy for anyone looking to meet new people. Just be careful to not overpay for certain co-living spaces as it might seem

The word has gotten out. Cape Town is no longer a hidden gem like it was some years ago. Although it hasn’t reached the crazy madness as places like Lisbon’s digital nomad scene, it definitely feels like it will get there.

Cape Town has Great weather year round

Weather in Cape Town is great year round. While summers are by far my favorite times of year to be in this city, the winter months are mild and enjoyable.

Cape Town sunset maidens cove

The best time of year to be in Cape Town in my opinion is between November and April. Temperatures during this period will be a very enjoyable 25 to 30 degrees with plenty of sun. Some months will see high wind so keep that in mind if you’re planning to do a lot of hiking.

The winter months are colder and more wet but nothing extreme. Temperatures average between 15 and 20 degrees during the winter months with sun at least half of the week. You might see temperatures dip into the low single digits at night however.

Noordhoek beach cape town cape point

Visiting Cape Town in the winter will mean cheaper prices and smaller crowds. There is still plenty of things going on as the local scene is vibrant year round. You can expect to pay 2x the price for accommodations during the high season period around the festive season.

Scooters are a game changer in Cape Town

I’ve been to Cape Town many times and on one of my most recent trips, I started driving a scooter around town. One of my friends had been living in Cape Town for many years and she swore by her scooter. I rode scooters all day every day while living in Bali and absolutely loved the freedom so I thought I would give this a shot.

Cape Town Vespas signal hill

Turns out, it is an amazing decision to rent scooters in Cape Town. I did this over New Years when the traffic is unbearable and this was the best decision I ever made. I could easily skip traffic by going around cars and would reach anywhere I needed to go in Cape Town within 20 minutes. This probably saved me like 1h every day and maybe 2h on others which really is invaluable.

Cape Town Vespas scooter rental

On top of no not having to deal with traffic, the views from a scooter is just insane. Cape Town is already so beautiful but to see it from a scooter is even more so. Every morning, I would get up early and drive over Kloof Nek to Camps Bay and enjoy the breathtaking views of the ocean and mountains. It really didn’t get any better. In addition, it’s also a great way to make the day trip from Cape Town to Cape Point.

Cape Town scooter traffic
Skipping traffic in Cape Town. No better feeling

Driving around Cape Town in a scooter was also not scary at all. The traffic really isn’t fast moving and cars are more obedient than I thought. I would just avoid driving on the freeways, especially on windy days.

Unfortunately, scooter culture has never picked up in South Africa and there are very few shops that rent scooters. Cape Town Vespas is one of the best shops in Cape Town but you’ll have to pay premium prices as they are vespas (still much cheaper than renting a Vespa in the Amalfi Coast for example). Scooter Dr is another shop that rents scooters but you’ll need to provide a license that allows you to drive scooters that are 125cc and above (A1 in Europe).

Hiking and beach at your fingertips

Cape Town, South Africa, is renowned for its stunning landscapes, and hiking enthusiasts from around the world are drawn to the city’s diverse and picturesque trails. The city is nestled between the iconic Table Mountain and the Atlantic Ocean, providing a unique setting for hiking adventures. Here are some of the amazing hiking experiences Cape Town has to offer:

Table Mountain National Park

This UNESCO World Heritage Site offers a plethora of hiking trails suitable for various fitness levels. The Platteklip Gorge route is the most direct ascent, while the longer India Venster and Skeleton Gorge routes provide more challenging and scenic alternatives. The views from the summit are breathtaking, offering panoramic vistas of the city, ocean, and surrounding mountains.

Lion’s Head

This iconic peak stands adjacent to Table Mountain and is a popular spot for both locals and tourists. The relatively short but steep hike leads to the summit, where hikers are rewarded with 360-degree views of the city, ocean, and Table Mountain. Sunset and sunrise hikes are especially popular for the spectacular views.

Lion's head cape town south africa
What a view on Lion’s Head

Devil’s Peak

Part of the Table Mountain range, Devil’s Peak offers challenging hikes with rewarding views. The trail takes you through indigenous fynbos vegetation, and once at the summit, you can enjoy panoramic views of the Cape Peninsula and the city below.

Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden

Starting from Kirstenbosch Gardens, this trail takes you through lush forests and offers a different perspective of Table Mountain. The hike can be combined with other routes for a more extensive adventure.

kirstenbosch botanical gardens cape town

Cape Town’s hiking experiences are not just about the physical activity but also about immersing oneself in the natural beauty and biodiversity of the region. Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or a casual explorer, Cape Town’s trails cater to a range of interests and fitness levels, making it a haven for outdoor enthusiasts.

Easy Visa policies

South Africa offers a flat 3 month tourist visa for most visitors upon arrival. This visa can usually be extended at home affairs but I wouldn’t recommend relying on South African bureaucracy because it is a unreliable at best.

Visa runs are common and used to be much easier. One could simply road trip up to Namibia for a few days and come back with a new 90 day visa. Nowadays, it’s a bit more difficult as immigration officials want to see that you went to a country that does not border South Africa. Zanzibar would be a good option in that case and the island makes for a great digital nomad destination in its own right.

Nevertheless, a digital nomad visa is in the pipeline and I suspect this could be a thing in the coming months or years. It is South Africa though so who knows?

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