All countries around the world are home to different cultures, environments, people, customs, weather, food and attractions! This means that when travelling to a new and unfamiliar destination, there is an endless amount of information to absorb and countless decisions to be made. This is especially true of Cape Town! The city is bursting with eclectic cultural experiences, delicious local food, infamous tourist attractions and beautiful natural landscapes.
In order to help you plan your Cape Town adventure, and enjoy your time here to the fullest, we have put together a short list of important things to remember.
(Still wondering if Cape Town is for you? Have a look at Why International Interns Choose Cape Town)
Bridging Gaps 6 Golden Rules of visiting Cape Town!
⇒ Have a braai!
A braai is a South African barbeque and we are very passionate about it! There is even an unofficial holiday dedicated to this tradition – National braai day on the 24th of September - and most South African homes have an appointed braai area. There are plenty of beautiful braai spots around Cape Town and any locals you meet will certainly invite you to join in with theirs. Just remember, a braai is not the same as a barbeque if you are in the presence of a South African!
⇒ Learn the lingo
South Africa’s extensive and prolific range of slang words come from its melting pot of 11 official languages. As soon as you arrive in Cape Town you will experience the colourful colloquialisms and unique sayings and although it is impossible to learn all of them, there are a few useful ones to remember! Lekker: Cool! Great! Robot: Traffic light. Howzit: Hi, how are you? Jol: Party. Yebo: yes!
⇒ Pack clothes for every season
Although we have relatively distinctive seasons here in Cape Town, it is a widely known local fact that you can regularly experience all types of weather in just one day! Not only do all the suburbs of the city have very unique microclimates, but you can often wake up to a grey rainy day in the morning, and be relaxing on the beach in the sun by the afternoon. Packing for all occasions is crucial when visiting Cape Town!
⇒ Be aware of the country’s complicated history
South Africa is home to an astonishingly diverse population representing a huge range of cultures. It is good to be aware of the country’s history. South Africa’s history is marked by apartheid - a system of racial oppression. This means that although the country has progressed massively since the apartheid regime, it still faces significant social problems and poverty is a very real and harsh reality. It is important to keep this in mind throughout your trip to Cape Town, and learn and understand as much as you can during your time here. Although the country has a violent history, South Africa is also ultimately an example of how people can overcome and move forward together.
⇒ Make a list of everything you want to see and do!
Cape Town is home to countess thrilling outdoor activities, infamous tourist attractions and endless stunning natural landscapes. Preparing for your trip by creating a list of everything you want to experience in and around Cape Town will help you manage your time so you don’t miss a thing! Please also bear in mind that certain tours and activities require booking in advance.
⇒ Cape Town is known as the sleeping city!
Two more slang phrases you will often hear in Cape Town are ‘just now’ and ‘now now’, both referring to time. You will find that Capetonians have a rather complicated relationship with the word ‘now’ because it really can mean anything from 5 minutes to tomorrow. ‘Now now’ basically means ‘as soon as I can’ and ‘just now’ is ‘sometime today.’ At this point you may be confused, so the most important thing to remember is things take time in Cape Town. No one is ever in a rush so don’t get frustrated, just sit back relax and enjoy!
What should you do next?
Easy - there's only one thing for it - download this free 37-page PDF guide we wrote just for you. It'll give you an overview of everything you need to know and do to have a rewarding and unforgettable learning experience abroad.