The Complete Digital Nomad Guide To Cape Town, South Africa

Hiking In Cape Town

A photo from PipeTrack trail, my favorite hiking trail in Cape Town

Table Of Contents

The 5 Quick Scores & Intro

  • Internet Speed – 4/5
    • I ran about 20 wifi speed tests while in the city, here are the findings
    • Avg. Download Speed = 26.47 MBPS
    • Avg. Upload Speed = 20.68 MBPS
    • Avg. Latency = 44.7 MS*
  • Ease Of Connecting & Making Friends – 4.5/5
    • There is a huge digital nomad community here. It’s quite easy to make friends at Hostels, and there are a number of groups. Personally, I use Nomadlist to connect with other nomads in South Africa. I also went to a meetup with a meetup group of nomads.
  • Nightlife – 4.5/5
    • Lots of cool spots for nightlife, the main spot everyone goes to is off of Long street, which is a cool street to check out really at any time of day.
  • Places To Work From – 5/5
    • There are a lot of great places to work from here, there are co-working places, and cafe’s for remote workers all over the place. I sat at multiple places for hours working without any issues More details on this below.
  • Affordability – 3/5
    • Cape town is likely one of the more expensive cities in Africa, but compared to the UK or the US the prices are still relatively affordable.
  • My Favorite Neighborhoods
  • Additional Considerations
    • There is load-shedding in Cape Town. Which means that you will lose electricity from time to time (from my experience, this happened 2 – 4 hours at a time, 1 – 2 times a week). Here’s an article from the local government about load-shedding.

Wifi Speed Tests

Type / DeviceNameUploadDownloadLatency
Co-Working SpaceWorkshop17 Watershed110.5439.1929
CafeShift Espresso Bar – Glengariff96.7694.4329
HotelAtlantic Point Backpackers93.2284.3028
HotelHotel Sky64.3745.5824
HotelBig Blue Backpackers60.8135.7245
HotelCuriocity57.1822.7728
HotelNever@Home27.1427.3424
HotspotSolis23.935.0777
CafeThe Ladder23.8343.6225
CafeHonest Chocolate Cafe20.1719.3933
CafeShift Espresso Bar – Greenpoint19.513.3794
CafeV&A Food Mart15.9013.8928
HotspotGoogle Fi10.49.28123
CafeJason Bakery9.683.9534
CafeMRKT9.568.8025

Where I Stayed

Sky Hotel Cape Town

Digital Nomad Working From A Hotel Rooftop
The view from the rooftop of Sky Hotel… man I miss that place
  • OVERALL4/5 – The big reason why I recommend this place over the others was because it was the only hotel I stayed at that I liked with fast enough wifi for video calls and Air Conditioning. Furthermore, they have backup generators for when the government pauses the electricity during load shedding. They also have a location in Johannesburg, which was one of my favorite hotels in that city too.
  • Affordability – 3/5 – For what you get it’s quite affordable. At the time of writing this, you can get a room as low as $45 USD a night. This includes a huge breakfast buffet as well.
  • Wifi – 4/5 – The wifi near the lobby was quite quick, I was able to have multiple video calls without any problems. The issue is that if you leave from near the lobby it gets quite bad (which isn’t abnormal). The speeds below are from the lobby.
    • Avg. Download Speed = 45.571
    • Avg. Upload Speed = 53.924 MBPS
    • Avg. Latency = 27 MS
  • Sense Of Community – 2/5 – The staff is super friendly, however this is really more of a couples and family place, not as great for singles. For days that I had video meetings I would stay here, then when I didn’t have video meetings I would stay at one of the hostels below. Here’s a video about how to best manage working and meetings while working in different timezones.
  • Location – 3.5/5 – This hotel is on the south end of Long Street. Which is where all of the funnest bars and nightlife is at IMO.
  • Cleanliness – 5/5 – Super clean spot, and incredible decor
Here’s a video from the Sky Hotel in Johannesburg. The decor and vibe are pretty similar at both spots though

Never@Home Greenpoint

Digital Nomad Working By Pool
A photo from the space
*Not responsible for any labtops dropped in pools
  • OVERALL4/5
  • Affordability – 4/5 – For the private rooms, when you got a week at a time the price went down to $40 a night and dormitory rooms start at $14 a night.
  • Wifi – 3.5/5 – The wifi near the front desk was sufficiently quick for video calls. However, if you’re like me and have calls at night then it will be too loud near the front desk to have calls with clients so you’re out of luck. This was honestly the only issue I had with this place. Otherwise I loved it
    • Avg. Download Speed = 27.143 MBPS
    • Avg. Upload Speed = 27.343 MBPS
    • Avg. Latency = 24 MS
  • Sense Of Community – 5/5 – They have an awesome pool / bar / restaurant. It’s a really cool spot. I did a feel a bit old there (at 30 years old). But it was a cool spot for sure and easy to make friends.
  • Location – 4/5 – Real close to waterfront and not crazy far from the bars on Long Street
  • Cleanliness – 5/5 – Clean spot and well taken care of

Atlantic Point Backpackers

  • OVERALL4/5 – I really loved this place, great wifi, awesome atmosphere, the only thing it was missing was A/C or even halfway decent fans. With how hot it was while we stayed there I couldn’t handle it.
  • Affordability – 4/5 – With my Booking.com genius discounts, I was able to get a private room for as low as $65 a night. For dormitory rooms, you could find those for as cheap as $15 a night.
  • Wifi – 5/5 – The wifi here was awesome. The speeds below were taken from the room. Cano (in the video above) stayed there for a while and had regular video calls without any issues.
    • Avg. Download Speed = 93.227 MBPS
    • Avg. Upload Speed = 84.302 MBPS
    • Avg. Latency = 28 MS
  • Sense Of Community – 5/5 – This place is a bit more chill than Never@home. However, there were usually people hanging out in the common areas that were always willing to talk and get to know you.
  • Location – 4/5 – This is another one real close to waterfront and not crazy far from the bars on Long Street. There are also a number of awesome cafe’s near the hotel as well. (check out my favorite spots to work from section to see these places)
  • Cleanliness – 3.5/5 – Overall pretty clean, however it’s not the most well maintained spot in the world. Nothing gross just large stains on the floors. When we got the room there was still bottles left in the room from the previous person there. Stuff like that.
A video I shot at Atlantic Point With Cano, A Friend I Made There

My Favorite Places To Work From

A picture from my favorite Bootlegger in Greenpoint

Bootlegger Coffee

  • OVERALL4.5/5 – I love this place, and they have great food too! While I like quite a few of the locations, my favorite location was the Greenpoint one.
  • Wifi – 3/5 – The wifi definitely isn’t fast enough to have any video calls, but I was able to do everything else without any issues.
    • Download Speed = 7.34 MBPS
    • Upload Speed = 7.02 MBPS
    • Avg. Latency = 62 MS
  • Service & Friendliness – 5/5 – The staff was super attentive and friendly. They were also totally cool with me camping out and working from there. There were a lot of other folks working remote from here, so I didn’t feel rushed to leave.
  • Amount Of Outlets – 4/5 – Quite a few outlets to be found, I didn’t usually have any issues getting a table with an outlet
  • Location / Ambiance – 5/5 – Greenpoint is an awesome neighborhood, the spot was totally in open air but shaded, great location.
Shift Espresso - Digital Nomad Cafes, Cape Town
A picture from Shift Espresso, the Waterway location

Shift Espresso

  • OVERALL4/5 – Another awesome chain with spots all over Cape Town. Personally, my favorite location was the Glengariff location, in Seapoint.
  • Wifi – 4/5 – This was actually nearly the fastest wifi I got in South Africa
    • Download Speed = 96.76 MBPS
    • Upload Speed = 94.43 MBPS
    • Avg. Latency = 20 MS
  • Service & Friendliness – 5/5 – The staff was super attentive and friendly.
  • Amount Of Outlets – 5/5 – Decent amount of outlets around, they’re definitely used to having a good portion of their patrons hanging out.
  • Location / Ambiance – 4.5/5 – The interior design is pretty awesome, I do have to say they have more conveniently located locations, but this spot is super cool.

Co-working Spots

Workshop 17

While I did get the fastest Wifi in all of South Africa at the Workshop 17 at Waterfront. Overall I didn’t think that Co-working spots were worth it. At the time of writing this a month membership ther started at $125, and a day pass was ~$20. Considering how many awesome cafes there were I don’t know why you’d want to go to a co-working place. Honestly, walking back into an office setting reminded me of how much I hate offices.

House Of & Ideas Cartel

These are two other co-working places that I heard a lot of positive things about. Admittedly I didn’t check them out. But The Ideas Cartel looked pretty damn cool.

Transportation

  • Getting Around
    • Walking – this is a larger city in South Africa that you can walk around relatively safely (at least in Greenpoint, Seapoint, Waterfront & Camps Bay). To a lesser extent I’d say CBD is safe too, I walked around a lot here but did have a homeless person try to steal something out of my backpack.
    • UBER – You can get around all of South Africa with UBER!

What I Ate

What to eat in cape town - Nando's Chic
A picture from the Nando’s Chicken website

Nando’s Chicken – While it’s not the most healthy food in the world the chicken at Nando’s is a good way to get fast, delicious rotisserie chicken. I honestly couldn’t tell you how many times I ate at Nando’s during the 3 months I was in South Africa, I love this place.

Breakfast I also had breakfast a couple times at Bootlegger Coffee, their breakfasts are quite good. The breakfast buffet at Hotel Sky is quite good as well.

Ethiopian – I know it sounds weird, but there’s a great Ethiopian restaurant right off of Long Street, Ethiopian Madam Taitou.

What I Drank / Nightlife

A video of the Rooftop bar at Hotel Sky
  • Long Street is definitely the best spot to party. All the best bars were either on Long Street or right off of them. They also had a couple of events while we were there, where they shut down the entire street at sections, it was a blast.
  • If you’re looking for Wine
    • You have to do the wine tram up in Franschhoek, such an awesome time!
    • I also had a great time at Constantia Glen a vineyard just 30 minutes out of downtown Cape Town
    • Open Wine is a great wine bar with super friendly staff. You can also hang out in the open air on the porch
    • Culture Wine Bar – is another wine bar not far from Open Wine. This spot has more selection and is a bit more fancy than Open Wine. Open Wine is super laid back, this spot is a bit more formal
  • The Gin Bar – is an awesome low key, hidden bar with great selection and knowledgeable staff. Probably my favorite bar while we were there
A video from Honest Chocolate Cafe, which shares this courtyard with The Gin Bar

Exercise / Outdoors

A video of my friend and I hiking around Table Mountain

Nature

There is all kinds of great hiking here. Check out the full list of hikes on AllTrails.

Exercise – Virgin Active

Virgin Active is a bit more expensive, however you can get monthly plans with them and they have locations all over South Africa, so if you’re traveling around SA it’s your best bet IMO.

At the time of writing this, a month at their premium locations is ~$110 (there are 2 of these in Cape Town, and they’re quite nice just not as boujee as their other locations). To go to all of their locations (even the fancier ones) it’s $195 a month.

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