Essential items for Cape Town
Packing for any trip is a daunting process, you never really know what to expect from the weather, especially the weather in Cape Town. Luckily a general weather forecast is all you really need for most trips. But throw this concept out the window if you are traveling to Cape Town. I don’t even listen to the daily weather report anymore because the weather in Cape Town is so unpredictable from day to day.
If you are traveling to Cape Town do not rely on a general seasonal weather forecast to help you decide what to pack. The thing with Cape Town is it’s surrounded by mountains, oceans (warm and cold) and a desert, all of which affect the weather in and around the city resulting in drastic weather changes from one day to the next. You could have a hot wind coming through the city today and a cold mist and windless day tomorrow. You can never tell.
This is why planning that you are going to pack is so essential, even if you are coming in Summer. You don’t want to cut your holiday short just because you didn’t bring the right clothes do you?
I have compiled a list of the items that I keep handy year round, just in case I’ll need them, so packing these when you are traveling to Cape Town will ensure that you get to enjoy Cape Town to the fullest:
A strong raincoat
While raincoats come in all styles and types I prefer using a proper hiking-style raincoat to keep me dry and warm even if I’m out in the rain all day. The Cape Town rain can be relentless so be prepared and invest in a proper raincoat when traveling to Cape Town. you can find really good raincoats from shops like Cape Union Mart.
A fleece Jersey
You can wear this under the raincoat to keep you nice and warm as it gets quite cold when it rains here. The good thing about having a fleece that’s separate from the jacket is that you can wear it by itself even when it’s not raining.
Tip: keep the fleece with you at all times, evenings can get a little cold and you don’t want to stop your fun just because you are cold.
A Party dress and shoes
While Cape Town can be very laid back and chilled, there are also really fancy places that you will want to dress up to visit, especially in the evenings. Be prepared for anything when traveling to Cape Town and bring along that little black dress.
A light jersey or shawl
Sometimes your fleece jersey might be just a little too warm for the summer evenings, a shawl or a light jersey will do just fine. This is also handy to keep the intense Summer sun off your shoulders so that you don’t get sun burnt.
A hat and polarized sun glasses
Chances are you will be out in the sun a lot, especially if you are visiting in summer. The sun can get very intense here so avoid getting heat stroke and migraines by carrying a hat and glasses with you everywhere.
The right shoes
Chances are you will be walking a lot, having the wrong shoes to walk in for your whole trip is going to be torture for your feet. Make sure you bring the pair of shoes for the activity you plan on doing. If you are planning on hiking, bring a good quality boot with ankle support to avoid injury. If you are walking in the city you will need a good pair of trainers, something that will give you good arch support and let your feet breath too. having the right pair of shoes will help you avoid sore feet and back ache during your trip. And if you are planning on going to beach or just stroll around town, don’t forget those pretty sandals too. You want to look good in your travel photos don’t you?
Pants for each season
While it may be tempting to live each day of your holiday in Cape Town in a skirt, Cape Town can get very windy and cold all of a sudden. My advice for anyone traveling to Cape Town is to come prepared with a pair of jeans, in case it gets very cold, and a pair of leggings in case it’s somewhere in between warm and cold. Having these staples makes you more adaptable.
A summer dress
Yes, it can get cold here even in Summer, but it can also get gloriously hot too. Bring your prettiest summer beach dress because you will get a chance to wear it. There are so many beautiful spots and spaces in Cape Town that make for perfect photo opportunities, so make sure you always look picture ready.
Do not forget your sunscreen. Yes, being in the sun is glorious, but hiding in your hotel room because your skin hurts too much for you to even be outside for a minute will ruin your holiday! And what’s the point of traveling to Cape Town only to hide indoors?
In summer I keep an SPF 50 sunscreen (only because I can’t find higher) in my ‘go bag’ at all times. I like the Nivea ones because they work instantly. None of that waiting for 45 minutes before going in the sun crap. As soon as I feel my skin starting to burn, I apply another layer of sunscreen and I’m good to go.
This might seem like a mission, but it just means you get to spend more time in the sun and make the most of your holiday or weekend getaways.
Bring a ‘Go Bag’
I have what I like to call a ‘Go Bag’. It’s basically a strong cloth shopping bag big enough to carry the things I might need for the day, but small enough to not be too bulky. So, if I’m not sure of my evening plans, but I want to be spontaneous, I just carry my closed shoes and a jersey in my Go Bag and I’m prepared for pretty much any adventure. Having a go bag prepared and ready to go saves a lot of time and makes me a more flexible traveler.
Keep the Go Bag light so it’s easy to carry even if you have to carry it all day.
I also like to keep all kinds of other things in my Go Bag like a camera in case I come across some amazing photo opportunities. I am totally lost without it. If a bag isn’t your thing you can also have a Go Back Pack, which is easier to carry, but it becomes a bit of a mission if you need something from it in a hurry.
The secret to having fun in Cape Town, no matter what the weather, is having the right clothing. You can really enjoy every moment of your stay in Cape Town if you come prepared.
Did you find this article helpful? Do you have any travel tips that work for you?
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