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Not sure why you love Cape Town? Here's a few reasons why we do.
Last Updated: 13 January 2017
No matter where in the world you are, the weather is always the topic of the day - and Cape Town is no exception. But Capetonians don’t just talk about the warm winter days or the balmy beach weather; they talk about The Cape Doctor, the table cloth, the South Easter and four seasons in one day. And they talk about it a lot, so better get your facts straight so you’ll be able to chat along. Why do we love (to talk about) the weather in Cape Town so much?
Winter, what’s that?
First of all, using the word ‘winter’ for the period from May to August is a major overstatement. Winters in Cape Town can be rainy and windy but are mostly mild and sunny. You can compare winter in the Mother City with spring in London, Amsterdam and Berlin. Capetonians have dubbed winter ‘the green season’. Sometimes it might get a bit chilly, especially because most houses don’t have central heating. But no worries; just make sure you’re equipped. Otherwise, flee your house and check out the restaurants with cosy fireplaces in Cape Town and surrounds.
A typical winter's day in Cape Town
The Cape Doctor
The Cape Doctor is the local name for the strong south-easterly wind – also known as the South Easter - that blows from False Bay and funnels through the Hottentots Holland mountain range and Table Mountain to Cape Town and Blouberg. Two reasons to love The Cape Doctor: First, it brings a comforting, cool breeze during the warm summer in Cape Town. Secondly, the doctor clears the sky of smog and pollution, which means you’ll have amazing clear views of Cape Town’s city bowl from Table Mountain. And fresh air. Be sure to read our informative overview of the Cape Doctor.
This wind is refreshing but be careful, you might find your clothing all over the show!
Ideal Conditions for Extreme Sports
Ready to hit the waves of South Africa, but no idea what the ideal time for surfing in Cape Town is? Challenge The Cape Doctor and the waves during summer in Cape Town! The persistent wind during Capetonian summer makes for an ideal surf setting. Muizenberg, Llandudno and Noordhoek are popular surfing spots in Cape Town. Blouberg might be the most infamous place in Cape Town to go for a surf. Table Mountain and the Hottentots Holland Mountains create a funnel whenever The Cape Doctor blows. The result: consistent winds focused on Blouberg. This makes Blouberg the ideal place for kite surfing in Cape Town.
Catch some waves or wind!
Spring Flower Festivals in Cape Town
Spring in Cape Town means flowers are blossoming everywhere you go. Reason to celebrate the glory of Mother Nature! During the spring months – September and October – you can enjoy a broad range of local spring flower festivals in Cape Town. At the end of August or beginning of September a hundred meter long ‘Flower Carpet’ is rolled out at V&A Waterfront during the Waterfront Spring Flower Show. Other popular spring flower festivals take place in Tulbagh and Clanwilliam. A range of wild flowers are displayed, illustrating the natural beauty and diversity of Capetonian flowers and plants. Check out spring flower festivals happening in August and September.
Why not visit one of the annual spring flower festivals
The Autumn Colours in the Winelands
Autumn covers Cape Town and surrounds in shades of red, yellow, orange, scarlet and brown. A day trip to the Cape Winelands is more than worth it if you love to witness the impact of autumn in the mountainous areas. Autumn in Cape Town is the time for the March Lily to blossom in full glory. Enjoy the amazing colours on the slopes near Franschhoek, Stellenbosch and Paarl while drinking a glass of wine on one of the wine farms in Cape Town and surrounds.
During the autumn season, the Winelands will have a real rusty look.
Photogenic Cape Town
Most people would prefer a perfectly clear sky to a clouded sky. But photographers must love the Capetonian clouds: they contribute to the perfect setting for a sunset photo shoot. Climb up Lion’s Head, take the cable car up Table Mountain, have a sundowner in V&A Waterfront or watch the sun go down in Camps Bay. You don’t really have to be a professional photographer to take beautiful pictures in Cape Town. Cape Town is photogenic just the way it is...
The mist on Lion's Head is given colour by the city lights.
No, this is not your ordinary tablecloth, it’s an extraordinary natural phenomenon unique to Cape Town. It looks like a witches’ cauldron steaming with a mystical fog. Urban legend has it that the table cloth over Table Mountain is caused by a smoking contest between the devil and a legendary local pirate called Van Hunks. Check back to number six on this list: the Table Cloth is definitely worth a picture!
This tablecloth is not the same one used on a dining table!
Hiking and Cycling in Cape Town
Autumn is the ideal season for cycling and hiking because of the mild and mellow weather. Two of the major South African sporting events – the Two Oceans Marathon and the Cape Argus Cycling Tour – are held in and around Cape Town in March and April. Not really into marathon running or cycling? Try the mountain bike and hiking trails up Table Mountain, walk through the Cape Winelands or have a picnic in Groot Constantia.
Fancy a cycle through the winelands?
Life’s a Beach
Does perfect summer weather exist? No, it doesn’t, but summer in Cape Town does get really close. So whenever you’ve had a long day at the office, make sure to pack your swimming gear and head to popular beaches in Cape Town such as Camps Bay and Clifton Beach to catch the last bit of tanning weather and the sunset. Or why not head a bit further out of Cape Town and visit the beaches of Llandudno, Noordhoek or Muizenberg? Nice summer fact #1: humidity is low so your hair won’t frizz. Nice summer fact #2: Summer days in Cape Town rarely hit a temperature of 30-plus, so don’t worry about being drenched in sweat or having to spray multiple cans of deodorant.
Even when the clouds fill the sky, the beach is still the perfect location.
Never Bad Weather in Cape Town
The weather in Cape Town is so enjoyable because you can never actually say that the weather is bad. That is the beauty of living on a mountainous peninsula: it might rain in the City Bowl, then again, it might not on the other side in Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens. Always try the other side of Table Mountain before judging the weather in Cape Town!
When it rains, you still have something to smile about.
The Eats and Treats
The weather in the Mother City adds to the cravings that come with the various seasons. Though our winter days are sometimes mistaken for summer, it can get pretty cold. The drop in temperature makes it ideal for some Malva pudding; a Cape Town favourite. Then comes the nice, cold treats during the hot summer days. Ice-cream is a must and with Crumbs and Cream combined with a day at Seapoint Pavilion - you definitely in for a treat!
Crumbs and Cream will give you a sandwich you've never had before!
Check out videos and images of Cape Town’s latest cold front
Use our events section for an up-to-date overview of happenings in Cape Town. Also, don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter and if you have a smart phone, add m.capetownmagazine.com to your home screen for quick access on the go!
Follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, join our Google+ circle, connect with us on LinkedIn, check out our photos on Instagram and follow our Pinterest boards for updates on what’s happening in and around the Mother City!
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