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20 Ways to Survive Tourist Season in Cape Town
A round-up of a few helpful hints and practical tips for co-existing with the international influx
Like paying taxes and death, tourist season in Cape Town is inevitable. Every year, thousands upon thousands of people flock to the Mother City’s sunny shores to make the most of one of the world’s top travel destinations. And we can’t blame them, of course; Cape Town has all the makings of a perfect holiday spot thanks to its gorgeous beaches, stunning flora and fauna and its pièce de résistance, Table Mountain, among other things.
Naturally, there are many benefits to having a rapid influx of visitors every year: our local economy gets a much-needed boost and it contributes to Cape Town rising on popular travel magazines’ lists of must-visit places.
But, of course, the tidal wave of foreigners can get a bit much for us locals, and can give us a sense that, for about four or five months a year, our seaside metropolis stops being ours. So, we’ve taken it upon ourselves to come up with a local’s guide to surviving tourist season in Cape Town. Below are some practical and, well, not-so-practical tips, but we thought we should share our ideas anyway. After all, sharing is caring.
20 Ways to Survive Tourist Season in Cape Town
1. If you're a wine tasting type, stay clear of Stellenbosch and Franschhoek and rather pick a more obscure route off of our overview of unique sip and swirl sessions in the Winelands - if you've never heard of a region, chances are holidaymakers haven't either- this is a good thing!
2. Befriend a group of tourists. International visitors are usually quite generous and like making a good impression on us locals. (You could probably score a couple of free drinks off of them!) Hey, if you can’t beat them, join them.
3. Furthermore, pretend to BE a tourist and sneak into a hotel pool. You will have to pull off some, shall we say, interesting garb - think the stereotypically German sandals and socks, the overtly American and slightly offensive moon bag etc.
4. Rather than visiting chaotic, crowded markets like The Old Biscuit Mill, head out to lesser-known bazaars on the outskirts of the city, like the Blue Bird Garage Market in Muizenberg.
5. Shop online so you can avoid crazed centres – think that scene in Mean Girls where everyone literally behaves like animals in the mall, but worse - and rather browse from the comfort of your own quiet home. Also, if you have some last-minute Christmas shopping to do, we’ve got you covered.
6. Add caving to your hobby list - this is a good time of the year to start exploring the dark caverns that exist in some of our peaks. Also, if you think about it, you can literally climb into a hole and disappear for a while. P.S:if you are serious about caving, check out the Cape Peninsula Spelaeological Society, a club that usually meet on the first Sunday of every month for talks and outings.
7. If you are the dramatic type, you can pretend that tourist season is the apocalypse, stock up on all essentials and pack them in your year-long DIY project: a bunker, of course.
8. Become a performance artist for a few months and wade through tourist hotspots to make a few extra pennies. Our suggestion for an eye-catching costume? Channel Lady Gaga by wearing a Cape Town-inspired meat dress - we’re thinking a fringe masterpiece made out of bokkoms.
9. Or take up busking and take advantage of tourists taking advantage of the exchange rate.
10 . See how many tourists’ Kodak moments you can photobomb and pioneer ‘telfies’ (tourist selfies).
11. Feel as though your personal space is being violated more than usual? Well, you could also fashion a barrier of sorts out of suspenders and a hula-hoop. That way there will be no confusion around just how close people can get to you. Also, if you decorate your equator with some cured fish, you’ve achieved number 8.
12. Have some cheeky fun and spend time convincing tourists that, yes, we do all still live in mud huts, and yes, we regularly have massive Cape cobras frolicking in our shark-infested waters. Their reactions will probably make great Vine posts. Just saying…
13. It’s also ‘TV and movie season’ in Cape Town, so sign up with an extras agency and make some easy cash while being within a couple of metres of Hollywood stars like Claire Danes, Sean Penn and onse meisie, Charlize Theron.
14. Prepare yourself for an increase in traffic congestion. Helpful hint: multiply your driving time by the ‘Jozi coefficient’ i.e times three.
15. Alternatively, use public transport. That way you won’t develop asymmetrical calf muscles from the excessive clutch control necessary in gridlocked traffic.
16. To help you get through long waits in traffic and queues, create a new summer playlist for your car/phone and make sure Gloria Gaynor's 'I Will Survive' is on there - it is motivational after all. Not to mention, you will have to drown out the likes of Boney M and Michael Bublé quite regularly. We have some other proudly Capetonian suggestions as well.
17. Holidaymakers are here to spend money, so avoid them by doing the exact opposite and picking a few activities off our overview of things to do for free.
18. If you're a Boulders Beach fan, steer clear of this spot for a few months, and rather visit its more subdued sister, Windmill Beach, right next door. Similarly, instead of braving the masses at Kirstenbosch, you can visit De Waal Park or Deer Park.
19. Looking for fledgling restaurants or recently opened activities that aren’t quite on tourists’ radars? Just search #CapeTownMagNew on our social media platforms.
20. Just get over it.
Check out this guide to navigating Table Mountain during peak season.
Wanting to get of town for a bit? Here are some quirky and unusual accommodation options that might tickle your fancy.
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