Cool Cape Town Quirks
By: Bianca Bunge
POV: Born & Bred Joburger moves to Cape Town & is 100% convinced that everything will be exactly the same…
Boy oh boy was I in for a MAJOR , but equally EPIC surprise!!
When you first move from Johannesburg to Cape Town it’s like stepping into a whole new world entirely. Everything is different. Nothing feels the same. And while Cape Town’s obvious beauty and adventurous spirit has captured the hearts of many world-wide, including mine, there is far more to this captivating city than meets the eye.
There are a few untold tales, hidden secrets, and cool quirks you’ll only truly get to know and understand once you look beneath the Cape Town surface. And while some of them might seem a little strange at first, you’ll love the Mother City all the more for it in the end!
So, without any further a due, here are a few cool Cape Town quirks and distinctive traits I learned about the Mother City when I first moved here. All of which are entirely unique to the Mother City itself and can’t be found anywhere else in the world.
Remember, these cool and fascinating Cape Town quirks are directly from the POV (point of view) of a die-hard born and bred Joburger that moved to Cape Town with 100% certainty that everything will stay / be exactly the same – That’s ME! Let’s just say that wasn’t quite the case.
Just for the fun of it, let’s see how many of you can relate to some of the things I noticed / picked up on, experienced, and learned about Cape Town during my first few months as a Capetonian that were completely and vastly different from what I expected, or at least it was for THIS JOBURGER!!
Are you ready? Well, here we go!
#Table Mountain is one of the New7Wonders of Nature & the ultimate weather guide
Yes, Table Mountain is huge and beyond beautiful, but don’t be fooled by its striking beauty and irresistible charm alone. Believe it or not, Table Mountain is not all looks (despite the fact that she is a total 10/10 stunner) – there is far more to this iconic mountain than what meets the eye.
In fact, Table Mountain has one specific secret talent (one among MANY of course) I discovered shortly after moving to Cape Town – a talent that is both incredibly valuable and helpful if I may add, and one I still use and often rely on to this very day. Are you curious yet? Well, here it is – Table Mountain also doubles as the ultimate Cape Town weather guide / local weather forecaster – and it takes its job VERY seriously!
A clear view of Table Mountain means your day will be stunning, sunny, and sensational, filled with endless possibilities, ‘lekker’ easy-breezy vibes, and good fun-loving times. Make sure you seize these beautifully perfect days and enjoy every single second of it while it lasts. Because once that all-too-familiar, somewhat daunting, and rather ominous Table Mountain ‘Tablecloth’ starts to descend, ultimately settling right on top of the mountain, essentially blanketing it, things are about to take a turn – and not in a good way. In this case, you should be prepared for anything, because honestly, NOTHING is off limits!
However, if your view of the all-mighty mountainous giant disappears entirely and Table Mountain is nowhere to be seen, it’s officially game over! Que the doom and gloom – because that’s all you’re going to get.
BUT, (yes, there is ALWAYS a but), this is Cape Town after all, which means nothing is ever what it seems, especially when it comes to the weather. Things can flip just as quick as they settle, and the famous ‘Tablecloth’ can be folded up just in time for the sun to come out and play. Frankly, you just don’t know, and perhaps you never will. It’s all one massive coin toss. And whichever side it lands on is completely up in the air. All you can do is hope it works out in your favor – Whatever that may be.
Over and above that (yeah, I told you this mountain was versatile), Table Mountain is a great navigational guide. Who needs GPS or Google Maps when you have a gigantic mountain to show you the way? Would you believe me if I told you that one of the very first things someone said to me when I moved to Cape Town was: “Always look to Table Mountain. If you’re lost, she will show you the way. If you have questions, she will give you all the answers you seek”? How crazy and simultaneously incredible is that? So, believe it! Because its true! Plus, who wouldn’t want Table Mountain as their own personal weather & navigational guide? Just saying!
#In Cape Town we have a season for EVERYTHING, and if we don’t, we’ll just make one up
Yes, in Cape Town, the four-season rule definitely doesn’t apply, and I’m not only talking about the Mother City’s unpredictable, ever-changing, you-never-know-what-you’re-going-to-get weather patterns. From flower season, whale season, wine festival season, windy season, surfing season, and summer concert season, Cape Town has a season for every affair, celebration, or random occasion.
While at first you may not always know what season it is, when it’s happening, or even why it’s happening (don’t freak out, it’s completely normal, at least I think it is), just hop on the Mother City’s multiple season bandwagon and enjoy the celebratory vibes and cool Cape Town season times anyway!
#In Cape Town coffee is culture, and you better make it part of yours or you’ll be left out in the ‘no-coffee-for-you cold’
Capetonians take their coffee seriously – VERY SERIOUSLY! So much so that discovering the best Cape Town cup of brew, street-lined café, coolest new coffee hangout spot, or hidden java gem is both one of the top things to do in the city as well as somewhat of a Mother City past time. So, what’s my point exactly? To put it simply – A cup of coffee is never JUST a cup of coffee in Cape Town, oh no! So best you bid your home-made cup of instant coffee and Jacobs brew farewell, and say hello to Artisan Roasted Coffee, craft coffee creations, specialty brews, and unique artisanal blends.
Whether you’re an avid coffee lover, a self-proclaimed coffee addict, or not much of a dark brew enthusiast, Cape Town’s thriving, thrilling, always evolving, award-winning coffee scene will have you floating on artisan coffee cloud 9, all while giving you the most epic caffeine kick and coffee pick-me-up, all of which will leave you (and your brand spanking new brew perspective & outlook of the collective coffee world) forever changed.
Finally, Don’t be surprised if you suddenly become a full-fledged coffee-loving aficionado, head-over-heels artisan brew addict, or even a self-proclaimed expert on all things coffee when moving to Cape Town – It happens to the best of us! Simply enjoy every sip of your specialty Artisan roasted coffee as you slowly but surely become part of Cape Town’s coffee culture.
#The Mother City’s weather patterns really are as bold, diverse & dynamic as her personality
You may have heard a time or two what Capetonians lovingly refer to as ‘lucky-packet-weather’, and that’s exactly what you can expect. In fact, I couldn’t have coined a better phrase to describe Cape Town’s wild weather ways if I tried. Whether you’ve been to Cape Town once or one hundred times, its weather is, and will always be, unpredictable, ever-changing, never-ever-consistent or exactly what it should be. Much like the Mother City herself, her seasons march to the beat of their own drum.
While a beautiful Cape Town day may bring with it sunshine, blue skies, and a clear view of Table Mountain, it can just as easily throw a strong South Eastern wind, dark clouds, and gloomy drizzle your way. And don’t you dare rule out the possibility that you can experience all four of Cape Town’s seasons in one single day, because chances are you DEFINITELY will.
Even though you never really know what you’re going to get, the best thing to do is to just embrace it. Oh, and always be prepared for anything and everything – I learned that lesson the hard way a few times over.
#Forget chasing cars, in Cape Town you chase sunsets!
While Snow Patrol’s Chasing Cars will forever have a special place in our hearts, chasing sunsets in the Mother City is pure MAGIC! So much so that going on the ultimate sunset chasing adventure is not only one of the most exciting and thrilling things to do in Cape Town, but it is considered somewhat of a Mother City past time too.
**Warning: Once you’ve ‘tried & tasted’ (in a matter of speaking of course) even the smallest bite of that all-consuming Cape Town sunset high, its game over. You’ll be hooked. Obsessed. Captivated. Completely head-over-heels infatuated. Always wanting more. Forever chasing sunsets in Cape Town. Well, at least that’s what happened to me.
As for me, chasing that magical Mother City sunset high will forever be my very favorite thing to do in Cape Town.
**P.S. Sometimes you need to wander a little off the beaten path to find the real sunset hidden gems – That’s when the real sunset adventure begins!
Check out our ‘Best Sunset Spots in Cape Town’ blog for everything you need to know about the Mother City’s most sought-after and magical sunset spots – all of which you should undoubtedly add to your Cape Town sunset chasing adventure bucket list.
#In cape Town, ANYTIME is wine time & who are we to disagree?
When I first moved to Cape Town, I quickly realized that In order to walk the Cape Town walk, you need to be able to talk the Cape Town talk, and in Cape Town people talk about WINE! Oh, and drink a whole lot of it of course!
There is NO denying that Capetonians absolutely LOVE their wine! So much so that they’ll have a cheeky and sneaky, but beyond exceptional glass (or bottle – why not?) of wine with breakfast, lunch, dinner, or as a mid-day pick-me-up – and that’s perfectly okay!
The best thing is, absolutely no one will judge you for it! How amazing is that?! This is Cape Town!
The Western Cape is home to the largest and most unique wine producing region in Africa. It only seems fitting to explore, discover, taste, and drink your way through as much of the Cape Winelands’s Wineries and globally renowned Wine Estates as possible as you embark on your Western Cape wine lover’s adventure
Even if you don’t consider yourself to be much of a wine lover at first, trust us, you will be soon! The Mother City’s wine charm is hard to resist, and before you known it, you’ll be a head over heels wine lover at heart and convincing who ever will listen of your newfound wine love affair.
The only thing left to do is jump on Cape Town’s wine trend, with a full glass of exceptional wine in hand (OF COURSE), and completely immerse yourself in all things wine and wonderful – Cause that’s EXACTLY how it’s done in the Cape!
#Off-the-beaten path is by far Capetonians’ favorite route to travel
Dubbed one of the most beautiful and exciting cities in the world, Cape Town is pure love at first sight. At first glance the Mother City is the whole package, beautiful, unique, adventurous, daring, and truly one of a kind. With obvious natural stunners like Table Mountain, Clifton, Camps Bay, Cape Point, and Chapman’s Peak (to mention merely a few) it isn’t hard to understand why.
HOWEVER, there is far more to this global beauty than meets the eye!
When you dive a little deeper, wander a little further, and linger a little longer you will discover a treasure chest filled with glorious hidden gems, secrets spots, and off-the-beaten-path hideaways that will have you falling head-over-heels in love and forever hooked on Cape Town’s secret magic.
While some of Cape Town’s off-the-beaten-path hidden gems and secret spots may not always seem the most aesthetically pleasing at first glance, trust us, what’s inside will surprise you in the very best possible way!
Discovering some of Cape Town’s epic hidden gems, secret spots, quirky, yet super trendy and forward-thinking inner-city escapes, and cool hideaways is a real Cape Town fan-favorite amongst locals and tourists alike. This, along with new rising stars popping up every other day, it’s an adventure that will never quite loose its charm and sense of wonder.
#The C in Cape Town definitely stands for CHILL!
Chill vibes and cool times is definitely the Cape Town way of life!
The Mother City is as chill as they come. In fact, she takes ‘chill vibes and good times’ to a whole new level. Yes, the chill factor is alive and well in Cape Town and you’ll be sure to embrace it and celebrate it.
While the chilled-out lifestyle might be something to get used to at first (perhaps A LOT of getting used to (it was for me at least – I did spend 20+ years in the extremely fast paced, never-stop-grinding-and-husting, ALWAYS keep moving, grooving, taking names, and making things happen city of Johannesburg after all), after a while you’ll come to accept and appreciate that mornings are for late café brunches, mid-week beach days are completely normal, and that no one is really at the office after 3pm on a Friday – Time is much better spent sipping on a glass of red, lounging on the beach and soaking up the marvellous Cape Town sunshine, or enjoying an exhilarating hike or bucket list adventure experience.
It’s safe to say that the Mother City saves her energy and excitement for what matters most – who cares about deadlines anyway, there is far too much to explore, enjoy, discover, and experience.
#Marine animals might just become your favourite Cape Town locals!
From the ultimate Cape Town cool kids, the African Penguins, to the charismatic Cape Fur Seals, uber-playful Dolphins, and majestic Southern Right Whales which have claimed the ocean as their personal playground, Cape Town’s marine life is the real deal.
Not only have these remarkable ocean beings become my personal favourite Cape Town locals, but to this very day they still manage to put a big ol’ goofy grin on my face EVERY single time I see them. And YES, I mean EVERY single time! Yeah, it’s safe to say I just can’t get enough of them – and neither will you, trust me!
Spotting these cool Cape Town locals on your day out exploring, strolling, shopping, or lunching will always be an incredible experience to say the least!
#In Cape Town going for a hike or ticking an adventure experience off your bucket list is as common as walking your dog or toasting your bread
You know what they say, when in doubt, HIKE IT OUT! Well, while that might not be an actual expression, in Cape Town it certainly is! Despite being beautiful and beyond breath-taking, the Mother City’s wild adventurous spirit and unwavering lust for life is undeniable – there is absolutely no doubt that this glorious, vibrant, and diverse city will capture your heart in more ways than one – just like it did mine and countless other people!
One of the coolest things about staying in the Mother City is your yearning to explore everything she has to offer – to make it even better, this magical feeling will never fade away or die down, in fact it will only continue to grow and flourish the more you discover, explore, and experience.
#Forget shopping malls, in Cape Town it’s all about living that sweet market life!
In Cape Town Market life is the best life & you’ll be sure to visit as many of them as your market-loving heart desires!
Who needs shopping malls and groceries stores if you’ve got an endless variety of epic local Cape Town markets to choose from? The Mother City’s market scene is cool, captivating and definitely keeps you coming back for more. What can I say, Its just the Cape Town market effect.
Best of all, Cape Town’s markets have absolutely EVERYTHING you could ever want or need (plus a little more) – How amazing is that? Not to mention the fact that they’re known for their cool vibes, awesome beats, and lekker tunes! Yeah, Cape Town markets definitely have it going on!
You might never get used to seeing Table Mountain daily & that’s okay!
After a 20-minute drive it may feel like you’ve escaped to a whole new world entirely.
Living an active lifestyle is not only an option, it’s encouraged!
If you don’t force yourself to get OUT there, no one is going to do it for you!
In Cape Town we don’t only bar hop, we hop cafes, beaches & wine farms too!
Meeting people can be hard, so get a hobby!
Beach season in Cape Town is all year round & it’s glorious! Because there’s nothing quite like being sun-kissed & salty-haired in the Mother City!
A car is by no means our favourite or only means of transportation & we don’t limit ourselves to the streets either!
A car is by no means our favourite or only means of transportation & we don’t limit ourselves to the streets either!
The Mother City will continue to surprise you in the very best way!
In Cape Town hiking is a way of life – so you better get your hike on or pretend to – those are your only two options.
Cape Town does things a little differently, but in the very best way!
The Mother City embraces the weird, wonderful and way out there, because who wants to be normal anyway?!
People move to the Mother City for the lifestyle, but there’s no reason why you can’t have it all!
While there’s certainly a few tricks-of-the-traits to know before moving to Cape Town, you won’t regret your decision one bit. Because living in one of the most magnificent cities in the world is truly magical in every way. And before you know it the Mother City’s bold approach to life, unapologetic beauty, sense of wonder, adventurous attitude and yearning to colour outside of the lines will have you head-over-heels-in-love and never wanting to leave again.