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What to pack for a summer vacation in Cape Town

So you’re heading to one of the world’s most beautiful cities at the tip of Africa and you have no idea about the climate or what to pack. If you’ve ever heard the term ‘four seasons in a day’ then you’ll have some idea of how truly unpredictable our weather can be. Preparation is key even in our hot summer months between December and March. Here’s a list of a few essentials you can’t leave home without…

Swimming Costume.

With a peninsula jutting out into the ocean and a bounty of some of the world’s top blue flag beaches and a coastline to suit every beach-lover, it goes without saying that bathing suits should be your first priority when packing for Cape Town. Choose between the fresh, cold Atlantic Seaboard beaches; a favorite amongst sun seekers, sundowner lovers and those wishing to show off their new designer swimsuits or the warmer, family-friendly False Bay peninsula beaches where surfing, rock-pool excursions and swimming are the order of the day.

What to pack for a summer vacation in Cape Town

Photo Credit : Shutterstock

Sun hat, sunglasses and sun block.

Whilst some visitors get quite a shock at how cold Cape Town can really get despite it’s location in Africa, they are equally surprised by the heat. Our sun is harsh and requires that you lather yourself with a  strong sunblock ( minimum factor 50 especially if your climate is not sunny and your skin is sensitive).  Make sure to re-apply after swimming and every 20-30minutes to avoid turning into a lobster. Make sure you wear a hat, sunglasses to shield your eyes and spend lots of time in the shade. If there are trees around on the beach you’re at, rent an umbrella and take cover in between your tanning.

What to pack for a summer vacation in Cape Town

Camera and binoculars.

Voted one of the world’s most beautiful cities any times over, a camera is essential. Make sure you stock up on great quality photos for your holiday album even if you are only coming with your smartphone. If you plan to do a safari ( the closest game reserve is only 2 hours away from Cape Town, then bring binoculars too so you can look into the eyes of an elephant, see a giraffe’s dazzling print up close or the teeth of a lion as he yawns ( here’s hoping).  A few tips for better pics: Try shoot in the morning or late afternoon when there aren’t heavy shadows or glare. Don’t shoot into the sun, instead make sure your subject is lit by the sun or light. If shooting people or animals, try focus on their eyes as this makes for a more engaging image.

What to pack for a summer vacation in Cape Town

Light clothes: Short and long-sleeved.

Whilst you don’t have to bring your full-on safari gear of neutral long trousers and shirts ( believe me, you’ll find no wildlife in the city), it’s best to have a selection of light clothing to wear when it’s really hot during the day ( excess of 30 degrees celius) and cooler in the evenings.


Rain Mac

Yes, it may rain in summer. And seen as we are going through the worst drought in years, we hope it does rain in between the sunshine. Never get caught on a cloudy day without a rain mac especially when hitting any hikes or trails or when you’re heading out on the town for a full day of sightseeing. Even if it looks sunny, our clouds can roll in pretty quickly and bring the thunder. So best be prepared.


Warm jackets and clothes

What to pack for a summer vacation in Cape Town

Make sure you have at least one set of warm trousers, a jacket and long-sleeved sweater for those cold nights ( and random cold days). If you’re going to be at sea, near the ocean or out late at night, these will be essential goodies to pack as the ocean breeze can get quite chilly. Up on the mountains, always ensure you take warm clothes in case the weather turns up at their altitude.

There’s truly no place like Cape Town in the summer and with a little preparation and good selection of clothing for warm and cold weather, you will be all set for a truly spectacular holiday. Happy Travels and be sure to take lots of photos.