Nestled between Table Bay and Table Mountain, Cape Town is brimming with natural beauty. South Africa’s oldest city—called the “Mother City”—is home to over 3.7 million people and the nation’s parliament. Tourists and business travelers flock to Cape Town. Tourism, energy, finance and business services are key industries.
Cape Town International Airport (CPT) is approximately 20 kilometers (12.4 miles) from the city center.
Know before you go
Time zone: South Africa Standard Time
Currency: South African Rand (ZAR) (US$1=ZAR14.64)
Language spoken: Afrikaans, Xhosa and English
Find taxis on the airport’s ground level outside of arrivals. Typically, a trip from the airport to downtown will take about 20 minutes and costs between ZAR300 and ZAR400 (US$20.49-US$27.32).
The MyCiTi bus links the airport to the city center. Buses depart every 20 minutes, and the travel time is about 30 minutes. You can purchase a Myconnect card to ride the bus at MyCiTi station kiosks. Fares vary based on the trip distance and time of year.
Ridesharing is available in the city. An UberX to the city center from the airport costs ZAR178-ZAR234 (US$12.16-US$15.98).
Work & Co is a great option for freelancers and business travelers who need a temporary, fully serviced work space. A daily costs ZAR390 (US$26.64).
Akro offers co-working offices in two locations. Secure a desk for ZAR250 (US$17.08) at either Cape Town City Center or Cape Town Salt River. Both locations offer Wi-Fi, meeting rooms, full kitchen facilities and even ping-pong tables for breaks.
For strong coffee and strong Wi-Fi, Bean There Coffee has the bases covered. As a sustainable bonus: They also happen to be a roaster of certified fair-trade coffee.
Top things to see
Take in the view from Table Mountain, just 15 minutes outside of the city center. Short on time? Take a five-minute aerial cable ride to the top. If you can spare two to four hours, pick a trail and hike up. Cable fares vary by season and time of day. Pay attention to the weather to avoid the “table cloth” of cloud cover that settles over the mountain, obstructing views.
On the slopes of Table Mountain, you’ll find the Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden. The gardens are home to 2,500 species of plants found on the Cape peninsula. Explore the medicinal garden, fragrance garden, braille trail and a cycad amphitheater. Entrance for adults is ZAR70 (US$4.78)
If you have a free day, consider visiting Cape Point in the Cape of Good Hope, the most southwestern point of the African continent. Walk or take a funicular ride to the historic lighthouse. The views of the sea are stunning, and you might even encounter wild penguins and baboons. International visitors pay ZAR303 (US$20.70).
Food & drink
Clarke’s Bar & Dining Room is known for two things: burgers and all-day breakfast. The cocktails are crowd favorites. The restaurant occupies a prime Bree Street location, ideal for people watching.
Visit Bo-Kaap Kombuis in the brightly colored Bo-Kaap neighborhood for authentic Cape Malay cuisine—best described as a fusion of African, Dutch, Indonesian and Malaysian flavors. Visitors from all over come to this locally owned restaurant for the food and the views. Fun fact: “Kombuis” means kitchen in Afrikaans.
There’s no shortage of impressive views for diners in Cape Town. The Pot Luck Club is on the sixth floor of a silo, overlooking the ocean, the mountains and the city. The menu features tapas-style dishes arranged by flavor profile. Plate-sharing and a relaxed, social atmosphere make this restaurant perfect for group dinners.
Business etiquette tips – South Africa
Arrange your business meeting as far in advance as possible, and be patient when waiting for your host. In some cases, the later your business partner arrives, the more important he/she is.
You won’t go wrong with a standard handshake greeting.
Establish a personal connection with your host. It’s polite to ask about the state of one’s health and their family. Any level of familiarity with rugby, golf or cricket also makes for easy conversation.
Business meetings are less about crossing items off an agenda and more about creating win-win situations where possible.
Relaxed business lunches are not uncommon, so be sure to pack a casual outfit in addition to your business attire.
Avoid conversations about apartheid and corruption.