September in Cape Town means that we’re all gearing up for another bumper summer, but we may still have to deal with sporadic sunshine and the occasional downpour. Here are five tips for staying ahead of the rainy days in Cape Town.
1. Check the forecast
Cape Town has an unpredictable climate. This means that the forecast you read in the morning may not hold true in the afternoon. Or even more confusing, that the sunshine you’re basking in at the V&A Waterfront will turn into a bank of cloud on the way to Cape Point.
We cover the key Cape Town weather trends and provide a forecast on our weather page, but if you are planning on heading further out of town, or to the other side of the mountain, make sure you check the weather forecast for that area as well.
2. Strong winds and rough seas
Table Mountain Cableway and Robben Island Museum place safety as a number one priority. As such these two attractions may close due to strong winds, and rough seas in the case of Robben Island. Just because it’s calm and sunny while you are walking through the Cape Town city centre doesn’t mean it’s calm and sunny on the summit of Table Mountain.
Check ahead of time that the Cableway and Robben Island ferries are operating, and plan your trip to these destinations on a day that appears calm. If either attraction is closed due to bad weather, the staff will be happy to help you reschedule your visit.
Remember that if the Cableway is closed due to high winds, there are many other options for you to explore. Kirstenbosch is particularly well sheltered from winds and is a great alternative.
3. Take shelter
With the exception of Table Mountain Cableway and Robben Island Museum, all the Cape Town Big 7 attractions remain open during stormy weather.
On a particularly stormy day, it may make sense to stick those attractions that are primarily indoors, such as the V&A Waterfront and Groot Constantia. While both are beautiful in sunny weather, you can visit the array of museums or shop up a storm for an entire day at the V&A Waterfront, or get lost in a glass of award-winning pinotage at Groot Constantia, without any knowledge of the outside conditions.
4. Be prepared
It always makes sense to be prepared for a variety of weather conditions in Cape Town. In winter, you can expect rains and the occasional strong winds that will make light work of your umbrella. Pack a sturdy rain jacket instead, and be sure to wear multiple layers to keep warm, particularly if you intend walking or spending time outdoors. The temperatures seldom dip below 10 degrees Celsius in winter, but the cold winds and rains can be quite unpleasant if you’re not suitably dressed.
5. Embrace the Cape of Storms
While we are huge fans of those iconic blue-sky Cape Town days, there’s also something unique and exhilarating about exploring Cape Town during a storm.
A trip out to Cape Point during wintery conditions will give you a new respect for the explorers who rounded, and occasionally wrecked on, the rocky coastline. Being on the summit of a Table Mountain that’s covered in cloud is fascinatingly disorientating, particularly when you get dramatic glimpses of the incredible views through the clouds. Kirstenbosch Garden’s indigenous gardens come alive and are amazingly refreshing after the rains. And with a good rain jacket, exploring Cape Town’s city centre with the City Walk, or hunkering down with a warm coffee overlooking puddle-hopping Capetonians on St. George’s Mall, is a fine way to pass the time.