7 Types of Tourists You’ll Encounter in Cape Town

There is something about summertime in Cape Town that is unlike any other destination on the globe. ‘The Mother City’ is dazzling all year round, but in summer you can’t help but feel like the world is singing to you when you’re in Cape Town -with indications everywhere that this is the most enchanting time of year. It is a combination of the fresh sea air that carries all the feels of exotic holiday experience, the 7000 plants of the Cape Floral Kingdom that bloom – and bring about an abundance of colours and sweet smells to every nook and cranny of the quaint city.  The natural and seductive array of sunsets and sunrises, with the warm summer sun on your winter-worn skin  – as well as the never-ending days; the bustling streets and of course the tourists – whose accents all add to the already vibey sounds of the full restaurants and bars that speckle the busy streets.

All iconic holiday spots offer a variety of different visitor throughout the year – but due to Cape Town’s diverse places, spaces and faces, she provides a particular, diverse array of tourists who all add to the already eclectic variety of urban wildlife Cape Town has to offer.

However, if you are a Capetonian who is familiar with the utopian city filled with art-house coffee shops, freelance creatives and trust fund kids, you can spot these visitors from miles away – and no it’s not because of their accents or their lack of first editions ‘Old Skool’ Vans. – Or from their coffee order – which isn’t a flat white but rather a…gasp… regular cappuccino. But rather, these new faces look familiar because you’ve properly seen them before or someone just like them the summer before. Due to Cape Towns renowned travel status thanks to Conde Nasts Traveller Magazine for being voted five consecutive years in a row as the best city to travel to, ensures Cape Town is constantly buzzing with tourists from all over the world. But, if you spend the majority of your summers at ‘Up Yours’ – Cape Town’s most infamous hot-spot, hanging out with the same eight people you’ve known since high school, then you might mistake what these ‘visitors’ look like.

Here to correct this wrongdoing, we have put together a comprehensive list of the seven tourists you’ll find roaming the streets of Cape Town this summer. Now there is no excuse for when you see them wandering around looking confused not to buy them a craft beer or educate them on the importance almond milk.

1. The Backpacker

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“The backpacker” is a tourist stable and is seen in almost every country around the globe, at any given time of the year. Most likely to be  on their second gap year and undoubtedly on a tight budget. These social nomads can often be found flitting from Observatory to Woodstock to Kloof Street and back again. He/She loves a good ‘Bezza’ with the lads and overuses words like ‘bru’ and ‘oath’. Is often seen sporting a vest and playing a ‘woke’ instrument like the ukulele or the triangle – this tourist is hard to miss.

Likes: to ‘squeak takkie’ and is regularly seen at places with buy one get one free drink specials. This tourist adds a whole lot of ‘extra’ to every and any situation they find themselves in. Often persuading a whole table at ‘Power & The Glory’ to play drinking games. The Pro. of any and all group photos which he shares enthusiastically on his ever-growing Instagram fan base – where he uses captions like #BoysOnTour or #Youknowyoulikeit. You should follow him immediately or prepare to hear “give us a follow there” at least six times a sitting. He loves doing shots and is the most likely person in the group to get alcohol poisoning, but not a hangover.

Visiting Cape Town: for its ‘wicked surf’ and ‘gnarly weather’ as well as “the chicks bru, have you seen the chicks”.

2. The Environmentalist

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Here to save the world and give back – and naturally, Africa fits the bill… Definitely a vegan and a natural at appropriating traditional proteins. They dress like a local Capetonian would for their monthly trance party – every day. They’re super ‘chilled’, so chilled you’d think they just woke up from the world’s longest nap – existing only on water and Mary Jane. These tourists are super vibey and a hit with the Capetonian vegan community, as they possess superior knowledge on how to decrease your carbon footprint. These people bring a calm and centred presence to any group and are good at making you feel like you could be a better person, as they’re frequently throwing out names of the fantastic charities and organisations that they are here to support. Here to bring peace and harmony, they are a delight to be around and might even be our favourite tourist type. As they only carry positive vibes, enlightening insight and tons of generosity. Unsure about the concept of WIFI and without any social media pages you can follow – no, not even one – they can often be found rolling cigarettes or floating around the dance floor anywhere from Caprice to Fiction. Oozing with a natural coolness that is impossible to imitate without feeling like a complete fraud.

3. The ‘It’s Just Business Tourist’

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As Cape Town is the number one city in Africa to do business, it’s no surprise that so many of its visitors are here to do ‘good business’. These tourists can often be seen sporting smart shoes and a collared shirt – which is popped – obviously. Best friends with his laptop and his cell phone which he is never seen without. Often labelled as somewhat unsociable as they are constantly fighting the desire to check their emails, download we-transfer links and read lengthy articles from magazines no one has heard of – or something easily as lofty. If you do manage to enter their circle of seriousness, brace yourself for lengthy concept pitches on their latest tech startup idea or an innovative App proposal. Will often be thrown impossibly hard questions to answer but never fear they are merely rhetorical and require very little response with the occasional nod or reassuring ‘hmm’ to suffice. “What do you do?” is a question that you will be asked and if the answer is deemed unsatisfactory, you will undoubtedly be judged. Frequently seen spending absurd amounts of money usually at places with a good internet connection or at events of the ‘rich and famous’ like Shimmy’s and the Grand. And although we’re pretty unsure of everything this tourist associates himself with, we appreciate his contribution to our country’s economy. Viva La Moola.

4. The Blogger

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The millennial celebrity with a know-how of all things Fashion related. Often seen walking around narrating their days to the front-way-camera on the latest iPhone. Seen only at spots that are Instagram worthy, where they’re frequently interrupting activities such as eating to take a few snaps in which they rearrange tables, decor and their outfits in hopes to rack in all those ‘likes’ -“if you didn’t Instagram it where you even there?” Sporting a curation of outfits that make their way online with the unavoidable #OOTD hashtag. They embody more confidence than Kanye with an unmissable air of “I’m cooler than you”. They epitomise the saying “fake it till you make it” and are only visiting to add more content to the ‘travel’ tab of their blog – “see link in bio.” They spend their ‘vacay’ days working out, eating smoothie bowls and drinking iced coffees or lunching and lounging on the beach with other social media elites – maybe even hitting the newest hot spot – of which Cape Town has many… All the while looking flawless with eyebrows that are #onfleek. These visitors are easy to spot but impossible to befriend unless your social media status reflects the same authority – but it never hurts to try.

5. The Von Trapps

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As virtually everything in Cape Town is considered kid-friendly, it makes it ideal for a family vacation. These families are some of our favourite holidaymakers. Often seen sporting the infamous velcro strap shoes in all its sizes and carrying with them an aroma of sunscreen and insect repeller. Repeatedly spotted on the tops of the Red Bus Tours or with their noses buried in the Lonely Planet’s Guide to South Africa. They are always in groups of more than three, and they’re always speaking loudly in a language that is foreign from the eleven that speckle the streets of South Africa. Visiting Cape Town to pet a cheetah and go on an epic safari adventure, maybe even see an Elephant or one of the Big Five IRL. These tourists are never without a camera hanging from their necks, and if they corner you into a conversation, they will spill all the details of their lavish holiday up until this very point – in what can only see as an attempt to practice their English. Less than excited about being so close to the equator on account of the heat and often seen wearing local designs and prints that not even an actual local would ever wear. They never tip and despite the relentless explanations given to them still, struggle to grasp the concept of a ‘car guard’ fully. They travel with a somewhat envious polished militant precision that keeps all party members toeing the line – avoiding lost people, ID’s passports or itineraries.

6. The Newlyweds

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As the ultimate honeymoon destination, Cape Town personifies all things that make being in love the greatest feeling in the world thus, making it the favourite spot for newlyweds to start their first adventure together as married people. These tourists are often seen holding hands and staring dreamily at each other from across tables at the Twelve Apostles bar or bathing in the crystal waters of Beta Bay – using each other like a buoy to avoid drowning. They ooze a kind of atmosphere that’s hard to ignore – even if you are happily married too – one that inflicts a sense of jealousy and adoration all at the same time. Often seen sporting matching nautical outfits and projecting identical mannerisms. These two are as cute as they are overbearing. They spend their time posing for cute selfies at all the ‘famous’ Instagram spots Cape Town has to offer using hashtags like #dateyourbestfriend and #couplegoals. They sip champagne and share moments under the beautiful setting sun. They make it feel like it’s Sunday every day taking leisurely strolls wherever they are – despite the actual day of the week. They lack the concept of time and seem immune to the pulsating energy of the city. We wish we were them and spend a fair amount of time after encountering them talking about the prospects of true love; as they are the symbolic reminder that there is hope for us yet.

7. The Retired Senior Citizens

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Visiting for the excellent range of discounts on offer for the ‘mature’ traveller as well as the food – which they get discounts for too. Often seen being chaperoned in large groups to restaurants where the music isn’t too loud, and bathrooms are close by – somewhere where wifi is not a prerequisite and where the option of the desert is non-negotiable. They spend most of their holiday sightseeing, holding up lines for iconic sites, things like Table Mountain, Cape Point, The Jewish Holocaust Museum, The Castle of Good Hope, Zeit MOCCA and anything playing at the Fugard. They can often be spotted sipping tea and the Mount Nelson and judging the outfit choices of pretty much everyone who isn’t part of their age group. Finding joy in the simpler things like feeding the squirrels of Company Gardens or watching the waddling of the Penguins of Boulders Beach. Often seen wearing pastel colours and fanning themselves furiously with a tour pamphlet in hopes to generate a little cool air.

However, no matter how many times you cross paths with one of these dynamic individuals, remember that they are visitors in our home and should be treated with just as much respect, compassion and consideration as any other. They are here to add extra flavour to an already flavoursome melting pot of cultures, traditions and creativity. Embrace them and show them just how much we love our city and how lucky we are to call it home.

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