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Amid drought, Cape Town still shines brightly

Cape Town is still one of the most beautiful cities in the world, despite the water shortage

Cape Town may be experiencing a drought but tourism is still very much still open for business. Over the past three years Cape Town has decreased its water consumption by around 60%. According to Wesgro, Cape Town’s official tourism, trade and investment agency, this sets a world class standard for reduction in water consumption.


Bo-Kaap District


CEO of Timeless Africa Safaris, Marco van Embden urges travellers to keep visiting the city. With the hospitality and tourism sectors ensuring travellers get to experience the best of what Cape Town has to offer there is no reason one should miss out. Specialist travel consultancies like Timeless Africa Safaris work with selected properties who are taking measures to save water.


“Cape Town is one of the most beautiful cities on earth and water restrictions won't change that. Many hotels have set up independent water sources, citizens have cut water usage by 60%, and there is no interruption to famous Cape tourist attractions such as Table Mountain, Kirstenbosch Gardens, Robben Island and the V&A Waterfront.” says van Embden. Right now, with all the innovation coming to the fore, major tourist attractions are more committed to saving water now than ever before. Van Embden shares just how they are doing it: 




For many visitors a trip up the iconic Table Mountain is one not to be missed. Its unprecedented views of both the Atlantic and Indian Oceans, the harbour and the city below are unforgettable. Thanks to the water situation, Table Mountain has shown she is more than a historical geographic landmark.

According to some experts she may hold the key to alleviating the city’s water shortage, even if only in the short term. Sitting below the grey sandstone rocks are billions of cubic metres of water, which could provide the city with 40 million litres of fresh, drinkable water per day. In November 2017, the city began sinking test boreholes in the mountain, and it plans to drill dozens more to test if this is an ecologically viable solution. Visitors who ride the cable car up to the top of the 1085m high mountain can still bank on access to fresh drinking water and flushing toilets.


Clifton 4th Beach




Cape Town’s premier shopping and entertainment destination, the V&A Waterfront is one of city’s most visited destinations attracting roughly 24 million visitors each year. While it is still technically a working harbour, it’s also home to over 22 historical landmarks, 80 restaurants, 450 retails stores, the recently launched Zeitz MOCAA (Museum of Contemporary Art Africa), Two Oceans Aquarium and a number of luxury hotel chains.

In response to the drought, the V&A plans to have its own desalination plant operational by 2019 and construction is already under way. They are also investigating how to implement water from air technology. In the meantime thousands of visitors are still flocking to experience the V&A and thanks to boreholes and water storage tanks, the impact on municipal drinking water is far less.




Kirstenbosch Gardens, established in 1913, is acclaimed as one of the great botanical gardens of the world. Few gardens can match the sheer grandeur of the setting of Kirstenbosch, against the eastern slopes of Cape Town’s Table Mountain. But how does a thirsty garden of this size survive in a drought?

Thanks to a 110 million litre dam situated on the mountain slopes to the south of the Garden, it’s used to irrigate the gardens. Drinking water is extracted from boreholes on the Estate that tap into the Table Mountain Aquifer, 60 m below ground level. The water is of such high quality that it is good enough to be bottled. Drinking water is supplied to all bathroom taps and to numerous water fountains throughout the Garden.


Muizenberg Beach


Much like other successful tourist regions, for example Southern California and Western Australia, Cape Town is also vulnerable to the effects of climate change and susceptible to periodic droughts. While visiting the city and surrounding areas including the Northern and Eastern Cape, consider these water saving tips, which can help you enjoy a wonderful stay in South Africa.


1.       Keep your shower to less than 90 seconds and refrain from taking a bath (150 - 200 liters of water used).

2.       Stay in eco-friendly accommodation.

3.       Use a cup instead of running taps when brushing teeth, shaving or drinking. Or at least turn the taps off when brushing your teeth.

4.       Only flush the toilet when necessary and please make use of dual flush systems when available.

5.       Use hotel laundry services sparingly.

6.       Hang up your towels instead of leaving them in the bath or shower so that the hotel does not wash them every day.

7.       Report any leaks or water wastage issues within hotels to management as soon as possible

8.       Visit for latest news, tips and FAQ’s on being a Water Wise Tourist.


For more information about Timeless Africa Safaris please go to


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Published: 4 April 2018

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