With opposite seasons to the UK, high temperatures and guaranteed sunshine in winter months draws thousands of Britons every year.
But amidst a three-year long drought, this hot and dry climate has transformed Cape Town into a drought-stricken city.
What will happen when the city runs out of water? And is it safe to travel there at the moment?
A severe lack of rain over a three-year period in Cape Town has caused the dam levels to fall dangerously low.
Theewaterkloof dam, which has a capacity of 480 million cubic meters, has dried up in parts
If you’re planning to travel to the area, you should be mindful of water consumption and comply with local restrictions
South Africa’s ‘Mother City’, home to roughly 3.7 million people, is slowly crawling ever-closer to the dreaded ‘Day Zero’ – the day the water runs out.
Although it is not clear when ‘Day Zero’ will occur (with some predicting in April), the prospect of shutting off the city’s water will likely have a detrimental impact.
Is is safe to travel there at the moment?
According to Cape Town Tourism’s 2017 annual report, there’s been no drop in tourism numbers despite a severe lack of rain.
Last year, more than five million people passed through the arrival gates of Cape Town International Airport and popular tourist attraction Table Mountain Aerial Cableway recorded over one million visitors.
If the water does run out, families and some commercial users will be forced to queue at 200 water collection points across the city to collect their daily ration of 25-litres.
At present, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s (FCO) travel advice state: “If you’re planning to travel to the area, you should be mindful of water consumption and comply with local restrictions.”
“The City of Cape Town has cautioned that these restrictions may become more severe in April and after that period you shouldn’t assume an unrestricted supply of potable water”.
Theewaterskloof Dam stores around 41% of the water available for Cape Town’s 3.7m residents
However, despite water restrictions South Africa Tourism states that in the eventuality of ‘Day Zero’, “there will be available water for tourists….for personal hygiene and consumption”.
South Africa Tourism commented: “Visitors are naturally expected to behave responsibly and do all they can to conserve fresh water.
“Bars and restaurants have turned off the taps in their toilets, with customers asked to use hand sanitiser instead”.
At present, showers are still available although guidelines state no longer than two minutes.
There are also reports of some hotel swimming pool’s being converted to salt water from the ocean.
Major tourist attractions such as access to Table Mountain, Cape Point and Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens will not be impacted.
Current advice means that, for the time being, if you have a holiday planned to Cape Town you won’t be able to cancel your trip without facing cancellation charges, as travel operators are implementing their normal terms and conditions.
However as the situation develops, so may the attitudes of travel operators such as airlines and tour groups. They may offer the chance to postpone or switch destinations. For now though, there is no obligation for them to change their conditions unless the Foreign Office warns against travel.
So, the bottom line is that at present, it still remains safe to travel to Cape Town but flights may be effected if the situation worsens.