Cape Town is a city well known for experiencing not only four distinct seasons of the year, but four seasons in one day! Mild summers and wet winters are the norm, but there can be big differences in weather depending on what side of the Cape Peninsula you are on too.
Whilst pleasant to visit throughout the year, layering is key and extreme changes in weather can be experienced so you really do need to come prepared no matter the season – you can see our tips on best time of year to visit Cape Town here. Whatever time of year your visiting a sun hat and sun cream will come in as equally handy as a raincoat and umbrella!
We have included links to Amazon to make your pre-travel shopping super easy and have all your travel essentials delivered to your door.
You can download a full printable packing list at the bottom of the page, with checkboxes to tick items off as you put them in your suitcase.
Travel accessories for Cape Town
If you are visiting Cape Town with a baby or small toddler you will likely find a baby carrier will come in useful, particularly if you are tackling any small hikes or hilly walks (of which there are many! – see our Things to do in Cape Town). We suggest something lightweight and with breathable fabric.
If you plan on visiting the beach, you may want to try a waterproof wrap.
- We recommend: Beachfront Baby Wrap
There is still plenty of walking to be done around the city and the V&A Waterfront. We recommend a lightweight stroller that is easy to fold, and also look for things like good storage and the ability to recline for naps.
Portable booster seat
You will almost certainly need to use a rental car of hire taxies to get around in Cape Town (you can read more on how best to get around Cape Town here). A portable booster seat is a great investment to keep your little ones safe. Note that under 3’s are required by law to be in a full car seat. These can be hired from the airport with your rental car, or better yet bring your own.
- We recommend: the mifold Grab-and-Go Car Booster Seat or the BubbleBum backless inflatable car booster seat.
Having a day pack is always a good idea for city trips with kids, so that you can carry all the wet wipes, snacks, tissues, sun cream etc and still keep your hands free to keep hold of the kids. Look for a lightweight backpack that can be easily packed in your suitcase when not needed.
- We recommend: the ZOMAKE Ultra Lightweight Packable Backpack or the Outlander Most Durable Packable Lightweight Travel Hiking Backpack Daypack.
Collapsible water bottle
Do your bit to save the environment and bring your own refillable water bottles with you instead of relying on buying plastic bottles of water every day. We love a collapsible water bottle that can easily be packed in the suitcase when not needed.
- We recommend: Baiji Bottles Collapsible Silicon Water Bottles or the Nomader Collapsible Water Bottle.
When you are traveling as a family, it is inevitable that you will end up with multiple accessories needing charged: phones, tablets, cameras, kindles etc. Don’t ruin the holiday by fighting over the charger; opt for a multiple charging station instead.
- We recommend: the Photive 60 Watt 6 USB Rapid Desktop Charging Station or the Vogek 6-port USB Charger.
The standard electrical voltage in Cape Town is 220/230V and most electrical sockets take a type D round 3 pin plug. If you are traveling from a country with different style plugs, make sure you bring a travel adapter (not many universal adaptors DO NOT cover Africa! Check your adaptor carefully.
Portable Charger Power Bank
Have you ever been caught out sightseeing with a low-battery phone and not been able to take photos? Or found your child’s iPad has run out of battery half way through a long haul flight? Don’t let it happen again! Go prepared with a portable charger power bank, a great tool to have in your travel arsenal.
Of course you have to record all your happy holiday memories, and having an easy-to-use waterproof and shockproof camera means everybody in the family can share in the photo taking, without having to worry about the camera getting damaged.
Like most places, bugs and mosquitoes like to come out in the evening especially if you are out near water. A standard roll on or patches should be adeuqate for families. You only need consider stronger repellants and look into anti-malaria treatments if you continue to head east to areas like Kruger National Park, on the west coast you should have no issues.
It’s always good to have some hand sanitizer in your bag when you are travelling, for times when you can’t wash your hands before having a snack, or have been traveling on public transport.
- We recommend: Babyganics alcohol-free foaming hand sanitizer on-the-go or PURELL Advanced hand sanitizer travel size.
You should always include suncream on your Cape Town packing list. Even in the winter you can experience sunny days when the sun can be stronger than you realize.
- We recommend: Babyganics Mineral-based baby sunscreen spray or Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen.
With all the outdoor time you will spending around Cape Town, whatever the season, kids hair is bound to end up a mess by the end of the day. Pack and Tangle Teazer to make everybody’s life a little more pleasant.
Books and Games
Cape Town Travel Guide Book
No matter how much research you do online before you travel, it can still be handy to have a travel guidebook in your bag. Most guidebooks for Cape Town also combine information about the Wineland regions and onwards to the popular Garden Route.
- We recommend: Lonely Planet Cape Town & the Garden Route and The Rough Guide to Cape Town, Winelands and the Garden Route
It's always handy to have a few activity books in your bag for your kids, for airports, flights, or when they just need some downtime after a hard day of sightseeing.
The family that plays together stays together! Pack a few fun travel games for fun family evenings, rainy days or airport layovers.
Cape Town Clothing
Cape Town has a trendy, upbeat vibe, a great outdoors lifestyle. Fair more fashion-conscious than other parts of Africa, but do not feel you need to keep up with the fashionistas; comfort and dressing for the weather is more essential. That said, given there a many trendy and upmarket restaurants you may want to pack at least one nice outfit for dining out - switch your hiking shoes for some nice sandals and accessorise a little.
What to wear in Cape Town
We recommend including the following for your Cape Town summer outfit:
- Cotton t-shirts
- Flip-flops or sandals
- Comfortable walking shoes
- Nicer clothes/shoes for more upmarket restaurants
- Light sweater/cardigan
- Swimming costume
Remember that the weather in Cape Town can be very unpredictable, always be prepared for sudden changes and rain. It can be wise to include a raincoat and umbrella when packing, even in the warmer months.
Clothes for Cape Town in winter
Dressing for Cape Town in the winter can be tricky as amongst the rain and wind there can still be some brilliant sunny days. When its cold and windy though, you will definitely feel it and want to be covered up.
We recommend including the following for your Cape Town winter outfit:
- Sweater or hoodie
- Warm scarf
- Good waterproof coat
- Waterproof boots
- Stockings for under dresses or extra layer under jeans
- Nicer clothes/shoes for more upmarket restaurants
Travel accessories for the plane
Multiple Passport holder
A multiple passport is invaluable for keeping all the family’s passports together in one place. Look for one that makes it easy to remove the passports, and that has space to store luggage tags, frequent flier cards etc.
- We recommend: Zero Grid Travel Wallet & Family Passport Holder or the Apadi Travel Document Organizer.
Travel Pillow (neck support)
We all know how uncomfortable it is trying to sleep on the plane. While we can’t promise you a good sleep, we can recommend using a travel neck pillow to help ease your aches and pains once you get to your destination.
Travel Pillow (leg support)
Travel leg rest pillows have been a bit of a game changer for long haul flights with small kids. These inflatable pillows allow you to fill the leg gap between the seats, allowing small children to stretch out or even lie down flat. Note that some airlines have banned the use of these travel leg rest pillows. Check with your airline before you go to the airport.
We highly recommend headphones for everyone in the family. Noise cancelling headphones for mums and dads are great for cutting out the ambient sound of the plane, while kid-sized headphones with volume limits will ensure kids can watch their iPads without disturbing others, and without damaging their eardrums.
- We recommend: Bose QuietComfort 25 noise cancelling headphones for adults and Kidz Gear Wired Headphones for kids.
If you’re looking for a new suitcase for your Cape Town trip, we love the foldable luggage from Biaggi – these can be folded down into a small pouch for easy storage and saves you from having to step over your suitcases in your hotel room. We love the easy-glide spinner wheels on them too.
- We recommend: Biaggi Luggage Zipsack 31” Micro Fold Spinner Suitcase and the Biaggi Zipsack 27” Micro Fold Spinner Suitcase.
Packing cubes are so useful when you are traveling with kids. There is nothing worse than spending every morning rummaging through your suitcase looking for a matching outfit. Packing cubes allow you to segregate clothes into their own cubes, making it easy to find what you need. Look for cubes with a peekaboo window so you can easily see what is inside.
How many times have you found yourself rummaging around in your suitcase looking for a phone charger? An electronics organizer can save you plenty of time and frustration by keeping all your chargers, cables, memory cards, headphones and adapters in one handy pack.
Ziploc bags are a parent’s secret weapon when traveling. You can use them to store snacks, dirty clothes, nappy changing kits, puzzle pieces, small toys, crayons and leaky shampoo bottles. Be sure to add a few to your case!
Be super organized for your next city trip. Download our fully comprehensive printable packing list, with checkboxes to ensure you don’t forget anything.
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