Working Remotely in the Cape Town
By Kirsten Colquhoun
Working remotely sounds like the dream – because it can be.
Having the freedom to pack your bags and jump on a plane to go anywhere in the world without having to worry about work is the lifestyle many of us yearn for. Being a TEFL teacher has allowed me to do just that.
I’m from South Africa, but I’ve taught English as a Foreign Language in Thailand, China, Spain, the UK, and Qatar. I’ve been teaching for almost twenty years, and I choose my jobs by deciding where I want to live – and not the other way around!
There is such a huge demand for TEFL teachers that I’ve never had to worry about finding a job.
Didn’t Teach in School
Currently, I am based in Cape Town. I’m still involved in TEFL but I don’t teach in a school. All the work I do is online. The rise of the remote working culture has allowed me to work 100% online, be it teaching students, training teachers, or writing English Language Training materials.
For almost ten years, I traveled around the world teaching English: to kindergarteners in China, teens in Thailand, adults in Spain, exam students in Qatar, and university students in the UK. Even though I lived and worked in only five countries, the TEFL lifestyle enabled me to visit 21 countries in that time.
But for now, I’ve decided to hang around back home, close to my friends and family. Luckily I can still work as and when I please. And Cape Town is a great place to do just that.
The Mother City is being touted as a new digital nomad hub. Ranked 42 in the world on Big 7 Travel’s 50 Best Places for Remote Working in 2021, and 16 on Nestpick’s index ranking the best cities for digital nomads to live and work, Cape Town has a lot to offer. From beaches to mountains to Winelands, there is plenty to do in your downtime, and there are some great spots to work from too.
There are obviously a few requirements that we need to keep in mind when it comes to finding a space that is adequate for remote working. Free (good) wifi is one, obviously, good coffee is another one, and nice vibes and awesome views are added bonuses for me.
Here are my fave places around Cape Town to work remotely:
Folk Café, St James
Situated right on the rocks, Folk Café is a favorite with the locals. Just above the St James tidal pools, anywhere you sit you can feel the cool sea breeze.
While popular with parents too as it has a play area, there is a quiet area on the side for when you need to get some work done, with comfy couches, nice views, and a library.
Folk is the perfect spot for a cup of coffee and a bit of work. As an added bonus, the staff is super friendly and their bagels are to die for.
54 Main Road, St James
Stuck right in the middle of the Winelands, this is a hidden gem that caters to digital nomads perfectly. With free wifi and a generator, even pesky load shedding can’t hamper your work.
The pizzas are famously good and the wine list is just as incredible – not surprising because of its location. A cold glass of rosé on the stoep after a hard days’ work: 10/10 would recommend.
6 High Constantia Centre, Constantia Main Road, Constantia
Tiger’s Milk, Camps Bay
Tiger’s Milk is an institution in Cape Town. It is a chain with branches dotted all over the city, but Camps Bay is the one you want to go to. Make yourself at home with the many other remote workers in the spacious restaurant and enjoy the views.
A tip: the coffee is good but the cocktails are better! And if you stay late enough, Tiger’s Milk becomes one of the places to go to on a warm summer evening.
33 Victoria Road, Camps Bay
Mantra, Camps Bay
Just a few doors down from Tiger’s Milk is Mantra. Good coffee, wide-open spaces, and generous-sized tables facing one of the most beautiful beaches in the world make Mantra a super relaxed place to get some work done. Chilled music vibes and always a happy buzz, sitting here I feel I could be in Camps Bay or Ibiza.
43 Victoria Road, Camps Bay
If we had to use one term to describe Truth coffee, it would be industrial chic. Voted as the best coffee shop in the world two years in a row by The Daily Telegraph, this is the place for serious caffeine addicts. My top pick would have to be a Silky Rev, but be warned: Truth coffee is strong, so maybe save it for deadlines!
42 Buitenkant Street, Cape Town
Part coffee shop, part antique store, part nursery (of the floral variety, not the screaming children variety), Our Local is the new kid on the block when it comes to remote working in Cape Town.
With tables, benches, or comfy armchairs, and vintage music playing softly in the background, this is fast becoming one of the places to work remotely. A word of warning: there’s always a buzz here so don’t come here if need peace and quiet.
117 Kloof Street, Cape Town
As a Cape Town native you might think I am a bit biased about my city, but with Cape Town considered one of the most beautiful cities in the world, I’m not the only one who thinks this is the best place to live and work remotely. And as long as I am able to work remotely as a TEFL teacher, you’ll find me here.
Kirsten Colquhoun is a TEFL teacher, teacher trainer, and writer. She has taught in a number of different countries but now prefers to work remotely from her hometown in Cape Town, South Africa.