neighbourgood coliving | cape town | diaries of a digital nomad in the mother city
an active city lifestyle, like no other...
from an outside perspective, the digital nomad life conjures up images of millennials with their laptops on far flung beaches sipping on fresh coconuts. while this may be true for a few nomads the reality is that most of us end up in cities as they offer all the luxuries that a DN (digital nomad) could wish for. from coworking spaces & cafes to nightlife, most cities offer what anyone could need except for an outdoor lifestyle. this is where cape town differs from the rest of the pack, it offers an unparalleled lifestyle that is second to none. let's dive into why this is not only my favourite city on the planet but the perfect place for DN's to be based.
when i first came to the mother city back in 2019 cruising along chapman's peak drive (one of the most spectacular coastal drives in the world) while the sun was setting beyond the horizon, i immediately fell in love with this unique city.
i have travelled to 109 countries & over 300 cities, i am yet to find another place like it. from the white sandy beaches of clifton to the majestic table mountain, here it's all about the outdoors from hiking to surfing & sundowners on the beach there is truly no other city on earth that offers such a lifestyle.
a short drive from the city, the western cape has so much to offer from the renowned wine regions of stellenbosch & franschhoek to simon's town (the only place to see african penguins). further out along the coast, langebaan offers awesome kitesurfing & those who are willing to brave the icy waters of the atlantic ocean can swim with great white sharks in gansbaai.
(i feel that i must address an issue that is always brought up to me when speaking about cape town & that is the one of safety. south africa gets a bad rap for its crime issues & yes while the crime rate is high compared to other countries, if you dig into the data the rate is relatively low towards visitors, especially in cape town where you have a lot of anti-crime liaisons stationed in all the main area's)
neighbourgood | coliving community
during my first visit to the city, i had some trouble finding quality medium term stays that most nomads look for in a new city, this is anything up to 6 months. i flitted from hostels to airbnb's & a few hotels but this can get expensive & exhausting moving around every other week.
this time around i already had my accommodation sorted out with neighbourgood, a new coliving/coworking concept that is taking cape town by storm. in less than two years, they have grown exponentially offering flexible living & working locations around the city. i had the opportunity to live in their east city community, it's an awesome place for solo nomads that are seeking connection & community.
located centrally right downtown, neighbourgood east city is perfectly situated for those that want the convenience of living right in the heart of the city. everything is on your doorstep from the coolest cafes such as truth coffee (voted best cafe in the world) to world-renowned restaurants & then there is nude foods (a plastic-free free supermarket). cape town is full of interesting places to explore. (see map below for my favourites)
from the moment i arrived in east city, i met pierre (the community manager), i instantly felt at home. he gave me the grand tour from the in-house barber & cafe on the ground floor to the vast communal space with mini gym, entrainment area & hot desks, as well as the well-equipped kitchen, kitted out with all the mod cons you could wish for.
my private room on the 9th floor came with an en-suite bathroom, tv, desk & super comfy double bed along with weekly cleaning & linen change. the building also has 24 security with facial recognition. as a member, you also get access to the cape quarter coworking space, daily events & discounts on services through their app.
leases are available from one month & since you're renting directly from a company the rental invoice can be used to offset business taxes in your home country. rent can also be paid with credit/debit card, revolut or transferwise.
looking for something a little more private? - neighbourgood's fully furnished luxury apartments at the old cape quarter in de waterkant give all the benefits of having your own place with a few extras such as weekly cleaning & 24-hour security along with access to the coworking spaces & events. these are geared toward professional couples that are seeking at home privacy but with access to a community of liked-minded individuals.
the explosion of digital nomads in the last few years has made cape town africa's DN hub. a few factors make south africa super appealing from easy visa policies (up to six months) to cost of living & needless to say the spectacular scenery/animal life that make south africa a unique destination. another huge factor is the weather, while the northern hemisphere is experiencing long winter nights & sub-zero temperatures, cape town is basking in the glory of summer with temperatures averaging 27°c from december to march.
i found it super easy to connect with like-minded people at neighbourgood & unlike hostels & airbnb’s you have the chance to meet many locals too. i was super lucky to meet some awesome people from around the globe as the set-up was geared towards connecting with others. i also joined the cape town nomad facebook group which has lots of super useful info making it easier to integrate with the wider community.
the best time of year to come is undoubtedly the spring/summer season. in & around cape town you'll find some of the world best attractions to visit. here are a few of my favourites...
clifton beaches - a short ride by uber out of the centre, clifton beaches are some of the most beautiful the world has to offer. white sandy beaches with giant boulders make for some epic scenery. thinking of going for a swim? beware as the sea temperatures here are cold all year round.
table mountain - famous the world over this imposing flat-topped mountain is one of the best hiking spots in town & your reward for getting to the top is some of the most beautiful views you'll ever see in your lifetime.
wine regions - a little further afield you'll find the world-renowned wine regions of stellenbosch & franschhoek. hundreds of vineyards dot the landscape of the valley flanked with mountains in the distance. quoin rock & babylonstoren are some of the most impressive places to visit in the region.
cape point national park - one of the most scenically spectacular parks in the whole of south africa. this place is filled with dramatic scenery, fantastic hiking trails & deserted beaches. there's a sprinkling of big game in the reserve too, some great bird watching, and in spring you might catch a glimpse of a whale close to shore.
places to eat
known for its abundance of fantastic ingredients, cape town will not disappoint the most discerning of foodie's. culinary cultures from all over the globe have collided in the city to create one of the most diverse culinary experiences on the continent.
chefs warehouse winebar & pinchos - launched as a cookery school, the latest iteration of chefs warehouse on bree street is a pinchos & wine bar that doles out flavour-bursting fine-dining-style bar snacks alongside beautifully curated wines.
ëlgr - taking its cue from minimalist scandinavian design, ëlgr is suitably dressed in a soothing palette of charcoal, black & peels back from the buzz of kloof street to a plant-filled courtyard.
the menu is designed to be shared, with dishes coming to the table in an effortless and exciting parade. the charcuterie platters and raw-beef salad have fans all over the city.
athletic club & social - refined yet edgy, this social club stirs up the bar & restaurant scene in downtown cape town, with three storeys of impeccable interiors, an easy-eating mediterranean-themed tapas menu & friendly service.
thali - this exciting indian-tapas eatery is a case of the more (dishes you share), the merrier. the popular tapas for two, comprises eight dishes, including sambals, poppadoms & tandoor, culminating in the most heavenly curries that, combined with the exotic interior decor and lighting, will transport you to the fragrant streets of delhi.
let's face it the world runs on apps. there are some super useful cape town specific mobile apps that can make your life so much easier. from the south african version of amazon to food delivery services, i used these apps daily.
neighbourgood - yes, they have their own app. you can raise tickets for repairs on your apartment, view community events & find member discounts at 3rd parties.
takealot - amazon is not available in south africa, but the home grown takealot.com has everything that you would need delivered within a few days.
snapscan - add your debit card & pay for anything using a qr code. small business love this app, even the laundry service at neighbourgood uses it.
well, what more is there to say. the best city in the world just got better with the introduction of a superb coliving brand. no matter who i talk with about cape town i cannot help but have a smile on my face. it's a city that has the right balance of work & play, a city where you wake up ready to tackle the day, rather than dread it.
- budget ($40-50) a day including accommodation.
- if you're a european citizen and you travel often see my blog post on the curve card its the best travel card around i have saved hundreds of euro's using it. download the app and enter my promo code to get a free card & €/£5. click here to see the post.
- need an international bank account or transfer money at the lowest rates? i use transferwise. i make all my transfers with then and have even opened a remote eur, usa, gbp accounts for free. click here to get your first transfer for free.
country travel tips
atm: all charge a fee around ($3). don't accept the on-screen conversion.
sim card: vodacom. 5GB is ($25) for 30 days. got an e-sim enabled phone try airalo.
transport: car hire & uber are very cheap.
taxi: uber? use promo: carlm5078ue for free ride.
accommodation: get ($20) off your first booking.com reservation here.