Where the super-rich splurge in Cape Town

An aerial view of Cape Town, South Africa.

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Cape Town is becoming one of the most popular destinations in Africa and a rich man's playground. A recent Henley and Partners report shows Cape Town is the wealthiest city in Africa and houses the highest number of dollar millionaires.

With its dramatic landscape, rich culture, and vineyards, many Africans are splurging their money on vineyard tours, cruises, dinners, and luxury shops in Cape Town.

The South Africa Minister of Tourism, Patricia de Lille says South Africa welcomed 6.4 million visitors from Africa between January and December 2023, marking a significant 75.6 percent of all arrivals.

Zimbabwe and Kenya stood out for their remarkable growth.

"Zimbabwe experienced a 70.8 percent increase in tourist arrivals to South Africa when compared to 2022, totalling 2.1 million arrivals, while Kenya recorded a 99 percent surge when compared to 2022, reaching 42,403 arrivals for January to December 2023," she says.

So, where do Africa's rich splurge their hard-earned cash on a holiday in this enchanting city?


With its well-developed harbour, Cape Town attracts several cruise ships with affluent bookings.

Cape Town and the Western Cape boast a rich history, vibrant cities and towns, and a plethora of adventurous activities, making it an enticing destination for cruise enthusiasts.

Cruise lines such as MSC have begun sailing in South Africa, enabling the wealthy to explore various harbours from Durban to Cape Town to Pomene Island in Mozambique, Walvis Bay in Namibia, Portuguese Island and Port Louis in Mauritius.

The very wealthy can join the MSC Yacht Club, to experience butler services, and sample fine wine, and whisky.

The super-rich are also hiring speed boats, cruising along Cape Town's Atlantic coastline and chasing dolphins. A sunset over Cape Town on an evening cruise with a glass of sparkling wine is part of their itinerary. Depending on one's package, spending ranges from Sh100,000 to Sh600,000 per person.

Wrenelle Stander, the Wesgro CEO and spokesperson for Cruise Cape Town says ocean cruising offers a variety of experiences ranging from luxury expeditions to cultural immersions.

“Neighbouring countries such as Namibia, Mozambique, Madagascar, and Mauritius also feature prominently on cruise itineraries in the region. Travellers can embark on wildlife safaris, visit UnescoWorld Heritage Sites, indulge in water sports, explore historic towns, and immerse themselves in local cultures during these cruises,” she notes.

Travellers can choose from intimate luxury ships to larger liners, equipped with state-of-the-art amenities, including gourmet dining options, spa facilities, and entertainment venues.

A cruise ship.

Photo credit: Clara Orina | Nation Media Group

“The Cape Town Cruise Terminal is undoubtedly one of the most scenic ports of call in the world, with views of Table Mountain and the city, and V&A Waterfront [a shopping hub with designer shops] at walking distance. Moreover, the city's well-developed tourism infrastructure ensures that visitors have access to a wide range of activities, from strolls along the waterfront to exhilarating wildlife encounters in nearby nature reserves,” she says.


The private clubs in Cape Town together with the scenic attractions make playing golf a must-do activity. One of the preferred golf courses is the Atlantic Beach Golf Course, an 18-hole championship golf course.

Erinvale Golf Course is another rare scenic site for golfing situated at the foothills of Helderberg and Hottentot Holland mountains in Somerset West Cape Town.

Its beautifully manicured par 72 championship course boasts of the most challenging and spectacular golf holes which the affluent find attractive. Others are Rondebosch Golf Club, Royal Cape Golf Club, and Somerset West Golf Club.

Victoria and Alfred Waterfront and Table Mountain in Cape Town, South Africa.

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Wine tours

A trip to Cape Town is never complete without a wine tour. Charity Kiigi, a luxury travel adviser and the founder of Flight to Fancy Holidays has handled a lot of luxury clients and to them, exclusivity and privacy when it comes to such tours is key.

The best wine destinations are Stellenbosch and Franschhoek which boast diverse wine-making styles, rich histories and in addition, a wide variety of world-class wines that the money can experience.

“Capetown is undoubtedly the best place for a wine tour for the rich. The garden route, the Constantia wine estate, the Stellenbosch wine estate all these give the best experiences for the rich,” says Charity.

Private wine tours with an accredited tour guide in a limousine for the day away from the crowds are the preferred options for the affluent. Here, they relish premium wine-tasting experiences with cellar masters of boutique wine estates where they will immerse themselves in South Africa’s heritage of delectable food and wine.

Hottentot-Holland Mountains surrounded by vineyards and farmland in the wine region of Stellenbosch in the Western Cape of South Africa.

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Other vineyards where the rich explore is the Constantia Valley where South Africa’s wine industry originated in the 1600s, Guests get to sample a special desert wine that was once served to Napoleon Bonaparte the Great and European Royalty. There is also Morgenhorf Estate, Babylonstoren, and Seven Sisters which are excellent for wine tours and tastings.

Diamond tours

The discovery of Kimberly diamond deposits in 1871 resulted in a massive increase in mining in Southern Africa. This has made Cape Town to be the forefront of diamond innovation being that it’s responsible for 95 percent of the global diamond. This means that the men and women of means flock to Cape Town to buy new cuts of diamond as well as tanzanite and add them to their collection.

The majority of these jewellery stores offer 45-minute behind-the-scenes tours where luxury travellers get to understand the history as well as the process of transforming precious stones into valuable and expensive jewellery over fine wine and chocolate. Booking is a must before the tour.

Luxury shopping

Some of the places where the rich shop are at the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, Century City’s Cabal Walk shopping centre and the fashionable Claremont at the Cavendish Square mall.

Streets such as Bree, Trendy Kloof and Long Streets are all lined up with chic boutiques and curios where the affluent can satiate their longing for anything designer.

Cape Dutch farmhouse at Babylonstoren Wine Estate in Franschhoek, South Africa.

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See the world in a luxurious train

Rich people will pay whatever it costs to see the world on a luxurious train. The famous one is Rovos Rail, one of the most luxurious in the world that travels through the southern African countries. The most iconic itinerary is the 1,600 km journey between Pretoria and Cape Town which costs approximately Sh50,000 to Sh60,000.

What makes this trip luxurious is the fact that it has the most spacious suite in the world, with double beds, private bathrooms and meals being served in the charming Victorian of the dining cars. They also have black tie dinners, wine pairings twice a day and a club lounge with an open-air observation car.

The set-up too is luxurious with crystal glassware, shining silver cutlery, plush carpet, and everything to make a wealthy person feel like money.

Scenic helicopter tours

Money is not an issue when it comes to experiencing the thrill of exploring the most stunning city in the world from the air. It can range from 20 minutes to hours depending on how much you have in your bank account and your interest.

From Robben Island to the Twelve Apostles, to the views over the two oceans, to the Lion’s Head and Camps Bay and a full tour of the peninsular circling Capepoint, these are just a few of the stunning places that one can catch a glimpse of.

The cost range is from Sh30,000 for 20 minutes.

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