Cape Town still welcomes visitors!

Our grass might not be as green, your shower might not be as long, but our hospitality still shines as bright as ever. Read on to find out about the current water situation in Cape Town and what we are doing to help while continuing to maintain the highest standards of hospitality possible.

A joint statement from Virtuoso hotels in Cape Town.

The Western Cape of South Africa is experiencing a drought due to three consecutive years of lower than average rainfall. International visitors should be assured that Cape Town is and will continue to be both a viable and an incredible tourist destination. The message is clear – Cape Town is open for business and visitors can book with confidence.

The current situation creates innovative solutions – Government, citizens and the private sector are stepping up to the challenge to ensure visitors are not affected.

The Facts

  • The drought is regionally specific and has not affected the rest of South Africa. Just 90 minutes away from Cape Town in popular destinations such as Hermanus, there are no water restrictions whatsoever.
  • Nearby farming communities have contributed 10 billion litres to alleviate the situation.
  • Cape Town’s Mayor has vowed to “not allow a well-run city to run out of water” and plans are being implemented to tap into other sources of water.
  • The most senior officials working on this crisis firmly believe that although it will take an effort by all involved, Cape Town will avoid what has been called “Day Zero”.
  • Day Zero is the hypothetical day when dam levels might fall below 13.5% and Cape Town residents would be restricted to 25litres of water per day in order to ensure that the dams do not run dry. It is NOT the day that Cape Town runs out of water.
  • Even in the unlikely event of Day Zero visitors will still be able to enjoy the diverse and world-class experiences Cape Town and the Western Cape have to offer.
  • Although sporadic, it continues to rain in Cape Town. The city is hopeful that winter rains will be sufficient to fill our dams.
  • International tourists account for just 1% of water usage in Cape Town during peak season.
  • The impact of tourism on water consumption is insignificant compared to the benefit that tourism brings to the city – tourism directly creates 320,000 jobs and brings with it around R40 billion in investment each year.
  • Cape Town has already managed to bring down water consumption from pre-restriction levels of 1.1 billion litres a day to current consumption of 585 million litres per day.
  • A new desalination plant in the V&A Waterfront will produce 2 million litres of water per day‚ and will be operational in March 2018.
  • The new desalination plant will be one of a network of 8 desalination plants spread across the city. The plants will together provide 108 million litres of water per day.
  • Cape Town’s city centre has been designated a ‘continuous water supply’ area which means that the impact of a potential Day Zero will be minimal on international visitors.

The Media

Much of the hype around the drought has been to ensure citizens are aware of the situation and that everyone is doing what they can to reduce consumption. A side effect of this awareness campaign has been a number of sensationalist headlines in the international press and ‘fake news’ about civil unrest.

It is important not to lose perspective in light of these headlines. Cape Town is not unique: droughts regularly affect dozens of top international tourist destinations. And many top destinations exist in far more severe climates.

Your Stay

While all Cape Town hotels, bars and restaurants have taken extensive measures to reduce their water consumption, tourists are encouraged to be mindful of the situation and to play their part in the water conservation initiative.

All hotels are making guests aware of the situation on check-in and through innovative communication techniques. Among other things, guests are encouraged to

  • Limit shower times
  • Flush toilets less often
  • Reuse towels
  • Not use bathtubs

Cape Town hotels remain confident of delivering an experience commensurate with that experience offered before drought conditions and as such cancellation policies remain unchanged. Although guests are asked to be mindful, their overall stay will not be affected and we look forward to welcoming international visitors to our remarkable city. South Africa has overcome many challenges in the past and will no doubt overcome this one. Now more than ever Cape Town needs the support of international tourists.


  • Along with all other major hotel groups in Cape Town we took the joint decision to remove all bath plugs from the rooms and we request that showers are reduced to 2 minutes in duration. We’ve purchased devices that count down the time in the shower and provide you with a warning when the 2 minutes are up.
  • We change linen & towels every 4 days as a standard from now on, unless the guests request otherwise.
  • We use non-potable water only to top up the pools.
  • We have installed water-reducing nozzles on all of the bathroom basins.
  • We repurpose all of the water from our ice machines and our housekeeping team takes melted ice from the room mini bars to water flowerbeds and pots in all the rooms.
  • We have installed a grey water recovery system, which we use to irrigate our garden and use where needed.
  • We have put in bulk water storage that can be topped up with a water bowser if need be. Should we hit a crisis and the water is turned off completely we will still have a supply.
  • We have a non-potable water supply, which we are using responsibly to top up our pools and ponds.
  • We are within the next few weeks installing a filtration system that will maintain the natural balance of minerals, which would normally be found in the best natural water available. Presently our borehole water is beautifully clear even without the filtration system. Once the water has been filtered it will be suitable for all purposes, except consumption.
  • We will have an adequate supply of complimentary mineral water for drinking purposes.
  • We engage with all our staff on a regular basis and jointly discuss ways in which we can all reduce our usage.

Although we have supply from the City at the moment, we are monitoring the situation with the City of Cape Town and will constantly update the ways in which we embrace our water saving techniques.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Paul Bruce-Brand

General Manager

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