Planning a trip to Cape Town? Worried about load shedding? Read on for the low down and how to avoid being left in the dark!
If you have been chatting with any Cape Tonians recently, one topic that is almost always a dinner conversation starter is that of load shedding. Now, some might call these power cuts or even other names, but the fact is: it has become a reality for certainly one of the most beautiful cities in the world! Does this mean that your planned trip to or vacation in Cape Town is doomed to be overshadowed by a lack of electricity? Definitely not!
Read on and we will take a look at what load shedding is – and how some savvy planning will ensure that you can make the most of your holiday.
First things first: let’s take a look at what load shedding itself is defined as.
What is load shedding?
In a nutshell, load shedding means an energy utility is lowering the demand of the energy system’s provision by provisionally switching off power to certain areas. Load shedding happens according to stages and can be tracked via various apps for convenience. In South Africa, different zones are allocated to every province, and when load shedding occurs, whether a zone is affected will be determined by its zone number. In the City of Cape Town, where possible, the authority often reduces load shedding schedules when possible due to extra electricity being provided and sent back to the local grid by the Steenbras hydro electric station.
How often does load shedding happen?
When active load shedding typically happens in 2-hour slots, and in a worst-case scenario, it can occur twice daily. It has a sliding scale which dictates how often it happens during a day. Stage 1 is the least severe whilst 8 is the most extreme – because the stages can change quickly it is advisable to check the Cape Town government webpage daily, we speak about the page later in this article.
Should I worry about load shedding?
The main thing with load shedding is that it calls for being prepared when it comes to charging devices or other necessities. Although it can be an inconvenience when the power goes out, you can keep track of schedules and ensure that your mobile devices are charged.
A good idea is that have an extra power bank at hand, and if you need to have Internet access, you could invest in a small router with data for as and when you need connectivity when your hotel or guest house cannot provide access. It might sound cumbersome, but if you plan accordingly, you will not feel the sting!
Will load shedding ruin my Cape Town holiday?
Load shedding might sound like it spells doom for a vacation you have been planning for months, but it truly doesn’t need to ruin your holiday.
Remember, load shedding mostly occurs in different area zones per session, so if, for instance, you are staying in Cape Town and know your section will be hit by load shedding in an hour, why not plan a trip to Muizenberg where you can enjoy the beach, buy some delicious ice cream and just enjoy the wonderful climate.
Sure, load shedding will call for a bit more planning on your side, but if you make it part of the adventure, you can still enjoy your holiday without needing to worry about the power going out.
Be sure to check out some must-see Cape Town experiences on our Activities page – it is sure to help inspire your holiday with fun ideas for the whole family!
Load Shedding Checklist
- Ensure you check the Cape Town government load shedding page – it provides a detailed schedule based on your suburb and day of the month: https://www.capetown.gov.za/Family%20and%20home/Residential-utility-services/Residential-electricity-services/Load-shedding-and-outages
- Always carry a power bank with you for your mobile device and ensure that it is charged up over night
- Double check that your guesthouse/hotel is geared up for load shedding, ensure they have a generator or an inverter to keep the lights on when load shedding does strike!
- If you know load shedding is taking place at 10am in the Muizenberg and Kalk Bay area then plan a visit to Kirstenbosch gardens or the Waterfront – it’s very quick and easy to plan your day so you are on the other side of the city wehn load shedding does kick in.