digital nomad, cape town

Digital Nomads in Cape Town are sharing their experiences on social media.
Images via X: @rassie_dot_dev

‘5-star life, 3-star budget’: CPT ‘digital nomad’ videos go viral [watch]

Digital nomads from first-world countries are bragging about how working remotely in South Africa is ‘five star living on a budget…

digital nomad, cape town

Digital Nomads in Cape Town are sharing their experiences on social media.
Images via X: @rassie_dot_dev

Videos of tourists documenting their “digital nomad” experiences in South Africa, particularly in Cape Town, have upset the majority of social media users from Mzansi.

The popular trend sees migrants from places like the US and parts of Europe share a look at their “working holiday” life in the picturesque city.

According to many, the opportunities offered to first-world countries are “unfair” and “deny” locals the same experiences.

ALSO READ: ‘Think twice’: Expat issues warning to South Africans [watch]


On TikTok, various content creators have shared a look at their digital nomad lifestyles in Cape Town.

For many, this means living in scenic locations, eating out at fine restaurants, and enjoying typically expensive tourist attractions, all while working remotely.

And it’s a win-win situation for many, with one video claiming that the “cost of living in Cape Town is 66% lower than the US, rent is 71% cheaper, and you could live comfortably with $1250 (R23 000) per month.”

“I have an opportunity to live a five-star life on a three-star budget,” boasts one digital nomad.

According to another source, digital nomads from the US are permitted to live and work in South Africa without a visa.


While digital nomads have a positive impact on the tourism and hospitality industry, many ordinary South Africans believe their presence “denies” them the same opportunities.

Here’s why many are upset…

Increase in rent, food, and social attractions.

Inability and lack of affordability of South Africans to experience the same  

South Africa exempting tourists from paying taxes.


According to Business Insider, the Department of Home Affairs is looking into a draft proposal for a digital nomad or remote working visa that will allow migrants to stay and work in South Africa.

President Cyril Ramaphosa said of the plans in a government newsletter earlier this month: 

“A remote worker who wants to work in South Africa while being employed by a foreign company can receive such a visa. International experience shows that employees with critical skills contribute to improved productivity, enhanced innovation, and improving the competitiveness of the firms they work for.”

According to Home Affairs, the criteria for the visa is

  • A minimum annual income requirement of at least R1 million ($55,000)
  • Significantly contribute to the local economy and “maintain a high standard of living”