Living in Cape Town: A Guide

Offering endless opportunities for an outdoor lifestyle, South Africa is now home to hundreds of thousands of expats from around the world and particularly the United Kingdom. With beautiful beaches, mountain backdrops and fascinating wildlife, it's been a popular decision for many families to leave their familiar life behind in favour of the unknown by moving to South Africa.

One of the more popular cities to move to is Cape Town, with a huge expat community now calling this city home. Cape Town offers new adventure to those seeking a change - read on for our guide to living in this intriguing city.

Expats in Cape Town

City statistics reveal that Cape Town now has a population of more than 3.7 million - and a large percentage of this is people who have moved to South Africa from all different corners of the world. Thus, a large expat community has formed. If you're soon to make the big move and you don't know a soul, you won't have to worry about meeting people - there will be plenty of opportunities to mingle with both expats and locals.

Online expat community Internations says that the city of Cape Town is split up into suburbs - something you'll need to become aware of quite quickly when you arrive. There are eight main suburbs in Cape Town - City Bowl, Northern Suburbs, Atlantic Seaboard, Southern Suburbs, South Peninsula, Cape Flats, Helderberg and West Coast. Each suburb has its own reputation and you might find it helpful to discuss them with other expats before choosing a neighbourhood to live in.

Finding A Home

Since the cost of living may be relatively cheaper than what you're used to, you may in for a pleasant surprise when house hunting. Online forum Expat Arrivals says that like most places, the easiest way to start house hunting is by choosing the suburb you would like to live in before approaching a real estate agent.

You may want to consider renting a house before buying one - and a real estate agent can easily find something suitable for you. You might need to prove that your income is at least three times of your rent - but you'll probably find that you can afford a more spacious home than the one you left behind - and it could even come with a backyard and pool!

Getting Around Town

Travel guide Lonely Planet says that although Cape Town is serviced by trains and buses, you might still want to consider getting a car, as public transport is not always available. However, due to limited police resources, road rules are frequently broken and you'll need to get used to the dangerous driving conditions.

Staying Out of Trouble

South Africa is notorious for its crime levels and Cape Town is no exception. Last year, almost 19,000 crimes were reported and it's important to be aware of the dangers that face you in this city.

In saying that, many families have safely relocated to Cape Town and by exercising common caution, have effectively stayed out of trouble. By choosing a more expensive but safer suburb to live in and avoiding riskier places, you can ensure that your South African experience remains to be a pleasant one.

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