Moving to Cape Town
Expats who move to Cape Town often find themselves seduced into staying for far longer than they initially anticipated. Repeatedly featuring in and topping the lists of the best cities in the world, Cape Town's popularity rests on its celebrated natural beauty, mild climate and the relaxed lifestyle of its residents.
It may be at the very tip of the African continent but the Mother City, as it's often called, is anything but isolated. Shaped by its complicated history, the city's vibrant and cosmopolitan character is a mixture of colonial and local influences, and is home to an eclectic blend of people from all over in a city that feels part-African and part-European.
Expats moving to Cape Town can generally expect a laid-back atmosphere providing a healthy, balanced alternative to the high-stress work environment of more corporate cities. Attractions as diverse as internationally recognised wine farms, shark cage diving and hiking trails mean that locals enjoy an active and satisfying lifestyle. An additional plus is that peak-hour traffic is benign compared to Johannesburg, especially for residents of the City Bowl in and around central Cape Town.
The cost of living in Cape Town is reasonable; however, with lower salaries than in Johannesburg and its abundance of hedonistic attractions, expats may struggle to save. Still, whether an outdoor enthusiast, a lover of the arts or a gourmet connoisseur, it's easy to live the good life in the Cape.
Though relatively small, Cape Town has all the trappings of an international metropolis with gourmet dining, world-class shopping and high-quality private healthcare. It is also a coastal city known for its beaches, and is home to thriving businesses at the forefront of their fields.
Cape Town is at the heart of South Africa's information technology industry, while port activities, the local film industry and financial services also make significant contributions to the region's gross domestic product.
The city is also home to some of South Africa's best-known educational institutions, including the University of Cape Town, the highest ranked university on the continent.
Cape Town is arguably South Africa’s most efficiently run metropolis and, although there are high risk areas, the city centre and the suburbs where expats are likely to live are relatively safe. While its public transport network could be better, the introduction of the MyCiTi Integrated Rapid Transport system means that it is easier for residents to get around than ever before. Most expats do, however, choose to own a car. Generally speaking, expats should easily adjust to living in Cape Town.