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Safety & Cost of Living in Cape Town


Amit Madan's picture
By Amit Madan - Posted on
18 June 2012
Hi All, I have been transferred to Capetown , but was really concerned about the Security & Safety of the City. I have asked few of my Friends & i get a very Mix reviews from them. My Company has Offered me a House Rent of ZAR 300,000 Annually. My Job Involves regular touring in Entire Africa & thus would normally be out of House leaving my Wife & Kid back in Capetown for sometime more than a Week. Do you think i will be able to Find a Good & comfortable house in a very very safe zone in the above cost??? Again my Wife & Kids are very Social & listing to the Safety Concerns in SA, i may have to tell them to sit in the house as a Prisoner???? Is this True?????
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Hi Amit, with R300,000 a year for house rental you should be able to get a really nice house or apartment in a secure area in Cape Town. Depending on where your office is, there are nice areas in the City Bowl area, northern or southern suburbs - and for that amount of money you should be able to find something decent. It also depends on whether you are looking for a free standing house or an apartment. If you're worried about security and leaving your wife and kids alone when you're away, I suggest looking for something in a secure complex which has walls and security fencing around. There are many armed response companies in Cape Town and most houses have burglar bars and an alarm system, with monitoring and armed response guards who can respond to an emergency. During the day there should be no problem leaving the house - going out at night is also fine, provided your wife is aware of her surroundings and knows where she is going. Like any city, there are good and bad areas in Cape Town. You should work through a real estate agent to ensure you get the best deal and most secure option to suit your needs. 

Have a look at our Accommodation in Cape Town page, and from there you can link through to our guides on Areas and Suburbs in Cape Town and Renting a Property in Cape Town.

Good luck with your relocation!
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Amit Madan's picture
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Thanks Catherine,

I have to work from Home for the First Year

The Idea of Complex looks good. A 3 Bedroom Apartment can surely be what i am looking at.
Can you suggest me a Area where i can Find a Nice Complex with the nearest proximity of a International School & a Shopping Mall.

Thanks for your kind support

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GabyS's picture
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Hi Amit

The shopping malls in Cape Town are a short drive (no more than 20 minutes) away from most areas.

There aren't many international schools in Cape Town - although some of the older, more established South African private schools are very good and worth looking into. It depends on what curriculum your kids are used to. Take a look at this thread on the difference between private and international schools in South Africa for some advice from expats on the subject.

The City Bowl (centre of town) has some good private schools and a small shopping centre in Gardens, and is a short drive from Canal Walk and Cavendish Square malls. You'll be able to find a good apartment with decent security in the area, or even a freestanding house with lovely views of the city. Otherwise, you could try an area like Constantia, which is also close to a mall and which has some excellent schools.

Try contacting a real estate agency like Pam Golding (pamgolding.co.za) - they should be able to send you a list of areas that meet your requirements.
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Catherine's picture
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Hey Amit, as Gaby mentioned above there are a number of shopping malls in Cape Town and a supermarket is never far away from residential areas. If you're looking to get away from a some of the husstle and bustle of the city, there is also the northern suburbs of Cape Town, including Durbanville and an area called van Riebeekshof, which has many lovely secure town house complexes. However, these areas are more Afrikaans and you're more likely to find good private and government English schools in the southern suburbs and peninsula, like Constantia, Newlands and Claremont. Definitely best to work with an agent who can source the right property for you.

I hope everything goes well with your move. Cape Town really is a stunning city and a wonderful place to raise a family.
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Anonymous
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I am dreaming of moving to Capetown to work and live. I'm not sure where to begin but know its what I want.
can you advise of good recruitment agencies who are willing to take on clients from the UK?
Thanks Mia

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Hi Mia, there are a number of sites advertising jobs in South Africa - check out careerjunction.com and bizcommunity.com. These sites will list recruitment agents, which you can then contact and chat to about job opportunities in Cape Town. Gumtree is also good for finding a job.

Good luck with your search!
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Marco Jò Kesha Germanotta's picture
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Hi, Can you tell me the prices of food, rent of apartments in the city center and if there is a crisis, thanks a lot!

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Anonymous
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Hello everyone,
I am likely to come and work for a German company in Simons town beginning of next year.
Which are the most secure suburbs around Cape Town?
Our kids are 5, 6 & 8 and we are been bringing them up bilingual in English and German. What schools can anyone recommend at this stage?
Cheers,
Norman

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GabyS's picture
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Hi Norman

There is only one German school in Cape Town, in the suburb of Gardens in the city centre or "City Bowl" area. It has a bilingual programme. The other option is to speak German at home at send them to an English school, in which case you have loads of top-quality private South African schools to choose from. Have a look at International Schools in Cape Town and Private Schools in Cape Town for a list of good schools and their contact details. I suggest treating getting into a good school as your top priority as the best ones will have long waiting lists and January next year is pretty close!

It's hard to say which are the most "secure" suburbs in Cape Town. Basically you get good areas and bad areas, and within those areas your house is either secure (has proper alarm system / armed response etc) or it isn't. The most secure option is to live in a gated community which has its own security guard / boom entrance.

Since the German school and Simonstown are quite far apart (30 minutes at best, at least an hour's drive in peak times) you should think carefully about where you want to live. It might be better to live nearer the city centre and drive out to Simonstown every day (you'll be against traffic that way) - see areas like Gardens or Vredehoek for example. Have a look at Areas and Suburbs in Cape Town for more information.

Good luck with the move :)
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GabyS's picture
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Hi Marco

Have a look at Cost of Living in South Africa for an idea of the price of food in Cape Town - there is a chart with a list of food and their prices. There isn't much difference between cost of food in different cities in SA although obviously things like fish will be cheaper at the coast.

Have a look at Areas and Suburbs in Cape Town for more information about where to live. The city centre has lots of high-rise apartment buildings and no shortage of apartments, although they can be quite pricey in this area - say at least 4,000 ZAR for a bachelor flat up to 15,000 and beyond for a really nice apartment.. A good online resource for apartment hunting is Gumtree.co.za, although you could also contact an estate agent like Pam Golding for a list of apartments that meet your specifications, as estate agents don't charge for their services in South Africa.

I'm not sure what you mean by "if there is a crisis" ...? If you're asking whether the city is currently under seige, the answer is no :)
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Anonymous
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Thank you Gaby S :D

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GabyS's picture
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Anonymous - you're welcome :)

Norman -

Also, take a look at the FREE Guide to Schools in Johannesburg for an overview of the admissions process for international students, etc. There is a dedicated Cape Town guide coming soon but in the meantime, a lot of the information in the guide to schools in Joburg applies to Cape Town as well :)

Also, have a look at this thread about the difference between international and private schools in South Africa for more help with your choice of school.
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Anonymous
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Hi Gaby,
thanks for the information.
We are currently living in Asutralia and our kids are bilingual so sending them to an english school is no problem.
I heard the international school in Hout Bay is supposed to be good.
Will hopefully find out by end of next week if I get the job.
Cheers,
Norman

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Anonymous
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Hello Gaby,
can you or anyone recommend a school near Simonstown, or in Noordhoek?
Regards,
Norman

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GabyS's picture
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Hi Norman

Hmm, tough one. I know there's a Waldorf school in that area - http://www.imhoffwaldorf.org/ - or if you're OK with a government school Fishhoek Primary School (http://www.fishhoekprimary.co.za/) is supposed to be pretty good. But if your kids are older and in high school and you can afford it I'd say you should go for Reddam House (http://www.reddamhouse.org.za/).

There are also some really good schools in Constantia like Hershel Girls (http://www.herschel.org.za/) or or Cedar House (http://www.cedarhouse.co.za/) - all of which will be a bit of a drive in the mornings but still possible...
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Anonymous
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Hi Gaby,
thanks again for your help here.
Our kids are 5,6 and 8 , so it is luckily only the primary school. Our youngest is a boy and we want all children in the same school, so a girls only school wont work.
I have managed to contact a future colleague and he mentioned that his children go to Sun Valley Primary school. He is pretty happy and believes its one of the better schools in the area. Its always subjective:-).
Cheers,
Norman

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Catherine's picture
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Hi Norman, there are quite a few good schools in the general Cape Town southern suburbs region, but as Gaby has stated,it will be quite a drive from Noordhoek/Simonstown in the mornings pretty much no matter where your kids end up going to school. Simonstown, in particular, being right at the end of the peninsula, will be quite an adventure to get out of in the mornings. It also depends on what your budget is and how old your kids are.

Although I don't have kids myself, from what I hear from my friends who are parents and have kids in school, Reddam is an excellent high school - it's at the bottom of Ou Kaapse Road, which is just on the other side of Noordhoek, and would not be too bad to get to in the mornings. It is a private school and the facilities are really good - bear in mind though, that the fees will be very steep.

Fishhoek High School used to have a good reputation, although I'm not too sure what it's like today. I believe Sun Valley Primary in Sun Valley, next to Noordhoek, is a good school. Further away are Wynberg Girls and Wynberg Boys high schools which are good schools. Right next to Wynberg Girls is Springfield, which is a private girls school. I had a friend who grew up in Noordhoek and went to Wynberg Girls' and the trek didn't seem too bad in the mornings.

The best is to also ask any of your colleagues who may have children, and also to contact the local education department - Western Cape Provincial Education Dept - as certain government schools give priority to children living within a specific feeder area, so if still househunting, you may want to consider the proximity to the school that you end up choosing for your kids. This is not the case with private schools though; they'll have their own admissions policies. Hope this has helped. Good luck with your move and school search!
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Anonymous
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Hey
I'm likely to come to cape town to study and was wondering what the cost of living for a student is

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GabyS's picture
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Hi Anonymous

There's a thread on that subject here. You can also take a look at Cost of Living in South Africa for a list of daily expenses.

I knew people who were at UCT who got by on very, very little. They had no social life at all but they did it. But it always depends on your own lifestyle - there's no universally applicable cost of living in Cape Town. Where are you coming from, so I have a better idea of what you're used to? It also depends on where you're studying. UCT is in the southern suburbs and accommodation nearby is in high demand and therefore fairly expensive, although it is possible to find cheaper spots if you look hard enough. UWC is further out and accommodation in its surrounds is much cheaper.
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Anonymous
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Hi - can anyone give me an idea of what it would cost a month for a family of four to live in CT - excluding schooling and rent? In other words, food, electricity, petrol ?
Thanks!

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Anonymous
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Hello, we are a British family with a young son considering moving to Cape Town with work. We currently live in Dubai. Our main concern is safety, as we are used to living in a safe and secure environment (although we have also lived in London, Manchester, etc). Can anyone also shed light on the job prospects in media and public relations in the city? Thanks! Scott

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GabyS's picture
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Hi Anonymous

Again, it depends on the lifestyle you're used to - take a look at Cost of Living in South Africa to get an idea of grocery prices. If you want to construct your own list, you could even have a look at South African retail giant Pick n' Pay's online home shopping website to get an idea of the products on offer and what they cost (pnponline.co.za). But, OK, for a family of four eating cereal in the morning, sandwiches at lunchtime and home-cooked meals in the evening, with take-out pizzas once a week, I'd hazard a guess at maybe R1500 a week... really hard to say though.

Petrol - it depends on how far you're travelling. Petrol's gone up recently and it's almost the highest it's ever been in SA. If you live and work in the CBD and the kids go to school in the CBD and you don't go out on weekends it shouldn't be more than say R1000 a month. If you make regular weekend trips out  of town to beaches and winefarms then it will be more. Then again, I know a single guy who spends R1600 a month all on his own just getting to work in the mornings.

Electricity also depends - for example, on the size of your house. I'd say at LEAST R500 a month up to R2000 or beyond if you leave lights and appliances on all the time and have a pool.

Also, don't forget you'll need to get your own private medical insurance - for a family of four that'll be at least R3000 a month.
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GabyS's picture
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Hi Scott

For media and PR jobs, take a look at Bizcommunity.co.za, or send your CV to a few recruitment companies in Cape Town (they don't charge for their services). Other websites you could try are Jobrapido.com or Gumtree.co.za. Use the search bars to find what you're looking for. You'll soon get a feel for the market if you take a look at these - although that said, this is generally a bad time of year to be looking (right before Christmas). Feb/March is when when everyone starts to look around to change jobs. You'll have a bit of competition for media and PR jobs, but then, there is also plenty of work to be had if you have the skills and experience - it's hard to say what your prospects are without knowing more about you. :)

Keep in mind you'll need to get a job before you move to Cape Town because you'lll need a work permit. See Work Permits in South Africa for more info. 

On safety, look, you're not going to find anywhere in South Africa that allows you to feel as safe as you do right now in Dubai. (See Safety in South Africa). On the other hand, SA has a wonderfully vibrant and interesting culture to explore, and Cape Town is a beautiful city to live in. Cape Town is generally safer than Johannesburg, although it depends on where you live. The safest options are gated communities with guards and boom entrances, or if you live in a free-standing house you must just make sure it has a decent alarm system, burglar bars etc and is in a good area. You'll need to follow at least basic personal safety rules as you would in any major American or UK city - i.e. don't walk alone at night, stay away from certain areas of the city, be aware of your personal belongings in crowds, keep your car and house locked, etc.

A good strategy is to stay in a hotel for a bit while you look around for somewhere to live so you can get a feel for the areas and suburbs in Cape Town first.
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Anna Shekhtman's picture
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Hello guys,
Please check out the website dedicated to safety of Cape Town, with true information, advises and even a safety map.

http://www.capetownsafety.com/safety-at-night/
http://www.capetownsafety.com/how-to-not-be-a-victim/
http://www.capetownsafety.com/cape-town-safety-map/

Best regards,
Anna

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Anonymous
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I have just arrived in Jo'burg, ( have a 20 month toddler ) thinking we would live here for a year or two for my husbands work...since i ve been here, ( 1 week only) i have become sooo paranoid about my and my familys safety i just dont know if i can do it! you hear so much stuff! and people say its a reality and you need to be streetwise, but the thing is people get shot at a traffic light for a car, you cant really be streetwise to that . or just getting shot for that matter! and we only have 1 life 1 chance....so im already thinking should we move to cape town and will i feel more at peace there.... my husband would still need to come into jo'burg but maybe ever second week for 3/4 days rather then every week for 3/4 days.... what do you guys think? do many expat families do that , in order to live in a safer part of SA?

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Shantalie's picture
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Hi Anonymous,

It sounds like you'll probably find life in Cape Town a lot easier than in Johannesburg. If you live close to the CBD or on the Atlantic Seaboard you'll be living amongst a cosmoplitan community full of expats and that should make adjustment much easier.

I am an expat living in Cape Town and I know a number of people who travel to Jo'burg for a few days each week. This will definatley be an option for you, Jo'burg is only a 2hr flight away from Cape Town. However, you'll need to check whether this can be negotiated into your husband's contract first. 

I can honestly say you won't have to much to worry about when it comes to safety in Cape Town, especially if you live centrally. I've been living here for 3 years now and haven't ever felt unsafe.

For more information you should take a look at the Safety in South Africa page.
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Anonymous
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oh wow ! really ? people commute every week? amazing
thanks so much for your e mail.... i feel so strange right now! i dont know if im over paranoid and being weak about it all, or if im being realistic ... thanks again

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Hi again,

Yes there are people that commute between Cape Town and Jo'burg on a weekly basis. However, it is not easy and involves lots of early mornings and time away from the family but it can be done if your husband has a supportive employer.

Best of luck.

Shantalie
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Anonymous
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Hey all,

I will be moving to Cape Town in a month's time to work and let me know the cost of Bachelor's apartment

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Shantalie's picture
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Hi Anonymous,

It depends on where you plan on living. In a popular expat area of Cape Town, you should expect to pay at least R4,000 for a decent bachlor apartment.

Shantalie
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