Lifestyle in Cape Town

► Buy the Cape Town Guide for Kindle or PDF

Cape Town offers a variety of activities

Life in Cape Town is a lesson in the art of leisure. Capetonians are known for having an appetite for the good life, and expats will find it difficult to resist the Mother City’s indulgent pastimes for long.

A naturalist’s playground with a cosmopolitan heartbeat, those relocating to Cape Town can enjoy a lifestyle that balances an emphasis on the great outdoors with an appreciation for arts, culture and entertainment.

It’s possible to climb Table Mountain in the morning, go wine tasting in the afternoon and enjoy dinner at one of the city’s renowned restaurants.

Even if food, wine and sun aren't someone’s idea of an ideal lifestyle, Cape Town’s niche boutiques and mega malls can be perfect for those that would rather wander shopping aisles than nature trails.

Shopping in Cape Town

Cape Town has an abundance of locally inspired, creative shopping options. The city has a strong countercultural movement of young designers, stylist artisans and craftspeople, and in many cases, they will have their own shop or studio.

There are also plenty of standard department stores to satisfy the whims of any shopper, as well as a few not-to-be-missed speciality stores. The Old Biscuit Mill is an unorthodox shopping complex just outside of the city and is home to a selection of eateries, restaurants and craft stores. It also hosts the internationally acclaimed ‘Neighbourgoods Market’ on Saturday mornings, a must-attend for expats who love food trucks, organic produce and quirky crafts.

For a more normalised mall experience, the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront is a popular destination, housing South Africa's favourite stores as well as a range of high-end international brands. Other popular shopping destinations include Cavendish Square in the Southern Suburbs, Canal Walk and Tygervalley – both of which are to the north of Cape Town.

Outdoor activities and sport in Cape Town

With all of the natural beauty that surrounds the city, expats are spoilt for choice when it comes to outdoor activities. The mountain is at the centre of ecotourism in the city, offering residents hiking trails, mountain biking and several nature reserves. There are a vast number of opportunities for residents to enjoy the outdoors outside of the city as well, including attractions such as Cape Point, which is said to be where the Atlantic and Indian Oceans meet.

There is also enough sport in Cape Town to keep fans happy. The Cape Town Stadium, originally built for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, often hosts local and international football (soccer) matches. The Newlands Stadium, in the Southern Suburbs, is the venue of choice for rugby and cricket matches in the city.

Fitness fanatics will be happy to know that the city also hosts an annual marathon and cycle tour.

Nightlife in Cape Town

Cape Town’s nightlife has something to cater to all tastes. Long Street, in the centre of the city, arguably has the biggest concentration of entertainment venues. Expats will have access to everything from gourmet burger restaurants to an Irish pub and clubs playing electronic music into the early hours of the morning. The city also has an active music industry, with artists and bands of all kinds of genres performing throughout the week. Younger expats will enjoy the student nightlife offered by Claremont, a suburb to the south of the city, and craft beer connoisseurs will enjoy the wide selections on offer at trendy bars across the city.