Cape Town

South Africa

The Cosmopolitan Centre of South Africa

Often referred to as the African Riviera, Cape Town is South Africa’s most urbane city and it offers expatriates a cosmopolitan lifestyle in a city that seamlessly pairs natural beauty with vibrant multiculturalism.

Cape Town offers a life that is rich in culture, entertainment and history. The city combines heart-stopping beauty, a well-developed infrastructure and historical gravitas so effortlessly that expatriates benefit from the best of both worlds in a diverse, enthralling and engaging environment.

The more adventurous expats will be strongly attracted to the city by the outdoor lifestyle that is on offer. Dare devils can participate in a whole host of mind-blowing activities, from kite-surfing, rock-climbing and wake-boarding through to shark-cage-diving, hang-gliding and sky-diving; while the more subdued residents will have an equally enjoyable—but less daring—time exploring the unique scenery and stunning beaches.

Cape Town is the culinary capital of South Africa. Nowhere else in the country is the populace so discerning about food, and nowhere else is there such a wide selection of restaurants and dining opportunities on offer. Aficionado expatriates will be in a culinary heaven.

What’s the draw?

  • Stunningly beautiful beaches and amazing surf-spots within a stone’s throw of the city.
  • Beautiful natural scenery and a picture-perfect coastline that generates the feeling of an island getaway with all the conveniences of a modern city.
  • A lively cultural and art scene that is continually evolving to reflect the efforts of the city to work its way towards unity.
  • Fantastic weather with average temperatures of around 26'C and up to 10 hours of sunshine a day in summer.
  • An exchange rate that favors Americans and Europeans and offers expatriates access to a great standard of living.

Live there:

For the majority of expats, Cape Town is a place of contrasts and challenges. The varied mix of Cape Town culture and lifestyle means that the average expatriate will take time to adjust to life here and insider knowledge is a must. Our expatriate guide to living in Cape Town contains indispensable advice about enjoying and acclimatizing to life in this exciting and vibrant African gem:

  • Being a foreigner in Cape Town by no means needs to be a lonely business. An average night out in Long Street, the centre of local nightlife, will put you in the company of no end of German, French, Italian and Portuguese expatriates and backpackers. We tell you where to go to meet like-minded people and find a community that will welcome you with open arms.
  • Finding somewhere to live will be a top priority. From the affluent suburb of Newlands to the downtown “city bowl” district, to the emerging areas of Bo-Kaap and Woodstock, our guide to living in Cape Town will give you the insights you need to find a location that suits your needs.
  • Don’t be intimidated by the rumors, Cape Town can be a safe place to live provided you are fully prepared and stay vigilant. Our guide to crime, safety and healthcare provides you with all the information you need to avoid Cape Town’s crime from impacting your daily life.

Our Cape Town destination guide will put you in firmly in the picture when it comes to getting the best out of your life in this buzzing city.

About Cape Town we have

Our guide was written by John Callely and last published on Tuesday 9th October 2012.

Read this guide »

Five top tips

01It is critical to ensure you have the correct visa before you arrive as you will need to return home to make changes if you have the wrong visa.
02Safety should be a top priority. Sign up with a good security company and ensure your home is fitted with the latest security equipment.
03Wear sunglasses and sunscreen throughout the year. The UV rays in South Africa are extremely strong.
04Be adventurous, not stupid. Whenever you go on a new hike or nature walk, do it with a local who knows the route and the time it takes to get back.
05Follow the networking process. Join a few expatriate clubs. It’s a lot easier to travel the grapevine between social scenes than to jump into on

Interesting fact

The median age in the city of Cape Town is 26 years old, with almost half the population less than 24 years old.