|It 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.
|Safety should be a top priority. Sign up with a good security company and ensure your home is fitted with the latest security equipment.
|Wear sunglasses and sunscreen throughout the year. The UV rays in South Africa are extremely strong.
|Be 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.
|Follow 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
Pick ’n Pay
Pick ’n Pay stocks an abundance of everything, from groceries and wine to kitchen appliances and cleaning products. Raymond Ackerman, the man that made the chain the shopping giant it is, is a local icon well known for his business mastery and philanthropic activities.
The chain is undergoing a brand revamp, probably inspired by Woolworths. Its new stores are cleaner, better lit, and better designed in every element, from packaging and shelving to the logo. It’s also jumping on the organic boat, making healthy convenience food options available for less. With its low to mid-range pricing, Pick ’n Pay is making great strides towards reclaiming the upper-crust customers who abandoned it in the early 90’s.
Stores come in numerous formats. Hypermarkets are the largest, of which there are currently only 20 in the country. They offer one-stop, discount retailing, with an extensive selection of food, clothing and general merchandise. There are two in Cape Town, in Brackenfell (tel. 021 980 5300) and Ottery (021) 704 7600.
With 162 in the country, Pick ’n Pay supermarkets are a feature of most areas in Cape Town. Their draw is fresh food, with very large selections of fruit and vegetables, as well as butcheries, fisheries and bakeries where food is prepared in sight of the customer. Visit http://www.pnp.co.za and use the store locator if you’re having trouble finding one in your neighborhood. Alternatively, call the customer care line toll-free on 0800 11 22 88. Stores are typically open 08:30 till 20:00, 7 days a week.
Pick ’n Pay offers online shopping, delivered to your home. Visit http://www.pnponline.co.za for details.
Of no relation to the UK chain of the same name, Woolworths was originally a clothing retailer. Now the oldest supermarket chain in the country, it’s known for its image of gourmet convenience. Its stores are much smaller than Pick ’n Pay, with a focus on food that’s free range and organic (while maintaining a wide range of choice). The food is also more expensive – often up to twice the price. You’ll often find Woolworths supermarkets inside or attached to a retail clothing store, so don’t be discouraged when you see mannequins in the window.
Visit http://www.woolworths.co.za and use the site’s store locator located in the top bar to find one in your area. Alternatively, call the chain’s help line on 0860 100 987. Woolworths also offers online shopping through the site.
Woolworths stores are typically open 08:00 – 18:30, Monday to Friday, and 08:00 to 18:00 on weekends, but are subject to seasonal variation. Contact your nearest branch to check times.
This chain has two store formats, namely supermarkets and large-format superstores. Their main draw is that they’re undoubtedly the cheapest of the lot, and, with more stores than Pick ’n Pay, are definitely the way to go if you’re shopping on a budget.
To find your nearest Shoprite, visit http://www.shoprite.co.za and use the searchable store finder (top of the page) to find stores in Cape Town. Alternatively, call the customer care line on 0800 010 709.
Shoprites open at 8 in the morning and and stay open till 6 in the week and 4 on Saturdays (Closed Sundays).
Checkers is also inexpensive, but a tad more upmarket than Shoprite. In addition to its excellent butcheries and fruit and vegetable sections, they also feature large ranges of fine cheese and wine.
There are a total of 11 Checkers supermarkets in Cape Town, and 1 hypermarket, located in Tokai. Visit http://www.checkers.co.za and use the store locator, situated in the right hand side menu, or call the customer care line on 0860 313 141.
A middle-of-the-range supermarket, Spar is more expensive than Pick ‘n Pay but cheaper than Woolworths. The different store formats offer different benefits and pricing.
- Standard Spar stores are typically sized supermarkets, and are more expensive, focusing on convenience foods.
- Superspars offer one-stop shopping, and are competitively priced, for bulk shopping.
- Kwikspars are located in most neighborhoods, and are reasonably priced, for everyday food shopping.
To find your nearest Spar, visit http://www.spar.co.za and use the store locator (situated at the top right hand corner of the page). Alternatively, call the customer care line on 0860 313 141.
Convenience Store Chains
Rebranded 5 years ago when the local 7-Eleven chain was purchased by Metcash, Friendly 7-Elevens are a common sight on street corners (in some areas you’ll find three to a street). They vary widely in terms of stock, but baked goods and convenience foods make up the bulk of their merchandise.
All the major petrol chains in South Africa have developed partnerships with local food chains. Most of these stores are open 24 hours, and are the last source of basic necessities (food, toiletries, cigarettes) when everything else closes.
- Engen has partnered with Woolworths for its Quick Stops, which offer uniform levels of quality across the country. They’re clean, pleasant stores to shop in.
- BP has partnered with Pick ’n Pay for its stores, a recent development that’s quickly spreading across the country. The stores are great. In this format, however, their products are about on a par with Woolworths pricing.
- Shell stations feature Shell Select stores, which vary widely in terms of quality, from hole-in-the-wall to modest. They frequently have branches of the popular take-out franchise Steers in their stores.