Finding new friends and surrounding yourself with a positive support structure is one of the key elements in adjusting to life and finding happiness in a foreign country. This section lists a variety of expat groups, along with various clubs and organizations, that can help you build your social and professional connections in Cape Town. If you don’t find an appropriate ex-pat group here, try contacting your country’s local embassy or consulate (listed in the Visas section).
The Cape Town Expats Meetup Group
This well-subscribed group aims to provide the opportunity for expatriates to meet, socialize, and share their experiences of living life in a new city. It’s composed primarily of ex-pats from the UK, America and Australia, but people of any nationality or origin are welcome to join.
Visit http://brit.meetup.com/312/ to sign up free of charge.
The Swiss Club
Situated in Green Point, this club currently has around 300 members who meet for various social events and activities during the year. It’s open to anyone interested in the Swiss language or culture.
Visit http://www.swissclub.co.za/events.html or call the secretary on 021-658 7276 , 021-555 0766 or 072-218 5759. Alternatively, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The French Cultural Institute
Primarily a French language school, the Alliance Française organizes regular cultural events for expatriates and second-generation French descendants to come together and socialize.
Visit http://www.alliance.org.za or call 021 423 5699.
The Dutch Club
Dutch expatriates are often the quickest foreigners to find their place in Cape Town, as their language is so similar to Afrikaans. De Nederlandsche Club te Kaapstad organizes numerous golf days, lunches, galas, rallies, festivals and parties every year. Visit http://www.nck.co.za or contact the club secretary on 076 187 33 04.
The Italian Club
There are nearly 40 000 Italians living in South Africa, many of them in Cape Town. Founded in 2007, the Giovani Italo-Sudafricani (GIS) provides a social forum for Italians (and not a few South Africans) to meet and interact. The club organizes social, cultural, sporting and business-related events.
Visit http://www.giovani.co.za or call Josie on 082 564 1697
The Portuguese Association
Fully named the Portuguese Association of The Cape of Good Hope, this club arranges regular social gatherings in Rugby, a suburb near Blaauwberg on the West Coast.
Address: Donegal Road, Rugby
Call Maggie De Sousa on 021 511 3954
The Irish South African Association
This very active society organizes lunches, brunches and pub nights along with an annual St. Patrick’s Day Function (which, as of this year, was so packed many members weren’t allowed inside).
Call 021 7130154 or visit http://www.ireland.co.za
The Greek Club
The local Hellenic community has a marvelous club fronting onto a football field in Mouille Point. It houses a Greek restaurant and cocktail bar and acts as the meeting point for numerous artistic, social, religious and student groups.
Call 021 433 2374 or visit http://www.hcct.co.za/community.
The German Club and Deutsche Schule
Germans make up the biggest expatriate community in Cape Town, with an estimated 40 to 50 thousand living in the city.
There is a local German club, situated at 105B Hope Street, Claremont, which isn’t particularly active or well-organized. You can contact them on 021 465 4300. However, the most influential German cultural organization in Cape Town by far is the Deutsche Schule Kapstadt in Tamboerskloof. The school’s massive grounds make a wonderful venue for the bazaars and social events the school hosts each year, often complete with German-style beer gardens. They’re a popular gathering point for hundreds if not thousands of German expatriates.
Address: 28 Bay View Avenue, Tamboerskloof
Visit http://www.dsk.co.za or call 021 480 3835 to enquire about upcoming events.
Alternatively, the German Consulate should be able to inform you of the latest social and cultural developments within Cape Town’s German community.
Address: 19th Floor, Triangle House, 22 Riebeek Street, CBD
Call 021 405 3023 or visit http://www.kapstadt.diplo.de.
Business and Professional Networking
Most of the clubs and associations listed above serve as a meeting and networking points for expatriate professionals and businessmen. Below, are good local websites that may help you meet like-minded people in your industry.
The Business Network & LinkedIn
The goal of The Business Network is to create the opportunity for Capetonians in various professions to meet once a month, make new contacts, discuss business, and, hopefully, encourage, motivate, market and promote one another. The site allows you to create a personal profile, read and participate in blogs, and market your business online.
Alternatively, the international business networking site LinkedIn has attracted many local professionals and may be useful for finding Capetonians or fellow ex-pats in your field.
The Business Network: Visit http://www.businessnetwork.co.za or call 021 697 5148.
LinkedIn: Visit http://www.linkedin.com.
This is the premier South African website when it comes to media, marketing, advertising and B2 B-related news. With its regular listings of local business events, daily job postings, up-to-the-minute news and excellent blogs on local industries, it’s a great resource for professionals in any field. The site allows you to list your company in its searchable business directory, and advertise for free through its online classifieds section.
Kelvin Grove is as much a social hotspot for the upper end of society as it is a great place for recreational sport and physical training. The club has excellent facilities for tennis, lawn bowls, cricket, rugby, croquet, squash and swimming, along with a well-equipped fitness center. It also hosts regular bridge nights, social dinner evenings and sundowner bowls.
Address: 144 Campground Road, Newlands
Call 021 658 4500/1 or visit http://www.kelvingrove.co.za.
The River Club
Located near Lower Main Road, with its numerous bars and clubs, the River Club shows a more genteel side to Observatory. Aside from its 9-hole golf course, 90-bay driving range and extensive chipping and putting facilities, the clubhouses a German-themed café and bar, a great place to eat and talk shop after a round on the course.
Address: Liesbeek Parkway, Observatory
Call 021 448 6117 or visit http://www.riverclub.co.za.
The Metropolitan Golf Course
In addition to its 18-hole golf course, the Metropolitan is a good venue for meetings and presentations, with large bar and conference facilities conveniently located near the heart of the city.
Address: Fritz Sonnenberg Road, Mouille Point
Call 021 430 6012 or visit http://www.metropolitangolfclub.co.za
The Shaster Foundation For Community Development
This charity organization aims to use the unique skills of every volunteer to help the disadvantaged. Aside from its soup kitchen (which feeds around 200 families), the foundation provides opportunities to help with elderly daycare, teach young adults the building trade, assist with crime prevention and build houses in underprivileged areas.
To get involved call 021 657 1026