Expat guide to Cape Town
Are you thinking of moving to Cape Town? The southernmost African city is one of the most inviting places on this continent, attracting people from all parts of the planet. The capital of South Africa is the second-largest city in the country. Its Mediterranean climate and its cultural diversity make it a perfect spot for many expats looking for a new place to call home. That is why we have created this expat guide to Cape Town for all those who are interested in living in the Mother City.
Do you need a visa to stay in Cape Town?
Several years ago, the official immigration terminology changed, which is still causing confusion with applicants. At the moment, the applications for short-term residence are called visas, while expats who would like to live in Cape Town longer than five years need to apply for a permit. The old terms are still widely used, so you will have to be careful not to make a mistake when applying.
If you are planning a family move to South Africa, you should know that your spouse is not granted a visa or a permit automatically when you get one. Even your kids will have to apply for a student visa if you are planning to enroll them in one of the local schools.
Are the costs of living in Cape Town high?
Your experience regarding the costs of living will always depend on what you are used to before moving to a new city. For people moving from Saudi Arabia, or any country with high living standards, the costs of living in Cape Town can be far below what they are used to.
Obviously, the biggest expense you will have in terms of living costs is the rent. But, before you call the crew from Four Winds Saudi Arabia and set your moving date, there are some more facts you should be aware of. Just like anywhere in the world, some neighborhoods are more expensive than others, but consequently, they are more secure, which is a big thing when living in a large city.
Eating in Cape Town
When it comes to restaurants and bars, Cape Town citizens can proudly say that they have the best ones. No matter where you are coming from, you will not be able to resist the multicultural restaurant scene, and the good news is, you will probably be able to afford to visit restaurants more often than you did in your hometown. There are countless vibrant bars and coffee places where freelancers choose to have their favorite cup of coffee while working remotely.
For those preferring to make their own food or cook for their families, there are dozens of great fresh food markets where you can find pretty much anything you need. There are plenty of supermarkets in Cape Town to satisfy any need and fit any budget.
Getting around the city
The transportation system in Cape Town is not so spotless. The trains and buses are either late or scarce, so using your own vehicle is highly recommended. MyCiti bus and Uber are also great alternatives for shorter trips.
What are my chances of getting a job in Cape Town?
Moving to a place before checking out your professional opportunities there is one of the common moving mistakes. We are sorry to disappoint you right away, but looking for a job in the South African capital is an uphill struggle. The unemployment rate is rather high, so leaving the job hunt for after you move to Cape Town is not the smartest thing to do. People who work remotely and have their employment outside South Africa are the ones for whom Cape Town is a perfect choice.
The crime rate in Cape Town
The South African capital is infamous for its crime rate. Just like in most South African cities, the presence of gangs and drugs is what makes living in the city not so safe. Don’t get us wrong, in Cape Town, you can be social and have an amazing lifestyle, but you need to know which places to keep away from.
Usually, the common-sense rules are enough to keep you safe, for instance, not going anywhere on your own at night, especially if you are female. In societies like these, it is important that you find a safe neighborhood to live in. Also, you should get to know your neighbors since they will be the first ones to help you or let you know if they notice anything suspicious.
Having an Expat guide to Cape Town can be very helpful
Being a part of an expat community is important whenever you are living away from your homeland. Those are the people who might not be your best friends in the city you were all born in, but you do have much in common since you have chosen the same destination to be your current home. You are probably facing the same issues and have similar dilemmas, so being a part of the expat community can be a great way to learn from the experiences of others. Moreover, they will be able to recommend schools, restaurants, markets, and other places to help you feel more at home.
What about healthcare?
Staying healthy during a big move nowadays is a priority. But, while the entire world is struggling with COVID-19, life has to go on. People just have to travel, move, work, and live more cautiously. The healthcare system in South Africa is not perfect. Many hospitals are understaffed and do not have the best equipment, so the waiting lists are rather long and the quality of treatment is not always the best. The citizens of Cape Town are charged for the medical services according to their income and the number dependents. As an expat, you will probably have to invest in private healthcare insurance, just to be on the safe side.
Having fun in Cape Town
Cape Town is a vibrant city with plenty of entertainment options. People are active – they hike, surf, and do all sorts of sports. The South African capital is famous for its music festivals and various year-round cultural events.
We hope we have provided you with some useful details about the capital of South Africa. Having an expat guide to Cape Town at hand when planning a move there will help you better organize the relocation and settle in more easily.