Moving to Cape Town

Last updated: April 9, 2020

Moving to Cape Town is a popular choice for expats due to the extremely low living costs and beautiful sceneries. But what do you need to know before moving there? On this page we will discuss all the relevant information for your move to Cape Town, from moving costs to requesting a free removal quote. Below is an overview of what will be mentioned:

Living in Cape Town

Why move to Cape Town?

Cape Town’s laid-back atmosphere attracts expats with its healthy, balanced lifestyle with alternatives to the high-stress work environment of more corporate cities. Moving to Cape Town provides a variety of positive features for expats, from the low living costs to the relaxed lifestyle. Cape Town has many advantages over other larger cities in South Africa, for starters the local government is arguably the most efficient this is reflected in Cape Town’s excellent public infrastructure.

The city is also home to some of South Africa’s best-known educational institutions, including Bishops Diocesan College.

Visa in Cape Town?

Being a UK citizen you can stay in Cape Town without a visa for up to 90 days, after this you will need temporary residence visa. A temporary visa will allow you to stay in Cape Town from 3 months to up to 3 years.

For a more information about visas check out the South African government website.

How much will moving to Cape Town cost?

Moving to Cape town will vary in cost due to a number of variables:

  • Size of household
  • Transport method
  • Insurance
  • Additional services
  • Time of the year

The main variable that will affect the cost of your removal is the household size. Below is an estimate of the moving cost from the UK to Cape Town by sea, this is not taking taxes, duties etc into account. If you want a more accurate cost for your move, fill in our free removal quote form where you can get up to 5 quotes. This only takes a few minutes and can save you up to 40% on your move.

On average a move from the UK to Cape Town will take around 4-7 weeks by sea

Household sizeCost
1 bed£2,100 – £3,500
3 bed£4,800 – £8,000
5 bed£7,000 – £12,100

Moving to Cape Town Checklist

  • Visa – If you are planning on staying longer than 3 months than a visa should be a priority on your agenda.
  • Paperwork – Make sure all your important doccuments, such as passport, is up to date and photocopied.
  • Finance – You will probably need to open a bank account while in Cape Town. Until you have opened one you may still need to transfer money abroad, visit our other page on the experts to transfer money abroad. The main banks in Cape Town are as followed:
  • Doctors record -It is necessary to bring to date copies of all doctors’ records that show any immunisations, major illnesses or treatments that need to be continued with when moving to Cape Town.
  • Change mail address – To make sure you don’t miss out on any important mail you should get your mail redirected to your new address
  • Driving license – Your license should be up to date and then you can apply for an international driving license to be able to drive on Cape Town roads.
  • Utilities — Make sure you cancel any utilities and set up contracts with new Cape Town providers.

How to find a job in Cape Town

Before moving to Cape Town you should be aware that the city in some ways still operates like a small village. Job advertisements in Cape Town are often found through personal recommendations or word of mouth. Expats who have not been lured abroad with a solid employment opportunity should invest time and energy into networking and creating good connections.

The most common way to acquire jobs are through local newspapers where job listings are published once a week. A work permit is necessary if working in Cape Town. Popular industries that expats tend to become employed in are; the media and advertising industry, IT sector and asset management businesses. Be aware as the salary rates reflect the low living costs, so don’t expect to be paid as much as you are used to in the UK.

You will notice when moving to Cape Town that the work culture is generally quite relaxed, and relatively few companies require their employees to wear formal business clothes in the office.

moving to Cape Town

Living in Cape town

Cost of living

The cost of living in Cape Town is a lot lower in comparison to London. For example rent prices are around 165% higher in comparison to the UK.

Living variablesCape Town costLondon cost
Restaurant meal£5.96£15.00
Monthly transport pass£20.55£130.00
Basic monthly utilities£53.55£147.65
1 bed apartment rent£567.63£1,676.51
Monthly salary£951.73£2,165.21

Inequality in Cape Town

Inequality is a big part of day to day life in Cape Town. It is not unusual to see a person begging and not far from them a brand new expensive car. It is important to remember that expats and tourists will be targeted by begging individuals and you shouldn’t give them money. If you are wanting to help then it is more generous to give to a reputable charity.

Safety

Although Cape Town has less crime then other South African cities it can still be a dangerous place. Although there are high risk areas, the city centre and the suburbs where expats are likely to live are relatively safe. It is not uncommon to still see houses with high electric fences, but these are just usually for extra security precautions.

How to find somewhere to live

It should be easy for expats wanting to rent in Cape Town. The main options of common houses include, furnished, semi-furnished and unfurnished housing. It should be noted though, that utilities are rarely included in rental prices. This is a rising issue in Cape Town due to there being a larger demand for electricity in comparison to the supply provided

The following are the top neighbourhoods to look for when moving to Cape Town;

  • Clifton
  • Bishopscourt
  • Constantia & Tokai
  • Bantry Bay
  • Fresnaye
  • Llandudno

There are many estate agents within Cape Town that can easily help you find your dream home. They provide free services for both renters and buyers. Other methods to search for housing include weekly listings in major local newspapers as well as property websites and online websites. Expats should bear in mind that properties go quick in Cape Town. Therefore it is advised to react swiftly if you find an apartment you are happy with.

Neighbourhoods in Cape Town

Transportation in Cape Town

South Africa’s road network is extensive and in good condition in comparison to the rest of Africa. Similarly to the UK they drive on the left, but what you wont be used to is the extreme traffic conditions. Congestion occurs in particular in busy cities such as Cape Town.

It is more common for expats to drive to commute around the city. Although the public transport is improving, it is known for its cramp conditions which doesn’t usually attract the fancy of expats moving to Cape Town.

The following are the most common methods of transport:

Buses

MyCiTi Integrated Rapid Transport (IRT) is the bus system in Cape Town. It also offers a shuttle service from the airport to the city.  Ordinary buses in Cape Town are run by Golden Arrow Bus Services and aren’t particularly reliable and rarely used by expats.

Minubus taxis

This is a basically a taxi crossed with a bus and is mainly used by locals. Queues are often really long, space is cramped and they often don’t look very roadworthy. They are known for being prone to accidents so again rarely used by expats.

Luxury trains

A wonderful way for expats to discover South Africa and its beautiful landscapes, is by using the luxury trains operating mainly between Johannesburg and Cape Town and a few other routes. It is one of the comfiest way of travel which is reflected in its higher prices.

Request free removal quotes

Thinking about moving  to Cape Town? Sirelo is here to help, find an accurate cost of your removal by filling in our free quote form. This will only take a few minutes and you can receive up to 5 quotes as well as save up to 40% on your move.