Cost of Living in Cape Town. Prices Updated Dec 2020.

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Hi @jammingsloth

It’s so good to hear you’re wanting to check out Cape Town. It’s a very cool place, it has it’s challenges (mostly related to the current government), but it will blow your mind! You will not want to leave!

I grew up in Cape Town and have done a fair bit of travelling around the world, so I can undoubtedly give you the best feedback on CT with a global perspective.

Firstly, it is the most beautiful city in the world. No where else in the world will you find a city which is surrounded a beautiful (‘New 7 Wonders of the World’) mountain range, which runs down onto pristine white sand/blue flag beaches, the blueness of the sea matches the deep-blue cloudless sky, which has hundreds of centuries-old wine estates (featuring michelin star chefs!) within 30 mins drive… not mention all the outdoor and cultural things to do! Think of Cape Town as a semi-first-world city within a third world country.

What we call Summer in CT, lasts from mid-October to mid-March and the temperature is typically 28C-38C during summer. In Winter the temp drops to around 5C and it rains a lot during July, August and the first two weeks of September.

As a nomad, you want to live in and around the city bowl. Within tech circles, CT is known as Silicon Cape (Google them) because of all the startups and devs. There is a big design, modelling, film industry (second biggest in world to Hollywood). There is a lot of work available for devs. I heard someone mention they had a bad experience in Camps Bay. That’s unlucky, Camps Bay is probably one of the most beautiful and upmarket suburbs in the world. If you don’t believe me, Google it! I saw someone else said it was fake; having lived there myself I can tell you it’s not fake and a very cool place to be based and also virtually crime-free. I recommend staying in Camps Bay if your budget allows it, otherwise the following areas are all good: Bantry Bay, Sea Point, Green Point, Mouille Point, De Waterkant, Gardens, Vredehoek, Oranjezicht. Capetonians use the to look for and advertise accommodation. AirBNB and Agoda are just kicking off. Look at spending around $500 in accommodation.

Around the city bowl the public transport (MyCiti Bus) is really good and cost-effective. Uber is also a good option.

Only use Vodacom for your mobile network. The poor service provided by the other networks is not worth the cheaper price.

There are a lot of co-working spaces: Check out Jungle Corner at the Woodstock Exchange or the Bandwidth Barn. There are a lot more, just Google them.

In the last two years, internet speeds have got really good in SA. A lot of people have 10MB down (even my parents!), but a lot of businesses and co-working spaces have 50MB-100MB down speeds. Some restaurants like McDonalds etc. give you one hour free, but plenty of coffee shops/restaurants don’t have bandwidth limits as long you order from the menu.

Despite international media, Cape Town, as in the CBD and suburbs are one of the safest in comparison to other well known international cities. If you venture 45 mins out of the city into the townships/Cape Flats (ghettos), there is a chance you might experience crime, so avoid those areas unless you have a local guide.

One of the biggest challenges South Africa faces right now is “load-shedding”… basically planned power outages. I wasn’t too affected staying in Camps Bay, but a lot of other suburbs get hit regularly by load-shedding. The only way around it is to check the load-shedding schedule and move onto an area nearby which isn’t scheduled, but sometimes the schedule isn’t 100% accurate. Cape Town is situated in the Western Cape province and is run by the official opposition, the Democratic Alliance (DA), because of this the province is run far more effectively than the rest of SA’s ANC-run provinces and more recently on occasion when the national load-shedding program has CT scheduled, Cape Town has not experienced load-shedding because the city (DA) has managed to conserve power in other areas.

Over the last two years, the city bowl area has been experiencing a resurgence of artisan businesses. Expect plenty of great coffee bars, top end restaurants and bars. Craft beer happy hour specials for $1.20 a draft.

There is a lot of big business in CT, so if you’re a networking you can find team members, clients, business partners, angel investors etc. If you want to get connected join a group or ask around and find out where the meets ups are happening. There’s plenty of opportunities if you’re in the right circles.

Update: Mark from Workshop 17 here in Cape Town is a miracle worker – making huge advancements in fiber infrastructure. Today he was showing off the speedtests at Coworking Africa Conference (hosted at workshop 17 in Cape Town).

Earlier he ran at 749 Mbps download speed. The comments on slow internet in CPT are still relevant, but times are a change’n.

haha – you’re right when you say you will not want to leave. My 2 weeks in a guesthouse in sea Point turned out to be 3 years! And before that, I had been to Cape Town for 1 night and stayed for 4-5years!!! AWESOME PLACE and way cheaper than Mauritius.

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