Living in Cape Town

Where to live in Cape Town

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If you're moving to Cape Town, you'll find a range of diverse and vibrant neighbourhoods to start your life in South Africa.

Cape Town has a population of approximately three million people, and offers a huge range of neighbourhoods in which to start your life in Cape Town. It is a diverse city, full of various reminders of influences from days gone by. Africans, French, British, Dutch and German settlers have all left their mark and helped to shape the city as it is today. Cape Town is a low crime city and has a wide range of lively cultural activities. Anyone living in Cape Town will be able to wake up to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world.

Most residents find that it is essential to own their own car and utilise this for getting around the area. There are some forms of public transport; the train runs through the city from the Cape Town sea front to False Bay to the south of the city. As with any city, there are a wide range of potential areas to live in Cape Town.

Atlantic seaboard

At the bottom of the western side of Table Mountain you will find some of the most fantastic beaches. Almost every property in this area has amazing sea views and it is one of the most desirable places to live in South Africa. The area is made up of four sub areas; Camps Bay, Fresnaye, Bantry Bay and Clifton. There are beach cafes and restaurants but very few other amenities, although the city is just 10 minutes away.

Living in this area is rather expensive. Also known as 'the Riviera', people living here enjoy the high-end kind of lifestyle. Most homes are resort-style properties, which are usually bought by wealthy foreigners.

Living in Cape Town

Blouberg Coast

The towns of Blouberg, Milnerton and Tableview sit around the edge of Table Bay. These towns are situated to the north of the city, and there has been a huge amount of growth as land sold cheaply. This has resulted in a wide range of available housing. The beach attracts kite surfers and windsurfers all year round and there is an abundance of beachfront restaurants. The area also boasts several quality schools and is just 5km from the Canal Walk Shopping Centre, one of the best malls in the country.

Packed with apartments and villas, the Blouberg Coast is an ideal place for expats to settle down. The Blouberg International School makes learning easier for your kids, and there are lots of parks and recreational places nearby too.

Bo Kaap/Waterkant

Houses in this area date from the early 19th century and every house is painted a different, vibrant color. It has become one of the most desirable places to live for those who have money and has managed to stay true to its heritage. The Muslim community is centered here, although the region welcomes expats too. The neighbourhood is dotted with minarets and mosques, super cool restaurants and interesting bars. As for the properties, most homes have been renovated and turned into chic apartments or lofts.

City Bowl

This area sits at the bottom of Table Mountain and is a highly desirable location for your residence. It is very close to the city centre but has its own range of shops and entertainment options. The infrastructure reminds visitors of the most modern European cities; City Bowl is packed with malls and entertainment facilities for locals and tourists. As for the resident population in this area, most have medium to high incomes. Many schools are available in the area, including Tamboerskloof Primary School and St. Cyprian’s School, which are mostly preferred by expats.

Living in Cape Town

Constantia, Tokal & Bishopscourt

The properties in this area are all of a similar nature; large and impressive homes with leafy gardens and high stone walls to maintain privacy. Constantia is a prestigious area and has little in the way of amenities but the main city centre is just 25 minutes away. The area is incredibly exclusive, with no real hub. Most residences are high-end and extremely discreet. Wealthy people and owners of the vineyards live here.

False Bay

About 25km away, you will find the towns of Muizenberg, Kalk Bay, Fish Hoek and Simons. It is possible to commute from here either by train or by car. It used to be one of the premier destinations and the faded buildings show the grandeur of yesteryear. It is possible to undertake almost any water activity here and all amenities are within a short drive. False Bay is not your usual type of neighborhood, considering the lack of amenities and schools. Most people travelling to this place see it as a summer resort and not as a region to settle down. However, it is currently enjoying a revival.

Hout Bay

To the south west of Cape Town lies the pretty town of Hout Bay. Here residents and visitors can enjoy safe beaches, an abundance of walking trails, horse riding and some of the most spectacular views in the world. The people living here are weekend commuters and transient holiday property owners. Still, the beautiful Hout Bay packs a modest working harbour and a few local schools. 

Living in Cape Town

Northern suburbs

Just 15km north of Cape Town, the northern suburbs have been created with an abundance of large, standalone houses and there are several good schools with a variety of modern shopping centres. The recent growth of Cape Town has triggered a rise in the housing industry and homes in the northern suburbs abound. This is an ideal area for expats to settle down, and Boroughs such as Durbanville, Bellville and Parow are becoming increasingly popular among expats. Thanks to the open expanses in Tygerberg Valley, the developers are free to continue constructing affordable and spacious standalone homes in the area.

Southern suburbs

This area lies just 10km from the city centre and boasts the highest concentration of historical buildings anywhere in South Africa. It is noted as a conservation area and is home to some top quality houses, private and government schools, and even some of the best medical facilities in South Africa. There are plenty of restaurants and entertainment venues scattered around the area.

Cape Town is a superb metropolis with lots of distinct neighborhoods. Whether you're looking to just rent or settle down and buy a home, look no further than one of Cape Town’s numerous amazing areas.

Peter Smith / Expatica

Peter Smith writes for real estate specialists

Photo credit: Paul Mannix (thumbnail), Diriye Amey (Cape Town beach), Damien du Toit (Table Mountain).

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