A very warm welcome to the ExpatCapeTown Newsletter in November 2010.
Christmas is approaching and it is almost December, but finally here it comes: your November edition. I know I am really late with this one, school is almost out and it's the time for year-end-parties, but I hope you find some time to read and enjoy my info nevertheless.
Are you looking forward to coming to Cape Town this Southern summer but worry about your personal safety? Or are you an expat looking for more tips on living in the Mother City during the festive season? Here I will give you some ideas about where to go and what to do this summer in South Africa's Mother City.
Surely we all are concerned about personal safety when it comes to evening functions or late night meetings. There are some rules you should know about when going out at night in Cape Town and there are some places you should try to avoid, especially at night.
So know where you can go and where to stay away, and you will have a fabulous time in the Mother City not only during the festive season.
This is what you will find in this issue of the ExpatCapeTown Newsletter:
1. Hot Tips for Travelers and Expats: Cape Town - Places to avoid?
2. Event of the Month: Oh Happy Days
3. Inside Cape Town: Living in Blouberg
4. Typical South African: lekker and chakalaka
5. Cape Town Insider Tips: Know where to go…?
Hot Tips for Expats and Travelers: Cape Town - Places to Avoid?
Are there places to avoid when visiting the Mother City or living in Cape Town? This is one question I get asked really often. There are some recommendations given by the Tourism Office, but even official statements do not tell you about places you should stay away from.
Well, I think it is difficult to tell people to stay away from the townships in general, as there are many places which are visited regularly by tour guides and charity workers, but surely you are advised to know where to go and when. So here are some safety precautions you should keep to when coming to Cape Town.
• Learn as much as you can about the area you are planning to visit. There are restaurants and cultural events taking place in the Cape Town townships which are well worth a visit, but you have to know how to get there safely. Not all roads are safe, so know the safe routes and plan accordingly.
• Many suburbs, even the more affluent ones have got some areas which are not safe to walk through alone even during the day, so ask around which places you should avoid.
• Call up event organizers, charities, school or churches in the respective areas, especially the townships, to make sure to get either an organised transport from them or get precise directions.
• In general it is not advised to go to the townships on your own, always be with someone who knows the area or get a registered tour guide. Avoid driving in or through the townships, like Khayelitsha, Guguletu, Dunoon etc. after dark!
• Even in the Cape Town CBD there are some places I try to avoid even during daytime. There are some notorious areas where muggings occur often, so try not to walk alone in the smaller alleys, close to Senator Park or the back of Cape Town Train Station.
• Stay safe when driving in and out of town at night. Pay attention at traffic crossings, some drivers do not stop with red lights so watch out for them! Most of the main access routes into town are safe even at night, but you should watch out if somebody is following you. When in doubt, call your security company to wait for you at your premises.
Event of the Month: Oh Happy Days
Get in the mood this festive season with the great open-air concerts at Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, the Oude Libertas Amphitheatre in Stellenbosch or the Paul Cluver Amphitheatre in Grabouw.
One event I am really excited about is the concert of the South African Youth Choir and fabulous diva Zanne Stapelberg at Oude Libertas Amphitheatre. The SA Youth Choir was actually crowned recently in China as one of the best youth choirs in the world. So book your tickets and enjoy a great evening under the stars.
And do not forget to take a picnic which you can enjoy on the lawns above the amphitheatre before the show.
What is on in Cape Town in December 2010?
More great Events in December
Living in Blouberg
In this section you will find every month insiders’ tips and advice about one of the many suburbs of Cape Town. So you know where to stay and where to go. This month I choose to bring you some more info about living in Blouberg which is suburb on the Atlantic north of the Cape Town.
Why Blouberg? It is lively but still relaxed. You will find all the amenities for a great holiday or easy living along the Atlantic coast. The suburb is great for young and old. The only little draw back is the traffic when commuting into town for work or school as during peak hour the 20 minute trip to the CBD easily will take you 60 - 90 minutes. But by February 2011 the new Bus Transport System from Bayside Shopping Centre should be implemented and the commutes should get easier.
Where to stay? Housing ranges from new apartment blocks, town houses in various gated estates or still safe housing areas with all sizes of homes. From many of the houses you will have stunning views of the ocean or across Table Bay. There is plenty of accommodation in guest houses, self-catering apartments or hotels in this area.
Where to go? There are many coffee shops, bars, restaurants and entertainment and shopping facilities in the area. You will also find many international delicatessen shops near the beach front and the current upgrading of Bayside Mall will add to the attraction of Blouberg.
Typical South African terms
What means lekker? You will hear this term in South African English a lot. Here almost everything can be "lekker" and the term "lekker" is not restricted to tasty dishes. A new car can be "lekker" or some event which had a vibey atmosphere is also referred to with this expression: "The concert was really lekker"
What is chakalaka? This spicy sauce is mainly made of pepper, tomatoes and garlic and is a traditional African dish. It is often eaten with pap or traditional South African dishes and some love to eat it with their braai vleis.
More South African Slang words here.
Cape Town Insider Tips
What else? Have you tried these…?
Where to get delicious Spanish Tapas? In the CBD many new little eateries are opening up recently, so it is hard to keep track. But this new bar and lounge cum restaurant called "French Toast" is a fine place to have some Spanish tapas. It is located in 199 Bree Street.
Where to see Chacma Baboons? If you drive along the Coast from Simonstown to Cape Point National Park there is no way you will miss the playful baboons. Just be careful when you have a picnic there as the baboons tend to go for every food they can get their naughty little hands on. Never approach them or try to touch them! Never give them any food and please take your rubbish with you as they rummage in the bins to find anything to chew on.
Where to buy plastic containers? For food storage you will appreciate the convenience of using plastic containers as little bugs and creepy crawlies thrive in the South African climate and thus in your kitchen. So invest in some plastic containers to keep your food safe. You will find great plastic products at lower prices in the warehouses of Crazy Plastics and Plastics for Africa which are located in various industrial areas or shopping centres around Cape Town.
What’s coming in the Next Newsletter?
As ExpatCapeTown wants to bring you the most up to date stories and insights, please be patient and let me surprise you with more great news about the Mother City.
Just be assured, there will be lots of more great tips and advice, so be sure to subscribe my newsletter and take a look at my website which is ever expanding.
And please come back with more great tips from your site, all kinds of comments very welcome!
Contact me here.
Have a great time in Cape Town or wherever you are!