A very warm welcome to the ExpatCapeTown Newsletter edition for January/February 2012.

What a great start to the new year we celebrated in Cape Town!

Fireworks over the Mother City, seen from the beach on a clear starry night, that is something you really can't beat! And the year started really well with lots of sunshine and deep blue sky and the occasionally South Easter is always welcome during hot summer days in Cape Town.

Now that the new schoolyear started, routine is back and the days already are flying by again, don't you think? My kids are happily back at school. Well, I think we are very lucky to have found a great school here in Cape Town and so we are busy getting back to "normal" days, but the afternoons still lure us to the pool, if not to the beach and meet friends.

Life is really treating us well in Cape Town and once you have lived in other countries you will especially appreciate what this lovely place offers: plenty of places to mix and mingle with friends or to enjoy the great outdoors, lovely restaurants and coffees to chill out on the balmy evenings, and the many parks around the peninsula are great places to relax and to keep cool!

What a great expat lifestyle you can have in Cape Town. Find out why we choose to stay here.

So enjoy this newsletter and have a prosperous and happy 2012 in Cape Town or wherever you are!

This is what you will find in this issue of the ExpatCapeTown Newsletter:

1. Hot Tips for Travelers and Expats: Cape Town Beach Tips

2. Event of the Month: Nutcracker on Ice

3. Inside Cape Town: Living in Claremont

4. Typical South African: bru and sosaties

5. Cape Town Insider Tips: Know where to go…?

Hot Tips for Expats and Travelers: Cape Town Beach Tips

Wow! Cape Town has got beaches the whole world dreams about!

Last year, Cape Town was actually named one of the ten best beach cities in the world (National Geographic 2011 and Lonely Planet Awards 2011). There are plenty of awesome beaches in Cape Town: Some small and quiet, others vibrant and colorful, some with the perfect wind and waves for surfers, others windfree and calm.

To make the most of a day out at one of the Mother City's great beach spots, just make sure you remember these basics:

1. Take plenty of water, a hat and sunscreen of min. SPF15 with you. The suns rays at the seaside are agressive and the UV levels in South Africa in general are always high.

2. Be sure you know where to swim. I always would advise only to swim where there are lifeguards, but I know that there are so many stunning beaches here in South Africa where there are no lifeguards. Ask the locals where the ocean waters are safe to swim. If you do not know or are not sure if there are stong undercurrents, do not go into the water!

3. Best is to always go bathing and swimming in groups. If surfing or canoeing try to stay in groups as well.

4. Do not venture to far out into the sea when swimming and take note of the tides and know about the currents.

5. Always take the number of the Sea Rescue with you, just save it on your cellphone. You never know if you might need it to save somebody's life! In Cape Town, the number is: 021 449 3500.

6. Alcohol and swimming do not mix! Never drink alcohol and take a splash in the sea to cool down! By the way, it is illegal to take alcoholic drinks to the beaches in South Africa.

7. Never swim at dawn, dusk or at night or when the shark flags are out. You really do not want to have an unplanned encounter with the big toothy white sharks up close!

Be sure to know the Cape Town Shark Warning Signs!

Read more about the Best Beaches for Every Weather.

And enjoy summer in beautiful Cape Town!

Event of the Month: Nutcracker on Ice

The world renowned Imperial Ice Stars are in town!

Until February 12, 2012 they wow the Cape Town audience with their magical performances of the famous Nutcracker ballet at the Artscape Theatre.

The highly talented dancers hail from more than 20 countries and are renowned for their acrobatics on ice, many of the skaters are European or even World Champions in Iceskating! So do not miss out on a chance to experience the brandnew production of Tchaikowsky's famous fairytale.

You can get tickets online at computicket or directly at the theatre. More info about the show here. If you want to celebrate Valentine's Day in style, check out some favorite places for an unforgettable evening out.

Valentine's Day 2012

And do not forget to check out the many events in my

Events Calendar February 2012

Living in Claremont

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 chose to bring you some more info about living in Claremont.

Why the Claremont? Claremont is located in the popular Cape Town Southern Suburbs and lies 20 minutes south east of Cape Town CBD and is easily reached by car via the M3 highway or via Main Road (M4). There is also a train station which links the Southern Suburbs with the city center. In Claremont you will find plenty of excellent amenities, two hospitals are in close vicinity and plenty of shopping facilities are in the area, from tiny stylish boutiques to lively markets and exquisite shopping centers. Many families and students enjoy living in the area as there are some excellent public and private schools located in Claremont, like Grove Primary and Herschel Girls School, which are well recommended by many expat parents. The University of Cape Town is closeby too. The Newlands Cricket and Rugby stadiums are around the corner and there are various sports clubs and facilites nearby.

Where to stay? There is a wide range of housing available in Claremont, lovely old Victorian houses, modern townhouses and some apartment blocks. There are also some gated estates in the area. Temporary accommodation is easy to find in various appartments or lodges in the area. The nearby Vineyards Hotel in Newlands which was named as one of Expedia’s Insider Select hotels in 2010 and their excellent Angsana wellness spa comes highly recommended.

Where to go? There are many quaint little coffeeshops, cozy restaurants and trendy bars to chill out in the area. Cavendish Square is with more than 250 stores one of Cape Town’s major shopping malls. If you fancy the outdoors, Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens is almost on your doorstep while Arderne Gardens off Main Street is quite a well kept secret with the locals. You should go and see this stunning public garden in the center of Claremont. It is a great spot to see some exotic plants and trees or to visit with the kids to feed the ducks. And on weekends you can experience many wedding parties taking photographs in the beautiful setting of the gardens.

Typical South African terms

What means "bru"? This South African slang term comes from the Afrikaans word "broer" which means brother and is used when talking to a friend. It is similar to American-English "dude" or Aussie slang "mate" . It is used often by the surfing community too and in expressions like: "Howzit bru?" or "Hey, howzit going, my bru?"

What are "sosaties"? Sosaties are marinated beef, chicken or mutton pieces on skewers, similar to Asian saté sticks. The curried meat dish is of Cape Malay origin and is typically served at braais/BBQs.

More South African Slang words here.

Cape Town Insider Tips

What else? Have you tried these…?

Where to find glass art? At the Edge Glass Gallery in 29 Vredenburg Lane of Long Street, you can find some awesome handcrafted glass sculptures, stunning bowls and exquisite glass jewelry. They also create custom-made artefacts for your collection.

Where to go on a romantic rendezvous? Show your loved one how beautiful the Mother City is from an bird's eye view. Take a ride on Cape Town's giant ferry wheel in the early evening before heading for an unforgettable experience at one of the Waterfront's many excellent eateries. The Wheel of Excellence is located in front of the V&A Waterfront and open from 10h - 24h.

Where to source some great gifts? After the huge success of the first Fringe Handcraft market in December, you can experience the vibrant market atmosphere again at the City Center's newest market. Find original, hand-made products on offer including craft, pottery, fashion, jewellery, décor, accessories and more. The market take place on February 4 at Harrington Square in the Fringe from 10h-15h.

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.

Please come back with more great tips from your site, all kinds of comments very welcome! Contact me here.


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