A very warm welcome to the ExpatCapeTown Newsletter in April 2010.
April in Cape Town. It is time now to catch your breath before the worldcup comes to town and with it loads of tourists and the higher prices and rates start to make life more difficult for many Capetonians although the Mother City promises to get even more color- and beautiful than ever.
Many of us are disappointed by all the racism discussions which are surfacing again. Foreign media currently are not helping much the view of South Africa when they distribute many negative news.
I would like to appeal to all of you to help spread the word that expat life in South Africa is easily to be enjoyed without constantly worrying about safety and racism and that if you keep your eyes open when walking around (which I would advise anyway;) when touring the city, the lovely beaches and mountains. And check out this anti-racism campaign by Green Skin Initiative which gained over 8,500 members on facebook alone during the last week! Check out greenskin.org.za
For those of you who have not read my Cape Town Safety tips, you will find them here.
On the other hand, the South Africans might seem quite a bit unhappy about the recent price hike announcements, further strikes in the public sector are looming and with the general cost of living continue to climb.
Announcements that not only the petrol price will go up again, but also electricity and water rates as well as property rates will be going up by July this year made life worth for many South Africans and service delivery by the government is still to be improved. So for expats living expenses here are not as cheap anymore too, but still the expenses will be less than in other favorite expat cities.
For your information I collected some interesting facts regarding expenses bills and will give you some tips how to stretch your Rands to go a bit further.
This is what you will find in this issue:
1. Hot Tips for Travelers and Expats: Cape Town Cost of Living Facts
2. Event of the Month: SA Cheese Festival
3. Inside Cape Town: Living in Camps Bay
4. Typical South African: diski dance and amarula
5. Cape Town Insider Tips: Know where to get…?
Hot Tips for Expats and Travellers: Cape Town Cost of Living Facts
There are tougher times ahead for many South Africans regarding the current price hikes in many sectors. For you as expats it is also important to know for your salary calculations where the prices have risen and get some tips where you can save money when living in Cape Town.
Here are some interesting cost of living facts:
• Electricity: After July 1, 2010 the electricity costs will increase a whopping 24.6%. So for an average household using 700kWh per month this means R127.20 more on your electricity bill. This figure is still low as you will know when you look at your electricity bill. Having a pool and using the efficient but electricity consuming alarm system, fences or lighting you will pay quite a bit more each month.
• Water and Sanitation: Here you will have to calculate with an increase of 10% for this year from July 2010 onwards. Using 20,000kl per month will cost you around R110 now.
• Refuse Collection: Garbage Removal Tariffs will increase 18% from July 2010. A garbage bin costs in the city of Cape Town currently R64. So do your own bit and do your own recycling to cut down on costs for waste collection costs.
• Property Rates: For homeowners the costs will rise also as many houses in the Cape Town area were revalued and you can expect your rates to go up by 10%.
• Pay TV: Private Television Channels of Multichoice/DSTV or Deukom offer great rebates if you pay the yearly rates instead on monthly debits. Check out their offers.
• Interest Rates: Interest Rates are likely to tumble down a bit more as the retail sector is still struggling and the demand is still low. So the interest rates are likely to be cut 0.5 points at the next meeting mid of may. To make sure you get the best rate check out the rates at different banking institutes.
If you are struggling with your finances or want to save just a bit more, here are some more money saving tips for living in Cape Town.
• Factory Shops: You can get many things at the many Factory Shops in and around Cape Town.
• Pay your bills immediately: Often you get up to 10% discounts of doctor’s bills if you pay them right away. Ask to get your bill right after the appointment and settle immediately to qualify for discounts.
• Enjoy free events: Get outdoors and know where to go for free Cape Town activities.
Read about free activities in Cape Town
Event of the Month: SA Cheese Festival
Do you like cheese? Eat it? Taste it?
Then a trip to Bien Donne’s South African Cheese Festival is a must for this long weekend ahead. There is lots of entertainment for the whole family and you can enjoy great food and wine and see some of the best South African chefs in action. Lots of great entertainment for the kids under twelve, who can visit the event for free, too. For more info go to www.cheesefestival.co.za
Then there is another great event which is in its last days in Cape Town for this season. If you have not seen Stomp in its 15 years of fascinating performances yet, you just have to book a ticket for this show.
The reviews are raving, so if you like musicals with vibrant colours, songs to sing along and beautifully bright costumes, you just have to see this musical. Book your tickets now through Computicket.
What else is on in Cape Town in April?
More great events and shows in April 2010.
Living in Camps Bay
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 Camps Bay where quite a few expats choose to live.
Why Camps Bay? Being one of the most sought after locations around Cape Town this picturesque suburb has still a hip and stylish feel. But not only the rich and famous will you meet but many local families make this place their home due to the excellent schools in the vicinity and the great amenities and facilities. Camps Bay is close enough to the Cape Town CBD to enjoy the daily trip to work too. And where else in Cape Town does the Twelve Apostle Mountain Range look so stunning in the evening sunset?
Where to stay? There are houses and apartments of all sizes, some with huge open plan living space, but most of them have smaller gardens which are mostly covered by turquoise pools, there are some older apartment blocks and smaller houses but mainly the houses are located on the slopes of the Twelve Apostles range. There are the prestigious Camps Bay Hotel and a bit further down the Atlantic Coast the famous Twelve Apostles Hotel as well as there are excellent guest houses and B&Bs in the Camps Bay suburb to be found.
Where to go? Definitely go for a sundowner at the Twelve Apostles or any of the beachside restaurants in Camps Bay to enjoy the fabulous sunsets over the bay. Enjoy a stroll along the promenade, go hiking up Lions Head or chill out on the beach.
Where to do your grocery shopping in Camps Bay? You will find a small shopping center and amenities in Camps Bay, bigger shopping centers are located in Seapoint which is a short 5 minute drive away.
Typical South African terms
What is "diski dance"? This dance will be gripping the world by storm during the coming Worldcup, that is for sure. The term "diski" comes from the township lingo and means simply "soccer".
What is amarula? This delicious creamy liquor is now available and marketed all over the world. The fermented South African marula fruit gives the alcoholic drink its typical flavor. The little round orange marula fruit is very popular with the South African wildlife as well, elephants and monkeys are known to get drunk and dizzy by eating the fermented fruit as well. So the marula tree is also known as elephant tree.
Cape Town Insider Tips
What else? Have you tried these…?
Where to get a lovely buffet breakfast? Surprise your loved one with a lovely breakfast at one of Cape Town’s top hotel restaurants. Enjoy the early morning hours with stunning views of Table Mountain from the Table Bay Hotel’s terrace or greenhouse.
Where to learn more about South African history? Take a ferry to Robben Island and you can be sure to come home with deeper insights into the horrendous deeds of the Apartheid era. You will learn about the Rainbow Nation Nelson Mandela was working for during well guided tours. The tour through the Robben Island Prison is even lead by one of the former prisoners at this eerie place. This is really a must-visit when in Cape Town.
Where to buy Spanish sausages and smoked meat? Visit one of the many farmer’s markets like the Willowbridge Slow food market and find culinary treats and delicatessen from many places around the world.
Find more info about some of the best Cape Town markets here.
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!