By Natasha Posnett - Cape Town Local
Retiring in Cape Town may not be at the top of your list but maybe it should be. Cape Town is a city like no other; full of nature and surrounded by luscious mountains, long sandy beaches and beautiful vineyards. It is a city known for its laid-back lifestyle, friendly people and delicious wines. If you’re looking for that perfect mix of cosmopolitan culture and the great outdoors, Cape Town is the place for you.
Also known, as the Mother City, it is the second most populous city in South Africa, after Johannesburg, and is the legislative capital of the country.
Pros of Living in Cape Town
Cape Town has so many positive aspects about it which is why it has become such a popular destination for expats and retirees.
Cons of Living in Cape Town
It is important to also be aware of the slightly more negative aspects of Cape Town and some of the difficulties you may encounter living here. No location is perfect, it is just better to be aware of the challenges to help you make an informed decision about your move.
Cape Town's Nickname is "The Mother City".
What is the Culture Like in Cape Town?
Retiring in Cape Town exposes you to a cultural mix of Dutch, French, Malay, English, Afrikaner and Xhosa lifestyles. It is a multicultural city and a melting pot of people and cultures. Its diverse heritage and variety of cultures can be explored through its cuisine, historical architecture and vibrant arts.
What Languages are Spoken in Cape Town?
English, Afrikaans, and Xhosa are the most widely spoken languages in Cape Town. Afrikaans is the most spoken home language in Cape Town, with more than 40% of Capetonians speaking the language. English is also widely spoken, and Xhosa remains the main language of the local African population. It is a multicultural city with many different languages being spoken, but you can happily get by living in Cape Town just speaking English.
What is the Climate Like in Cape Town?
Cape Town has a Mediterranean climate. The summers are warm, dry, and sunny with average temperatures of 68-86 degrees Fahrenheit between November to February.
The winter months are wetter, but it stays very mild compared to many other cities. Average temperatures will range from about 50-68 degrees Fahrenheit between May to August. During the winter rainy season Cape Town’s greenery really flourishes and the natural surroundings are in their prime.
Is it Safe to Live in Cape Town?
Safety is an issue in every city worldwide, so of course Cape Town has a few issues. It is not recommended to walk in the dark on your own. Most neighborhoods in the city are safe, but there are a few areas you are advised to avoid...especially at night time. Just like many other major cities, retiring in Cape Town is safe if you take the correct precautions to protect yourself and your belongings.
The World's First Heart Transplant Took Place in Cape Town.
How to Get Around Cape Town
If you're retiring in Cape Town, know that a car is almost essential to get around as the public transport options are quite limited. There are no subways, trains can be unsafe, and metered taxis get expensive when you need to use them often.
The MyCiTi bus is another option. It has grown a lot in recent years and now covers the inner city and Atlantic Seaboard. It also extends north through Milnerton, Century City, Table View and Blouberg.
What are Popular Activities in Cape Town?
You'll never run out of activities to do when living in Cape Town. Whatever your hobbies and interests are, there is something for everyone. The sunny weather and relatively cheap prices makes it easy to get out and about and enjoy your free time.
Cape Town Cost of Living Chart
Cost of Living Rank
387th out of 598
1 Bdr Apartment in City
$713 per month
1 Bdr Apartment Outside City
$508 per month
Average Utilities: 1 Bdr Apt
$91 per month
Inexpensive Meal for One
3-Course Meal for Two, Mid-Range
Where do Locals Dine Out in Cape Town?
You have many choices in Cape Town when it comes to dining out. Whether it's fine dining, family friendly, or a more casual cafe you’re looking for, you won’t be disappointed.
My top picks for dinner:
- The Test Kitchen (for a real fine dining experience) in Woodstock
- Belly of the Beast in District Six
- The Chefs Warehouse in the CBD
My top picks for brunch/lunch:
- Harvest Cafe in BoKaap
- Nourish’d in Tamboerskloof
- The Strangers Club in Green Point
Cape Town’s multicultural heritage influences much of its cuisine and there are a few dishes that you have to try when you’re in the city:
Cape Town isn't often thought of as a retirement location. But if you're looking for an affordable place near beautiful beaches that is surrounded by amazing hiking locations...retiring in Cape Town could be for you.
If you'd rather be in Europe, Malaga, Spain is another great option.
Retiring in Cape Town Quick Facts
Warm and dry summers. Cool and dry winters. Average temps are from 48°F and 76°F (8.8°C and 24°C)
Flight time to U.S.
23 hours by plane to New York, 16 hours to London
South African Rand
Yes - More Info
Having a car is recommended