Things I wish someone had told me before moving to Cape Town

Things I wish someone had told me before moving to Cape Town | Traviness - A Global Lifestyle Blog

I have a very special post for you today. The very first guest post on the blog. Written by Kathi, a fellow writer and traveler, who fell in love with Cape Town as much as I did with New York. I hope you enjoy reading this post about moving to Cape Town, and get the chance to visit this amazing city soon.

General Advice

  • People who don’t ask »How are you?« are considered impolite
  • People who then start complaining about their life too – this question is a rhetorical one.
  • If people want to sell you something, just tell them you’re from Cape Town and don’t need anything
  • Don’t give money to people asking for it. Offer food instead – if they don’t want it, they probably would use the money on drugs
  • Talking about drugs: Cape Town can be dangerous if you don’t behave accordingly. Avoid wearing flashy jewelry and the latest iPhone
  • Don’t walk around in dark streets or shady areas at night. If you have to get to your car, ask a security guy to accompany you the few meters
  • Street food is actually really tasty, don’t be worried to get sick from it
  • South African drinking water is also safe – it’s one of the cleanest in the world so you don’t need to spend you money on bottled water
  • Never expect public transport to be on time
  • Never expect South African people to be on time either – unless there is beer or food involved

Things I wish someone had told me before moving to Cape Town

Getting around

  • A robot is a traffic light. Obvious, right?
  • If said traffic light is not working due to loadshedding, the person arriving first at the crossroad is moving on first
  • And remember: Left-hand driving in South Africa
  • Don’t forget to lock your car while driving. Especially in the evening and when you stop at crossroads
  • Always look our for taxis. Traffic rules don’t seem to apply for them. And for BMWs neither
  • Also look out for people crossing the street. Anywhere, anytime…
  • Be polite while driving – flashing your hazard lights means thank you
  • Never pay the parking guy when parking. Always pay them when leaving
  • Most South African cars are old. So just don’t central lock your car with the keys inside (and trust me, it will happen if you won’t take care)

Things I wish someone had told me before moving to Cape Town

Meeting new friends

  • You will chat with strangers all the time and you sure can ask them where they’re from. Just don’t ask about their roots if they don’t look South African but say they are
  • Don’t discuss about Apartheid either. Ever. You’re a foreigner which means you are simply not able to understand (it’s the same with Germans and WWII by the way…)
  • Don’t ask a South African to leave the house when it’s raining. They won’t.
  • Braai and Rugby are serious things. Don’t make fun of it
  • South African men are very gentlemanlike. Don’t be surprised if they hold up the door for you, take your coat and get you a taxi after partying
  • Accept invitations from people that are definitely poorer than you. They have their pride too. Just thank them
  • If you are invited over for dinner bring a bottle of wine
  • And just keep in mind: the cultural environment and the traditions in South Africa a very different from Europe no matter if people are black or white. Just accept that fact and you will surely make some great new friendships

Things I wish someone had told me before moving to Cape Town

Things that will become normal to you

  • You will have three or more keys for three or more locks to your home. Plus a remote control for the gate. Plus the keys for the car. Plus the remote for your best friends’ gate. Plus a key for work. Plus the spare key for your friends’ back door. No way to put your key ring in the pocket of your pants
  • Loadshedding (electricity cuts) will still be annoying but you won’t be scared or freaking out anymore. Actually, candle light dinners can be pretty romantic (and cold)
  • Talking about loadshedding: You will definitely buy a power bank for all your electronical devices
  • Capped WiFi is a curse. You will cancel many skype dates because your internet has been cut 7 days before the end of the month
  • You will keep a close eye on the meter for your prepaid electricity. Otherwise, you might just sit in the dark. On a sunday night. While cooking. Or taking a shower. It all happened
  • Driving will become so normal to you instead of walking. You will just drive anywhere
  • You will learn to live without cheese because you just can’t afford it
  • Social differences are huge in South Africa. You can contribute your share to change that fact but you can’t blame yourself for it. You have to accept that it’s not in your responsibility alone to change the country
  • You won’t mind geckos in your bedroom because they keep our spiders, bugs and cockroaches

You will fall in love.

First slowly and then all at once.

With the country, its landscape and its people.

13 Comment

  1. I’ve never been to Cape Town, but if I’ll ever go in the future, I’ll be well-prepared:) So curious about the street food now..

    1. Kathi says: Reply

      It’s sooo tasty – especially Samosas and Shawarma, you should really try those 🙂

  2. Kathi says: Reply

    Ahhhhh ich freu mich, mich hier zu lesen 😀
    Danke fürs Einladen und fürs Posten <3

    1. Kia says: Reply

      Danke für den Text, der ist wirklich wirklisch so schön geworden! 🙂 <3

  3. Sarah says: Reply

    Oh wie wundervoll! Ein so schöner Bericht mit klasse Bildern 🙂
    Ich möchte dort auf jeden Fall auch einmal hin! Steht auf meiner Liste 😉

    Ich wünsche dir einen wundervollen Tag <3
    Liebst, Sarah von Belle Mélange

  4. Afke says: Reply

    Amazing post! Very helpfull ? Would love to travel to South Africa maybe in 2017!!

  5. Wonderful post! I just love to hear about other culture cute little manners and stuff, I always wonder, what people think about us Germans, too =) I would really like to hear more =)
    Love, Héloise
    Et Omnia Vanitas

    1. Kia says: Reply

      Haha, yes, that’s true. I should find someone who moved to Germany, that would actually be really funny 😀

  6. […] Mehr über Kapstadt? Gibt’s in meinem Gastbeitrag auf Traviness […]

  7. I can relate to some because we practice it too here in the Philippines. I like the last sentences. The landscapes are really breath taking! <3

    Have a nice day!


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