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  • Writer's pictureNatasha Posnett

Our first two months in Cape Town

Updated: May 6, 2020

So we've been living here for a couple of months now and we are finally starting to feel more settled and getting into a sort of routine. We knew that moving country would be a challenge, but it's difficult to imagine just how long things will take until you start the process. Moving abroad, you're basically having to start your life completely over, and that takes time!

Our main priorities when we first arrived here were to; choose an area to live in and rent a flat, buy a car, sort out my visa application, open up a bank account, get medical insurance and start enjoying our new home.

I can safely say that none of them (excluding exploring and enjoying Cape Town of course!) were completely straight forward and without their own challenges!

Location, location, location

I really enjoyed deciding where to live. We had a great couple of days basically just exploring the neighbourhoods of Cape Town and ranking them according to our priorities - safe, close to a beach and with a doable commute to John's work. It was fun to imagine how our lives would be in different areas, how we would spend our time and which clubs we might joint. It was exciting to eliminate places and see our list getting shorter. It felt really right when we picked Big Bay as our number one spot! It had a wonderful vibe; lots of surfers in the water, a long sandy beach, was much less busy than the city centre and only a 30 minute drive to Johns work. We were happy!

Picking the location was done, so then it was time to find our dream flat. Easy right? Sadly it wasn't as straight forward as I was hoping. It was November (South African summer and close to their long Christmas break) when we started looking for a property to rent. This meant that the majority of the properties were being let out as Airbnb's because they made more money as short term lets. There were very few properties left to view, so we waited until after Christmas to resume the search. Luckily, post Christmas holidays, there was suddenly lots of available flats and we quickly found one that we LOVED! We actually have views of Table Mountain from our lounge and I'm grateful for that everyday!

MY TIP= Remember your priorities and what is most important to you and your lifestyle and focus on them. You probably won't be able to find that 'perfect' location or flat!

Buying a car!

We have already been on so many great trips in our Renault Duster and I think its a perfect car for our lifestyle here, but it wasn't a quick overnight decision! We ended up having a rental car for a month while we were looking into which car to buy. Luckily, in South Africa the prices for rentals are very reasonable (roughly £10 per day).

The biggest problem with buying a car here was the price, it was so much more expensive than in the UK and that took us by surprise! We wanted a car that we could use for road trips but would also double as our day to day car for commuting and driving around the city. We ended up test diving a lot of different vehicles, and I'm very glad that we took the time to do this and not rush into buying the first one we liked the look of.

MY TIP= Test drive different cars and buy from a reputable garage that has all the correct documents for the vehicle.

Visa, medical insurance and banks....

I won't go into my visa application here, that will have to be for a whole separate blog... but lets just say it was time consuming, confusing, expensive and stressful and I am still awaiting the outcome ! I have spoken to a lot of other people about this and most people seem to have experienced difficulties too, its a shame that it can't be made slightly easier.

MY TIP= start as early as possible and make sure you have all the required documents.

Medical insurance is very confusing when you have never had to worry about it before (I will never take the NHS in the UK for granted again)! There were so many different ones to choose from and its difficult to know how much to spend on it and how much you want/need to be covered for!

MY TIP= do your research, ask questions and understand what you are covered for!

Setting up a bank wasn't too stressful because John is a South African citizen, but it is always made more tricky when you don't have a permanent address.

MY TIP= take photocopies of your passport and proof of address.

It was a busy few weeks, we learnt a lot, we made a lot of mistakes, but it was exciting at the same time. I feel like we have ticked off most of the big jobs now and "normal life" can resume! Cape town, we are loving you so far and I can only say that I am very glad that we made the decision to move abroad. You don't know if you like something until you give it a try!

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