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February 06, 2013

Cape Town summer weather: why so many Northern hemisphere residents come for six months

Fancy sharing the neighbourhood with famous celebrities like David Beckham and Leonardo di Caprio? Photo courtesy Hannah Swithinbank

Cape Town's accolades as one of the world's top travel destinations are well known (take a look at some of our recent awards here), but did you know that Cape Town is also a popular destination for expats, who have decided to leave their country of origin and head for warmer climes?

A good number of international visitors to Cape Town also choose to stay in the Mother City for half the year, returning home for the other half. This group of travellers have been nicknamed "swallows", due to their migratory behaviour. Others still choose to purchase property here, in some of the most sought-after areas like Camps Bay and Clifton, where prices are cheaper but luxury remains paramount.

Cape Town has been recognised as one of the top 20 destinations for expats in a report by Foreign Direct Investment, and is the highest-rated city on continental Africa for quality of life (ranked 89th globally) in the latest survey by Mercer.

Below we look at some of the reasons why expats choose to call Cape Town home:

1. The weather

Obviously. With an average of 283 days of sunshine a year, Cape Town's mild winters and warm, dry summers are a welcome respite from what many expats from up north are used to. And for the swallows, swapping between the Northern and Southern hemisphere offers the chance to enjoy a year-round summer, if you get the timing right.

2. The lifestyle

After-work sundowners, trips to the beach, family hikes or bike rides, dinner at some of the finest restaurants, exploring the winelands region and browsing top-class shopping malls are some of the things Capetonians count as regular pastimes.

3. It's affordable

Sure, it takes a long-haul flight to get here, but once you've arrived, you get some serious bang for your buck. With a favourable exchange rate for those from the UK, Europe or the US, you'll find the prices for things like eating out, doing grocery shopping and paying the bills to be quite agreeable on the pocket.

4. Good housing options

That favourable exchange rate pays off when it comes to buying property, too – many houses in South Africa tend to have big yards, swimming pools and garages, and you can find decent houses at very decent prices in any one of Cape Town's attractive suburban neighbourhoods.

5. We're open for business

Cape Town's European influence means business customs and etiquette are familiar to foreign investors, and Cape Town is a good foothold into the rest of Africa's emerging markets.

6. It's family-friendly

The private healthcare sector in South Africa is world-class, and in Cape Town and the surrounding areas, finding a good school to send the kids will not be difficult. There are also plenty of family-friendly activities to enjoy at the weekends.

7. The culture

South Africa has a rich and vibrant mix of many different cultures from around the world, which makes living here and getting to know your fellow South African – no matter what walk of life they are from – so enriching. The locals are very friendly people, and since English is spoken all over Cape Town, you won't have too much trouble finding your feet away from home. South Africa's European influence from history and the US's influence from TV means that you will find some familiarity here. Foreign visitors are also very common in Cape Town, and so everyone is welcoming and accommodating of expats.

Decide for yourself! Contact us to help you put together a Cape Town holiday, or call us for advice on how to make a permanent move here. Phone us on +27 (0)861 322 223 or email info@capetown.travel.

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