CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA
South Africa is considered by many to be the best region to live in sub-Saharan Africa. The city of Cape Town is one of the most beautiful cities in the world, let alone Africa, having won a number of prestigious international travel awards. It’s where most people in South Africa wish they lived. While the town has lovely summers (October–April), there is a winter season filled with much fog, rain and wind.
Cape Town, also known as “Mother City,” is the center of the insurance and now burgeoning digital sectors in SA. It’s also where you’ll find the advertising executives and creatives, with many retailers and fashion designers headquartered there.
Housing options vary, from Tuscan-styled homes (a trend seen across the country), funky “SoHo”-style downtown lofts, and gated urban estates. While crime rates remain high, security is generally considered to be less of a concern than in Johannesburg, and is evidenced through the conspicuous absence of the ubiquitous high walls and electric fences seen around houses in parts of Johannesburg and Pretoria.
Like many 2010 World Cup host cities, Cape Town’s public transport infrastructure was given a makeover during the event, primarily through the MyCiTi rapid bus service. Routes are still limited though, so unless you’re willing to commute via railway or chance the minivan taxis, it still is the kind of city where it’s best to have your own car to get around.
JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA
From the moment you step off the plane at O.R. Tambo International Airport, it becomes clear why Johannesburg is considered a world-class city. ORTIA rivals the best airports in developed worlds. It’s sleek, modern, expansive and offers a wealth of stores and restaurants, much like many parts of this economic capital of South Africa and the continent at large.
Since the late 1800s, thousands migrated to the city seeking employment at one of the many gold mines. The quarries have since dried up, but the influx of people continues today. They come from other parts of the country and from across the continent, to work and to make money. Johannesburg is also an attractive base for many African companies as it provides easier access to international opportunities.
In recent years there has been efforts to revive the neglected inner city. Money has been invested by the local government to clean the streets, and renovate the derelict buildings. It’s paid off, with the private sector now playing a role, too. New apartment blocks are filling up and plans are being made for a new mall. Malls though, are not hard to find. Apart from the larger Sandton City and Eastgate mall, virtually every suburb has one or two of their own. Though a concrete jungle in some parts, many visitors are surprised by how lush and green the city actually is. In fact, Johannesburg holds the title of the largest man-made forest in the world.