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Moving to Cape Town

Located on South Africa’s Western Cape, Cape Town is a popular expat destination, attracting people from all over the world who plan to work, retire, study or set up a business. Located on the southwest coast, Cape Town boasts exquisite beauty, Mediterranean climate and features on just about every list of most beautiful cities in the world.

With thanks to the great efforts that have been made by politicians and business leaders to keep the city safe and clean, Cape Town is one of South Africa’s safest places to live and do business.

But there’s a lot more than the weather to consider, including how to get your possessions half way across the world.

Removal Services to Cape Town

Packing up and starting a new life in Cape Town can be nerve wracking but you certainly won’t need to worry about getting your possessions there safely. We will make what seems like a momentous task much simpler and take a lot of the strain off of your plate. With our expert planning your we can ensure that your worldly possessions arrive in Cape Town safely.

At Britannia Movers, we are dedicated to making any move abroad easy and effortless. Leave it to us to get your belongings from A to B seamlessly. One of the Britannia Movers team will visit you in your home prior to your move, to work with you to create a suitable plan that works for your individual situation.

Shipping to Cape Town

The most affordable way to get your worldly possessions to Cape Town is via shipping. Your safely packed items will be loaded into secure shipping containers before setting sail to the Western Cape. You can have an entire container to yourself or, you can save money and share a container with another person moving to Cape Town.

Container shipments usually take several weeks door to door and we often suggest around two to three months if a shared container, or three to five months if filled only with your belongings.

Once your items arrive in Cape Town, there is a weekly shipping service from all ports to safely transport your belongings to your new address. With forward planning, we can work together so you can receive your belongings shortly after your arrival.

Air Freight to Cape Town

The option of air freight provides a much shorter timeline for you to receive your belongings in Cape Town. As you might expect, this service is more expensive, but it’s likely to be your preferred option if you need your items to arrive in Cape Town quickly.

There is also the flexibility to use a combination of options, such as using air freight for essential items you need to arrive quickly and then sending the remainder of your belongings via cargo ship.

Additional Removals Services to Cape Town

However you decide we can best help you, Movers International will ensure your needs are met throughout the duration of your move to Cape Town. We know that the needs of every individual client are different, which is why we create a tailored personal removals package wherever you are moving in the world.

If you have a tight budget or require additional services such as arranging transport for your pet. Simply, give us a call and we can work out the best solution and plan for you.

Cape Town Facts south africa flag

Time Zone:


Currency: Rand (ZAR)
Distance from UK: 9,669 km
Flight Time from UK: 11 hours 30 minutes
Language: Afrikaans, English
Population: 3.7 million
School Year Starts: January

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Whether the usual home goods or fragile and valuable items, our expert packing service ensures your goods are safe during the removals process.

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To give yourself complete peace of mind, why not look into our comprehensive package of insurance services?

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At Britannia, we are able to provide national and international storage solutions that can be tailored to fit your needs.

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Groupage Shipping

Did you know you can reduce shipping costs to Cape Town by sharing a container with other mover’s belongings?

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Arriving in Cape Town

Most direct flights to Cape Town take 11 hours 30 minutes from the UK. However, it might take us a little while longer to get your belongings there depending on the package you choose with us. However, if you gave us plenty of notice, we can schedule your belongings to arrive in Cape Town just after you do!

Container shipping is the safest and most affordable way of getting your belongings to Cape Town. However, it can take several weeks door to door. Flying items over is much quicker but comes with a significantly less budget-friendly price tag. Customs clearance usually takes around 7 to 10 days if all the relevant documents are in check and this is something we will help you with pre-move. Once in Cape Town, our partner will ensure the efficient and safe arrival of your belongings to your new home.

If you are moving to Cape Town and need removal services then give Britannia Movers International a call today on 0845 600 661. One of our international removal specialists and find out how easy it is to move to Cape Town. We’ll give you a full breakdown of the process and an idea of the costs of emigrating as well.

“Moving my whole family to Cape Town because of a job offer seemed like an incredibly huge task. The guys at Britannia Movers helped us with every little thing and we are now settled in our new home in the city. We could not have moved to Cape Town without their help and guidance.”

Emigrating to Cape Town

Whether you are moving to Cape Town for a job opportunity or simply want to live in a truly unique city, Cape Town is certainly the place for you. Cape Town sits on the South Western tip of South Africa and is a merger of cultures and landscapes – all crowned by the inspiring Table Mountain.

Cape Town Imports

Immigrants, returning residents, and temporary residents are permitted one duty-free importation of used personal and household effects into Cape Town. You will need to produce a full inventory and import documentation, which Britannia will happily help you complete. You must also hold a valid passport and residency visa, and in the case of temporary residency, you will need a valid work permit. You should enter the country before your shipment is cleared through customs, and clearance usually takes 7 – 10 days following presentation of the documents.

Cape Town Customs Restrictions

When bringing items into Cape Town, you should be aware of the prohibitions and restrictions placed upon certain items. Cape Town has these rules in place to protect their country, the people living there, and its ecology.

The following items are prohibited in Cape Town:

  • Ammunition and explosives
  • Pornographic material
  • Agricultural products
  • Honey
  • Meat and meat products
  • Narcotics and medicines
  • Furs, fins and tusks of protected species

The following items require a license or import permit and may be subject to duty:

  • Firearms
  • Liquor
  • Plants, seeds, and bulbs

Moving Pets to Cape Town

Many expats in Cape Town bring their pets with them and, whilst it can be more complicated for other animals, cats and dog are relatively easy to bring into the country if you complete the necessary actions and paperwork.

All pets will need to be cleared through Cape Town airport, where all veterinary paperwork will be checked. Your animal is then free to continue their journey to their new home. If all the correct paperwork has been completed, your pet will not be quarantined in South Africa. Your pet will only be quarantined if you have not completed the paperwork correctly.

Britannia work in partnership with a specialist shipper of animals who will be able to assist you in getting your pets to Cape Town, including all required vaccinations and documentation needed. Utilising the skills of our trusted partner will save any anguish or quarantine time.

Most pets will require the following:

  • To be a minimum of 12 weeks of age
  • Import permit from the Department of Agriculture
  • Microchip
  • Pet passport
  • Rabies vaccination
  • Tapeworm treatment (dogs only)

Taking Your Car to Cape Town

If you’d like to ship your vehicle to Cape Town, Britannia Movers can make it happen. However, this is only possible if you are a returning national or have a permanent residence visa – you must have the correct permit and be ready to pay any applicable duty or tax.

Money Transfer

To help you to transfer funds or perhaps make international payments when you arrive in Cape Town, Britannia Movers International can recommend trustworthy currency exchange services to protect you from the exchange rate fluctuations.

Moving to Cape Town from the UK

Flights from the UK to Cape Town are usually direct and take around 11 hours 30 minutes. Other flights, which have a layover, can take anywhere from 14 to 38 hours in total dependant on the waiting time at the stopover. Emirates, British Airways, Etihad are some of the major airlines transporting passengers to Cape Town.

Visas for Cape Town

If you are a UK citizen you can visit Cape Town for up to 90 days without a visa, subject to proof that you can support yourself during that time. If you want to stay longer, or are relocating, you will need a visa.

Work Permits

Visa regulations are designed to find a balance between protecting the South African workforce, and enabling employers to recruit workers from abroad where necessary. There are several different types of work permit, two of which are available to individuals without a job offer, three of which you will need to have already secured a position.

Quota Work Permit

If you are qualified and experienced in a profession or occupation which appears on the Published Skill Shortage List, you may be granted an initial three months in which to secure a suitable position.

Exceptional Skills Permit

If you possess rare or unique skills, experience or education, you may qualify for an exceptional skills permit. Each case is judged on its individual merits and you may need to demonstrate academic references, industry authority support and/or published works to support your application.

Intra-Company Transfer Visa

If you are transferring to a Cape Town branch of a company from a branch in another country, an intra-company transfer visa enables you to relocate for the purpose of undertaking employment for a specific period of time, solely for the specified employer.

Corporate Work Permits/Visas

These are applied for by organisations. Once they are in place, individuals who then apply under the organisation’s corporate visa are exempt from meeting many of the requirements normally associated with a work permit.

General Work Permit/Visa

If you don’t meet any of the above criteria, you can apply for a general work permit if you have a conditional offer of employment from a Cape Town based employer. The employer will have to demonstrate that they have previously endeavoured to recruit a Cape Town citizen or resident for the position.

Most work permits allow for partners and dependants to accompany them to Cape Town, although if they wish to work they will need to apply separately for the right to do so. Residency can usually be applied for, after five years in the country, but do check the up-to-date rules for your specific circumstances.

Retired Persons Permits and Visas

Many retirees are heading to Cape Town and being greeted with open arms. Retirees can apply for a temporary residency visa, which is valid for a total of four years (renewable) or for a permanent residency visa. The processing time for permanent residency can be up to 24 months but applicants are permitted to apply for a temporary visa at the same time and convert to permanent visa at a later date.

Business Permits and Visas

Business Permits are available to individuals investing up to 2.5 million Rand, subject to meeting certain criteria. Individuals investing more than 2.5 million Rand can apply directly for permanent residence. If you are financially independent and can demonstrate a net worth of 7.5 million rand, you may apply for permanent residence without making an investment. However, a large fee is payable for the processing of such applications.

Study Permits and Visas

Cape Town is a popular destination for foreign students, offering low tuition fees and a low cost of living. Study permits are available to “stand-alone” applicants, as well as to those who are accompanying their families in emigrating to Cape Town.

Other visa options are available for spouses, life partners and relatives of Cape Town residents. Rules are subject to review and can change at any time, so be sure to research your options carefully before you commit to your move.

If you are at all confused about your visa options for Cape Town get in touch with us today on 0845 600 6661 or visit the South African Department of Home Affairs website.

Cape Town Weather

Cape Town has a pleasant climate all year round. The summers are long and warm, with the average temperature hovering around a comfortable 24°C. But the mercury can easily creep up and over 30°C on the hottest days of the year. Whilst there is the odd rainy day, summers are extremely enjoyable.

Most tourists tend to visit Cape Town in Spring (September/October) or Autumn (April/May). Whilst temperatures can be a little cooler, this tends to be the best time to experience South Africa’s resplendent natural world.

The average winter temperature in Cape Town is 18°C. June to August is the winter period and it can be somewhat stormy, with June often presenting as the wettest month of the year. Despite the agreeable temperatures expect to see a frost some mornings!

Cape Town Average Temperatures and Rainfall

  Jan Feb March April May June July Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Temp °C 22 23 21 18 16 13 13 13 14 16 18 20
Rainy Days 6 5 6 9 12 14 14 14 12 9 7 7

Finding a Job in Cape Town

For those expats who have not been relocated to Cape Town by an employer, getting a job may be key in securing a future in the country. The number of people looking for work in Cape Town is much higher than the number of jobs on offer. However, Cape Town is always on the hunt for expats with specialist and expert skills. Expats tend to fill roles in IT, health, travel and education sectors.

Expats can expect to use the usual resources to find jobs, such as online portals, newspapers, local notice boards and word of mouth.


Most expat parents tend to send their children to international schools in Cape Town. However, there are also a number of highly-regarded private schools that could be a perfect fit for your children. Expats who do not have their children’s school fees covered by their employer often find this a great solution.

Even for expats who have school fees covered by their employers, finding out about uniform, transport and extracurricular costs is extremely helpful. Generally speaking, private schools are much cheaper than international schools.

Cost of Living in Cape Town

Cape Town has grown into a global tourist destination and will continue to grow into the future. For this reason, and due to South African being a developing nation as a whole, inflation is higher than that of first world countries. The currency can face unpredictability but expats will find that the cost of living is cheaper than the US and much of Europe.

Cape Town Currency

The South African Rand is Cape Town’s official currency and is often shown as ZAR or R. Each rand is subdivided into 100 cents. Currently there are five rand notes in circulation; R10, R10, R50, R100, and R200. Coins include R1, R2, R5 and 5c, 10c, 20c, and 50c.

Opening a Bank Account in Cape Town

If you are over 18 and living in Cape Town opening a bank account is easy. As long as you have your passport and proof of address to hand you should not have any problems. Expats will only have issues if they want to take out a credit card as they will not have a South African credit record.

Cost of Everyday Items

Take a look at some of the items you are likely to purchase regularly whilst living in Cape Town below. Prices are shown in South African Rand and converted to UK pounds so you can see how prices match up.

Item Price R Price Converted to £
Milk (1 litre) 13.64 R £0.72
Loaf of white bread 12.54 R £0.66
Eggs (12) 26.76 R £1.42
Bananas (1kg) 17.13 R £0.91
Chicken breasts (1kg) 67.00 R £3.55
Bottle of wine 60.00 R £3.18
Pair of quality jeans 725.78 R £38.43
Ladies chain store dress 461.56 R £24.44
Nike Trainers 1,161.23 R £61.49
Cinema tickets (2) 80.00 R £4.24
Broadband internet 920.89 R £48.77

Public Transport in Cape Town

Expats in Cape Town only need to hold a valid license from their home country to be able to legally drive in the country. Whilst petrol and diesel prices are low the price of buying a car is considerably more expensive when compared to the likes of Europe and the USA. Renting, however, is relatively inexpensive and long-term car rentals are common. Aside from the eye-watering prices of cars in Cape Town another downside is the chaotic nature of the roads, both from crater-like potholes and locals driving by their own rules.

Cape Town’s local bus service provider, MyCiTi, is a shuttle service that runs on many routes. However, South African bus services are notoriously unreliable. Journeys are paid for on a MyConnect card – very similar to London’s Oyster card. Prices vary between peak and off-peak travel and distance travelled. Generally, the lowest fare is R5.90 (£0.30) and the highest, R35.89 (£2.02).

However, if you are living in Cape Town, their Integrated Rapid Transport trains (IRT) run on an extensive network and link with MyCiTi shuttle buses. They are used mainly by commuters and are championed for their punctuality and inexpensive fares.

Renting in Cape Town

There is a huge divide in styles of home amongst people in South Africa. From the shacks of the shanty towns to the luxury penthouses of the inner city, it is overwhelming. Expats should utilise a rental agent who has dealt with expats in the past as they will know exactly the best suburbs or gate communities (if this would appeal to you more) for your needs. How much you spend on rent will depend on its size and how close it is to the city centre.

Buying a House in Cape Town

There are no limits on expats buying homes in Cape Town. In fact, many expats who plan on living in Cape Town for the foreseeable future are so captivating by life in South Africa they are compelled to buy their own home. The only ceiling in place is the amount of financing non-residents can apply for.  Expats can only borrow 50% of a property’s value. Expats on a work visa in Cape Town are considered to be residents and, therefore, do not face this restriction.

Public Holidays Cape Town

There are 13 national public holidays per year in Cape Town:

  • New Year’s Day – 1st January
  • Human Rights Day – 21st March
  • Good Friday – changes annually (usually March/April)
  • Easter Monday – changes annually (usually March/April)
  • Freedom Day – 27th April
  • Workers Day – 1st May
  • Youth Day – 16th June
  • National Women’s Day – 9th August
  • Heritage Day – 24th September
  • Day of Reconciliation – 16th December
  • Christmas Day – 25th December
  • Day of Good Will – Friday 26th December

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