My study abroad trip is almost over after being here for almost two months. Looking back at what I was told before I flew here, I realize that there are a lot of misconceptions and things that I did not know about Cape Town, so here are some things that I wish I knew before I came!
- It isn’t as dangerous as people say
Most crime is concentrated in certain areas of Cape Town. As a tourist, you will most likely stay in areas that are more touristy and have less crime. With that in mind, you still should not walk anywhere at night; you should Uber even if the walk is short.
- Public transportation isn’t great
Most locals use minibus taxis; however, the schedules for minibus taxis are not posted or documented anywhere. It is hard for tourists and foreigners to use minibus taxis; however, if you really want to learn how to use one, you should have a local teach you. Minibus taxis are much cheaper than Ubers, and many locals use them to get to and from work.
- Language Barrier
I was worried about communicating with people here in Cape Town, especially because there are so many different official languages. When I was researching what languages were spoken in Cape Town, there were so many different languages. However, most people here speak basic English, and if you are here long enough, you might even start to catch on to certain phrases and lingo!
- Cape Town has everything
I thought that two months would be enough to see everything that Cape Town has to offer, but there are still many parts of Cape Town that I feel like I could spend time exploring. It is the perfect place to travel to if you like the feel of a city, but also really like nature. There are lots of different beaches, and there are also hiking trails for those that love nature. There are also lots of different markets and places to eat for foodies and people who love shopping. There are also other activities such as karaoke bars, pool bars, escape rooms, and skating! Mojo Market has Salsa classes on Sunday, which I, unfortunately, did not get to go to.
- Grocery Stores
When I first entered a grocery store, it was very overwhelming. They weigh your fruit and vegetables for you in grocery stores, and they stick the price onto the bags of fruit and vegetables. You also have to bring your own bags, or they will charge you for plastic or reusable bags. They also have grocery stores in malls, which I found very convenient, and it kind of makes me wish that there were grocery stores in malls in the United States.
I am not a very affectionate person, and I learned quickly that people here are very touchy and affectionate. People often hug people when they introduce themselves, which took some getting used to. I have noticed that people here are just more affectionate in general.
I hope these tips can help you on your trip as well!
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Hi! My name is Tracy, and I am currently a student at the University of Florida. I am studying Public Health and pursuing two minors in Medical Geography and Statistics. As a native Floridian, I love the beach and the ocean.