Cape Town vs. Joburg

Cape Town or Johannesburg

Having recently returned to South Africa after 8.5 months away, a lot of people have asked me how I feel about emigrating to another country permanently. As anyone in the UK, Canada, New Zealand and Australia will know, South African’s love emigrating! It’s right up there with Rugby and complaining as one of our favourite national pastimes. The truth is, I’ve decided I definitely want to emigrate now - but only when I watch that awful South African breakfast commercial. (I know you know which one I’m talking about.) The rest of the time I am quite content here. Actually, if I were to move, it would probably be to Cape Town. 

Since I’ve been home, I have spent some time in Cape Town. My brother moved there at the beginning of the year and invited me to visit to convince me to move there too. It is tempting. After much deliberation I have come up with this convenient table that weighs up the pros of each city and should help anyone else asking themselves the age old South African question: Joburg or Cape Town?: 
(We have other cities too, but they don't count.)

Cape Town


  • The mountain.
  • Late afternoon Highveld thunder-showers.
  • The ocean.
  • No sharks.
  • You don’t have to go to a shopping mall to entertain yourself.
  • There’s usually at least four shopping malls in a 7km radius from wherever you are.
  • You get to see all your friends from Joburg In December anyway.
  • You’re going to go to Cape Town in December anyway.
  • People know how to use a roundabout.
  • People treat roundabouts like 4 way stops and it might be wrong but it’s actually better.
  • Less road rage.
  • Fewer people sitting at green traffic lights because they’re distracted by the mountain, or instagram, or trying to instagram the mountain.
  • People recount stories of the nights they survived crime (it’s still South Africa) and wildfires.
  • People recount stories of the nights they survived crime and Parktown Prawns.
   (It’s a type of bug. Whatever you’re  
   imagining - it’s worse!)
  • It’s well-governed.
  • The winters don’t suck as much.
  • You get to look Bollywood-quality windswept all the time.
  • You can wear skirts.
  • Hipster man-bun counting makes for a great pastime.
  • Lower hipster-to-everyone else ratio.
  • Sometimes having fun is free.
  • Living is cheaper.
  • Plenty of dining options for those doing Banting, and those with food allergies (provided your food allergies are ‘gluten’).
  • If you eat out they don’t put rocket on effing everything!
  • The shouters in the passenger seats of taxi buses make traffic more entertaining.
  • We have hand signals for that.
  • No e-tolls.
  • There’s enough parking.
  • Cape Town seems too pretty and relaxed to be the the setting of a Neill Blomkamp Sci-fi.
  • Cape Town seems too pretty and relaxed to be the the setting of a Neill Blomkamp Sci-fi.
  • Dassies.

If you are not South African and you don’t know what a dassie is, apart from it being the reason you should move to or at least visit Cape Town, it is basically a bunny with no ears. I’ll give you a moment to google it and book your fights…

In our travels, Rodrigo and I have searched for trolls in Norway, unicorns in Scotland and finally, the equally magical and mysterious, dassie in Cape Town. And yes, we have failed all three times. Though we are back in Joburg for now, one day we will return and continue the search. At least we saw a squirrel so that’s some consolation.

Plastic flamingo in Cape Town
Rodrigo with the 12 Apostles (the mountains) and a tree that looks like a pineapple.
 - Camps Bay, Cape Town

Did I forget anything? If so, feel free to let me know in the comment section below.

For other Sharonicles of Cape Town, click here.


  1. You forgot 'Lions' in the jhb column next to dassies. Also leopards and rhinos - aka the "unicorns of africa". But they have penguins. So stalemate.


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