Lifestyle, South Africa

Moving Mountains…to Cape Town

June 22, 2015 | 21 Comments

Yes I know. More Mountain puns. And where we’re going, there’s going to be even MORE pun material to keep us busy. People are pretty shocked when we tell them that from December, we’re packing up our house and our dogs and our toaster and our kids and leaving the warm heart of Jozi and heading down to the fairest Cape. But they shouldn’t be THAT shocked, because we’ve always spoken about moving and when we say we’re going to do things, we generally tend to do them.

Many people come to Joburg for work and that’s how we ended up here. Gareth had a chance to start a business so in 2009 we packed up our earthly belongings from London in a shipping container and brought it all back to Jozi. Joburg, for all its flaws (which non-Joburgers LOVE to point out) has been supremely good to us. We have made friends for life, started businesses, bought homes, been sick, been healthy, brought two babies home from the hospital, got pets and had a jol. There have been countless parties, braais, breakfasts, Friday drinks, weddings, christenings and the odd funeral. It has been all that life should be but after nearly seven years, the next part of our adventure must begin.

Gareth is from Cape Town. He went to school there. He grew up as a lifeguard on the beaches of Clifton 4. He was a student there too and it seems that the beautiful Mother City is now calling him home. Spending four years there at UCT has meant that the city is familiar to me too. So it won’t be like moving to Dallas. Or Birmingham. Or Sydney. It will be a little like moving to a place that became like a second home to me.

The big decider for us has been schools. We applied to a Cape Town school for Rachel (she starts BIG school next year) and didn’t think much about it. Cape Town schools (like Joburg schools and all the others) are HIGHLY competitive and we didn’t think we’d get in. But by some lucky accident we got called for an interview in March and then received our acceptance letter a few weeks ago! We then did some proper soul searching and had to make some hard decisions.

It’s not that we’re unhappy in Joburg. Far from it. But you know what I am tired of? Being a sort of orphan while everyone around us heads to their parent’s house for Sunday lunch or goes out for breakfast with their brother. We have no close family here and I’m weary of that. We have no one to call in an emergency. Or to chat to over a cup of tea and talk about our week. Or to boast about our children to. “Look how tall Rachel’s got!” “Look how Ben can now say “cake”!

I’ve always been very good at living away from home. I went to boarding school age 6. Then to UCT for four years. Then to London for seven years. So I’m fiercely independent and pretty tough but maybe I’m tired of being so reliant on myself. Maybe I want to live within at least 40km from some family at least. As I’ve got older I’ve realised that friends and family are all that matters and so moving to Cape Town to be closer to Gareth’s parents has been a big part of our decision.

Work-wise we both run our own businesses which is lucky as this means we can be flexible. And while we will grow our Cape Town client bases, we have accepted that we will both need to travel up to Joburg at least once a month for meetings. I’m not saying that all that travelling will be easy but that is part and parcel of the move and we have accepted that.

Do I imagine that Cape Town is some sort of utopia? No I don’t. I’m realistic that there will be things I love about it and things I don’t like so much. Just like any place. I’m worried about the weather. Superficial I know, but I don’t do wind and I adore the dry sunny Joburg winters. I’m worried people will think I’m weird with my dyed yellow hair and funny dress sense. I’m worried people will be flaky and never show up at our braais. These are all the trivial things, obviously!

So just as we’ve bought a house in Jozi and poured love into it and made a home, we are uprooting ourselves. We tend to do that, as a family, I’m not sure why. But we’re excited too. For early morning swims and forest walks and weekends where Ben can go fishing with his grandfather. Family is so precious and these times are fleeting. Is this move forever? I don’t think that anything is forever these days. We plan to be in Cape Town for the next few years at least and will then see where life takes us.

In the mean time we’re trying to find somewhere to live and getting moving quotes and trying to rent out our Joburg house. We have six months to get organised and I know it’s going to fly by.

Jozi peeps I will miss you more than you know. And I will miss this city, so I’m going to spend the new few months soaking up all the glory of this buzzing and maddening place. Capetonian readers and bloggers – please be my friends! And Mother City? Get ready for more Mountains;)








  • Reply Kathleen June 22, 2015 at 3:48 pm

    We uprooted our lives to move to Durban, based on my son getting into a school here. 5 months in and it still has it’s scary moments but it was the best thing that we ever did. My son has thrived in the sunshine.

  • Reply femmegypsy June 22, 2015 at 3:50 pm

    Before you go we MUST MUST MUST meet up in Jhb for a lunch or cake or drink or something! This is SO exciting, another person for me to visit in the Cape – I love it there 🙂 Good luck for all the admin ahead! x

    • Reply Belinda Mountain June 22, 2015 at 9:02 pm

      Thanks so much Tamzin – would be great to meet up before we leave!

  • Reply Kim Muller June 22, 2015 at 3:54 pm

    I’ll come to your braai 🙂

    Good luck with everything! I’m sure you’ll love it here!

  • Reply Jonelle June 22, 2015 at 3:56 pm

    Ohhhh that’s so exciting!!

    I’m sure you will find that us Capetonians will welcome you, your pets, kitchen sink, funny dress sense and all with open arms.
    Also, our winters are perfect for days spent around a fireplace on a wine farm drinking red wine!

    I wanted to move to Australia at one point for a bit of adventure (just for a couple of years of living somewhere else) and we decided to stay in Cape Town so that our children could be closer to their grandparents. We didn’t even have any kids yet ;P and now that the first is on his way… it was a great decision!

    Good luck with the move!


    • Reply Belinda Mountain June 22, 2015 at 9:03 pm

      Thanks Jonelle – you see, Cape Town people ARE friendly!

  • Reply Candice June 22, 2015 at 4:33 pm

    Very exciting Bee.
    All of the very best!!!

  • Reply MrsFF June 22, 2015 at 7:40 pm

    nothing like being close to family! It’s been on my mind a lot as K is getting older. And I see pictures of grandparent day at school and feel sad that my daughter might never experience that as we are so so far away from family!!! I’m so happy for you and I’m sure you’ll settle in nicely and enjoy being there. We’ll miss having you around and I hope we get to see you before the big move

  • Reply Jeanette June 22, 2015 at 9:06 pm

    Wow that’s quite a move! Very exciting, and so very cool that she got into a school that you wanted to get her into.
    One of the things stopping us from moving, is my parents, who live close to us and I cannot do this parenting gig without them… so I get it.

  • Reply Cath June 22, 2015 at 9:27 pm

    Can I be jealous? hehe. No, not really. I love my city, and I love our life here, but if I were ever to move, I WOULD move to Cape Town.

    Good luck and may the move go swimmingly. And speedily. There’s nothing worse than some protracted, overly long migration that leaves you feeling a little more grey-haired than you intended!

  • Reply Keri June 23, 2015 at 6:55 am

    Same same on everything you said – except I will be moving away from my mom and my dad and stepmom 🙁 Although I’m pretty sure if I get knocked up my mom will follow suit as she is originally from Somerset West! Haha x I will totes come to your braai (if you invite me).
    Good luck with the packing – we are in the midst of it and can almost see the light. LOTS OF RESCUE DROPS.

  • Reply Robyn Rose June 23, 2015 at 8:40 am

    It is too early in the morning for you to be making me cry Bee!!!

    Phew, sniff. Drying up my soggy eyeballs. Flip we will miss you..

  • Reply Sharon June 23, 2015 at 10:30 am

    I’m jealous!
    I grew up in Cape Town, my entire family & support structure is there, so I totally hear you on your reasons for wanting to go.

  • Reply Cindy June 23, 2015 at 12:45 pm

    Welcome to the Cape! We’re excited to have you 🙂

  • Reply A Regular Reader June 23, 2015 at 1:30 pm

    It was strange reading this as its exactly what we hope to be doing in a year’s time… but there’s the complication of our jobs, schools (we haven’t been as proactive as you about CT school applications), and a few other things to fall into place… but we will get there! Looking forward to reading about your experience, and wishing you all the best.

  • Reply Michelle Reitsma June 24, 2015 at 8:17 am

    I harbored secret fantasies of bumping into you at Warm and Glad and saying hello. 🙂 Hope I get to do that before you go! What exciting news!

  • Reply Cat@jugglingact June 25, 2015 at 1:27 pm

    Oh enjoy! WOnderful place to live

  • Reply Barbs June 26, 2015 at 12:53 pm

    We moved to CT 10 years and like you we were very happy in JHB so it wasn’t an easy decision but a great one – am sure you will love CT and slot right in!

  • Reply Claudz July 7, 2015 at 11:47 am

    I read with this sadness for Joburg! But with great envy too! Good luck for this exciting adventure – perhaps we’ll see you there!

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