1. CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA[caption id="attachment_8407" align="alignleft" width="300"] Cape Town[/caption] Cape Town is one of the most beautiful cities in the world, let alone Africa, having already won a number of prestigious international travel awards. It’s where most people in South Africa wish they lived. It possesses all of the amenities and sophistication of a urban area, yet the pace is decidedly relaxed, with the city being nestled between the ocean and the mountains, creating an ideal mix of work and play. A short drive away and you can find yourself in one of the hundreds of vineyards that produce some of the world’s top wines. While summers (October–April) are lovely, winters can be dreary with much fog, rain, and wind. That’s why some would prefer to call Cape Town the “Windy City”—it’s in fact known at the “Mother City” and is the caretaker of the insurance and now burgeoning digital sector. It’s also where you’ll find the advertising execs 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 on each and every home as seen in some parts of Johannesburg and Pretoria. Like many 2010 World Cup host cities, Cape Town’s public transport infrastructure was given a boost, 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.
2. ACCRA, GHANAIn addition to being a wonderful urban home for roughly 20 percent of Ghana’s 20 million total population, Accra has become the leisure destination of choice for upscale Nigerians who take a quick 45-minute flight to spend time at their Accra weekend homes. Ghana’s capital city is a sophisticated urban area, with a full range of restaurants, bars, nightclubs, and increasingly, shopping malls. There are many [caption id="attachment_8408" align="alignright" width="300"] Accra,Ghana[/caption] affluent areas, including East Legon—the location of the city’s only traditional shopping complex, Accra Mall. Another popular option is Osu, locally referred to as “Oxford Street”, where many go to shop and hang out. The downtown area has seen much development over the last decade and the range of serviced high rise apartments makes it an easy location to set up home quickly. The warmth of the Ghanaian people is an asset and is an important part of what attracts Nigerians to want to spend their leisure time here. The tropical climate makes it all the more appealing. Things are changing for the better, and fast. Many citizens who left to the West are returning home, bringing with them enthusiasm, fresh ideas, and degrees from top universities abroad. Coupled with the government’s commitment to investing proceeds into social and physical infrastructure, one can only imagine that Accra will become even more liveable in the years to come.
3. NAIROBI, KENYANairobi is fast becoming the African city of choice for multinational companies seeking a foothold for their African operations. Nairobi is a gracious city that possesses much of the sophistication of the large South African cities, but provides these offerings in a “kinder and gentler” way. General Electric and the Rockefeller Foundation recently chose Nairobi to anchor the African operations, so too the likes of China’s CCTV news broadcaster. While there is some tension surrounding the upcoming elections, the government is generally considered stable. Housing options include many comfortable suburban style homes at affordable prices relative to other African cities, often with a reasonable amount of land. Apartment compounds have also sprung up in recent years, many with the comforts of swimming pools and fitness centres. The technology industry offers much promise, and internet connectivity is considered tone he best on the continent today. Getting around remains tricky. Best to buy your own vehicle though with import taxes, it’s fairly expensive. Other options that offer quite an experience include the mini-bus matatu to boda-boda motorcycle taxi—both mainly used by locals.
4. JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA
From the moment you step off the plane at OR Tambo International Airport (ORTIA), it becomes clear why Johannesburg is considered a world-class city. ORTIA rivals some of the best airports in developed worlds. It’s sleek, modern, expansive and offers a wealth of stores and restaurants, much like many parts of South Africa’s and Africa’s economic capital. 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 an 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. [caption id="attachment_8410" align="alignright" width="300"] Johannesburg .South Africa[/caption] In recent years there has been efforts to revive the neglected inner city. Money has been invested by local government to clean the streets, and renovate the derelict buildings. It’s paid off, with the private sector now playing a role, too. The area is home to the plush headquarters of AngloGold Ashanti and others. New apartment blocks are being filled 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 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!]]>