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I recently had the pleasure of spending a couple of days exploring Cape Town, alongside an 80-year-old German gentleman, who was thinking of making South Africa his retirement home.

This gentleman first contacted our firm, Immigration South Africa for assistance, with his South African retired person’s visa. We did a quick assessment of his needs and financial means. We were able to confirm that he met this standard financial requirement of R 37 000.00 a month and that the retired person’s visa conditions would suit his needs.

While he was at our Immigration South Africa offices, it become clear that he had planned to spend 2 weeks exploring the various retirement options that Cape Town had to offer but didn’t know where to start. Our firm has always strived to not only provide excellent service to our clients but also to find ways to add value to our clients’ experience of South Africa and to ease the anxiety associated with relocating to a new country. We threw ourselves into making his two-week stay in Cape Town, not only enjoyable, but also useful in terms of exploring all his options and preparing for the practicalities of his retirement in South Africa.

The first point of concern for him and for us, was securing appropriate medical insurance, as it would be a critical requirement for his retired person’s visa application, as well as critical requirement on his part around planning for his relocation. As I am sure you can imagine, securing health insurance for an 80-year-old individual, is no easy feat.  We contacted our partners at Momentum, who were able to offer him cover, as well as answer his questions regarding the costs and cover of the various insurance options. While late joiner penalties and waiting periods will apply, his medical insurance will be in place, in time for him to submit his visa application and start his retirement years in sunny South Africa.

The next thing to tick off the list, was where he would like to live. Did he want to rent or buy? Did he want to live independently or in a retirement village? Our client didn’t seem to really know, so we decided to take him to visit a few of the many retirement options that Cape Town has to offer, in the hope that it would like it easier for him to articulate his needs.

After hours of research done my yours truly, I came up with an itinerary that would showcase not only the various of retirement options, but also the various suburbs in Cape Town. I made an appointment with representatives at each facility to make sure that we would leave each site visit with all the answers we needed.

On the first day, we set off with our friendly chauffeur from Cape Impression at 10h00, to begin our day of exploring the various options that the Atlantic Seaboard had to offer.

Sea Point Place was our first stop, where we discovered that they were celebrating their 100th birthday. We were greeted and shown around the facility by Ms. Collins who was wonderfully efficient with a no-nonsense attitude. Of course, our clients had lots of questions concerning with the costs, the fragile care facilities, the size of the rooms and how easily he would be able to assess the cycling routes in the area. He loved the location, right on the beachfront main road, close to the German Club.  He was also very comfortable with the affordability of their facilities.

Our next stop was the stunning Palm Garden Retreat. This luxurious retirement hotel is located slap-bang in the middle of Sea Point, surrounded by the widest variety of shops, restaurants and things to do. Wow! It was like walking into a movie with its old-worldy grace and beauty. The owner, Gail Bucher, could not have been more helpful and even spoke some German.  She eventually persuaded us to stay for lunch. We were treated to the most delicious soup and salad, and even tasted small portions of other meals on the menu. The units can either be bought or rented, and share the most beautiful facilities.

Kronendal Retirement Village in Hout Bay was our next stop. The drive along Victoria Road was breathtaking but to see this village nestled in the forest like setting, was a revelation. As Monique Norman walked us around their facilities, we were delighted by the beauty of their establishment and surrounding gardens. My German client loved the size of the rooms but felt that he would prefer to be closer to the city life and the cycling routes, to this quiet, tranquil oasis.

While our chaffeur and I were exhausted from our day’s activities, our client asked to rather be drop off in Sea Point to go cycling and to visit the German club, than return to his hotel. I’m half his age and was amazed by his energy and desire to explore Cape Town.

The next day, we ventured in the opposite direction towards False Bay.

Our first stop was The St James Retirement Hotel. My German client indulged me as I explored every nook of this beautiful establishment. From the price, the view, the free glass of wine before meal time, to the lovely gardens and apartments.   Shirley Eva, the director, was the most delightful and informative. I could have moved in immediately, but unfortunately being in my early 40s, I don’t meet their age requirements.

After a quick stop for coffee and having Nigel regale us with his tour guide stories (Did you know that we have an olive estate in Cape Town that sells Malay flavoured olive oil?), we were on our way to meet Kim Whitworth at Evergreen Noordhoek.

Evergreen Noordhoek is still under construction. Stage 1 has been completed and you could see exactly what a lovely facility it is was going to be. It is almost picture perfect with its quiet roads and friendly neighbourly feeling.  We had a few minutes to wait in the clubhouse and were able to meet some of the residents. The very first thing that I was asked “Are you here for the dementia seminar?” That broke the ice and soon we were chatting away with everyone as if we had known them for years.  Kim, kindly showed us around the facilities and showed us the plans for the next phases. We were flabbergasted by the size of the houses and the facilities that are planned.

Our final stop was the Noordhoek Manor. This stunning retirement village allowed you to forget the bustling city and enjoy the beauty of the sea and the mountains. Sister Ansel showed us around the facility. With its fully equipped medical facility with dedicated nursing staff, we were not surprised that many international visitors came here to recover from illnesses or surgery. The rooms opened into stunning courtyards or into your own garden. The Manor offers a wide range of accommodation options, ranging from free standing cottages to full fragile care facilities. You couldn’t ask for a more spectacular location nestled in the mountains.

As we headed back to the hotel, we discussed our client’s impression of the various facilities that we had seen. I think he felt a little overwhelmed by the realities of his age, and the type of facilities that he is likely to need in the future. He was really impressed with the beauty, quality and affordability of the facilities that Cape Town has to offer. I think he needs a bit more time to think about where to call home, but I suspect that he will settle for one of the wonderful facilities on the Atlantic Seaboard. I look forward to seeing him cycling along the Sea Point Promenade or perhaps joining him for a drink at the German Club, soon.

He has now made his way back to Switzerland, where he currently lives, while he sells his properties in Europe and we at Immigration South Africa,  prepare his retired person’s visa application.

As a South African, it was such a lovely way to experience my country through the eyes of someone who is planning to make South Africa their home. I loved the drive along the sea, across the mountains and through the forest. I adored our open and friendly people. I was awed by all the various cultures and traditions that make us proudly South African. I couldn’t have asked for or received more from our city, when showing it off to our international guest.

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