About Advertise


by Hugh Upsher / 14.08.2015

Living in town means you have dozens of trendy bars, restaurants and clubs at your doorstep. It means you don’t have to deal with traffic coming in and out of the CBD and have Clifton and Table Mountain just around the corner. It also means you get to tell people you stay in town and feel a moment of superiority over them.  The benefits are obvious but the path to finding a place to rent in the area can be a rocky uphill road covered in snakes and land mines.

The problem with Cape Town is that it has all this mountain and ocean taking up valuable potential real estate. This is why decent places are so few and far between. The dream of finding an entry-level two bedroom flat in town that doesn’t resemble a subpar crack den is dead. It has been for a while now.

Any half decent flat or room that someone is moving out of is pounced upon by that person’s immediate friend network. This means that the shit storm you trawl on Gumtree is already tainted with meaningful rejection. If you are lucky enough to get a same day viewing for a place that has something seriously wrong with it, make sure to bring along a dumpster of cash and your first born in order to secure it.

Over the past five years I have done my fair share of moving my fridge up and down flights of stairs, going from Green Point to Gardens, to Woodstock, and now Tamboerskloof. I have now seen more than I would have ever liked to see when it comes to entering the homes of strangers with intention of usurpation.


According to what is advertised on Gumtree, I learnt that the ideal candidate for any type of occupancy is a white Christian female virgin with no friends doing their post doctorate, and the worst possible candidate is a Nigerian man. I learnt that if someone is advertising a place with the sentence ‘looking for a rad person to share my awesome house’ you can’t be surprised when they turn out to be a full-on stoner. I found out that if someone describes themselves as ‘mature’ doesn’t mean ‘not immature’ but rather that they are an old ass man. I learnt to customise the last line of my Gumtree message to potential new house mates to declare your love of dogs, cats, silence and Jesus.

If I could rank the key requirements for finding a new place it would be:

1. Security: Because no one wants to lose two laptops in the space of twelve months.

2. Functional shower: This is how you’ll start every day, you don’t want that low pressure bullshit.

3. Co-occupants: If you move in with friends, be prepared to learn more about them than you ever wanted to know. If you move in with strangers, make sure you gel from the start or it could easily become a slippery slope to hell.

4. Depression factor: When considering a long-term occupancy, things like sunlight, fresh air and a view can’t be underestimated, a bedroom big enough to swing a dead rat in also helps with remaining sane.


Living in the Woodstock area is great if you don’t mind having any and all insignia removed off your car. Green Point and Sea Point are great but you’ll always have a retired person in a gown living upstairs complaining about the noise you’re making at 9:05PM on a Friday. The centre of town is great if you don’t mind the sound of people being stabbed on a weekly basis. Vredehoek is great if you have no issue with winds strong enough to roll boulders in your direction. Every area will have its quirks, so be aware before committing.


There is no such thing as a bargain when looking for places in Cape Town, you either get what you pay for or you are ripped off. The trick is to find a place with faults which synchronise with your lifestyle. If you can tolerate sharing a place with five other people then more power to you. If you don’t mind living in a closet sized room, run with it. If staying in the dodgiest road in the dodgiest neighbourhood means you have space for a braai area then go for it. Or not, how bad can Blouberg really be?

*Illustrations © Hugh Upsher

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