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What things cost in Cape Town, 1996 vs 2006

We arrived back in Cape Town, just over a year ago now and were in shock and awe at the inflation we found.

I had sold my beloved ‘98 3.8l V6 Windstar in Scottsdale, AZ for $2500 (R18000), with not much hope of getting anything with more than 3 semi-elliptical wheels in Cape Town for that price. Cigarettes, were now R18 a pack, greeting cards R25! and a cup of coffee at Vida R12, all is not right with the world (nice to finally see some decent coffee in this town though!). Yesterday I paid R66 ($9) for 3 ice creams.

On an international level, I guess South Africa is still a cheap destination, and so it should be, we are after all a 3rd world country, coming to terms with our 1st world-ness. The problems arise when you consider that the average income in Cape Town is a couple of beers over R2000/month ($275). The average 2 bed rental apartment is around R3500, Groceries R1000, Petrol R1500, insurance and medical R1000. That’s where the real fun starts. In 1996 a main course at a nice restaurant was around R20, today that figure is R50-R70, a beer R4 is now R12 argh!

Strangely enough though, on the bottom (w)rung of the poverty ladder, the prices have stayed nearly the same. A bag of mealie meal, costs R3 (40c), mini bus fares R2-R5 same as it was when I was at school in the 1800’s. Also airline flights seem to have stayed static, or in some cases relaxed a little. A R3000 ($400) flight to London was unheard of 10 years ago.

I do hope that South Africa can remain an affordable destination for years to come and that operators do not kill the proverbial goose. Some countries have different prices for tourists than for locals, because well heeled and loose wallet-ed wisitors force the prices north. One way you can help, is by not paying over the odds when you visit here!

There I said it!

Keep-SA-Cheap” T-shirts can be ordered from me for R8000 🙂