Our Top Tips for British Expats moving to SA
With over 210,000 British expats living in South Africa, the country is a top destination for people looking for a warmer climate, plenty of sunshine and a relaxed lifestyle.
The cost of living in South Africa is very reasonable, especially if you covert your Pounds into Rands (the local South African currency).
If you are a UK citizen who is planning on moving to or retiring in South Africa, we have some great tips to help get you settled in your new home!
1. Consider joining British Expat social media groups.
As mentioned above, there are well over 200,000 British expats living in South Africa.
If you need help, tips or advice on life in South Africa, joining a “British Expats in South Africa” group on social media can be extremely helpful.
Here, you will be able to ask key questions or conduct a search on the most popular topics and receive first-hand tips from folks who have been in your exact position.
It is also a wonderful opportunity to network with other British expats and make some new friends in your new country.
2. Missing some home comforts? Most South African supermarkets sell a range of British groceries.
Moving to a different country can be very stressful and difficult, and nothing can soothe homesickness quite like some comfort food to remind you of home.
The good news is that you can find many British products in most South African supermarkets.
Craving some good quality, British biscuits to dunk in your tea? Take a look in the biscuit aisle and you will likely find some brands that you know and love.
Of course, you will notice that South Africans eat much the same as folks in the UK do, and staples like Marmite, Bisto gravy, Coleman’s mustard and HP sauce are commonly found in any supermarket or shop selling groceries.
3. Don’t be afraid to get out of your comfort zone and make new friends.
As you will notice as soon as you touch down on South African soil, the locals are friendly, warm and welcoming.
It is therefore not difficult to make new friends and you’ll find that South Africans are very sociable and caring.
South Africa has a fantastic climate and a lot of socializing takes place outdoors. It is quite normal to enjoy year-round al fresco dining, whole days spent on the beach and relaxing in the garden.
It certainly helps that one of South Africa’s eleven official languages is English (which is the most commonly-spoken language there, anyway) so you will not have to learn a new language to make yourself understood.
4. Think about the lifestyle you want.
Generally speaking, South Africans enjoy a relaxed lifestyle but this varies from city to city.
Although South Africa, as a whole, is considered to be blessed with a sunny climate, there are many variations, depending on where in South Africa a certain city or town is located.
Johannesburg, the largest city, is very cosmopolitan and has everything you need in terms of amenities, shopping, and more. It is very fast-paced, busy and bustling, with something interesting and exciting always going on.
With its sunny, dry and cool winters, and long, warm summers with dramatic thunderstorms, Johannesburg is very appealing to folks who hate cold, cloudy days and want to be where all the activity is.
Cape Town is one of the world’s most beautiful cities and boasts the iconic Table Mountain, sandy beaches and spectacular views. Winters can be a bit rainy, but summers are hot, dry and allow you to make the most out of all outdoor activities.
Those who like a warm and humid climate in a place where you feel like you are permanently on holiday will fall in love with Durban.
The Garden Route features a stunning rain forest alongside a beautiful and unspoiled coastline, making it a great location for those who like to live off the beaten track.
Otherwise, the eastern part of the country in Mpumalanga can be an attractive option, especially if you love wildlife and dream of spending long weekends at the Kruger National Park.
Love deserts? The Kalahari Desert is found in the Northern Cape and is a remote area with a laid-back way of life. Days are hot and dry, while nights (especially during the winter) can be chilly.
Whichever part of South Africa you finally decide on, you will certainly enjoy the scenery and everything the local area has to offer.
5. Learn the local lingo.
Although the most widely spoken language in South Africa is English, the South African English dialect can sometimes be rather confusing to foreigners.
Luckily, it is quite easy to learn the local jargon and lingo. After a few months of living in South Africa, you will begin using these words yourself!
Examples of quintessentially South African words include, “braai” (barbecue), “lekker” (nice) and “eish” (wow).
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