Moving to South Africa

South Africa enjoys a sunny, temperate climate with between 8 and 9 hours of sunshine a day, and is known for its scenic splendour. It has richly diverse flora – the only country to contain an entire floral kingdom. South African wildlife is varied and abundant and includes the celebrated Big 5, along with more species of animals than Europe and Asia combined. The South African coastline stretches for more than 2500km from its desert border with Namibia on the Atlantic coast, around the tip of Africa to its border with subtropical Mozambique, on the Indian Ocean.

A great deal was invested in upgrades to major motorways and the development of South Africa’s infrastructure when South Africa was named host of the 2010 FIFA Soccer World Cup. Development included the construction of several iconic new world-class sports stadia including the FNB Stadium in Soweto, The Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban and Cape Town’s stadium in Green Point – with a retractable dome to protect fans and players from Cape Town’s itinerant winter weather. The development of the Gautrain – a rapid rail system, was fast tracked to link Sandton’s vibrant business district to O.R. Tambo International Airport, as well as other links from Johannesburg’s city centre to Pretoria. Developments also included a new International Airport – the King Shaka International was constructed near Durban to accommodate the massive influx of soccer fans from around the globe.

Finding accommodation

Good temporary accommodation options are available in the main cities throughout South Africa. In South Africa, security is an essential factor to consider when choosing your new long term home. There are various options available including stand-alone homes, apartments, secure complexes and gated communities. Secure complexes with a perimeter fence, electric fences and monitored gate access provide certain lifestyle and security advantages.

Education

South Africa’s major cities are home to public and private schools, as well as a host of international schools. International schools can be found on related websites on South

African education, and usually offer schooling in line with US or European standards. Public schools tend to be oversubscribed and cater for families living within a certain radius of the school.

International Schools follow their home countries’ curriculum and calendar, and while there is usually significant pressure regarding the placement of children in earlier grades, most International Schools are able to do so, due to greater mobility of families.

Culture

With South Africa being a cosmopolitan melting pot of vibrant cultures and diverse ethnic backgrounds, the newcomer is often surprised and delighted by the art, music, entertainment and cultural scenes. Talented local artists produce a variety of outstanding art – from the naïve to the sophisticated including painting, sculptures, wood carvings, weaving, beadwork and pottery.

Good to know

A Barbecue, or ‘Braai’ as it is called in South Africa, is more often than not a weekend favourite – and this encompasses the grilling of steaks, sausages (particularly a farm sausage called Boerewors – contraction: ‘Wors’ and pronounced ‘Vors’ in English), as well as pretty much anything else, from chicken kebabs to prawns, along with copious sides, breads, and salads of every description. If you are invited to a braai, it is appropriate to offer to bring a salad.

If you are invited to a South African home, it is appropriate to give the host a small token of appreciation, like a bunch of flowers, box of chocolates, or bottle of wine. Anything more extravagant may cause embarrassment.

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