Moving to South Africa
South Africa is a place of stunning beauty.
It combines sprawling cosmopolitan cities and exhilarating wildlife. Home to a range of cultures, languages, origins and beliefs, its distinct regions flaunt unique architecture, craftwork and dress. As well as a cultural meeting point, South Africa is home to some of the world’s most famous safari destinations. There is so much to learn and hear about from native South Africans, who are happy to share their experiences and stories with you.
It’s an exciting time to be moving to South Africa as the nation is discovering its identity after almost two decades of democracy. Despite being in its youth, many are surprised by South Africa’s excellent infrastructure; it’s well-connected internally by both air and by road. Shaped by its past, South Africa is undergoing a transformation into a promising future.
The markets for both renting and buying are active in South Africa and both private landlords and estate agents are widely used. The most important thing is to make sure that any offer and agreement made between you and the landlord and/or estate agent is made in writing and recorded by a lawyer. Advertisements for apartments and houses are easily found in UK newspapers and online websites, though it is advisable to rent temporary accommodation in the country first to visit a few options before settling on a decision.
There are state and private schools in South Africa, though the state schools still tend to be fee-paying with partial or full subsidies from the government in poorer areas. Each state school has a feeder zone and the first to be admitted are those who live in this zone and following that children whose parents who work in the area.
Private and independent schools each have their own system of admission so it is worth researching in advance. Many private and independent schools offer boarding and day schooling, with some following the British education system and offering A-levels in sixth form.
South Africa is a breathtaking country to discover. Whilst its large cities feel familiar to the general westerner, its countryside and wildlife are extraordinary. You can explore the wildlife of Kruger National Park or enjoy the dramatic landscape of the Drakensberg region. The cities are cultural melting pots; Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu and traditional African belief systems are all part of South African society, shaping the culture of cities such as Cape Town. Each culture and religion brings its own contribution to art, architecture and gastronomy.
Good to know
The BBQ, known locally as a braii, is a beloved past time and a fantastic way to try all the wonderful meats on offer.
You may come across car guards in some cities who are self-appointed guards in charge of finding parking spots (which can be a rare commodity) and protecting the car in your absence. Whilst this can be helpful, be sure to speak with locals to understand the given rate for this service to not over or under tip.
The word ‘robot’ in South Africa refers to traffic lights, so try not to be too bewildered when a local explains directions to you!
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