Frequently Asked Questions about South Africa
Expats considering moving to South Africa are sure to have plenty of questions – so we've put together a list of the most common queries about the Rainbow Nation along with some answers.
What is the speed and cost of Internet access in South Africa?
South Africa lags behind the US and Europe in terms of fast, affordable Internet access but has adequate infrastructure that should allow expats to keep in touch with those back home without too much hassle. The cost of high-speed, uncapped Internet access has been high in the past but is gradually becoming cheaper.
What sort of goods can't be bought in South Africa?
Just about every home comfort or local speciality – from French truffles to German newspapers – can be found here if expats look hard enough, especially in the cities. Even some supermarkets stock imported snacks and drinks, mostly from the UK. However, with high import duties and limited demand, these items can be pricey.
How do I go about buying a car in South Africa, and what should I expect to pay?
Buying a car is a straightforward process in South Africa provided it is bought from a reputed dealer, who will arrange for a compulsory roadworthy test and registration. Required documents include a current driving licence, proof of address in South Africa, and a passport. To purchase a car expats will also need to get hold of a Traffic Registration (TR) number. It can be obtained from the local traffic department but it can take a few weeks to be process. Cars are relatively expensive in South Africa, although those that are manufactured in the country provide better value and are cheaper to maintain.
How bad is crime in South Africa?
Much of the crime in South Africa finds its root cause in a society that is deeply divided by income and race. On the one hand, this means most expats are less likely to be on the receiving end of violent crimes, but on the other hand, crimes of theft like burglary and hijacking are not restricted to certain areas, and therefore taking precautions and maintaining an overall sense of awareness is advised.
Is it worth learning an African language?
Expats don't need to learn Afrikaans, Xhosa or Zulu to get by, as just about everyone can speak at least some English. However, it's worth mentioning that by making the effort to learn a local language, expats can deepen their experience of the country, given that the majority of the population speak one of these three languages as a mother tongue.
Is it affordable and easy to hire domestic staff?
Many expats find the affordability of domestic staff and nannies to be a big advantage of living in South Africa. There are numerous agencies to assist with screening and recruiting.