Moving to South Africa
Its immense geographic diversity and 11 official languages are small indications of the range and rhythm of life in Africa’s southernmost state. Expats moving to South Africa will find the wonder of an entire world within the borders of a single country.
Such extreme regional differences mean that expats should find somewhere to live that suits their needs and expectations. Overall, South Africa offers skilled expatriates a high quality of life and a working environment with plentiful opportunities. What’s more, adapting to the culture is fairly easy and enjoying the new lifestyle is effortless.
Retirees are drawn by the wonderful climate, ambitious young adults by relatively low living costs and established professionals by easy access to a luxury lifestyle in the midst of an African aesthetic.
The South African economy is fairly stable due to its conservative exchange control and carefully regulated financial sector. That said, the country is battling with high unemployment, deep inequality and, in some places, inefficient governance. Nonetheless, citizens and residents are protected by a liberal Constitution which enshrines the rights of private property and minorities.
Despite problems in the respective public sectors, private healthcare in South Africa is world class and several of its universities are internationally ranked. The country’s private schools offer a level of education comparable to the best schools around the world and there are even some public schools which should meet the expectations of money-conscious expats.
As a result of skill shortages in sectors like engineering, education, executive management and information technology, expats with the right skills and experience shouldn’t struggle to find employment.
Unfortunately, there is still some way to go in addressing the disparities entrenched by the Apartheid era and crime in South Africa continues to be a problem that affects many citizens and businesses. Private security is a necessary precaution and, with a booming security industry, can easily be contracted for affordable rates.
The most popular cities for expats moving to South Africa are Cape Town and Johannesburg. But this is where the similarities end – Joburg, as local call it, has the constant bustle of a cosmopolitan business centre while Cape Town offers windswept beaches, mountain-framed vistas and a more laid-back lifestyle.
For many of expats who move to South Africa, its idiosyncratic mixture of first and third world elements makes for an irresistible combination in spite of the challenges.