Moving to South Africa

Last updated: September 4, 2019

Whether you’re going for work or want to experience life on safari, if you’re moving to South Africa, we’ve got you covered. This page explains what life in South Africa is like and how you can make the moving process easier. If you need advice on picking a removal company for your move, take a look at our list of top 10 international removal companies.

Visas to South Africa

You can travel and stay in South Africa for up to 90 days without a visa. However, if you’re planning on moving to South Africa permanently, then you will have to apply for a temporary residence visa. This will allow you to stay in South Africa for up to 3 years.

Every visa application is treated as an individual case, so check the South African Government website for more information on what type of visas to South Africa you need.

The immigration law in South Africa was significantly tightened in 2014 which has made obtaining residence in the country more difficult. Fortunately, the consultancy company InterGate has made it easier to work in line with these new restrictions to help you and your family to get a visa.

Moving to South Africa

Life in South Africa

Before moving to South Africa, it’s always good to have an idea as to what you can expect your life to be like. So, to help you avoid culture shock, this section provides information on life in South Africa. If you need advice on what to prepare for your move, look at our moving abroad page for 34 things that you definitely need to prepare for!

Banking in South Africa

The currency of South Africa is the rand (R or ZAR) and the general cost of living is much cheaper than in the UK. You will be able to open a bank account with a currency in ZAR, Euros or US Dollars.

The top five banks in South Africa are:

  1. Standard Bank Group
  2. Absa Bank
  3. FirstRand
  4. Nedbank Group
  5. Barclays Africa Group

For more information, visit Expatica’s webpage on banking institutions in South Africa. You may also be interested in looking at our international money transfer page for advice on how to move your money abroad.

The Cost of Living in South Africa

City scoresCosts per city
CityQuality of lifePurchasing powerSafetyHealth careCost of livingPollution
Cape Town736433732843
Johannesburg606820603075
CityCappuccino price1L milk priceOne dozen eggs priceThree room apartment rent
Cape Town£ 1,19£ 0,69£ 1,24£ 837,14
Johannesburg£ 1,19£ 0,75£ 1,37£ 650,29

The cost of living in South Africa is a lot cheaper than in the UK. Also, house prices have been falling due to the devaluation of the South African Rand and the cheaper cost of land in the country. So, moving to Cape Town or Johannesburg won’t be too hard on your wallet!

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Tips on Driving in South Africa

Driving is known as being quite risky in South Africa, so if you’re planning on driving, then there are a few things that you have to be aware of:

  • An International Driver’s Permit is needed with a national driving license. Always make sure that you carry your documentation with you, as traffic officers will expect to see it if they stop you for any reason.
  • Many roads between major cities are toll roads, so always check the fees before setting off.
  • Luckily, they drive on the left hand side of the road like us!
  • There are very strict drinking and driving laws. So, steer clear of alcohol to avoid getting into trouble.
  • When driving anywhere in South Africa, follow these precautions:
    • Drive with your doors and windows locked
    • Avoid travelling at night or in remote areas
    • Always plan your journey!

For more advice on driving in South Africa, read these safety tips on driving in South Africa. If you’re planning on transporting your car to your new home, you can only do so once you have registered as an immigrant in the country. Furthermore, you may only transport a used car, no new ones! Most removal companies will use a container to ship your car to South Africa. Before moving to South Africa, you should look at the government website for information on registering your vehicle, licenses and import fees.

How to Move to South Africa

Moving to South Africa is a big deal and it’s a big decision to pack up and move to the other side of the globe. So, if you’ve made the decision to move, the next step is to start planning your move! There is a lot to consider, which is why this section should start your off on what to do now.

Cost of Moving to South Africa

Size of HouseholdTimeCost
1 bed flat6-11 weeks£2,400 – £4,200
3 bed house4-8 weeks£5,400 – £8,900
5 bed house4-8 weeks£8,000 – £13,600

Above are the estimated costs of moving to South Africa, from London to Johannesburg by sea. There are several factors that affect the cost of shipping belongings abroad: the two main factors being the volume of your move and the distance. You can use our removal volume calculator to help you save time when requesting quotes.

Moving to South Africa for the nature

Removals to South Africa

When moving to South Africa, one of the biggest steps in your move is finding someone to move all of your belongings for you! Obviously, you want a company that provides you with all of the services that you require; whether that’s only moving your things from A to B or going further and doing all the packaging and storing for you.

There are a few ways you can find your removal company; checking company reviews on their profile can give you a good idea if they are a good company or not. The best way is to request quotes. When you request quotes from us, we match you to up to five removal companies who will then get in touch with you with a quote. All you have to do fill out our quick and easy form and you can save up to 40% on your move!

Moving Tips

Moving to South Africa, or any country for that matter, is quite a difficult task. But don’t worry, that’s why we’re here to help you! Here is some advice to make the moving process a little bit less stressful:

  • Planning is everything! When you plan you avoid unnecessary costs that you didn’t plan for. So, check out our moving house checklist for advice on what you should be doing and when!
  • There are a number of different things that you can do in order to save money on your move. Which is why we’ve created our cheap removals page that you can take a look at for advice on how to reduce the costs of moving to South Africa!
  • Also, check out these 11 tips to make your move easier.
  • Another thing that you should look into is storage. It may take a few days or weeks for your items to arrive at your new home or maybe you need to ship items before you leave the UK. Either way, you may need storage facilities. Look at our page on advice on moving your house into storage.

What Next?

We hope that you found this page helpful. If you would like some more information, take a look at these pages: