Moving to South Africa
A Sirelo Guide for the Rainbow Nation

Thinking about moving to South Africa but don’t know where to start? We’ve got you covered! Here at Sirelo, we are experts in removals to South Africa. Whether you’re wondering about your international removal, looking for moving tips or want to know more about living and working in the Rainbow Nation, your questions can be answered here.

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How to Move to South Africa from the UK

Moving to South Africa is a a big deal. You’re packing 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 will help you start organising your move.

Shipping Cost from London to Johannesburg

Below are the estimated costs of moving from London to Johannesburg by sea:

Size of HouseholdShipping TimeCost
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

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. If you need advice on picking a removal company for your move, take a look at our list of top international removal companies.

Alternatively, you can let us do the hard work for you! When you request quotes through us, we match you to up to five removal companies who will then get in touch with you with a quote – for free. All you have to do fill out our quick and easy form and you can make big savings on your move.

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Sirelo’s Top 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 account for. Starting early can help you reduce stress and ensure your move is smooth and successful.

Looking to Move on a Budget?

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!

Storage for Your Belongings

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 from the UK to South Africa. Either way, you may need storage facilities. Look at our page on advice on moving your house into storage.

Do You Want Even More Advice?

Getting advice from experts makes any experience easier on you. Check out these 21 tips to make your relocation to South Africa easier!

Fun Fact: South Africa is home to four of the five fastest land animals in the world: cheetah, wildebeest, lion and Thomson’s gazelle! I guess you won’t be going on Safari by foot then…

Things to Know Before Your Move

As a British Expat moving to the Rainbow Nation, we think there are a few things to know before moving to South Africa:


If you’re planning on moving to South Africa permanently, 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.


Although there is public healthcare in South Africa, we advise using private healthcare, as the private system is fantastic! Due to it’s high standard, it does comes at a steep price so it is important for British expats to purchase health insurance before the make their move to South Africa.

Not convinced? Check out our international health insurance page to see for yourself why it is so important to be covered!


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.

Some banks in South Africa are: Standard Bank GroupAbsa BankFirstRand, and Nedbank 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.

Taking your Pets?

We wouldn’t want you to leave your furry friends behind! There is no problem moving to South Africa with pets so long as you follow all the requirements. Some of the specifics include:

  • Making sure your pet has a microchip
  • You receive a veterinary certification stating your pet is healthy and fit to travel
  • Proof of a rabies vaccination

For more information of bringing your pets, have a look at our blog on Moving Your Pets Abroad!

Small dog walking on a lease on a beach in South Africa

Life in South Africa as a UK Expat

South Africa offers many natural riches throughout the country. From its beautiful coastline to its great national parks, South Africa is to be enjoyed and explored by expats. You can enjoy a good cost of living, as well as a vibrant outdoor lifestyle and should soak up the atmosphere of their popular national sports such as rugby, football or cricket.

Cost of Living

City scores
Costs per city
CityQuality of lifePurchasing powerSafetyHealth careCost of livingPollution
Cape Town736433732843

As we said earlier, 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!

Infographic about places to live in South Africa

Climate and Culture

It’s safe to say, your move to South Africa from the UK will be met with lovely weather! In Summer, the sun is powerful with temperatures rising as high as 40°C – so don’t forget to wear sunscreen!! In the winter – which arrives in June by the way – you can expect dry weather will lower temperatures. You might even see some snow on mountainous regions or experience rain in Cape Town.

In South Africa, you can expect a relaxed culture. Work-life balance is very important and relaxation is a must once you’re finished for the day! Some more good news – English is one of their official languages. Although there are 10 other languages spoken, you should have no problem communicating with locals. You will only notice a few minor spoken differences, but that can be experienced even throughout the UK 😊

Stay Safe!

Although South Africa has a friendly culture, it is important to be aware that the current crime rate is quite high in the country. It is important to be aware that there are still tensions within South Africa so be respectful of the history and know what areas to be cautious in.

Jobs in South Africa for UK Citizens

Finding a job in South Africa can be difficult some times but not impossible! There is currently a demand for skilled expats so our advice would be to have a job offer first before relocating to South Africa. Check out these websites for job opportunities suited for your skills:

Most employees work 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday with national firms employing a hierarchical organisational structure, and global multinational companies becoming more decentralized. The tone is slightly less informal than in the UK but this is dependent on the sector and business size of the company.

Fun Fact: South Africa is the only country in the world where two Nobel Prize winners lived on the same street – Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu! I know where I’ll be moving… 😊

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Shipping Costs for Your Car

Good news! Just like in the UK, cars drive on the left-hand side of the road in South Africa. The only difference is, speed limits are set in kilometres per hour (km). It’s important to know you can drive on your British licence for up to 12 months but after that, you will need an International Driver’s Permit.

If you decide you want to bring your current car with you when emigrating to South Africa, it is very important to follow these steps:

  • Be granted an authority letter from the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS).
  • Complete the ‘Application for importation of a second hand or used vehicle’ form (form IE462).
  • Submit a copy of your permanent SA residence certificate; foreign passport; and foreign car registration certificate.
  • Wait for the application process to be completed. A customs duty will need to be paid to the South African Revenue Service (SARS).

We estimate the cost of shipping a car from the UK to South Africa is between £675 and £950 depending on your vehicle type and where you are moving to. 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.

So What’s Next?

Congrats – A move from the UK to South Africa is on the horizon! This diverse country is a haven for animal lovers and adventurers. Enhanced by its glorious climate and beautiful landscape, it’s easy to see why you would want to move to South Africa from the UK. As John Hemingway once said, “If I have ever seen magic, It has been in Africa”

For more information and helpful guides for your move, please explore the rest of the Sirelo website. We hope we can help you move with a smile 😊