Expats in South Africa share ‘complex’ challenges of life in ‘most beautiful’ country

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As part of the HSBC Expat Explorer survey, expats shared what life was like in beautiful South Africa. An estimated 200,000 British citizens live in South Africa with many opting for the major cities of Cape Town and Johannesburg.

Nearly all of the expats said that South Africa was an extremely beautiful country to relocate to.

One said: “South Africa is a beautiful country, go up Table Mountain, swim in the clear seas and visit Kruger National Park.

“There are different climates for different parts of South Africa.”

British expats in South Africa will be able to take part in some amazing activities from safari at Kruger park to water sports in the nation’s clear seas.

Another expat said: “There are brilliant opportunities for adventure and exploring- diving, bungee jumping, swimming with sharks and going on safari.

“Take all of these opportunities. Southern Africa offers an amazing variety of landscapes, climates, and wildlife that you won’t easily find anywhere else.”

Living abroad is an amazing chance to have experiences expats wouldn’t get at home. South Africa is the perfect choice for adventurous expats who enjoy taking risks and getting out in nature.

However one expat said: “South Africa is one of the most beautiful countries in the world but make sure you have a good financial plan to allow you to do what you want to do in South Africa before expating.”

It’s a good idea to get financial advice from an expert before emigrating to a new country such as South Africa.

Expats should be sure they have enough money and good job prospects before making the move.

Another expat warned: “Ensure you have the right relocation support for setting up bank accounts, utilities etc.

“This is quite complex in South Africa.”

Experts including accountants, lawyers and immigration advisors should be able to help new arrivals organise their essentials in South Africa.

Choosing the right accommodation is a challenge faced by most expats wherever they decide to relocate.

One expat said: “Most important to rent accommodation in a security complex in a medium or low density area.”

Security is always an important factor when it comes to finding a new home. Sadly, Johannesburg was ranked as one of the least safe cities for expats in the 2021 InterNations city ratings.

One expat said: “Secure a place in school as early as possible. Places in public schools are limited.”

Expats with children should try to sort out a school place quickly to minimise family disruption.

The expat added: “The cultural differences and way of life are starkly different and take a while to get used to.”

Many expats are shocked by the vast gap in wealth between South African nationals. Over half of South Africans live in poverty and it is the most unequal country in the world according to the World Bank.

Although South Africa has taken steps to reduce the poverty gap, there are still many problems left to tackle. Some expats choose to do volunteer work or make regular donations to charities working to close the poverty gap.

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