You are considering moving to South Africa and trying to decide if it is a good idea. Naturally you Google South Africa and hit the information overload, positive and negative. Ideally, I would say stop reading, take the leap and experience the country for yourself. But if you are not feeling quite so adventurous, here are my thoughts and ideas that may help you decide faster.
Excellent health system (private health that is)
We are paying quite a steep medical aid fee for this but on the positive side, you get to choose the doctor that you like and trust, you can go for as many opinions as you need and you do not have to rely on your allocated general practitioner to confirm whether you need to see a specialist or not. I have heard from many expatriates that they do their family planning with the aim to be in South Africa while pregnant and in the first few years of their kids’ lives because of the amazing health care system and options for pregnant mothers and babies.
Great food (this comes with a warning, portions can be huge, beware the creeping weight gain)
Nothing can beat the juicy succulent piece of rump steak you can get in South Africa. When I first tasted South African beef it did not taste like any beef I had eaten before in Europe. There are many reasons for this, the space the cows have to roam, the grass and herbs they eat. The same can be said for the local lamb and chicken and great tasting vegetables and fruit. The climate allows for seasonal produce all year around. Be warned, though, South African restaurants compete not only on taste but also on portion size. Huge plates and portions together with the great taste can slowly make their way into your daily lifestyle and soon you will be wondering how the kilos managed to creep in despite all the sport.
Green, gardens, parks
South Africans love nature, gardens, plants, parks. The cities are full of green spaces, new developments even include parks and lakes in their designs. You will see trees and flowers everywhere and any time of the year. Even a multimillion population city such as Johannesburg that was built far from natural water sources is boasting the biggest man-made forest in the world, estimated 10 million trees planted by man.
Arts, markets, theatre
South Africa is a young country relative to others and there is youth, excitement, and vibrancy to the local art and culture scene. Visit 44 Stanley or Market On Main in Johannesburg, or The Old Biscuit Mill in Woodstock, Cape Town; markets, art galleries, theatres, street art, concerts in the parks, jazz festivals, there is something new to do, see and experience every day of the week.
We are obsessed with keeping kids entertained so you will find child-friendly venues, restaurants, and events everywhere. Kids are seldom scolded for running around and being kids, some venues even provide water features for the kids to get wet and dirty and have fun. Even sporting events are organized with the kids in mind and offer kids’ sized events and additional entertainment.
South Africa has oceans for amazing surfing, ocean views, and holidays by the sea, large rivers, and dams for river rafting, water sports and fishing, beautiful mountains to hike, stunning flowering savannahs, and even deserts. There is a piece of nature for every taste. Even though you are unlikely to see snow you can go sand boarding on beautiful sand dunes. Not to forget the numerous large and well-kept nature reserves for photo safari where you can drive for days on end admiring the diversity of the local flora and fauna.
Respectful and non-judgmental people
I have now lived in South Africa for 20 years and, at first, I was bewildered by the local people’s reluctance to give me their honest opinion if it was going to be negative. Slowly however I came to appreciate the local people’s deep respect for each other’s choices, opinions, and freedoms. People here dress in a variety of fashions, cook a huge variety of foods, build all sorts of houses, belong to all kinds of spiritual groups or religions and do not judge each other’s choices. My kids can go to the shops barefoot if they want to and nobody will stop and shake their head in disapproval. Respect for each other’s freedom of expression is deeply embedded in the local mindset giving you the opportunity to feel more empowered and make bolder choices every day.
South Africa is vibrant, interesting, busy and cosmopolitan. Open up your mind and self for meeting new people and new
experiences and there will be no better place for your next expatriate assignment.
We at Expats On The Globe have been walking the journey of moving country with our expatriate clients for many years and understand what it takes to move your entire life across borders. Call us for a quote on immigration, relocation, intercultural training or personal goods removal.