14 Reasons to live in South Africa - Immigration South Africa Blog (2023)

Ask any proudly South African to give you reasons to live in South Africa and they’ll rattle off a long list in seconds.

The examples will range from the extraordinary to the sublime. Fact is, many of South Africa’s best qualities and attractions can’t be found anywhere else on earth!

Take, for starters, close encounters with the Big 5. Also, Table Mountain, and 11 official languages, each adding its own unique flavour to South Africa’s cultural melting pot.

There is no way we can list everything that makes South Africa great, but we have done our best in our list of top 14 reasons to live in South Africa:

1. More bang for your buck

Mercer’s 2019 Cost of Living Survey compared 209 cities from around the world, looking at factors such as housing, transportation, food, clothing, household goods and entertainment.

Cape Town came in at number 180, while Johannesburg sits seven places lower at number 185.

Let’s look at it another way, by consulting Numbeo. When comparing living costs in Cape Town to London, these are the results:

  • Consumer prices are 47.05% lower than in London.
  • Rent is 62.78% lower than in London.
  • Restaurant prices are 50.95% lower than in London.
  • Groceries prices are 39.22% lower than in London.

Let’s see how Johannesburg compares:

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  • Consumer prices are 44.21% lower than in London.
  • Rent is 74.83% lower than in London.
  • Restaurant prices are 50.63% lower than in London.
  • Groceries prices are 37.92% lower than in London.

Want to compare your city? Simply do a search for it on Numbeo and choose ‘Compare XX with’ at the top of the page. Then enter either Cape Town or Johannesburg, or any other city in South Africa.

2. English is widely spoken

English is only one of our 11 official languages, but it’s arguably the language spoken most often, as it’s the most widely accepted language for communication in businesses, in shops, at tourist attractions, in restaurants, and the like.

3. Exceptional private healthcare

South Africa’s private healthcare is on par with any of the best in Europe and the United States. The hospitals, staff, and care given are first class, with plenty of medical aid schemes to choose from.

Here’s something you might not know – people from all across the world opt to come to South Africa for plastic surgery each year, not only due to the outstanding quality of our plastic surgeons but also because of the favourable exchange rate.

4. Awards, awards, and more awards

South Africa, its cities, and its citizens win plenty of international awards each year.

In 2017, South Africa was voted the 5th Most Beautiful Country in the World, while Cape Town was named the World’s Best City to Visit.

Our beaches come out tops too. No less than 46 of South Africa’s beaches were deemed worthy of Blue Flag Status for the 2018/2019 season.

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Fine dining more your thing? Then head on over to The Test Kitchen in Cape Town, which earned a spot on the 2019 World’s 50 Best Restaurant list.

We must also mention our universities, like the University of Cape Town and Stellenbosch University, which regularly make it onto global university rankings. In 2019, three South African universities are among the top 500 in the world.

5. The 3rd Most Inclusive Country in the World

This is another accolade, but one worthy of special mention. Last year South Africa was named the third most inclusive country in the world, behind only Canada and the United States.

These results are the outcome of an Ipsos Global Advisor survey and more than 20 000 people took part in it.

The areas on which participants were surveyed covered social acceptance on the basis of religion, immigration, sexual orientation and gender identity, political views, and criminal background.

6. You’ll barely miss home

Some urban legends about life in South Africa just never seem to go away. For instance, that everyone in South Africa has a pet lion/leopard/just about any other wild animal you can think of.

It’s simply not true!

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Often, people simply have no idea what to expect. Here’s what we can tell you – South Africa has wifi and fibre, you can shop in malls and buy from H&M, you can pop into Woolworths, you can walk into a Mac shop and replace your old MacBook, you can buy top-of-the-range luxury cars, and you can drink water straight from the tap.

7. Our people

South Africans are known around the world as some of the friendliest, most welcoming people in the world. You’ll always be greeted with a smile and a helping hand will be extended whenever you need it.

8. Unparalleled beauty

South Africa has some of the most beautiful and wild beaches on the planet, undulating mountain ranges, lush forests, and desert skies that turn brilliant shades of amber at sunset.

9. Fantastic weather

South Africans enjoy clear blue skies and abundant sunshine most days of the year. Durban has a tropical climate year-round, while winter days in Cape Town often reaches up to 25C. Johannesburg sees summer rains, but showers never last long enough to spoil your time outdoors.

10. Nature like you’ve never experienced it before

We’ve already mentioned the Big 5, but that’s only the start of what’s on offer in South Africa for nature lovers.

Namaqualand in springtime is just as awe-inspiring as game drives through the Kruger. Perhaps even more so, depending on who you speak to. That’s because Namaqualand, a typical dry region, is carpeted with more than 3500 species of wildflowers after winter rains, attracting thousands of tourists each year.

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Visitors also flock to places such as the peaks and valleys of the Drakensberg, the Blyde River Canyon, the wildness of Coffee Bay, the red sandstone of the Cederberg, the wetlands of the Elephant Coast, the vast plains of the Karoo, the Richterveld’s desert landscape, the Tsitsikamma forests, the red sand dunes of the Kgalagadi, and golden cliffs of the Free State.

11. But no natural disasters!

Yes, South Africa has seen some floods in its days and we have had the odd tornado, but South Africa does not see either of these regularly, nor do we suffer earthquakes or cyclonic storms.

12. Unforgettable experiences

In South Africa, you can dive with sharks, go whale watching, visit the most southern point of Africa, see the Big 5 in one trip (one day, if you’re lucky), swim with penguins, bungee jump from the highest commercial bridge in the world (that’s 216 metres, if you were wondering), go back to your roots at the Cradle of Humankind, see Cape Town from the top of Table Mountain, hike the Drakensberg or the famous Otter trail, traverse Sani Pass in a 4×4, visit Nelson Mandela’s cell on Robben Island, see the tallest waterfall in Africa…and that’s just scratching the surface.

13. A lifestyle like no other

Due to South Africa’s superb weather, great outdoors and hundreds of unique experiences on offer, you can do everything your heart desires in our beautiful country.

You can go wine tasting in the morning, run on the mountains in the afternoon and end the day with a sundowner, listening to the soothing sounds of waves crashing on the beach.

When you’re ready for your first South African holiday, jump on a plane or in the car, and you can be in the bush, by the seaside or in a quaint little town along one of South Africa’s highways in a matter of hours.

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14. Our national treasures

We have many differences, but some things bind all South Africans together – a ‘lekker’ braai, tucking into bunny chow, supporting the Boks and the Proteas, sharing biltong and a gatsby, watching the Comrades and the Cape Town Cycle Tour, disagreeing over where you can find the best koeksisters and vetkoek, as well as legends like Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Caster Semenya, AB de Villiers, Wayde van Niekerk, Desmond Tutu, Benni McCarthy, Johnny Clegg and Pieter-Dirk Uys.

And let’s face it – where else in the world can you buy newspapers, sunglasses, hats, fruit, flowers and cell phone chargers at a traffic light?

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Why South Africa is a great place to live? ›

Many expats choose to live there because of its rich history, modern amenities and historic landmarks, which combine to make it one of South Africa's most appealing cities. Expats have a choice of many attractive neighbourhoods in the area in which to make their new home.

Why should I stay in South Africa? ›

Scenic beauty: South Africa really is many worlds in one. Expect stunning coastlines, dramatic mountainscapes, huge areas of untamed bushveld, starkly beautiful semi-deserts, lakes, waterfalls, spectacular canyons, forests and wide plains, plus Cape Town, undeniably one of the most beautiful cities in the world.

Why are people immigrating from South Africa? ›

South Africans seem to favour the political, economic and social stability of countries like Australia, New Zealand, Canada and most of Europe. With the current political climate in South Africa, more and more of its citizens are preparing for the next 10 years by securing residency in these countries.

Where do most foreigners in South Africa come from? ›

Countries of Origin

The origins of immigrants in South Africa include many countries belonging to the African continent, and include: Angola, Botswana, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Eswatini, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Somalia, Sudan, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

What is the safest town in South Africa? ›

Cape Town. Cape Town has experienced a rise in crime in certain districts recently. However, it still boasts some of the most desirable neighborhoods and remains the safest major city in South Africa.

Is South Africa a good place to live? ›

Ranking among the bottom 10 in the Quality of Life Index (52nd), it is last in the Safety & Security subcategory (59th). More than a third of expats (34%) do not consider South Africa a peaceful country (vs. 9% globally) and just about one in four (24%) feel safe there (vs. 84% globally).

What are the advantages of having foreigners in South Africa? ›

“Immigrants contribute towards our country's economic development by investing in the economy, supplying critical skills including in our health facilities, teaching our children and youth in schools and universities and thus transferring their knowledge and skills to them”, he declared.

What makes me proud of South Africa? ›

Being proudly South African means picking ourselves up, dusting ourselves off and heading forward instead of backward. It means recognising the good in our fellow countrymen and focusing on what's important: growth and a happy lifestyle.

What positive impact does immigrants have on South Africa? ›

In part due to the high employment rate of the immigrant population itself, immigrants also raise the income per capita in South Africa. In addition, immigrants have a positive impact on the government's fiscal balance, mostly because they tend to pay more in taxes.

Which country has the most South African immigrants? ›

The largest concentrations of South African emigrants are to be found in the United Kingdom, followed by Australia, the United States, New Zealand and Canada.

Which African country has the most immigrants? ›

South Africa had the highest number of immigrants among all African countries as of July 2020, hosting 2.9 million people. Côte d'Ivoire followed with 2.6 million international migrants. Among the macro-regions, Eastern Africa hosted the highest number of international migrants in Africa, with 7.68 million.

Where are white South Africans migrating to? ›

Meanwhile, many white South Africans have also emigrated to Western countries over the past two decades, mainly to English-speaking countries such as the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand.

What percentage of South Africa is black? ›

Introduction. According to Statistics South Africa's 2017 mid-year population estimates, South Africa is home to 56,521,900 people. Black South Africans are in the majority, with a population of 45.7-million – 80.8% of the total.

Where can I live with a South African passport? ›

More Visa-Free Countries for South African Passport Holders
  • Angola.
  • Antigua & Barbuda.
  • Bahamas.
  • Barbados.
  • Belize.
  • Benin.
  • Botswana.
  • British Virgin Islands.

Which is the peaceful city in South Africa? ›

The towns of Yzerfontein, Churchhaven and St. Helena Bay on the sparsely populated west coast are among the safest areas for expats to live in South Africa. These areas are an ideal place for expats in search of a peaceful lifestyle.

Where is the cheapest place to live in South Africa? ›

The cheapest cities to live and work in South Africa
RankCityAverage annual rent
1JohannesburgR84 000
2PretoriaR72 000
3DurbanR61 200
4Cape TownR108 000
6 more rows
Dec 13, 2019

Which province in South Africa has the lowest crime? ›

South Africa's safest police precinct is Mpisi in the Eastern Cape. Based on News24's CrimeCheck, only 60 crimes took place among Mpisi's population of 25 564 last year. Cape Town Central had the highest rate of crime out of more than 900 precincts.

Which is the best province to live in South Africa? ›

The Western Province, which includes Cape Town, has been ranked as the best province in South Africa by many.

What are the disadvantages of living in South Africa? ›

Living in South Africa Pros and Cons

Living in South Africa is not without its challenges. There are safety concerns, electricity disruptions and a lack of reliable public services.

What is the best country to live in Africa? ›

1. South Africa: At 136.02, South Africa has the highest quality of life index score in Africa. The country's purchasing power index currently stands at 78.36, and it has a healthcare index score of 63.97 and cost of living index score of 42.09.

How good is South Africa to live? ›

Ranking among the bottom 10 in the Quality of Life Index (52nd), it is last in the Safety & Security subcategory (59th). More than a third of expats (34%) do not consider South Africa a peaceful country (vs. 9% globally) and just about one in four (24%) feel safe there (vs. 84% globally).

What makes me proud of South Africa? ›

Being proudly South African means picking ourselves up, dusting ourselves off and heading forward instead of backward. It means recognising the good in our fellow countrymen and focusing on what's important: growth and a happy lifestyle.

Is South Africa truly an amazing country? ›

South Africa is famous for its incredible diversity, stunning landscapes, and rich culture. It is one of the great cultural meeting points of the African continent – a fact that has been obscured by decades of racial segregation but is becoming increasingly apparent, especially in the country's great cities.


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