T Nation

Considering Moving to South Africa


I am considering a possible move to South Africa in the future. I find it to be a very interesting place, and it seems like it would be a nice place to live. The area I am particularly interested to learn about is the Durban, KZN area. I would like to hear from South Africans (and others who may have experiences from living in RSA) about what life is like there.

A little background about myself:

I grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio. I left there when I was 18 to attend the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD. I graduated from USNA in 2001 and accepted a commission in the Marine Corps.

My first duty station in the USMC was in Quantico, VA where I attended The Basic School and Infantry Officer's Course. I then served as an infantry officer at Camp Pendleton, CA for three years from 2002-2005. During that time I did two combat deployments to Iraq. I was also able to visit Australia (to which I am also contemplating a move), Bahrain, and Singapore.

I got married in March, 2005 to a wonderful woman. We are currently expecting our first child.

Since 2005, I have been working in IT acquistions for the USMC back in Quantico..



It's a better place to visit than it is to live in.


I've been living here all my life - and I for one love the place.

I don't stay in Durban, but in Joburg. I prefer the weather here anyway - it's too humid down in Durban - you'd be better off further down the coast or in Cape Town IMO.

People are friendly, we have great weather, no crazy natural disasters and a beautiful country. Jobs are fairly easy to get too - what field would you be working in? I'm only 21 so I don't have all that much experience with actual living expenses and so on - what else would you like to know?


Good luck to you. I've never been, but I've heard from a couple of expat South African friends that crime in Johannesburg is pretty bad. Might want to have a look at Cape Town too.


I'm certainly not married to the idea of living in Durban necessarily. I will definitely have to check the areas further south (Port Elizabeth, Jeffries Bay, etc.)

As far as questions:

How accepting are South Africans of outsiders moving in?

How tolerant are South Africans of Americans?

How easy would it be for an American to get a job in South Africa?

Is English the primary language of business in RSA?

How necessary is it to know Afrikaans and/or other RSA languages?

What exactly is a brai?

Would you describe South Africans as being uptight or relaxed?

My understanding is that, while there are high crime areas in RSA, there are also many places to live that are very safe. Is this correct?

Thank you for your time.



Depends on what you are looking for. Quality of life: Down at the coast. Then consider your lifestyle. KZN in general is more "ethnic" - high consentration of Zulus and Indians. The Cape (Cape Town etc.) is more Western, but the main language of comm. is Afrikaans. If you are looking for money: Gauteng (Johannesburg then Pretoria).

SA's are generally really receptive. There is some xenophobia - but this is concentrated more on tribes from countries higher up in africa. As an American you'll probably be really well accepted, you'll just have to endure some criticism re. you're current choice of president... :slightly_smiling:

As previously stated, there are alot of jobs in SA - the problem is most people here don't have any qualifications. You shouldn't have any problems getting a job in IT - have a look at www.pnet.co.za.

Primary language in SA business is English (don't say it too loud...). It isn't necessary to know any of the other 11 languages - but it will help. Also depends on where you stay - Cape (Afrikaans), Joburg (English), Pretoria (Afrikaans) and the towns you mentioned down at the coast are mostly English. You will not have any trouble comm. as most ppl are able to speak English.

SA version of a BBQ. Also includes massive amounts of beer, watching rugby and rude jokes.....

Relaxed - you still get the tight assed one, but they usually imigrated from a small island close to France... :slightly_smiling: (JK!)

Yes there is high crime areas - again mostly around the metropolitan areas and again mostly in Gauteng. You just have to be more cautious: you lock doors, don't jog 11 o'clock @ night etc. Personally I've only experience crime once - my bicycle was stolen from our lawn when I was about 5...

If you have any more questions don't hesitate to PM me...


And the best looking woman stay in Pretoria


If you're looking at living by the coast kwazulu natal and close to Durban, take a look at Umdloti. It used to be my favorite place when I lived in South Africa. Cape Town is cold and windy.


that's called rugby weather!


I was born and raised in Cape Town, so I might be a little biased, but..... best looking part of the country right there is the Western Cape. Table Mountain, V&A waterfront, more vineyards than you could count, and the coast (ok, so the water is freezing, but you can't have everything).

Durban was too humid for me, but now that I live in Ohio I could probably stand it. Joburg weather is just weird, I am not sure on the crime levels there now, but when I left it was pretty bad.


I undersstand capetown is best, economically and safety wise, but elsewhere, just not worth the risk.

Dont go swimming, though.


Honestly, I think the crime here in Joburg is over-hyped to a point.

We moved to my area about 12 years ago, and it's gone down a bit - but not once have they ever tried to break into our house, and I've only ever been mugged once in my life.

I also drive an imported car so it attracts a LOT of attention, but no attempts to steal it either.

But yeah, Cape Town is probably the best all round bet, and Joburg would be second. You could always think about Australia, though I hear they have a sheep problem that side...


There's a sheep problem?

Nice beaches here. But we're full, sorry, all americans please divert straight to South Africa. Thanks.


Am I missing something? He said South Africa right? Home of mindbending poverty and life expectancy of 48 years? Ruled by a corrupt government that among other things defended Robert Mugabe and denied that AIDS and HIV were linked (also deliberately suppressing AIDS related statistics)? Home of the highest AIDS rate in the world?

I suppose they did legalise same sex marriage.

I mean I'm sure it's a beautiful country, but I'm not sure it's where I'd want to raise a family.


Thank you for the responses.

At the very least, RSA is a place I would like to visit someday. If I was still single, I probably would be a lot more inclined to move there. It sounds a little bit like the wild west to me.

However, with a young family it doesn't sound like it's the best time to make the move given the crime situation. I don't think my wife would be comfortable having to carry a gun for personal protection.

But who knows? From what I am hearing, the country is changing very rapidly. Maybe things will be different enough in a few years that I can reconsider making the move.

In the meantime, I may consider a move to Australia. Sorry, Sxio! But I'll be damned if I'm going to switch rugby codes.



I think you are looking at South Africa is if it were more of a homogeneous country than it is. There are parts of the country that are first world, and there are others that resemble a developing nation. The more I learn about the different localities, the more it seems like a very interesting place to live.

I hate to say it, but sometimes I just get BORED living in the US. I was wondering if RSA might be more my cup of tea. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem that way given my current situation. However, things may change as time goes along.



Shame. Your loss, really. It is a beautifull country, and the crime is over hyped. I can get to a game park sporting all of the big 5 within 2 hours drive from my house. Now that would be something to show your kids.

The people are friendly for the most part, and your kids would grow up multilingual (which I believe to be a huge advantage).

Sure we have a government we don't always agree with, but how would that be different from the States? With regards to the AIDS issue, just keep your fly shut when not in your house. This is a good idea for most young married men anyway.

Anyhoo... Visit first before you make up your mind. PM me if you have any more questions.


I was kidding about the sheep - I was however in Australia back in '99 after some family of mine moved there.

I stayed for a month and fell in love with the place, I'm still gonna visit there again in the next few years - one of the most beautiful countries I've ever been to.


When I was living in Joburg, we had 2 break-ins. When we were living in Alberton, my mom's car was broken into.

Bad luck on our part I guess.


I stay down the road from Alberton (near Glenanda) - How would you say it compares to living in Canada?