Are you thinking of moving to South Africa? This incredible country offers a blend of bustling cities, natural beauty, and stunning coastlines. Get ready to discover the best places to live in South Africa!
South Africa has always held a special place in my heart. From my first visit, I was captivated by its diverse landscapes, vibrant cities, and the genuine warmth of its people. It’s no wonder that many, including myself, consider it among the best places to live in the world. As 2023 unfolds, the allure of this Rainbow Nation beckons adventurers, dreamers, and those in search of a life filled with passion and purpose.
The rise of remote work has made it even more enticing for many to consider moving to South Africa. I’ve often found myself starting the day with a coffee overlooking the Indian Ocean or drawing inspiration from the historic charm of George and Port Elizabeth. Beyond its undeniable beauty, it’s the spirit of South Africa that truly resonates with me. Here, every greeting is genuine, every shared meal is a celebration, and every sunset is a reminder of nature’s grandeur.
Dive in as we explore places that promise not only a home but a deep connection to the land and its people. Here are 8 of the best places to live in South Africa that you need to know about.
Considering moving to South Africa? Here’s a snapshot to guide your decision:
- Best for Wine and Culture: Stellenbosch
- Best for Beach Vibes: Durban
- Best for Lagoon Living: Knysna
- Best for Nautical Adventures: Simon’s Town
- Best for Surfing Spots: Cape St. Francis
- Best for Garden Route Charm: George
- Best for Urban Lifestyle: Johannesburg
- Best for Historic Significance: Port Elizabeth
- Best for Desert Landscapes: Kalahari
- Best for Iconic Sights: Cape Town
Intrigued about what sets each of these South African destinations apart for potential movers? Let’s explore further!
Ah, Cape Town – a city that combines natural beauty with urban sophistication. From the first time I set eyes on the majestic Table Mountain, I was smitten. The city sprawls out from this iconic landmark, with the Atlantic Ocean on one side and rugged mountain ranges on the other.
Cape Town, one of the cheapest places to fly to in Africa, is a melting pot of cultures, and its history is as diverse as its people. The colorful Bo-Kaap neighborhood, with its cobbled streets and vibrant houses, tells tales of the Cape Malay community. In contrast, the V&A Waterfront offers a modern shopping and dining experience with a harbor view.
Cape Town boasts a well-developed infrastructure, from reliable public transport with the MyCiTi bus service to top-notch healthcare facilities. The city is also one of the best cities in South Africa for digital nomads, thanks to its growing tech industry and co-working spaces.
For nature lovers, the opportunities are endless. Whether it’s hiking up Lion’s Head, lounging on Clifton’s pristine beaches, or exploring the Cape Winelands just a short drive away, there’s always things to do in Cape Town.
Like many major cities worldwide, Cape Town has areas that are safer than others. It’s essential to be aware of your surroundings, avoid risky areas, especially after dark, and heed local advice. Over the years, the city has made significant strides in improving safety, with increased patrolling and community-driven initiatives. Many expats and locals live comfortably, enjoying all that this city has to offer while taking standard urban precautions.
Truly, Cape Town is one of the best places to live in South Africa for those seeking a life filled with passion and beauty.
Whenever friends ask me for recommendations on where to go in South Africa, George often tops my list. Tucked away in the heart of the Garden Route, this town is a blend of scenic beauty, modern amenities, and a community spirit that’s genuinely heartwarming.
For those who adore nature, George is a dream come true. Surrounded by the majestic Outeniqua Mountains and with pristine beaches just a short drive away, it’s a haven for hikers, golfers, and beach lovers alike. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been mesmerized by the views from the Montagu Pass or enjoyed a leisurely day at Victoria Bay.
However, what truly sets George apart as one of the best cities to live in South Africa is its balance of small-town charm with city conveniences. The town boasts top-tier schools, state-of-the-art medical facilities, and a growing business sector. It’s an ideal choice for families, retirees, and young professionals.
Foodies will appreciate the incredible range of restaurants in George. You’ll find a mix of cozy cafes, gourmet restaurants, and local markets offering the freshest produce. And for those keen on staying connected, George Airport provides easy access to major South African cities.
Considering moving to South Africa? George offers a lifestyle that’s hard to beat. It’s a place where you can enjoy the tranquility of nature, be part of a close-knit community, and still have all the modern amenities at your fingertips. What more could you want?
You just can’t beat the warm embrace of Durban! Every time I hear the waves crashing along the Golden Mile, I’m reminded of why this coastal city holds such a special place in my heart. Durban is where the sun seems to shine a little brighter, and the Indian Ocean’s waters are invitingly warm all year round.
Now, if you’re a foodie like me, Durban is a paradise. The city is renowned for its unique culinary offering: the Bunny Chow. This delicious curry-filled bread bowl showcases Durban’s Indian heritage and is a must-try for anyone visiting.
But there’s more to Durban than its beaches and food. The city is a hub of arts and culture. The BAT Centre, for instance, showcases the best of local talent, from visual arts to music and performance. And for those with a penchant for history, the Inanda Heritage Route provides a deep dive into South Africa’s struggle for freedom and the legacy of icons like Nelson Mandela.
Of course, practicalities matter too. Durban’s King Shaka International Airport connects the city to major destinations. This makes travel a breeze. And with a range of housing options, from beachfront apartments to suburban homes, there’s something for every lifestyle.
So, why consider moving to South Africa and choosing Durban? Well, imagine a place where you can kick off your shoes, feel the sand between your toes, and think, “This is home.” Durban isn’t just a spot on the map. It’s a lifestyle, a vibe, and honestly, one of the best places for young people to live in South Africa. Dive in, and you might just fall in love!
There’s a certain magic about Port Elizabeth that’s hard to put into words. Maybe it’s the blend of its history with the vibrant energy of a modern city, or perhaps it’s the miles of golden beaches that stretch as far as the eye can see. Either way, every time I visit, I’m reminded of why it’s often dubbed the “Friendly City.”
Located at the eastern tip of the famed Garden Route, Port Elizabeth is a gateway to some of South Africa’s best places. The city itself is a mosaic of cultures, and its historical landmarks, like the Donkin Reserve and Fort Frederick, offer a glimpse into its storied past.
History isn’t the only thing PE, as locals lovingly call it, has to offer. The city is a paradise for water sports enthusiasts. From surfing at Hobie Beach to diving in the clear waters of Algoa Bay, there’s an adventure waiting for everyone. And for those who prefer terra firma, the nearby Addo Elephant National Park offers unforgettable wildlife encounters.
One of the things I cherish most about Port Elizabeth is its sense of community. Whether you’re shopping at the local markets, dining at a beachfront cafe, or attending one of the city’s many festivals, you’re always met with a warm smile and a friendly chat.
Considering where to live in South Africa? Port Elizabeth strikes a balance between city life and coastal relaxation. With its excellent schools, growing business sector, and rich cultural scene, it’s a city that promises both opportunity and a high quality of life.
No list of the best places to live in South Africa would be complete wihtout a nod to Simon’s Town. Perched on the Cape Peninsula, this historic naval town is where maritime dreams come alive. With its close proximity to Cape Town, you’re never too far from the vibrant city life while enjoying the tranquility of a coastal town.
Imagine strolling down cobbled streets lined with British colonial-era buildings, each echoing tales of naval battles and age-old seafaring adventures. The harbor, bustling with yachts, fishing boats, and the occasional naval vessel, is the town’s beating heart. And let’s not forget the local celebrities – the African penguins at Boulders Beach. Watching these tuxedoed fellows waddle around never fails to bring a smile to my face!
For those with a passion for diving, the waters around Simon’s Town are a treasure trove. Shipwrecks, kelp forests, and vibrant marine life await beneath the waves. And if you’re someone who cherishes a good seafood meal, the local eateries serve up some of the freshest catches you’ll ever taste.
But why consider it as one of the best places for digital nomads in South Africa? Beyond its nautical charm, Simon’s Town offers a peaceful environment, perfect for those seeking inspiration or simply a serene spot to work from. Reliable internet, cozy cafes, and a supportive community make it a hidden gem for remote workers.
If the call of the sea resonates with you, and you’re seeking a blend of history, nature, and modern conveniences, drop anchor in Simon’s Town!
Situated on the Eastern Cape coast, Cape St. Francis is one of those hidden gems in South Africa that I can’t help but gush about. With its iconic lighthouse standing tall against the backdrop of rolling waves, it’s a picture-perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of city life.
One of the first things that struck me about Cape St. Francis was its affordability. Compared to some of South Africa’s more touristy spots, the cost of living here is surprisingly reasonable. If you’re renting a cozy beachfront cottage or indulging in fresh seafood at a local eatery, your wallet won’t feel the pinch. This makes it one of the best places in South Africa to live for those on a budget.
Cape St. Francis is a surfer’s paradise, with some of the best waves the country has to offer. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or just starting out, the beaches here are welcoming and the surf community tight-knit.
So, who would find their perfect home in Cape St. Francis? It’s ideal for those seeking a slower pace of life. Retirees, artists seeking inspiration, and remote workers looking for a serene backdrop will all find something to love here. Families, too, will appreciate the safe, community-driven atmosphere, where kids can play freely and neighbors become lifelong friends.
Wondering where to live in South Africa for a blend of adventure and tranquility? Cape St. Francis might just be the seaside haven you’ve been dreaming of.
Every time I reminisce about my travels through South Africa, Knysna always stands out as a shimmering gem. Situated between lush forests and the sparkling Indian Ocean, this town offers a tranquil escape that’s hard to match.
Have you ever dreamt of waking up to the gentle sound of water lapping at the shore? In Knysna, this dream is a daily reality for many. The town’s heart and soul is its stunning lagoon, a paradise for boating, fishing, and simply soaking in the views. And speaking of views, the Knysna Heads – two dramatic cliffs guarding the lagoon’s entrance to the sea – are a sight that’ll leave you speechless.
Knysna is more than its natural beauty, though. It’s a hub for creativity and craftsmanship. On my last visit, I was blown away by the local art galleries, craft markets, and boutique shops, each telling a story of the town’s vibrant community. And let’s not forget the annual Knysna Oyster Festival. This is celebration of the town’s culinary delights and solidifies Knysna as one of the best places for young people to live in South Africa if you’re a food enthusiast.
For those deciding where to live in South Africa, Knysna offers a blend of serene coastal living with a touch of cosmopolitan flair. The town boasts excellent schools, healthcare facilities, and a community that welcomes newcomers with open arms.
So, if you’re seeking a place where nature’s beauty intertwines with a warm community spirit, Knysna might just be your next home sweet home. Trust me, it’s a place where memories are made, and the call of the lagoon is hard to resist!
Located in the heart of South Africa’s famous Winelands, Stellenbosch is a haven for wine enthusiasts and culture seekers alike. I remember my first stroll down its oak-lined streets, where historic Cape Dutch architecture meets modern art galleries and bustling cafes. The town’s history dates back to 1679, making it one of the oldest towns in South Africa.
One can’t mention Stellenbosch without raving about its world-class vineyards. From boutique wineries to sprawling estates, there’s a tasting experience waiting for every palate. And it’s not just about the wine. The culinary scene here is a delightful fusion of local flavors and international influences. Think gourmet braais paired with a glass of the region’s finest Pinotage.
Aside from the vineyards, the town is a hub for innovation and education, thanks to Stellenbosch University. This vibrant student community adds a youthful energy to the town, with regular events, festivals, and a thriving nightlife.
Outdoor enthusiasts will also find their slice of paradise here. With the Jonkershoek Nature Reserve on its doorstep, hiking, mountain biking, and scenic drives are weekend staples for locals.
For those considering moving to South Africa and seeking a blend of tradition and modernity, Stellenbosch strikes a perfect balance. It’s a place where every day feels like a celebration of life, culture, and the finer things.
Do you have further queries about where to live in South Africa? Here are some common questions (and answers) I get asked a lot about South Africa’s best cities and areas.
There are many benefits of living in South Africa. Here are some pros:
- Natural Beauty: South Africa boasts some of the world’s most breathtaking landscapes, from Table Mountain in Cape Town to the vast Kruger National Park.
- Climate: The country has a mostly temperate climate, with warm summers and mild winters in many regions.
- Cost of Living: In general, the cost of living in South Africa is lower than in many Western countries, especially when it comes to housing and services.
- Cultural Diversity: South Africa is known as the “Rainbow Nation” due to its diverse population and cultures. This diversity is reflected in its languages, cuisines, music, and festivals.
- Wildlife and Outdoor Activities: South Africa is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, offering opportunities for safaris, hiking, surfing, and more.
Safety can be subjective and varies depending on individual experiences and perceptions. However, many expats and locals often highlight Stellenbosch and George as some of the safest places to live in South Africa. These areas, along with several others, have established communities, good infrastructure, and proactive neighborhood watch programs. Always remember to do thorough research and perhaps even visit potential areas before making a decision.
South Africa is renowned for its diverse landscapes and natural beauty. While the definition of “most beautiful” is subjective and varies from person to person, here are some of the most picturesque and beautiful places to live in South Africa:
- Cape Town: Often referred to as the “Mother City,” Cape Town is nestled between the iconic Table Mountain and the Atlantic Ocean. Areas like Camps Bay, Clifton, and Constantia offer stunning ocean views and are among the most desirable places to live.
- Stellenbosch and Franschhoek: Located in the heart of the Cape Winelands, these towns are surrounded by vineyards, historic Cape Dutch architecture, and majestic mountain ranges.
- Knysna: Situated along the Garden Route, Knysna is known for its lush forests, serene lagoons, and dramatic cliffs.
- Plettenberg Bay: Also on the Garden Route, “Plett” boasts beautiful beaches, dense forests, and a relaxed coastal vibe.
- Hout Bay: A coastal suburb of Cape Town, Hout Bay is surrounded by mountains and overlooks a picturesque harbor.
- Durban North and Umhlanga: These areas near Durban offer a subtropical climate, golden beaches, and a mix of modern living with a touch of nature.
- Clarens: Known as the “Jewel of the Free State,” Clarens is a small town surrounded by the Maluti Mountains, offering a peaceful and scenic environment.
- Simon’s Town: A historic town located on the Cape Peninsula, Simon’s Town offers ocean views and is home to the famous Boulders Beach with its resident penguin colony.
Like many major cities, Cape Town has areas that are safer than others. While the city center, V&A Waterfront, and many suburbs are popular and generally safe for tourists and residents, some areas on the outskirts might pose higher risks, especially after dark. It’s always a good idea to consult with locals, stay informed about places to live in South Africa, and take standard urban precautions, such as not displaying valuables openly.
Whilst there are many advantages of living in South Africa, there are some downsides to consider before moving:
- Crime: South Africa has a high crime rate, especially in certain urban areas. Violent crimes, including robberies and home invasions, are of particular concern.
- Economic Challenges: The country faces economic challenges, including high unemployment rates and inequality.
- Political Instability: While South Africa has made significant progress since the end of apartheid, it still grapples with political challenges and corruption.
- Infrastructure Issues: Some areas, especially rural regions, may lack reliable services such as electricity, water, and internet.
- Healthcare: While there are world-class private hospitals and clinics in major cities, the public healthcare system is under-resourced and overburdened.
Compared to many Western countries, the cost of living in South Africa can be more affordable. However, it varies depending on the region and lifestyle. Cities like Durban and Port Elizabeth offer a good balance of modern amenities and reasonable living costs. On the other hand, popular tourist destinations or major cities might have higher living expenses. It’s worth noting that South Africa offers a range of options for housing, dining, and entertainment to suit various budgets.
South Africa, with its diverse landscapes, rich history, and vibrant cultures, offers a unique living experience that few places can match. From the iconic beauty of Cape Town to the tranquil lagoon views in Knysna, each location presents its own set of charms and opportunities.
For those seeking coastal vibes, Durban and Simon’s Town beckon with their pristine beaches and maritime allure. Meanwhile, Stellenbosch and George provide a blend of safety, community spirit, and scenic beauty that many find irresistible.
Cost of living, safety, and lifestyle amenities are essential factors to consider when choosing a place to call home. Thankfully, South Africa caters to a range of preferences and budgets, making it a top choice for families, retirees, digital nomads, and everyone in between.
In the end, the best place to live in South Africa is where your heart feels most at home. In a country as welcoming and diverse as South Africa, finding that perfect spot might be easier than you think. Here’s to new adventures, lasting memories, and finding your dream home in this beautiful nation!