Moving to South Africa with your family: Your 9-point guide

A guide on moving to South Africa as a family


The decision has been made to move to South Africa and everyone in the family is excited for the journey ahead! Not so fast though, we recommend reading some of the guidance below regarding relocation to South Africa.

Why? Because immigrating to another country can be some of the most exciting times, yet one of the most overwhelming.

Below we give some guidance and tips on how to reduce the stress when it comes to the relocation journey ahead.

The time has come to start moving!

The day has finally arrived, your visas have been issued successfully. All of a sudden, things become a lot more real and you start feeling overwhelmed with all that lies ahead. Before attempting to do everything at once, here are some of the tips on where you can start:

1. First things first – share the news with the family

It is recommended that the news is shared in a family meeting. Announcing the move in a more formal manner will give everyone the opportunity to ask questions and raise concerns or fears. This is particularly important for the children.

It’s important to use this as an opportunity to set the tone for the adventure that is to come and get them excited!

2. Get the kids involved in the process

The best way to win the children over is to get them involved in the process. It can help give them a sense of control and also helps to build anticipation for the adventure ahead.

Here are some suggestions of what they can help with:

  • Request their input and ask for suggestions
  • Feel free to give them some tasks of their own
  • Allow them to make some of the decisions
  • Get them involved in the packing process

3. Research your future home together

South Africa is going to be your new home. So, why not introduce the family by researching the city and neighbourhood you’re thinking about staying in? Drafting a list of fun things to do and explore sure will get everyone excited!

There are various resources available. The internet and the city guides are a good place to start for sure! Make sure that this is fun, interactive and interesting for all members of the family.

4. Having a checklist is vital

Relocation to another country is daunting, especially when there are multiple family members. There are a million things racing in ones head and the only way to keep track of it is to have a checklist.

A checklist is not merely a list of things to do. It provides a sense of structure and control to the relocation process and helps you to feel less flustered. We all know that there is nothing more satisfying than crossing off a task off our to-do list, right?

5. Focus on getting the basics done

You and your family will need a place to live when you arrive in South Africa. This is THE most important of the basics to have in place prior to your arrival.

Depending on the visas already secured, if you haven’t chosen a school for the children as yet or secured medical aid insurance, then it would be a good idea to at the very least create a shortlist. This way, as soon as you’ve arrived in SA, you can set up appointments with the relevant parties and make your final decision.

Finding a place to stay, a school for the children to attend as well as medical aid can be extremely stressful if it’s left to the last minute. So best to get these things squared away as soon as possible.

6. Goodbyes are never easy

No one likes saying goodbye but in the case of emigration, there’s no avoiding it unfortunately.

When it comes to the children in particular, starting well in advance is recommended. Saying goodbye to everyone all at once can be very overwhelming, so doing it over a period of time makes things easier. This way, the children in particular can get used to saying goodbye which helps them to digest the move a lot easier.

Goodbyes for adults are also not easy. You should be doing the same as to not overwhelm yourself.

You have all arrived in South Africa!

The move to South Africa has gone well and now it’s time to settle into your new home as a family unit.

1. Make your new house feel like home

Making your new place feel like home makes the world of difference when it comes to settling in. Unpack the boxes that have the key items and get the family involved.

Things like photos, toys, bedding and lived-in furniture will have you feeling comfy in no time. There is nothing like the familiar to have you feeling like you’re at home.

2. It’s time to explore your surroundings

The research has been done and it’s now time to be adventurous and explore your neighbourhood.

Before the children get a chance to feel sad about leaving their friends, teachers and extended family behind, remember to have them focus on this new adventure. Exploring your local parks, aquarium and beaches are some of the things that can keep things exciting. It would also be a good idea to go have a look at the school they’ll be attending.

3. Stay in touch with family and friends

We are living in a world where technology allows you to stay connected via Skype, Zoom or Google Meet. Video chats with those who are back home will you from feeling home-sick. After-all, seeing familiar faces and catching up brings a huge amount of comfort.

To conclude…

Getting everyone involved in the process is the best thing that you can do when relocating to South Africa. Looking at this journey as a great adventure and making strides to become familiar with your city and neighbourhood will go a long way to feel right at home in no time!