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:
- 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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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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