South Africa is a fantastic immigration destination, with large expatriate communities throughout the country. This is due to so many factors, but mainly because of South Africa’s beauty: visually breathtaking vast plains, rolling mountains, golden beaches and stunning barren deserts.
Other attractions revolve around the quality of life and affordability: South Africa grants superb value for your money, and living here on the same salary always offers more. All this within a second world country that offers expatriates a first world experience.
South Africa’s cities are also enormously varied, with hustling Johannesburg at its heart, and the cosmopolitan Cape Town being an enclave of European chic at the edge of the Atlantic Ocean. In between one finds safari lands
and quaint towns breaking up the Karoo wilderness, while the seaside fun of Durban and scatterings of coastal resorts line the pretty southern Garden Route. The rich game viewing is as spectacular and diverse as South African scenery, with everything from plodding elephants to splashing penguins.
Much diversity is also found in South Africa’s people, with 11 national languages drawn from its indigenous African population, and a colonialist legacy that brought Afrikaners (from Dutch origin), English, Malay and Indians.
It is the plentiful wildlife and accompanying luxurious safari lodges that are South Africa’s major tourist draw, with the world-famous Kruger National Park in particular delivering uniquely African sights and memories. All the while, the sound financial system and good quality of life attract those wanting to immigrate to South Africa.
South Africa information
South Africa is a stunning country of magnificent landscape, from desert dunes to rolling farmlands, savannah bush, subtropical hardwood forests and superb white sand coast. It has game viewing to equal the best in Africa from Kruger in Mpumalanga to the Zululand area of Kwazulu-Natal, and a host of small parks and reserves in the Northern Provinces and Eastern Capes. Where else can you find penguins and elephants living in the same country?
There are over 1000 bird species in the country, and the Western Cape alone has one of the richest floral kingdoms in the world, with over 23,000 plant and flower species and spectacular displays that coat the desert in color. The country also has a fascinating human and cultural history, stretching back to the aboriginal San (Bushmen) and Khoikhoi, through the black African peoples to the latest arrivals, the Afrikaans and British. It has never been an easy history – tribal wars raged long before the punishing and bitter conflicts between black and white, from the Zulu Wars to the Boer War and the segregation of apartheid society.
South Africa’s Archbishop Desmond Tutu named the newly integrated South Africa ‘the rainbow nation’. It is a fitting name for a country with 11 official languages and people of all colors, race and creed, living in a vividly colored and sculpted landscape.
Before immigrating to South Africa, it is necessary to read up as much as possible about the country. To take one on a virtual tour of South Africa, one can go through each of the nine provinces. South Africa is demarcated into nine provinces, consisting of the Gauteng, Limpopo Province, Mpumalanga, North West, KwaZulu/Natal, Eastern Cape, Western Cape, Northern Cape, and Free State.
(including Cape Town)
(including Johannesburg and Pretoria)
(including Port Elizabeth)
(Picture insert – Map with provinces)
South Africa Facts and Figures
To end this section, which is important for all traveling and immigrating to South Africa, here are some facts and figures to help you along the way.
1,219,912 sq km (471 011 sq miles).
49.3 million (2009)
40.4 per sq km
Population: 1.6 million (2009)
Republic. Gained partial independence from the UK in 1910 and was declared a republic in 1961.
GMT +02:00, usually citing Pretoria as a city
Monetary unit: Rand
The official languages are Afrikaans, English, isiNdebele, isiXhosa, isiZulu, Sepedi, Sesotho, Setswana, Siswati, Tshivenda and Xitsonga.
Country code: 27. Area codes are used even for local calls.
Roaming agreements exist with international mobile phone companies. Coverage extends to most of the country except the very remote areas. GPRS for data coverage is also widespread.
Internet cafes are common in towns throughout the country and wireless is available at airports and in upmarket hotels.
South Africa’s many broadcasters and publications reflect the diversity of the population. Freedom of the press is constitutionally protected and many newspapers have begun to flex their muscles with stronger and more critical political analysis in recent months. The main English newspapers are The Star, Sowetan, The Citizen and weekly Mail & Guardian. The state-run SABC and commercial eTV networks broadcast nationally, and many viewers subscribe to pay-TV operated by Multichoice. The proliferation of commercial and community radio stations includes Highveld, Jacaranda, 702 Talk Radio and Classic FM.
Airmail takes a minimum of two days to Europe, three days to USA and four days to Australia.
Around two thirds of South Africans are Christian of some form including Catholics, Anglicans, Dutch Reformed or African independent churches. There are significant Hindu, Muslim and Jewish communities and traditional African beliefs are also practiced.
220/230 volts AC, 50Hz. Wall socket plugs have three fat round pins, but numerous adapters are readily available anywhere at a very reasonable price.
Head of State
President Jacob Zuma since 2009
GDP/PPP (2009 est.): $495.1 billion; per capita $10,100.
Major trading partners: U.S., UK, Japan, Germany, Netherlands, China, France, Saudi Arabia, Iran (2004).