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Pretoria, South Africa

By Betsy Burlingame

Last updated on Jul 10, 2023

Summary: Expats, digital nomads and retirees talk about what it is really like living in Pretoria, South Africa. They offer advice about meeting people, cost of living, finding a home and more.

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What do I need to know before moving to Pretoria?

When we asked people what advice they would give someone preparing to move to Pretoria, they said:

"Pretoria, the administrative capital of South Africa, is a city with a rich history and diverse culture. Before moving to Pretoria, expats should be aware that although English is widely spoken, the city is predominantly Afrikaans-speaking. The city has a high crime rate, so it's important to take safety precautions, such as avoiding certain areas at night and installing security systems in homes. The cost of living in Pretoria is relatively low compared to other major cities around the world, but it's still higher than other parts of South Africa. Expats should also be aware of the city's traffic congestion, especially during peak hours, and consider this when choosing a place to live. Pretoria has a subtropical climate with hot, wet summers and cool, dry winters, so expats from colder climates may need time to adjust. The city is known for its beautiful jacaranda trees, which bloom in October and November, turning the city purple. Healthcare in Pretoria is of a high standard, with both public and private hospitals available. However, private healthcare is expensive, so it's recommended to have health insurance. The city has a variety of international schools, making it a suitable place for expats with children. It's also home to several universities and higher education institutions. Pretoria offers a range of leisure activities, from visiting historical sites and nature reserves to enjoying its vibrant nightlife and food scene. However, it's important to note that service in restaurants and shops can be slow compared to what expats may be used to. Finally, expats should be prepared for the cultural differences they may encounter, such as the laid-back attitude towards time, known as "African time", and the importance of social connections and relationships in business and everyday life," wrote one member in Pretoria.

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About the Author

Betsy Burlingame Betsy Burlingame is the Founder and President of Expat Exchange and is one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. She launched Expat Exchange in 1997 as her Master's thesis project at NYU. Prior to Expat Exchange, Betsy worked at AT&T in International and Mass Market Marketing. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a BA in International Business and German.

Some of Betsy's articles include 12 Best Places to Live in Portugal, 7 Best Places to Live in Panama and 12 Things to Know Before Moving to the Dominican Republic. Betsy loves to travel and spend time with her family. Connect with Betsy on LinkedIn.

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