Expat Exchange

Johannesburg, South Africa

By Betsy Burlingame

Last updated on Sep 05, 2022

Summary: Expats, digital nomads and retirees talk about what it is really like living in Johannesburg, 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 about living in Johannesburg?

Live in Johannesburg? Answer this Question

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

"The biggest concern for this country is crime. You have to be careful and have to sacrifice a bit of freedom in terms of moving out," explained one expat.

"Work with a relocation person to find out about shopping, schools, banking, etc. Check out Joburg (if possible) in advance. There are a lot of problems with crime so one has to be hyper aware at all times. But hey, it's Africa and Joburg in particular has it's own kinda vibe.........not a bad thing. Good luck," said another person in Johannesburg.

How do I meet people in Johannesburg?

Live in Johannesburg? Answer this Question

When we asked people living in Johannesburg about club and activities where newcomers can meet others, they responded:

"I would suggest either an involvement with the Women's International Club or a similar group. I am not personally involved with any such groups, but have found I have met many people through going to the gym. Also, if you have children, you can always get involved with the school (generally) and meet other parents that way," remarked another expat in Johannesburg.

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Where should I setup a bank account in Johannesburg?

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We asked expats in Johannesburg what banks they use and there advice about banking. They advised:

"None of the major UK banks have personal banking in SA and I only managed to open a non-res account via FNB on the recommendation of Intergate Immigration," remarked another expat in Johannesburg.

Will I be able to find a job in Johannesburg?

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When we asked people about industries and career opportunities in Johannesburg, they reponded:

"The main industries are extremely diverse from mining to banking as well as the fact that Joburg is probably the capital of southern Africa which brings in all the embassies, the UN, etc. I'm not sure how difficult it would be for a person trying to move here without a job. Because of affirmative action and Black Empowerment, finding a job (unless you are previously disadvantaged in this country) is probably tricky," said another expat in Johannesburg.

What is life like in Johannesburg?

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When we asked people living in Johannesburg what life is like and how people spend their time, they said:

"Work seems to be the general feel of Johannesburg..... accented with lots of holidays during the 'festive' season (Dec & Jan). People are quite social on the weekends and plan large all day 'braiis' (barbeques) with loads of families and loads of food and drink. Going to the 'bush' is also important when one can take the time," explained one expat living in Johannesburg.

Is there a lot of diversity? Are people in Johannesburg accepting of differences?

Live in Johannesburg? Answer this Question

"Its a very diverse culture. people are tolerant with cultural issues and do recognise the differences," added another person living in Johannesburg.

"I have found Johannesburg to be extremely culturally and racially diverse........and economically as well. There are a lot of very wealthy people and there are a lot of very impoverished people. It's an interesting dichotomy. I have found most people to be accepting of me. Having said that, there is still an undercurrent of the old apartheid feelings. Remember that SA is still a very young democracy.....only 12 years.......so, there are still a lot of feelings, good and bad," explained one expat living in Johannesburg.

What are the schools in Johannesburg like?

Live in Johannesburg? Answer this Question

"The Cambridge qualifications are very flexible and give the students a lot of opportunities for study abroad. A fairly traditional school w.r.t. uniforms (blazers and straw boaters)and manners etc. Academic standards are quite high and they expect a lot from the kids.(not a bad thing) A super atmosphere around the school, the kids are happy," commented one expat when asked about CHARTER COLLEGE INTERNATIONAL in Johannesburg.

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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Expats JohannesburgExpats in Johannesburg

Expats, digital nomads & retirees talk about what it's like living in Johannesburg.

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An index of all of our site's Johannesburg information.

South Africa Forum South Africa Forum
Talk with other digital nomads and expats in South Africa on our South Africa forum - meet people, get advice and help others.

Contribute to South Africa Network Contribute
Help others in South Africa by answering questions about the challenges and adventures of living in South Africa.

Expat Healthcare Advice in South AfricaHealthcare & Health Insurance in South Africa

Expats in South Africa offer advice about healthcare, hospital visits, emergency rooms visits, finding a doctor and buying health insurance in South Africa.

10-Tips-for-Living-in-South-Africa10 Tips for Living in South Africa

The reviews of expat life in South Africa are mixed. Some expats feel that crime is a big problem and causing an expat exodus. Others debate that the crime rates match those of other big cities in the world.

William Russell Health InsuranceExpat Health Insurance

Get a quote for international health insurance from our partner, William Russell.
GET A QUOTE

William Russell Health InsuranceExpat Health Insurance

Get a quote for international health insurance from our partner, William Russell.
GET A QUOTE

Expats JohannesburgExpats in Johannesburg

Expats, digital nomads & retirees talk about what it's like living in Johannesburg.

South Africa Index Johannesburg Index
An index of all of our site's Johannesburg information.

South Africa Forum South Africa Forum
Talk with other digital nomads and expats in South Africa on our South Africa forum - meet people, get advice and help others.

Contribute to South Africa Network Contribute
Help others in South Africa by answering questions about the challenges and adventures of living in South Africa.

Expat Healthcare Advice in South AfricaHealthcare & Health Insurance in South Africa

Expats in South Africa offer advice about healthcare, hospital visits, emergency rooms visits, finding a doctor and buying health insurance in South Africa.

10-Tips-for-Living-in-South-Africa10 Tips for Living in South Africa

The reviews of expat life in South Africa are mixed. Some expats feel that crime is a big problem and causing an expat exodus. Others debate that the crime rates match those of other big cities in the world.

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