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Retire in George Guide

If George is on your retirement radar, our detailed Retire in George Guide is your go-to resource. Delve into the crucial aspects of life here, including living costs, climate, housing options, healthcare services, and residency procedures. We also explore the city's social dynamics, volunteering scenes, transportation, and how walkable its neighborhoods are.

George is a hidden gem nestled in the heart of the Garden Route. It’s a popular retirement destination for international retirees due to its mild climate, affordable cost of living, and high quality of life. However, like any place, it has its own set of challenges. This article will delve into the various aspects of retiring in George, from the cost of living to the local culture.

Cost of Living

One of the biggest draws for retirees in George is the affordable cost of living. The South African Rand’s favorable exchange rate means that your retirement savings can stretch further here. Housing, groceries, and healthcare are all significantly cheaper compared to many Western countries. However, it’s important to factor in the cost of private healthcare, as many retirees opt for this over the public healthcare system.


George boasts a mild Mediterranean climate, with warm summers and cool, wet winters. The city enjoys plenty of sunshine throughout the year, making it ideal for outdoor activities. However, the winter months can be quite rainy, so it’s worth investing in a good raincoat and umbrella!


George is home to several well-equipped private hospitals, including the George Mediclinic and Life Healthcare. These hospitals offer a wide range of services and are staffed by highly trained medical professionals. However, it’s worth noting that private healthcare can be expensive, so it’s important to have comprehensive health insurance.

Public Healthcare System

South Africa’s public healthcare system is accessible to all residents, including international retirees. However, many retirees opt for private healthcare due to the long waiting times and variable quality of care in public hospitals. It’s worth researching your options and considering private health insurance.

Residency Options for Retirees

South Africa offers several residency options for retirees, including a retirement visa. This visa is renewable and allows you to live in South Africa for up to four years. However, you’ll need to prove that you have sufficient funds to support yourself during your stay.

Parks and Recreational Activities

George is a paradise for nature lovers, with numerous parks and nature reserves in and around the city. The Garden Route National Park is a must-visit, with its stunning landscapes and diverse wildlife. The city also boasts several golf courses, including the world-renowned Fancourt Golf Estate.


George offers a wide range of dining options, from casual cafes to fine dining restaurants. Some popular spots include The Fat Fish, a seafood restaurant with stunning views, and La Cantina, an Italian restaurant located in the Fancourt Golf Estate.

Learning the Language

While English is widely spoken in George, learning some Afrikaans can help you connect with the local community. The South Cape College offers language courses for adults, including Afrikaans.

Local Culture

The locals in George are known for their warm hospitality and friendly nature. The city has a relaxed, laid-back vibe that many retirees find appealing. However, it’s worth noting that crime can be an issue in certain areas, so it’s important to take precautions and stay informed about local safety measures.

Meeting People and Volunteering

There are plenty of opportunities to meet people and get involved in the community in George. The George Old Car Show is a popular annual event that attracts car enthusiasts from all over the country. Volunteering is another great way to meet people and give back to the community. The George Child and Family Welfare is always looking for volunteers to help with their various programs.


Most retirees in George live in houses or apartments, either in the city center or in the surrounding suburbs. The city offers a range of housing options, from luxury estates to more affordable apartments. However, it’s worth noting that property prices have been rising in recent years, so it’s important to do your research and budget accordingly.


While having a car can be convenient in George, it’s not essential. The city has a reliable public transportation system, and many areas are walkable. However, if you plan on exploring the surrounding areas, a car can be useful.

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.

Additional Information:

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