Cost of Living in South Africa



Expatriates coming to South Africa will be amazed by how far their money can go. The cost of living in this part of Africa is famous for being cheap, from accommodations to dining to transportation and other vital services.

Prices of most housing properties in the cities have dropped and there's affordable housing in the suburbs. Cape Town is known for its beach villages with homes for sale at very reasonable prices. However, the extensive process required for acquiring properties around these areas has discouraged expats, though the fact that residential property purchases are free of tax is enticing. Those looking to rent have access to apartments for around R 2,200 (300 USD) - R 3,300 (450 USD) excluding costs for water, gas, electricity and telephone service.

The average monthly grocery bill for a household of two could be anywhere from R 2,000 to R 4,000. Meat products sourced directly from farms can be cheap, as well as seafood, especially in Cape Town and other coastal areas where an abundance of oysters, clams, abalone, stingray and sardines can be enjoyed. Fruits and vegetables are also available all year round and may be bought at slightly higher prices at city stores due to value added tax. If you buy from public markets, goods are almost as cheap as purchasing direct from the farms and more discounts can be enjoyed with bulk purchases.

Expatriates who move with children should allot around R 5000 per month for private school fees per child - an incredibly affordable amount compared to equivalent education costs in European countries and the US. Telephone, electricity, water supply and gas consumption and services may cost up to R 400 monthly for two adults. Leisure activities such as weekend movies, occasional fine dining, or bowling, cost about R 1250, while public transportation fares amount to a total of R 800 per month. 

While South Africa generally provides a very affordable lifestyle, dining out is seen as a luxury. Special restaurants may be costly but there are diners and cafes where R 888 is enough for a dinner for four people. Expatriates may also find shopping to be an expensive luxury in South Africa, especially in the bigger stores and malls. Great selections of designer items from clothing to jewelry are available, as well as other imported products from Europe and the United States. Locally made goods are naturally more affordable, as are accessories, electronic devices and cars, which can be purchased for little more than the cost of production.

Save for a few indulgences, South Africans and expatriates enjoy what might be considered as the world's best pleasures without the hefty price tags. As one of the top 20 economies in the world with a total GDP over 570 billion Euros, it shouldn't come as a surprise that more and more people from across the globe are increasingly convinced that South Africa is one of the most livable nations in the world.



Expat Services in South Africa