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Whether you already live in South Africa or would like to immigrate there, the topic of real estate is, without question, of great interest. How easy is it to rent an apartment or a house locally? Is it worth investing in South African real estate? And can Germans in Cape Town or South Africa secure real estate financing in South Africa? We have compiled the most important information for you.
Real estate is regarded globally as a good, but also risky capital investment. If you want to take advantage of a real estate market that is still growing, South Africa is a good place to go. There are interesting properties in all price and investment classes. You will find expensive million-dollar villas in well-known towns such as Camps Bay in Cape Town and interesting properties to buy in lesser known suburbs of Johannesburg or Durban. Germans in Cape Town for example, prefer areas like Oranjezicht, Tamboerskloof or Camps Bay.
Very expensive properties only have limited worth as an investment. This is due to the fact that the prices are mostly at the upper limit, and it is difficult to sell such houses or apartments at a profit later. Alternative options are residential units in developed suburbs of Cape Town or Johannesburg. These are well-suited for use as rental properties. They are affordable to buy, bring a regular income and are often located in regions where an increase in property prices is expected in the coming years. In order to be able to make a calculated purchase decision here, it is worth working with a German-speaking real estate agent on site. By the way, the real estate market also offers German-language jobs for immigrants.
It is advisable to search for a rental property through well-known rental agencies. In an emergency, legal disputes can quickly arise with a private landlord. As a German immigrant in South Africa, you usually have to submit the following documents to an agency in order to ensure that you can cover the rent:
If these documents are not available in their entirety, finding accommodation can prove to be a challenge. It is therefore advisable to have secured accommodation for at least three months at the time of entry.
The process of real estate financing in South Africa does not differ noticeably from the procedure in Germany. Nonetheless, foreigners are particularly scrutinised. A permanent residence in South Africa for several years and a stable income are a basic requirement for many banks. In addition, the usual factors come to bear - such as the amount of income, possible equity and the purchase price of the property.
Would you like to emigrate to South Africa with your family? Or are you planning to start a new family somewhere between Cape Town and Johannesburg? There are German language jobs on offer and maybe you accepted one and are moving with your family and kids to South Africa. Now you need to find answers to many questions about raising children in South Africa. For Germans in Cape Town and South Africa, the choice of German kindergartens and German schools in the urban regions is very good. However, if you are in a remote region, you will face some challenges.
In big cities like Johannesburg and Cape Town there are many possibilities for German immigrants to send their children to a German kindergarten, or a German school. For example, institutions such as the German International School Cape Town – DSK (Deutsche Internationale Schule Kapstadt) – offer for example primary school education strictly in German. From the fifth grade onwards, classes are bilingual. At the school, pupils have the choice of completing their German Abitur, or their Matric in English. For Germans in Cape Town, all is almost like in Germany, just the weather is better.
German-speaking schools prefer to admit children who have attended a German kindergarten, to the primary school. Although this is not a prerequisite, it improves one’s chances of acceptance at such a school. This is because a place at the school is not automatically secured. German schools are always private schools, which consider each application separately. For a successful application, many factors come into play:
German schools and kindergartens in South Africa are always privately funded. And although there are isolated opportunities to receive financial support from the school, the school fees usually have to be paid entirely by the parents. Therefore a financial viability check is included in the application regulations of schools, and some kindergartens. Compared to school fees of other private schools in Cape Town, the school fees for the Deutsche Schule in Kapstadt, are low, as the school receives funding from the German Government.
The school fees depend mainly on the region. In general, a full day of care in a kindergarten, costs about ZAR 3,000. Primary schools cost about ZAR 4,500 per month. The school fees can be paid annually, in advance. A discount on the total cost is often granted for this. Alternatively, quarterly payment of school fees is common.
If you are planning to move to a region far away from the hustle and bustle of the big city, it is unlikely that you will find a local German school or kindergarten. Since there is no compulsory schooling in South Africa, it is possible to have children taught by private teachers. German-speaking jobs for teachers of all school levels, should not be that hard to find in South Africa.
Germans in Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban will find it easier to access a comparable and good German school education for their kids in South Africa.
It is not uncommon that German immigrants to South Africa continue to have financial obligations in Germany, or that an international money transfer becomes necessary. In most cases, the classic bank transfer costs a lot of money. Whether you regularly transfer money between continents, or it involves a once-off transaction, there are inexpensive ways to do this.
It is easy for Germans in Cape Town and South Africa to open bank accounts with any of the larger banks in South Africa, even if you do not hold a permanent residence permit. You for example accepted one of the German language jobs offered in Cape Town or South Africa and secured a work permit. Now you need to chose a bank that suits your needs best.
Maybe you want to transfer money from a German account to a South African account. A normal bank transfer is often rather expensive. An international bank transfer fee usually starts at around 25 Euros, as a basic fee. This is charged by the German bank. In addition, there are the transaction costs of the South African bank, which are often based on the transfer amount. For a R10,000 transfer, the fees stands around R350. The transfer can take up to five working days.
A better alternative is to use special service providers, which make fast and safe money transfers between Germany and South Africa possible. Today there are a fairly large number of these service providers. The Western Union is especially well known, but is comparatively expensive today.
It doesn't matter if you are using a bank or a different service provider for your money transfers, the procedure for the international transfer of money to South Africa stays more or less the same. If you service is solely an online transaction with your German bank account being online-enabled, it will be cheaper. If this is not the case and the transfer is more complex, it is bound to the more expensive conditions of providers such as the Western Union or your own bank.
Once you have chosen a service provider for the transfer, you can create your own account with them. For this, verification is necessary. Usually it is sufficient to send in a high-quality photo of your passport, identity card or driver's license. In rare cases, documents such as bank statements or electricity bills will also be required to confirm your identity.
Attention: The transaction is only possible from your own account. Third party transactions are not accepted. This means that you cannot create an account with the service provider in your name and then transfer money from your husband's account, for example.
How the money is transferred within the system varies from one service provider to the next. Most of the time you have the choice between a payment from your current account and a credit card payment. With a current account, you can then either choose to make a direct transfer, or to use an intermediate service, for example, an instant transfer.
If you wish to receive money in your South African account, you may need to lodge a request with your bank once a year. In this way, you grant permission for the bank to process the international transfers internally. You may also receive a call from the bank to find out what the money is for, especially in the case of large sums of money.
The religious community in South Africa is very large. In contrast to the German religious system, however, South Africa has an enormous variety of churches and church communities. The majority of religious South Africans are Christian. Especially widespread is the NG Kerk, a Dutch Reformed church. It has about 2.5 million members in the country. However, there are also German religious communities in South Africa, catering to the needs of religious Germans in Cape Town or South Africa.
You can find German communities all over South Africa. Whether you take a German job in Cape Town or in Johannesburg, or run a farm in Natal, you will never be far from the next German community. No matter where you go, you will almost always find a German religious community, too. A well-known example is the evangelic lutheran St. Martini Church in Cape Town. It is directly connected to the German school in Cape Town and also runs a German kindergarten on site. The catholic church is also present in Cape Town.
Evangelische St. Martini Kirche
240 Long Street, City Centre
Telephone 021 423 2720
Katholische Gemeinde in Kapstadt
Nazareth House, 1 Derry Road, Vredehoek and Brownlow Road, Tamboerskloof
Telephone 021 423 2188
The German churches in South Africa offer church services in German and, as in Germany itself, bring the congregation together for events. They are suitable as a contact point for possible volunteer work in South Africa and offer support in many other areas of life.
Many Germans in Cape Town and South Africa also decide to become part of a South African church. This facilitates integration into the local community. The main features of the NG Kerk are very similar to those of the German churches. So, the church service is built up very traditionally. This also takes place in a classical church building. This is rather unusual for South Africa. Many churches use simple meeting rooms, or even large buildings similar to department stores, where the services are held.
Although the Christian faith is most widespread in South Africa, it is lived out in many individual forms. The classic German distinction between Catholic and Protestant churches can only occasionally be found in this form. There are many offshoots and individual churches, each of which refers to these religious foundations.
Well-known and popular examples are international churches, such as the Australian Hillsong Church. Especially in the urban metropoles, like Cape Town or Johannesburg, there are large numbers of followers of these international churches. In addition, there are small churches that often exist within cultural groups. There are several thousand self-governing independent churches registered throughout the country. They often have a small membership of 20 to 50 people and follow the general principles of the Christian church. However, some churches also have very unique views. For example, a few years ago there was a well-known incident in South Africa in which the pastor encouraged members of the church to eat grass!
There are eleven official languages in South Africa. In addition to nine native languages, these also include Afrikaans and English. In large parts of the country, you can communicate effectively in English. English is the standard language in everyday life and in official places. South Africa is therefore a wonderful destination for an English language holiday. There is a variety of language schools to learn or improve English Language skills for Germans in Cape Town or South Africa. Some of these language schools might even offer German speaking jobs.
As Germans in Cape Town or South Africa, who would like to learn English at a language school in South Africa, you have several options to choose from:
Language trips or holidays in South Africa, can be arranged by means of a tourist visa. Your stay in South Africa is a combination of lessons at a language school and a holiday in South Africa. These trips usually last between four and eight weeks and are offered for different age groups and language levels.
If you also want to work while attending a language school in South Africa, you can do so by obtaining a student visa. You can have a German-speaking job for up to 20 hours a week and learn English at the language school at the same time.
If you have succeeded in securing a German language job in Cape Town or South Africa, you can obtain a work visa through this job. For a residence permit, you do not have to provide any proof of knowledge of the English language.
Since it is, of course, advisable to speak English, a language school is a good place to learn the language quickly and efficiently.
Tip: If you have enough time to attend a course at an adult education centre before you leave for South Africa, you should definitely do so. Not only will you receive a good level of instruction, but the costs are also very low.
If you are already in South Africa, the best language schools are often located in urban regions. In Cape Town, Johannesburg or Durban, it is easy to find a good, inexpensive language school. On a farm in Natal, for example, this is often more difficult. In such a case, you can find out whether it is possible to work with a private teacher. More and more language schools are also offering online lessons, via Skype.
Make sure there are no hidden costs when choosing a language school. For example, the general course fee may be very low, but the course materials may be expensive. Very inexpensive language schools also often work with large groups. Find out about the maximum group size before booking a course.
Are you planning to immigrate to South Africa and are now thinking about the best way to manage the move? There are several ways to start your journey in a well-prepared manner. But what is the best solution for you? We have asked Germans in Cape Town and South Africa and looked at the best possible options to move your household from Germany to South Africa.
Once it is certain that you will move to South Africa indefinitely, you will have to decide whether you want to start from scratch, or take your existing household effects with you. If you only have a small apartment with a few pieces of furniture in Germany, it is hardly worthwhile to pay for your household effects to be moved internationally. In South Africa, you can buy used furniture that is in an excellent condition. In addition, there are many furnished apartments and houses on offer. In general, almost every rental property has a complete kitchen to offer, often with all the necessary electrical appliances.
But if you want to take your entire household with you for the international move, there are generally two options. On the one hand, you can rent a shipping container yourself. If you have the necessary capital, you could also rent an air freight container. You can then pack it yourself or have it packed. You will have to organise and pay for the packing and the transport to the container, as well as the unloading of the container at the destination, yourself. It is easier and often cheaper to hire a removal company that offers international removals from Germany to South Africa. Depending on the service you have booked, removal helpers will even come to your home and pack your belongings in special boxes and prepare the furniture for safe transport.
It is possible to book half, or even quarter container loads, via such a service. However, this option can delay delivery, as the company will wait until the remaining container space has been booked by another person. For shipping, you should allow at least two months delivery time.
If you only want to send a few boxes, it may even be worth paying a fee for excess baggage on the plane. Check with your airline about the costs and the sizes of additional baggage.
If you would like to rent a container, or inform a removal service about the required container space for a move to Cape Town, the following key data is very helpful:
A 20-foot container holds 30 m³ and a 40-foot container 67 m³.
Tip: Since German-language jobs in Cape Town and South Africa abroad are often expat jobs, you should ask your new employer whether they will cover part or all of your relocation costs.
In Germany, health insurance is defined relatively simply by the generally applicable compulsory insurance. In South Africa the situation is more complicated. There is no compulsory insurance, but a multitude of insurance variants. Which option is the right one for your stay in South Africa? Is it better for Germans in Cape Town or South Africa to chose a German foreign health insurance or is it better to go with one of the local health insurers?
Regardless of whether you are travelling to South Africa to do a German-speaking job or as a volunteer, comprehensive health insurance coverage is recommended. It is advisable to take out international health insurance in order to avoid any risk of gaps in insurance. This can usually be used for up to one year and covers other aspects, in addition to the agreed treatment costs:
This type of insurance is relatively inexpensive. It is usually taken out as an additional option to the existing insurance in Germany. Separate insurance policies are also available.
The health system in South Africa is organised very differently within the country. In general, there are public medical centres and hospitals for all inhabitants of the country. They accept patients without proof of insurance. The service is completely free of charge for low-income earners. These clinics and hospitals are particularly well organised in metropolitan areas such as Gauteng or the Western Cape, especially in Cape Town. Despite long waiting times, you get good treatment. At the same time there is a lack of specialists and personnel.
In other parts of the country, the service in the public health system is very bad. Especially in rural regions, there are enormous bottlenecks and also a lack of local clinics.
Therefore, as Germans in Cape Town or South Africa, it makes sense to take out health insurance in South Africa. There are a number of private providers who offer very different insurance packages. In general, comprehensive insurance is quite expensive. A very good insurance cover for the whole family can quickly cost up to ZAR 6,000 per month. Cheap alternatives limit the number of free visits to the doctor or work with a high co-payment. Some employers cover part of the insurance costs.
In addition to classic health insurance, special policies are popular in South Africa. For example, you can take out an insurance policy that only covers hospital stays. You will then receive cash for every day you stay at the hospital, so you can pay your bills.
It is therefore conceivable to pay cash for simple visits to the doctor and insure expensive hospital stays and surgery separately. A visit to the family doctor costs around R350. However, specialists such as gynecologists charge up to R1,200 per visit. The best type of health insurance for your purposes depends both on your own health history and on your financial means.