A lot of South Africans are moving to George. The cost of living. The safety. All very appealing elements to South Africans sick and tired of the hustle and bustle of the city, and its ever climbing crime rate. Some even choose semigration, i.e. moving their family somewhere and flying back and forth to Joburg for work.
But where else should South Africans consider on the African continent?
Recently, Travel Noire and Africa.com featured a list of African cities ideal for retirement. The list included the former Grahamstown, now Makhanda, and African cities like Asmara in Eritrea and the fast-growing city of Kumasi in Ghana.
Beyond retirement, however, there are some great destinations in SA, and Africa as a whole, for South Africans when it comes to relocating for a sabbatical or working remotely. They are definitely not perfect, and don't expect it to be Europe, but they have many pros.
READ: An alternative to emigration? This small SA city has both a 'dorpie' feel and a McDonald's drive-thru
Port Louis, Mauritius
Earlier this year, this island city was named the best African city for expats by Mercer. According to the Mercer 2019 Quality of Living ranking, in Africa, Port Louis in Mauritius was the city with the best quality of life and also its safest. It was closely followed for overall quality of living by three South African cities, i.e. Durban, Cape Town and Johannesburg - even though these cities still rank low for personal safety.
Safe, tropical climate, palm trees, island living - what more could you want, right?
Earlier this year, Business Tech reported that a lot of South Africans - especially those with a high net worth - are moving to Mauritius. That is, mainly due to the attractive tax bracket with individuals and companies paying only 15%; that is with no dividends tax, capital gains tax or estate duties. Score!
According to Numbeo.com, the rent of a one bedroom apartment is around R2100 per month. And with a rapidly booming economy, opportunities for those in tech are particularly on the uptake.
The verdict: Mauritius as a whole is small and relatively quiet in terms of nightlife and activities other than water sports. So, going here for a holiday, sabbatical or to work remotely is ideal. But living here permanently as a young person, says many on Quora, is a bit boring.
However, in terms of retirement, Port Louis is a great option as South Africans could apply for a retirement non-citizen permit, according to Business Tech.
Africa.com suggested this city. Now, even though Asmara is not necessarily the most affluent society, it is very safe. The city has an Italian colonial heritage and it is still very evident throughout the city, in both architecture and the food. Lots of pizzerias everywhere! And old-school cinemas...
Selling points for Asmara are definitely the low crime rate, the low cost of living and access to unspoilt nature in terms of the Dahlak Archipelago and the Dega Mountain range.
However, Eritrea continues to be ruled under a totalitarian regime, and obtaining work here is not exactly a no fuss process. In terms of tourism, South Africans can pick up a pre-approved visa on arrival in Asmara.
Verdict: The city could be great as a tourist as it is considered safe and the climate is very pleasant. Planning a trip as a group, constructing an itinerary around untapped nature experiences, is ideal. However, do note that many nationalities need permits to travel outside the city, so be sure to obtain one from the Ministry of Immigration and Nationality in the centre of town.
In terms of working here or retiring in the city, there could be many challenges in terms of access to healthcare, electricity and internet.
Makhanda, South Africa
This quintessential student town has a lot to offer in terms of culture and hosts a big arts festival every year - attracting visitors from all over. The cost of living is relatively fair as is the level of safety.
According to Numbeo, the average cost of a one bedroom apartment in the centre of town is around R4500 a month. That is much cheaper than retiring in Sea Point, that's for sure.
The cathedral is a big feature of Makhanda, and there are many shops and museums to visit in the town. In terms of nature you also have the stunning Makana Botanical Gardens and the Kariega Game Reserve nearby. And the city of PE is about an hour away.
Our verdict: Like Stellenbosch, another student town, the vibrance of young people within a dorpie keeps it fresh. There's a constant influx of new energy, and young people tend to start new initiatives within a town, like markets, festivals and pop ups.
The climate in Makhanda is not always ideal as weather changes quickly. But because of cost of living and variety of activities on offer, this could be a great choice for remote workers and retirement.
Called the 'garden city' for having a host of beautiful flower and exotic plant species - Kumasi is rapidly growing in financial opportunities and population. Many note the hospitality of the people of Kumasi, saying people are generally very helpful and friendly.
Markets are everywhere, so much so, says Lonely Planet, that the city feels like one giant marketplace. And Kumasi is also cooler than the super human capital of Accra.
Our verdict: Because Kumasi is the fastest growing city in Ghana, access to internet is forever-improving. So this is a good spot for someone wanting to work remotely and explore the surrounding regions.
However, in terms of retiring, the better option might be just outside of Kumasi. The city centre is known for its heavily congested traffic, so staying in Lake Bosumtwe, which is less than an hour away is a much calmer option for those wanting to live out their twilight years in peace and quiet.
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