Gameplan for solo female expat

Gameplan for solo female expats moving to South Africa

After moving to South Africa, how should a female expat turn their new chapter into a successful one – and does South Africa’s intermittently tarnished representation affect where they go and what they should do?

Gameplan for solo female expat

Hopefully this little list of tips and advice will make things a little clearer.

– It makes sense to have some friends or family in South Africa and moving close to them (or within driving distance of them, you don’t want to appear too needy), rather than taking a punt on a new location with which you don’t have a single association or emotional connection. It’ll be a less stressful option in the long run.

– Of course, if you have no say in the matter, then start making friends as quickly as possible by signing up to activities within your community such as exercise and yoga classes, book groups and sports clubs. Be a social butterfly. Or if that’s not a role you’re too comfortable with, start as a social caterpillar and work your way up.

– It’s not a pleasant task but it’s important to know exactly which areas of South Africa are most affected by crime and the closest trouble-spots near you. Tour operators can help with this.

– A major problem in South Africa is traffic-light robberies, where assailants target cars waiting at red stop signs. Stay vigilant and keep all car doors locked. Running the red lights is not an option, sorry.

– If you’re travelling alone, it is inevitable that you will be approached by strangers either trying to make conversation or possibly to sell you something. Regardless of the scenario, do not give them room to build a dialogue; provide a firm no and keep walking. It might help to learn ‘no’ in as many languages as you can, as there’s very much an international flavour to today’s bothersome stranger.

– South Africa has some excellent public transport options, aimed at tourists and backpackers. They’re always very reasonably-priced, so it’s worth checking out useful routes past your new abode.

– For those settling in Johannesburg, there is an organisation catering for female expats called the International Women’s Club, providing an instant online social network for those in need of friends and support.

– Similarly, in Cape Town there is an International Women’s Club offering the same support, as well as an Irish South African Association for those people of Irish descent and, well, those who aren’t from Ireland but do confess to be committed Hibernophiles!

– There’s no skating around the issue, South Africa has a problem with crime, but if you put the crime figures into perspective, it’s easy to conclude that every country has an issue with some crime or another and that South Africa’s political tensions have led to excessive and at times unfair media coverage of their situation. You just have to take the same approach as you’d take anywhere else: plan ahead and stay safe.

If you’re planning your move to South Africa as we speak, don’t forget to check out the Seven Seas Worldwide website for a whole range of relocation and household removal services via their established international shipping network.

They’ve been in the business for 20 years – and know a thing or two.