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Best Places to Live in South Africa

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Best Places to Live in South Africa

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Thinking about moving? Semigrating? Or maybe you've just been posted to a new city for work? Whether you're looking for city vibes with nightlife and restaurants or the peace and quiet in Bushveld or a small coastal town, South Africa has plenty of options for everyone – it's one of the most diverse countries in the world!  

Here are some of the best places to live in South Africa. 

City Life

South Africa has something for everyone, but if you want convenience, job opportunities and better schools, you’re probably going to want to look at some of the cities. Here are our top 7 cities in South Africa that tick all the boxes.

1.  Cape Town

Best Places to Live South Africa Cape Town

If you're looking for big city life, Cape Town is the place for you. The Mother City offers everything from world-class shopping and dining to vibrant nightlife and a lively arts scene. Cape Town is also famous for its outdoor lifestyle, from hiking and biking in Table Mountain National Park to exploring the Cape Peninsula - you’ll never run out of things to do.

Best Place to Live For: People who want a good mix of city life with outdoor activities.

Highlights: Table Mountain, Wine Farms, and Cape Town International Airport

Real Estate: There is currently a boom in real estate development in and around Cape Town. It offers a wide range of real estate options to suit any budget.

Schools: Cape Town is known for its high level of education. There are several top schools to choose from.

Hospitals: Cape Town has some of the best hospitals in the country. Did you know the first heart transplant was performed in Cape Town in 1967?

2.  Durban

Best Places to Live in South Africa Durban

Durban is the largest city in Kwazulu-Natal and offers a subtropical climate, beautiful beaches, and a vibrant culture. The city has a lively atmosphere with plenty of great restaurants, shops, and markets. There are also several parks and nature reserves nearby for when you want to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and experience the Big Five!

Best Place to Live For: The warm climate, beautiful beaches, rich culture, and economic opportunities.

Highlights: uShaka Marine World, Moses Mabhida Stadium, and Durban Botanic Gardens.

Real Estate: There is a lot of growth potential in the Durban Real Estate market and some communities to keep an eye on include Umhlanga, La Lucia, and Durban North.

Schools: Durban has several great schools to choose from including Michaelhouse and St. Anne’s Diocesan College.

Hospitals: If you’re looking for world-class medical care, Durban has some of the best hospitals in the country.

3.  Pretoria

Best Places to Live in South Africa Pretoria

Pretoria is the administrative capital of South Africa and offers a more relaxed pace of life than Johannesburg or Cape Town. The city is known for its beautiful Jacaranda trees and there are plenty of parks and gardens to enjoy. There are also some museums and historical sites to explore.

Best Place to Live For: Families who want a slower-paced city life with easy access to parks and historical sites.

Highlights: Union Buildings, Voortrekker Monument, and National Zoological Gardens of South Africa

Real Estate: Pretoria is well-known for its family-friendly communities and lifestyle estates. Families might want to consider areas like Lynnwood or Silver Lakes Golf Estate.

Schools: Pretoria is home to some of the best schools in the country, including Afrikaanse Hoër Seunskool, Pretoria Boys High School and Hoërskool Menlopark.

Hospitals: Pretoria has several great hospitals, such as Steve Biko Academic Hospital and Zuid-Afrikaans Hospital.

4.  Johannesburg

Best Places to Live in South Africa Johannesburg

Johannesburg is the economic hub of South Africa and offers a cosmopolitan atmosphere with plenty of nightlife, restaurants, and shops. The city is fast-paced, but also offers its residents the very best in entertainment.

Best Place to Live For: People who want a city with plenty of things to do and a lively nightlife.

Highlights: Nelson Mandela Square, Maboneng, and Gold Reef City.

Real Estate: Johannesburg offers a wide range of real estate options, from luxury apartments to affordable homes. Areas like Bryanston or Fourways are booming.

Schools: Johannesburg is home to some of the best schools in the country, such as St. Stithians College and King David High School.

Hospitals: Johannesburg has some great hospitals, such as the Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital and Milpark Hospital.

5.  George

Best Places to Live in South Africa George

George is a smaller coastal city in the Western Cape that offers a relaxed atmosphere and beautiful scenery. Situated in the Garden Route district, you’ll be surrounded by forests, mountains, and lakes and all the stunning holiday beach escapes are just a few hours' drive away. There are also a number of excellent golf courses in the area.

Best Place to Live For: For people who want the convenience of a city that still has that small-town feel.

Highlights: Garden Route National Park, George Golf Club, and George Airport

Real Estate: George has had a growth spurt, so there are plenty of new developments to choose from. Areas like Bergsig, Camphersdrift, and Eden are popular.

Schools: George is a popular area for families because of the excellent schools. York High School and Eden College deliver top-performing students year after year.

Hospitals: George has several public and private hospitals. Two of the biggest include George Hospital and Life Healthcare Garden Route Hospital.

6.  Mossel Bay

Best Places to Live in South Africa Mossel Bay Garden Route

Mossel Bay is also located on the Garden Route, just an hour’s drive from George. It is most famous for its surfing culture and holiday vibes. The town offers its residents everything that they may need and is known for its natural beauty and pristine beaches. With its moderate climate, it is a popular holiday destination and a great place to live.

Best Place to Live For: For people who want to chill and feel the holiday vibe. Perfect for those surfing enthusiasts.

Highlights: Mossel Bay Point, Diaz Beach, and Mossel Bay Golf Club

Real Estate: Mossel Bay offers a wide range of real estate options for all budgets. Areas like Glentana or Herbertsdale are great for families.

Schools: Mossel Bay has several top-performing schools in the district, like Mossel Bay Primary School and Dulcie Matthews High School.

Hospitals: Private hospitals in the area include Mossel Bay Hospital and Life Bay View Private Hospital. However, the provincial public hospital is also located here.

7.  Port Elizabeth

Best Places to Live in South Africa Port Elizabeth

Port Elizabeth is a port city in Eastern Cape province and offers a mix of urban and coastal life. The city has several excellent beaches, as well as a lively boardwalk with plenty of shops, restaurants, and bars. There are also many parks and gardens in the area, like the stunning Van Stadens Wild Flower Reserve and the unforgettable Addo Elephant Park.

Best Place to Live For: The coastal city lifestyle, nature, beaches, and parks.

Highlights: Addo Elephant Park, Van Stadens Wild Flower Reserve, Boardwalk Casino and Entertainment World, and Bayworld Oceanarium.

Real Estate: Properties in Port Elizabeth vary widely in price, depending on the location. Popular suburbs for families include Summerstrand, Humewood and Walmer.

Schools: There are several top schools located in Port Elizabeth, such as Grey Junior School, Collegiate Girls' High School and Pearson High School.

Hospitals: The city's hospitals include Netcare Greenacres Hospital and the Dora Nginza Provincial Hospital.

Looking for something other than city life? Don’t worry, we’ve listed the best places to live in South Africa for everyone!

Bushveld Bliss

Best Places to Live in South Africa Bushveld

If you love the Kruger, you’ll love living in the bushveld. There are a few towns that offer that special safari feels and even have some reserves close by. Heck, you could even end up living in a wildlife reserve!

Nelspruit

Nelspruit is the capital of Mpumalanga and offers a subtropical climate and beautiful scenery. The city lies in the fertile valley of the Crocodile River and has been called the gateway to the Kruger National Park. You're also a short drive from Mozambique.

Hartbeespoort

Hartbeespoort is a small town in North West province that has become an oasis among the dry bushveld. The town is built around the Hartbeespoort Dam - a man-made dam that is surrounded by mountains and is close to Sun City and Pilansberg.

Hoedspruit

Hoedspruit is set at the foot of the Klein Drakensberg and is known for its natural bush beauty. Animal enthusiasts will love it here as it is situated on the edge of the Kruger National Park and is surrounded by game reserves. The area has a subtropical climate and can be very hot in the summer months, but the rest of the year is pleasant.

Leopard Creek

Leopard Creek is a private game reserve in Mpumalanga province that offers a unique lifestyle. The reserve is home to a variety of wildlife, including the Big Five, and is situated on the banks of the Crocodile River.

Karoo

Best Places to Live in South Africa Karoo

Dry but with the best people, the Karoo has been a place of calling for many. Explore towns like Neau Bitestha, where artists have created an oasis or buy that family farm - sheep, cows, ostriches and horses do well here.

Graaff-Reinet

Graaff-Reinet is one of the oldest towns in South Africa and is filled with historical buildings and museums which makes it a popular tourist destination. The Karoo offers a unique beauty that grows on its inhabitants. Moving at a slower pace, offers a more relaxed lifestyle, and a sense of well-being.

Oudtshoorn

Oudtshoorn is located in the Western Cape and is famous for its ostrich farming industry and the Cango Caves which are located 30km outside of town. The town is situated in the Klein Karoo region and has a semi-desert climate. Expect to see stunning stars at night.

It offers the perfect mix between country living and proximity to some of the best beaches in the country!

Prince Albert

Prince Albert is a small town in the Western Cape that offers a relaxed atmosphere and beautiful scenery. The town is situated in the Great Karoo region and is known for its Victorian architecture, museums, art galleries, and restaurants.

West Coast

Best Places to Live in South Africa West Coast

The West Coast offers a special type of lifestyle. Quiet most of the year, it turns into a hive of activity over the holidays. You’ll have miles and miles of beaches, access to the Wine Valley, and the freshest seafood straight from the ocean. Just make sure you’re ready for the cold water!

Bloubergstrand

Located just 20km out of Cape Town City Center, Bloubergstrand offers its visitors beautiful beaches with crystal clear water and the best view of Table Mountain you can find. 

Relax on the beach or sip on a cocktail at Blue Peter to truly enjoy the Capetonian lifestyle. Schools, Hospitals, and all other necessary facilities are easily accessible from Bloubergstrand.

Yzerfontein

Yzerfontein is a safe coastal town in the Western Cape that has grown tremendously over the last few years. The town only has one road leading into it which is surveyed by CCTV cameras 24/7 giving its residents peace of mind. Its sandy white beaches stretch for 16 miles and are great for a relaxing walk. There are also plenty of activities to enjoy, from hiking and biking to whale watching and fishing.

Paternoster

Paternoster is a unique coastal town in the Western Cape that everyone visits during a road trip up the coast. The town is known for its distinctive building style and local fishing culture. Residents and Tourists can enjoy a delicious seafood meal with their toes in the sand at the famous Seekos Kombuis. Paternoster is a great getaway spot for Capetonians and that's why many choose to invest in homes there.

Darling

Darling is a small town in the Western Cape that is well known for its annual wildflower display. It also has a live theatre and restaurant, Evita se Perron, which is run by famous comedian Pieter-Dirk Uys. 

The town is filled with families as there is a primary school, but for high school, most parents choose to send their kids to Swartland High School in Malmesbury or one of the many prestigious schools in Paarl. The town is situated in the Swartland region and has a Mediterranean climate.

Langebaan

Langebaan is the most famous town on the West Coast. It offers gorgeous beaches, a beautiful Lagoon, Restaurants and various other forms of entertainment to its residents and visitors. It is a popular place to live for both older citizens and families with young children as it offers everything a person could need.

St Helena Bay

St Helena Bay is a small coastal town in the Western Cape that offers beautiful scenery and plenty of outdoor activities. The town is situated on the West Coast National Park and has a mild climate with beautiful flowers blooming all year round.

Garden Route

Best Places to Live in South Africa Garden Route

Perhaps one of the most beautiful parts of South Africa, the Garden Route is booming. People from all over are choosing to call it home for the beautiful landscapes, stunning beaches and easy access to either Cape Town or Port Elizabeth.

Witsand

Witsand lives up to its name with its beautiful white beaches and clear ocean water. This small town is a popular holiday destination as it also mouths the Bree River and offers endless forms of outdoor entertainment. 

Still Bay

Still Bay, also known as the bay of sleeping beauty, is a lovely place to call home. The town is split in two by the Goukou River that mouths the quiet little town. Offering excellent fishing and surfing conditions with an abundance of other outdoor activities, it is a popular holiday destination. 

Wilderness

Wilderness is one of the most beautiful places in South Africa. With a seemingly endless beach, lush greenery and stunning sea-view homes, it is any tourist or holidaymaker's dream.

Outdoor enthusiasts will find endless forms of entertainment such as hiking, biking, swimming and so much more. The town is situated on the Garden Route and has a mild climate with beautiful flowers blooming throughout the year.

Plettenberg Bay

What's not to love? Beautiful blue oceans (with stunning suprises every now and then) and white sandy beaches set the mood for complete relaxation. This unique little town is accommodating to all ages as it has a variety of fun activities to choose from. 

Families with young children will find that there are a variety of excellent schools in the area. The weather in Plett is moderate and residents can count on a sea breeze to keep them cool on those hot summer days.

Jeffreys Bay

Jeffreys bay is one of the most beautiful little gems hidden away in the Eastern Cape. It is best known for being one of the most popular surfing spots in South Africa. Its warm climate and lush vegetation have made it a popular holiday destination for both local and international travellers. 

Residents can find just about anything they may need at the shops in town. The weather is a subtropical climate which means their average maximum temperature throughout the year is 20-25℃.

Klein Brak

The town of Klein Brak was named after the Klein Brak River which meets the ocean at its location. It gives its residents a peaceful lifestyle but is conveniently located just 15km from Mosselbay where you can get anything you may need.

It is a popular destination beloved by all anglers as it offers fishing opportunities in both the river and ocean. Naturally, water sports are also a big attraction for the small town, but they also have various other fun activities available.

Overberg

Best Places to Live in South Africa Overberg

Close to Cape Town, but restricted in terms of growth potential, the Overberg has kept its charm over the years. Living here gives you the best of both worlds - Cape Town is a short drive away but you’re secluded enough to escape the hustle and bustle.

Kleinmond

Kleinmond is known as the “Fynbos Floral Kingdom” of the Overberg and has been declared a UNESCO Biosphere Area. 

The town also has a beautiful beach which is ideal for long strolls to the Palmiet River Mouth. Residents can expect a relaxed lifestyle in a tight-knit community.

Hermanus

Hermanus is most famous for its Whale watching season. This town is bursting with movement throughout the year as it is a popular destination for permanent residency and also continuously attracts tourists. 

Beautiful and functional, making it possible for its residents to live there happily ever after.

Struisbaai

Home to the most Southern Point of South Africa, L’Agulhas. Struisbaai is a picturesque little town with a pearly white beach and crystal clear ocean. The town is known to be a quiet and relaxed setting, ideal to unwind and take a breather. 

The Struisbaai lighthouse is a famous tourist attraction as it has saved many ships from wreckage since its construction in 1837. 

Wild Coast

Wild Coast South Africa Living

The Wild Coast still has a lot of room for development, but that’s part of its charm. The rural communities, wild coastline and freedom are only a few of the things that make people never want to leave.

Chintsa

Chinsta is located just 45 km from East London at the beginning of the unspoilt and rural Wild Coast. The village boasts spectacular beauty and tranquil surroundings offering its residents a peaceful lifestyle. With its semi-tropical climate residents can expect mild temperatures throughout the year. 

Morgans Bay

The Wild Coast is best known for its natural rural beauty. Morgans Bay is located close to the Double Mouth Nature Reserve and Morgans Bay Cliffs where you can enjoy breathtaking views of the unspoilt wilderness. 

Guided beach trails or scenic horse rides along the coast are only some of the relaxing activities the town has to offer. 

Port Edward

If you are looking for the ideal spot to recharge your body and spirit then Port Edward is the perfect place for you. This beautiful resort town is situated on the South Coast of Kwazulu-Natal bordering the Eastern Cape. 

Residents can enjoy flawless beaches or try their hand at the Wild Coast Sun when they're feeling lucky. The list of entertainment options are endless.

Port St Johns

Known as the jewel of the Wild Coast, Port St John really does offer its residents everything. The town is tiny, yet it has grocery stores, schools and hospitals. 

Residents can enjoy a simpler lifestyle while relaxing at the beach or taking a stroll through the forest. The weather is mild year-round making it very easy to live there.

Kenton On Sea

If you want to get away from the city lights then Kenton on Sea might be the perfect place for you. Located on the Sunshine Coast, you can expect mild weather throughout the year. 

The area offers its residents a variety of different outdoor entertainment options like hiking, biking and watersports. Animal lovers can also view wildlife at Sibayu Game Reserve. The town also has a couple of schools which makes it ideal for families with children.

Cape Winelands

Best Places to Live in South Africa Cape Winelands

The Cape Winelands is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful areas in South Africa. The lifestyle is unmatched, communities are active and there is always something going on somewhere.

Franschhoek

In the heart of the Winelands is a little town called Franschhoek, it is surrounded by majestic mountains and covered in vineyards as far as the eye can see. The streets are alive with music and fresh aromas of bread and wine fill the air. 

For a unique experience in food and wine, Franschhoek is the place to be. The town also has some of the best schools in the Cape Winelands which makes it a safe and child-friendly area.

Riebeek Kasteel

Riebeek Kasteel is located in the picturesque Riebeek Valley and is one of the oldest towns in South Africa. The area is a popular wedding destination as its beauty is intangible. 

The entire valley consists of vineyards and orchards that stretch for miles. If you are looking for a beautiful area to settle in, then Riebeek Kasteel is a lovely choice.

Paarl

Although Paarl is considered a town, its popularity has made it a fast-growing area and it could just as well be considered a city by itself. Some of the best government and private schools in South Africa are located here making it a top choice for families with children. 

You can find anything you may need locally and can reach Cape Town City Center in less than an hour. The weather in Paarl can reach extreme temperatures during the summer months, but the rest of the year the weather is lovely.

Greyton

Greyton has a little bit of that “Old Charm” that only a few places still have to offer. With dusty dirt roads and free-roaming animals, the town gives you a feeling that you have somehow travelled back in time. 

At night the streets are alive with laughter as patrons feast on local cuisine and enjoy the starry skies. With hot summers and cold winters, residents should prepare themselves for varying weather.

Dolphin Coast

If you’re looking for warm ocean waters, sunshine, and hot weather, the Dolphin Coast is the place to be. Lush tropical landscapes will also excite any gardeners looking for fertile soils.

Dolphin Coast Margate Places to live

Zinkwazi Beach

Bursting with natural beauty, Zinkwazi Beach is a beautiful setting to live in. A combination of bird songs and waves crashing on the beaches fill the air and create the most relaxing environment anyone could ask for. Residents would need to do a bit of planning when it comes to supplies as the town itself does not offer much in terms of shops, luckily Stanger is just a mere 16km away where residents can find whatever they require.

Best Places to Live in South Africa Zinkwazi Beach

St Lucia 

St Lucia lies within the iSimangaliso Wetland Park which means that its beaches and vegetation are protected giving its residents an unspoilt natural wonderland to live in. The park itself is home to South Africa's largest Crocodile and Hippo Population. 

With more than 220km of beach stretching all the way to Mozambique, this town is truly unique. Tourism-driven, the town is rich in culture and full of endless entertainment options.

Ballito

Living in Ballito feels like owning your little piece of paradise. The town offers its residents the best of everything, and Durban is conveniently located less than an hour away. Families, young and old, can comfortably live in the upper-class town. The climate is Tropical which means residents can expect hot and humid weather.

Margate

Margate is the most beautiful little coastal town offering its residents a warm ocean and golden beaches. The town is a favourite holiday destination for many South African citizens and offers various forms of entertainment.

You can also find anything you may need from medical institutions to grocery outlets. There is an abundance of quality schools to choose from making this town a family-friendly choice. 

Ready to Move? 

If you’re looking to move to South Africa, you’ll find the best place to live that suits all your wants and needs. South Africa is a diverse country with a lot to offer!

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