6 min read

The Pros and Cons of Living in Rural South Africa

Havana Dauncey
· January 5, 2024
The Pros and Cons of Living in Rural South Africa

Are you looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and head to South Africa’s serene rural landscapes?

With its picturesque landscapes and untamed wilderness, rural South Africa offers a unique living experience that sharply contrasts the bustling urban centres. While almost 70% of South Africans prefer the city’s buzzing energy and concrete jungle, many South Africans still opt for the quiet and peaceful natural beauty of rural South Africa.

But rural South Africa is not for everyone — it all depends on your situation, lifestyle and priorities. To figure out if rural living is for you, here’s a breakdown of the pros and cons of living in rural South Africa, exploring various advantages and challenges associated with life in the heart of the country's rural communities.

Pros of Living in Rural South Africa

1. Breathtaking Natural Beauty

One of the undeniable perks of living in rural South Africa is the stunning natural scenery that surrounds you. From rolling hills and expansive farmlands to majestic mountains and tranquil rivers, the landscape is a constant source of inspiration. Depending on where you live in South Africa, you could have the backdrop of the semi-desert bushlands of the Karoo, the gorgeous beaches of the coast or the sub-tropical forests of Kwazulu Natal.

2. Close-knit communities

Rural living fosters tight-knit communities where everyone knows each other and their business. This sense of familiarity and community spirit creates a supportive environment, with neighbours often coming together in times of need.

3. Cultural Richness

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A post shared by Rajesh Jantilal (@rajeshjantilal)

With many residents having lived there for generations, rural small towns often boast a rich cultural heritage. Living in these areas provides an immersive experience and inside look into traditional practices, rituals and local festivities, nurturing a deep appreciation for the diverse tapestry of South African culture.

4. Affordable housing

Compared to the soaring real estate prices in urban areas, rural South Africa offers more affordable housing options. This affordability allows residents to own larger properties, complete with gardens and open spaces. Especially when compared to the ridiculous amounts you’d pay for a tiny apartment on the outskirts of a city.

5. Farming Opportunities

Rural South Africa farming opportunities

The backbone of many rural economies is agriculture. Living in rural South Africa provides opportunities for those interested in farming and cultivating the land. You could either turn this into a business or focus on being self-sustainable. You even have the space to have your own livestock and as many pets as your heart desires.

6. Peace and Tranquility

If you crave peace and solitude, rural South Africa is the place to find it. Away from the hustle and bustle of city life, the countryside offers a serene environment with a break from the constant noise and stress of city living. You don’t have to worry about a building obstructing your view, loud sirens disrupting your reading time or noisy neighbours keeping you up at night.

7. Guest House Opportunities

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A post shared by FARMHOUSE (@farmhouse_58)

You're not the only one that may be looking for a rural getaway. Setting up your home in rural South Africa means that you have the opportunity to take some of your property and turn it into a guest house or AirBnB, providing another income stream and allowing you to share the little slice of heaven you've acquired.

8. Less Environmental Pollution

Rural areas generally experience lower levels of environmental pollution compared to cities. With fewer industrial activities, reduced traffic and less litter, the air and water quality tend to be better, contributing to a healthier and more pristine environment.

Cons of Living in Rural South Africa

1. Limited Job Opportunities

One of the most significant challenges of rural living is the scarcity of job opportunities. Unlike cities, where industries thrive, rural areas often provide only a limited number of employment options, leading to economic hardships for residents. It’s important to consider whether your career is compatible with a rural lifestyle.

2. Inadequate Infrastructure

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A post shared by Agri Wes-Kaap (@agriwesterncape)

Rural areas frequently struggle with insufficient infrastructure. The limited transportation services with a lack of paved roads and reliable public services, can hinder the overall quality of life for those residing in rural South Africa.

3. Limited Educational Resources

If you have children, you should consider the educational facilities in rural areas which are often quite limited. Not only are there only a few schools, but they often aren’t a part of South Africa’s top schools. Other options to consider are boarding schools and homeschooling if you want more control over your children’s education.

4. Social Isolation

Rural South Africa social isolation

With the large space also comes a lot of distance between you and everyone else. This may come with some peaceful benefits but can also come with significant social isolation, making it particularly difficult for those social butterflies. Limited social activities and entertainment options may lead to a sense of isolation, especially for those who love the crowds of a big city.

5. Healthcare Challenges

Access to healthcare is a major concern in rural South Africa. The distance to medical facilities and the shortage of healthcare professionals can result in delayed or inadequate medical attention. If you rely heavily on healthcare services, then you should definitely take into account the healthcare facilities in your rural area.

6. Slow Technological Advancement

Rural areas often face a lag in technological advancements, with limited access to high-speed internet and modern communication tools. Some people would rather not give up the convenience of the high-tech accessible in cities. Fortunately, it’s becoming easier and easier to install this technology in rural areas, but it is a big initiative and is an extra thing to worry about.

7. Exposure to Wild Animals

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A post shared by African Snakebite Institute (@africansnakebiteinstitute)

One thing that you have to deal with in rural life that you won't find in the city is some wild, and often dangerous, animals. This will depend on where you live, but in most places, you'll have to deal with some pretty scary snakes and spiders, though you may find some bigger wildlife lurking around that you should be cautious of.

8. Minimal Access to Recreational Activities

One of people’s biggest struggles with rural living is that there isn’t always a whole lot to do — you can sometimes get a bit bored. Rural areas often lack access to cultural institutions, theatres, museums and outdoor activities that city slickers take for granted.

Looking For a Trusted Mover to Get You To Your New Rural Home?

If you’ve decided that rural life is where you belong, then you’ll need the best movers to help you move your entire life to South Africa’s stunning countryside and ensure a smooth transition to rural living. With Wise Move’s moving company platform, you can connect with the top local movers in every corner of the country trusted by thousands of South Africans.

By comparing +1 000 reviews and competitive prices, you’re guaranteed to find the perfect movers for your budget and your new home. Get your quote today and make the wise move for your next chapter in rural South Africa!

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