Accommodation in South Africa

Updated 2014-07-03 14:28

There are various ways to search for accommodation in South Africa. Find the guidelines in this article.

People from all over the world come to South Africa on business, educational or tourist trips, and many choose to stay in South Africa as expats. One of the first steps that all of these visitors need to take when booking a trip to South Africa is to find good accommodation close to towns, cities or tourist locations. Expats will also be looking for affordable long-term rental properties, which are the first choice for many when first staying in South Africa. Initial rentals may even be in holiday apartments in order to allow extra time for finding a suitable rental location. There are many different types of accommodation in the country, from hotels and bed and breakfast to rental properties and those for sale. The many types of accommodation offered to visitors can sometimes make choosing between each option harder than expected.

How to proceed

When searching for accommodation in South Africa, visitors first need to make a list of their priorities. Expats will probably want to research safe places to live in South Africa, or those with large populations of people speaking their main language - there are so many official languages in South Africa that this can be an important consideration. Choosing a rental property will also depend on the needs of the expat, for example renting close to work, or an a spot which has particular significance for the expat.

Rental accommodation is usually advertised in newspapers, both national and local, and there are also expat newspapers which advertise rental properties. There are also several websites dedicated to helping expats rent out accommodation. Working with agents can also speed up the process, particularly if the expat knows where they want to live, the size of property they need, and most importantly, their budget.


After a property has been found, it is important to remember that expats will have to meet South African rental traditions. In most cases, it is common to ask for six weeks' rent as a deposit, although some agents may ask for six months. Most agents will also ask for a fee, known as a holding fee, which is non-refundable, before they even contact the person offering the property for rent. This fee will be used to examine the expats' references, including bank details, place of business, and right to stay in South Africa.


Once the reference checks have been performed, expats will need to put down more money in order to pay for the agreement, and for any registration fees that will be offer. This will often come to more than R1,000, and does not include the first rental check. Expats will need to have a considerable sum of money in order to cover all of these fees and expenses. In most cases, renters will also have to pay deposits for amenities including water and electricity, as well as any maintenance payments. It is essential to pay for the rental agreement, which protects renters against price increases, and against loss of deposit.

Useful links:
Private Property
SA Rental
Property 24

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