How to become a digital nomad in South Africa

Become a digital nomad in South Africa
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Updated 2022-10-30 12:23

A digital nomad is a person who can work while traveling. No office, no fixed hours, only a laptop and a good internet connection are essential. Working online offers the freedom to live wherever you want. So can you become a digital nomad in South Africa?

 

The Covid 19 epidemic has greatly contributed to the expansion of telecommuting, but it has greatly impacted the travel and tourism industry. Countries whose economies rely heavily on tourism have sought to remedy this situation and have introduced a Digital Nomad visa to attract visitors who will stay longer than tourists and boost the economy.

The South African tourism sector has suffered and is still suffering from the effects of the pandemic. The country is now considering bringing back tourists by offering a Digital Nomad Visa following the example of other African countries like Cape Verde, Seychelles and Mauritius. South Africa would then be the first country in continental Africa to offer such a visa. The project is currently being examined by the government. 

The visa would be aimed at teleworkers and freelancers, business owners who can manage remotely, and retirees who wish to stay in South Africa longer than the 90 days allowed by the tourist visa (which can be renewed for the same duration). This visa would also include interesting provisions for dependents. The conditions for granting the visa are still being studied: minimum wage requirement, proof of health insurance and accommodation, and proof of employment or contracts.

Why choose South Africa?

South Africa, also known as the Rainbow Nation for its multiracial and multicultural society with 11 official languages, is a country with many attractions.

Nature, culture, history, national parks, safaris, Indian and Atlantic oceans, beaches, deserts, cities, and gastronomy, nothing is missing to live unforgettable experiences.

The infrastructure is of a good level, the sanitary conditions are correct, and the cost of living in South Africa is reasonable. The exchange rate is very favorable to the holders of euros and the prices of restaurants, activities, shows and food are 30 to 40% lower for the same services.

The climate is temperate, with hot, dry summers and mild, wet winters. The weather is pleasant all year round except in the Cape region, where temperatures are lower, and except for a small area in the northeast of the country (Kruger Park and around St. Lucia), malaria is non-existent.

Sports and adventure lovers will find many activities to practice in South Africa: safaris, hiking, surfing, kitesurfing, diving, kayaking, etc.

South Africa is considered the gateway to the African continent, and bus companies offer long-distance travel at very affordable prices, whether to go from one end of the country to the other or to visit neighboring countries. Moreover, domestic flights are not very expensive.

The country has a very good internet coverage. By moving to South Africa, you will benefit from a wide range of coworking spaces. In addition, most restaurants and bars offer free internet access.

There is little or no time difference with France (1 hour during winter in France), which makes it easier to plan meetings. 

Which are the best cities in South Africa for digital nomads?

Johannesburg

Johannesburg is the largest city in South Africa and is also the economic capital of the country. It has almost four million inhabitants and is spread over several suburbs. Many areas are unsafe, and it is strongly recommended to be vigilant during the day and not to walk the streets at night.

  • Getting around Johannesburg

Transportation in Johannesburg is relatively well-developed. The Gautrain Express train connects the city center to Sandton, Rosebank, Pretoria and O.R. Tambo International Airport.   The BRT rapid bus system connects the city center to Soweto and the western suburbs. Private minibuses are the most popular and cheapest form of transportation, but they operate without a specific schedule.

The Uber and Bolt applications are reliable and safe, and their fares are more competitive than regular cab companies.

  • Accommodation in Johannesburg

It is easy to find accommodation in Johannesburg, and many websites offer furnished or unfurnished, short or long-term rentals for all budgets: privateproperty, gumtree, Property24.

  • Coworking in Johannesburg

Many coworking options are available in Johannesburg.

Perch Flexible Office Space (37 Bath Avenue, Rosebank) offers hot desks, dedicated offices, private offices, meeting rooms and breakout spaces. Business events and exhibitions are held regularly. Monthly rates range from R2000.00 to R3600.00 per month, depending on the options chosen, and the daily rate is approximately R250.00.

Mesh Club (21 Keyes Avenue, Rosebank) offers private or shared office space and meeting rooms. Membership in this club also provides access to clubs in Cape Town, New York, London, Paris, Budapest, Madrid, Stockholm, Singapore and Mumbai. The cost of a shared office membership is approximately R 4000.00 per month.

Workshop (Fire Station Rosebank, 16 Baker Street) offers 3 locations in Joburg and 4 offices in Cape Town. Becoming a member gives you access to all their coworking spaces in South Africa. Rates start at R300.00 per day.

Jozihub (44 Stanley Avenue) offers a monthly membership starting at R900.00 per month.

  • Leisure in Johannesburg

There is plenty of things to do and see in and around Johannesburg: many art galleries, the Apartheid Museum, Constitution Hill, the Wits Art Museum and it is easy to get to Gold Reef City (a gold rush theme park), Soweto, Pretoria and the Lion and Safari Park. The nightlife in Joburg is lively: clubs, trendy bars, and theaters, there is something for everyone.

Cape Town

Cape Town is a port city located on the Cape Peninsula in the southwest of South Africa. The city lies at the foot of Table Mountain. It is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful cities in the world, focused on arts and culture but also on nature. It benefits from an exceptional geographical setting between the sea and the mountains, and it is very easy to get away for hiking or water sports after work. Being an international city, it has all the modernity necessary to work in good conditions: many coworking spaces and very good internet speed. 

  • Getting around Cape Town

The train connects the city center to some suburbs, but it is better not to use it, especially at night, for security reasons. Myciti Bus serves downtown and the suburbs; it is a safe and reliable means of transportation in Cape Town, operating until 9:30 pm. 

Uber and Bolt applications are reliable and inexpensive. Cab companies also charge reasonable rates. Collective cabs should be avoided.

  • Accommodation in Cape Town

It is very easy to find studio or apartment rentals in Cape Town for varying lengths of time. Many hotels also offer weekly or monthly rentals. The most used sites are the same as those for Johannesburg.  

  • Coworking in Cape Town 

Seedspace (8 Spin Street) offers shared or dedicated offices, private offices, and by being a member, you can have access to their other offices in the world: Lima, Abidjan, Mexico, Kuala Lumpur, etc.

Cape town Workshop 17 (Kloof Street) is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and offers forty-five offices, conference rooms, private call boxes. Rates start at 1000.00 Rands per month.  

Greenpoint Coworking (Sovereign Quay Greenpoint) offers a wide range of office space. The daily rate is R200.00.

  • Leisure in Cape Town

It's impossible to get bored as there is no shortage of outdoor activities in Cape Town: surfing, windsurfing, kayaking, paragliding, mountain biking, and hiking. The region is also famous for its wines, and the Sightseeing Buses (red double-decker buses) offer visits to wineries as well as excursions to the Cape of Good Hope and Boulder beach (the penguin beach).

It is recommended to be vigilant at night and to avoid going out alone. The most famous place is Long Street, with its pubs, restaurants and nightclubs.

Pretoria

Pretoria is the administrative capital of South Africa and is located about 50 kilometers from Joburg. It is nicknamed the city of Jacarandas because of the thousands of trees that bloom there.

  • Getting around Pretoria 

The city is not very big, so it is easy to get around on foot. The Gautrain express train connects it to Johannesburg and the O.R. Tambo International Airport.

  • Accommodation in Pretoria

It is easy to find accommodation in Pretoria, and rents are lower than in Johannesburg. The sites offering rentals are the same as for Joburg or Cape Town. 

  • Coworking in Pretoria

Menlyn Maine (Aramand Avenue) offers shared and dedicated office space, private offices and conference rooms. Rates start at R1500.00.

Manhattan Coworking (180 Garsfontein Avenue) offers shared and dedicated office space, private offices, conference rooms and breakout rooms. Rates start at R2500.00 per month.

  • Leisure in Pretoria

Pretoria's must-see attractions include Church Square, the Tudor Chamber, the Union Building, the National Zoo, considered one of the world's finest zoos, the Walter Sisala Botanical Gardens, the Wonderboom Nature Reserve, etc.

The lifestyle of the digital nomads is based on the balance between professional life and quality of life that meets the expectations of discovery and encounters. South Africa could be the country where this perfect balance is found, but two factors work against it: insecurity and "load sheddings" (regular power cuts because the country does not produce enough electricity and is forced to make load shedding). 

Useful links:

Private Property 

Gumtree  

Property  

 
We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.