South Africa is a beautiful and diverse country with a lot to offer digital nomads. From its stunning beaches to its vibrant cities, there’s something for everyone in South Africa. And with its reliable internet, affordable cost of living, and welcoming culture, South Africa is a great place to base yourself while working remotely.
In this guide, we’ll explore everything you need to know about living the digital nomad lifestyle in South Africa. We’ll cover topics such as where to live, how to get around, and how to stay safe. We’ll also provide you with a list of resources to help you make the most of your time in South Africa.
So whether you’re just starting out as a digital nomad or you’re looking for a new place to call home, this guide is for you. We hope you enjoy your time in South Africa!
|Main Languages||Afrikaans, English, isiZulu, isiXhosa|
|Capital city||Pretoria (administrative); Cape Town (legislative); Bloemfontein (judicial)|
|Main airport||O.R. Tambo International Airport (Johannesburg); Cape Town International Airport|
|Currency||South African Rand (ZAR)|
|Time Zone||South Africa Standard Time (UTC +2)|
|Plug Socket Type||Type C, D, M, and N|
|Best time(s) to Visit||May to September (dry season)|
|Highlights||Stunning Landscapes; Safari Adventures; Diverse Culture|
Things to Do in South Africa
South Africa is a country that has something for every type of digital nomad. Whether you’re into travel, hiking, safari, wine tasting, beaches, clubs, sailing, penguins, or history, there’s something here for you. Here are some of the best things to do in South Africa:
South Africa is a country that is full of natural beauty and diverse landscapes. Whether you’re looking to explore the mountains, the coast, or the desert, there is something here for you. Some of the best places to visit in South Africa include Cape Town, Johannesburg, Durban, and the Garden Route.
South Africa is also a great place for hiking enthusiasts. There are many different hiking trails to choose from, ranging from easy walks to more challenging treks. Some of the best hiking trails in South Africa include Table Mountain, the Drakensberg Mountains, and the Otter Trail.
If you’re looking for a once-in-a-lifetime experience, then a safari in South Africa is a must. There are many different game reserves to choose from, each offering a unique experience. Some of the best game reserves in South Africa include Kruger National Park, Sabi Sands Game Reserve, and Addo Elephant National Park.
South Africa is home to some of the best vineyards in the world. If you’re a wine lover, then a visit to one of the many wine estates is a must. Some of the best wine estates in South Africa include Stellenbosch, Franschhoek, and Paarl.
South Africa is also home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Whether you’re looking for a secluded spot or a lively beach party, there is something here for you. Some of the best beaches in South Africa include Camps Bay, Clifton, and Umhlanga Rocks.
If you’re looking for a night out on the town, then South Africa has plenty of options for you. There are many different clubs and bars to choose from, each offering a unique experience. Some of the best clubs in South Africa include The Assembly, Fiction, and Tiger Tiger.
South Africa is also a great place for sailing enthusiasts. Whether you’re a seasoned sailor or a beginner, there are many different sailing opportunities to choose from. Some of the best sailing spots in South Africa include Cape Town, Durban, and Knysna.
If you’re a fan of penguins, then a visit to Boulders Beach is a must. This beach is home to a colony of African penguins, and it’s a great place to get up close and personal with these amazing creatures.
Finally, no visit to South Africa is complete without a visit to Robben Island. This island is where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for 18 years, and it’s a powerful reminder of South Africa’s history.
Best Destinations for Digital Nomads
South Africa is a popular destination for digital nomads due to its vibrant culture, beautiful landscapes, and affordable cost of living. Here are some of the best destinations and places to live for digital nomads in South Africa:
Cape Town is one of the most popular destinations for digital nomads in South Africa. It offers a great work-life balance with its beautiful beaches, stunning landscapes, and vibrant culture. It is home to many coworking spaces, cafes, and restaurants, making it easy to find a place to work and socialize. Some popular areas to live in Cape Town include Greenpoint, Camps Bay, and the city center.
Johannesburg is the economic hub of South Africa and offers a bustling city life for digital nomads. It has a growing startup scene and is home to many coworking spaces and tech hubs. The cost of living in Johannesburg is relatively low compared to other major cities around the world. Some popular areas to live in Johannesburg include the city center, Sandton, and Melville.
Read More >>> Johannesburg Digital Nomad Guide
Durban is a coastal city located in the KwaZulu-Natal province of South Africa. It offers a laid-back lifestyle with its warm climate, beautiful beaches, and relaxed atmosphere. It is home to many coworking spaces and cafes, making it easy to find a place to work and socialize. Some popular areas to live in Durban include Umhlanga, Morningside, and the city center.
Table Mountain is a popular tourist attraction in Cape Town and is also a great place for digital nomads to work and explore. It offers stunning views of the city and is home to many hiking trails and outdoor activities. There are many cafes and restaurants located at the base of Table Mountain, making it easy to find a place to work and socialize.
South Africa has many unique districts that offer different experiences for digital nomads. Some popular districts include:
- Woodstock in Cape Town, which is known for its vibrant street art and creative community.
- Maboneng in Johannesburg, which is known for its urban regeneration projects and trendy cafes and bars.
- Umhlanga Rocks in Durban, which is known for its luxury beachfront apartments and beautiful views of the Indian Ocean.
Overall, South Africa offers a diverse range of destinations and places to live for digital nomads. Whether you prefer a bustling city life or a laid-back coastal lifestyle, South Africa has something to offer.
As a digital nomad, internet connectivity is crucial for your work. Fortunately, South Africa has a relatively good internet infrastructure, especially in major cities. You can easily find Wi-Fi hotspots in coffee shops, libraries, and co-working spaces.
Most hotels and Airbnbs also provide Wi-Fi for their guests. However, the quality and speed of the internet may vary depending on your location. It is always a good idea to check the internet connectivity before booking your accommodation.
The internet speed in South Africa ranges from 10 Mbps to 100 Mbps, depending on your location and internet service provider. The average internet speed in South Africa is around 28 Mbps, which is sufficient for most digital nomads.
If you need a faster internet connection, you can opt for fiber optic internet. It is available in most major cities like Johannesburg, Cape Town, and Durban. The fiber optic internet speed can go up to 1 Gbps, which is ideal for video conferencing and other bandwidth-intensive tasks.
However, it is worth noting that internet connectivity in rural areas may not be as good as in urban areas. If you plan to work from a remote location, it is advisable to check the internet connectivity beforehand.
In summary, South Africa has a good internet infrastructure, and you can easily find Wi-Fi hotspots in most major cities. The internet speed is sufficient for most digital nomads, and you can opt for fiber optic internet if you need a faster connection. However, internet connectivity in rural areas may not be as good as in urban areas.
South Africa is becoming a popular destination for digital nomads, and it’s no surprise that coworking spaces are popping up all over the country. Coworking spaces provide the perfect environment for digital nomads to work, network, and collaborate with like-minded individuals. Here is a closer look at one of the most popular coworking spaces in South Africa.
Workshop17 is a coworking space located in Cape Town and Johannesburg. It is one of the most popular coworking spaces in South Africa, and for good reason. This coworking space offers a variety of workspaces, including private offices, hot desks, and meeting rooms. It also provides high-speed internet, printing facilities, and coffee shops.
One of the unique features of Workshop17 is its community events. It hosts regular events, such as workshops, talks, and networking events, which provide digital nomads with the opportunity to meet other professionals in their field. This can help to build relationships, collaborate on projects, and even find new clients.
Another standout feature of Workshop17 is its commitment to sustainability. The coworking space is designed with sustainability in mind, using recycled materials and energy-efficient lighting. This is not only good for the environment but also creates a pleasant and inspiring workspace for digital nomads.
Overall, Workshop17 is a great coworking space for digital nomads in South Africa. Its variety of workspaces, community events, and commitment to sustainability make it a popular choice for many professionals.
Read More>>> The Best Coworking Spaces in Johannesburg
As a digital nomad, finding the right coliving space is crucial for a comfortable and productive stay in South Africa. Here are some options to consider:
Airbnb is a popular option for coliving spaces in South Africa. It offers a variety of accommodation options, from private rooms to entire apartments, at different price points. Many Airbnb hosts in South Africa also offer additional amenities such as access to a workspace, high-speed internet, and laundry facilities.
Hostels are a budget-friendly option for digital nomads who are looking for a social atmosphere and a chance to meet other travelers. Many hostels in South Africa offer private rooms as well as dormitory-style accommodation. Some hostels also have communal workspaces and high-speed internet.
If you prefer a more private and quiet coliving space, renting a private room in a house or apartment could be the right choice for you. Websites like Nomad Stays and Coliving.com offer listings of private rooms in South Africa that are specifically geared towards digital nomads. These private rooms often come equipped with a workspace and high-speed internet.
No matter which type of coliving space you choose, it’s important to do your research and read reviews before booking. Look for accommodations that offer a comfortable workspace, high-speed internet, and other amenities that are important to you.
Best Times to Visit
South Africa is a year-round destination. However, the best time to visit depends on what you want to do and see. The country’s peak tourist season is from December to February when the weather is warm and sunny, and school holidays are in session. It is also the busiest and most expensive time to visit, with crowds and higher prices.
If you want to avoid the crowds and save money, consider visiting during the shoulder seasons from March to May and September to November. During these months, the weather is mild, and you can enjoy outdoor activities without the crowds. The prices are also lower, and you can find good deals on accommodation and flights.
If you are a wildlife enthusiast, the best time to visit South Africa is from June to August when the weather is dry and cool. It is the best time for game viewing as the animals gather around waterholes and rivers. However, it is also the busiest time for wildlife safaris, so book in advance.
Worst Times to Visit
The worst time to visit South Africa is during the winter months from June to August, especially if you are planning a beach holiday. The weather is chilly, and the water is freezing. It is also the low season for tourism, and some attractions and hotels may be closed.
Another time to avoid is during the rainy season from November to February, especially if you are planning a safari. The heavy rains can make the roads muddy and impassable, and the animals are harder to spot. It is also the peak season for mosquitoes, so bring insect repellent.
Note that South Africa has travel restrictions in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Before you plan your trip, check the latest travel advisories and entry requirements. Also, be aware of the safety situation in certain neighborhoods and avoid walking alone at night.
Tourist and Digital Nomad Visas
If you are planning to visit South Africa as a digital nomad, you need to know about the different types of visas available. South Africa offers various types of visas, including tourist visas, digital nomad visas, and temporary residence visas. In this section, we will discuss the requirements and differences between these visas.
To enter South Africa, you need a valid passport that is valid for at least 30 days beyond the intended period of stay. Your passport should have at least two blank pages for entry and exit stamps. Additionally, you may need to show proof of onward or return travel, proof of sufficient funds, and a yellow fever vaccination certificate if you are traveling from a yellow fever endemic area.
If you are planning to visit South Africa for tourism purposes, you need a tourist visa. This visa allows you to stay in South Africa for up to 90 days. To apply for a tourist visa, you need to submit your passport, a completed visa application form, proof of sufficient funds, and a return or onward ticket.
Digital Nomad Visa
As of April 2022, South Africa has announced plans to establish a Digital Nomad Visa. This visa will allow foreigners to stay in South Africa beyond the 90-day tourist visa. However, at the moment, there is no official digital nomad visa available. We recommend that you check the latest updates on the availability of the digital nomad visa before planning your trip.
Temporary Residence Visa
If you are planning to stay in South Africa for more than 90 days, you need to apply for a temporary residence visa. This visa allows you to stay in South Africa for up to three years. To apply for a temporary residence visa, you need to show proof of sufficient funds, a medical certificate, a police clearance certificate, and proof of accommodation.
In summary, before traveling to South Africa as a digital nomad, you need to know the visa requirements and types available. If you are planning to stay for less than 90 days, you can apply for a tourist visa. If you plan to stay longer, you may need to apply for a temporary residence visa. Keep in mind that the digital nomad visa is not yet available, but it is expected to be established soon.
Cost of Living
South Africa is an affordable destination for digital nomads. The cost of living is lower than in other popular digital nomad hotspots. Living expenses vary depending on the city and your lifestyle, but generally, you can live comfortably on a monthly budget of around $1,500.
Housing is the biggest expense for most digital nomads. Renting a one-bedroom apartment in a central location in Cape Town or Johannesburg can cost around $500 to $700 per month. If you’re on a tight budget, you can find cheaper accommodation in the suburbs or shared apartments. Websites like Airbnb, Booking.com, and Gumtree are great resources for finding short-term and long-term rentals.
Food is also affordable in South Africa. Eating out at a mid-range restaurant can cost around $10 to $15, while a meal at a fast-food chain costs around $5. If you prefer cooking at home, groceries are relatively cheap. A basic basket of groceries can cost around $50 to $70 per week.
Transportation costs vary depending on the city. Cape Town and Johannesburg have good public transport systems, including buses and trains. A one-way ticket on public transport costs around $0.50 to $1. Taxis and ride-hailing services like Uber are also widely available, and a short ride costs around $3 to $5.
Other living expenses like utilities, internet, and entertainment are also affordable. A basic internet package costs around $20 to $30 per month, while utilities like electricity, water, and gas cost around $100 to $150 per month. South Africa is also a great destination for outdoor activities like hiking, surfing, and wildlife safaris, which are relatively cheap compared to other destinations.
Overall, South Africa is an affordable destination for digital nomads, offering a high quality of life at a reasonable cost. With careful budgeting and planning, you can live comfortably and enjoy all that this beautiful country has to offer.
How to Get There
South Africa is a well-connected country, with multiple international airports and a range of transport options available. Here are some of the most popular ways to get to South Africa:
South Africa has several international airports, including O.R. Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, Cape Town International Airport, and King Shaka International Airport in Durban. Major airlines such as Emirates, British Airways, and Delta all offer flights to South Africa.
Uber is a popular and convenient way to get around South Africa’s major cities, including Johannesburg, Cape Town, and Durban. The Uber app is easy to use, and the fares are generally affordable. It’s also a safe option for solo travelers, as all Uber drivers are vetted and rated by passengers.
Migration and Visas
As a digital nomad, you will need to ensure that you have the correct visa to enter and stay in South Africa. At the moment, there is no specific digital nomad visa available, but there are several options that may be suitable for remote workers.
If you’re planning to stay in South Africa for less than 90 days, you can enter the country on a tourist visa. However, if you plan to stay for longer than 90 days, you will need to apply for a longer-term visa. This could include a business visa, a study visa, or a retired person visa, depending on your circumstances.
It’s important to note that the visa application process can be complex, and it’s always a good idea to seek professional advice to ensure that you have all the correct documentation and information.
South Africa is a beautiful and diverse country, with plenty to offer digital nomads. By following these tips, you can ensure that your journey to South Africa is smooth and stress-free.
Safety and Security
Digital nomads visiting South Africa may have concerns about safety and security. While South Africa has a high level of crime, taking necessary precautions can help ensure a safe and enjoyable stay.
Most crimes involving tourists or expats are petty theft, such as pickpocketing, ATM and credit card theft, and apartment or tour guide scams. Criminals may also impersonate police officers or beggars on the street. To avoid becoming a victim of crime, it is recommended to:
- Avoid carrying flashy items like phones or cameras in clear view
- Walk in pairs or groups, especially at night
- Avoid walking alone at night
- Be cautious when using ATMs or carrying large amounts of cash
- Stay aware of your surroundings and report any suspicious activity to authorities
It’s also important to note that South Africa has a high rate of HIV/AIDS. Digital nomads should consider obtaining health insurance that covers medical treatment for HIV/AIDS and other illnesses or injuries that may occur during their stay.
Overall, while South Africa may have some safety and security concerns, taking necessary precautions can help ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for digital nomads.
South Africa is an ideal destination for digital nomads, expats, and travelers looking for a unique experience. The country offers a rich history, diverse culture, and stunning landscapes that will leave you in awe. Whether you are traveling alone, with a friend, or with a partner, South Africa has something for everyone.
One of the best things about South Africa is its expat community, which is welcoming and friendly. You can easily meet people through various social events, co-working spaces, and networking groups. Gumtree is a popular platform for finding accommodation, jobs, and other services.
If you are interested in history, South Africa has plenty to offer. You can visit the Nelson Mandela Museum in Qunu, where you can learn about the life and legacy of the country’s first black president. You can also visit other historical sites, such as the Apartheid Museum and the Robben Island Museum.
South Africa is also known for its delicious cuisine, which includes traditional dishes such as Braai (barbecue), Bobotie (minced meat with spices), and Biltong (dried meat). You can find these dishes in many restaurants and markets throughout the country.
Overall, South Africa is a fantastic destination for digital nomads and travelers. With its friendly expat community, rich history, and delicious cuisine, you are sure to have a memorable experience.