Retirement in South Africa?

On October 31, 2014 / by Michaela / 1 Comment


Retirement in South Africa has become an option for many Europeans, who are not into shovelling snow, contracting flu, driving on icy roads and of course those not prepared to put on several layers of clothes just to make it through the day.

Scenic Somerset West in Cape Town and Blouberg Strand along Cape Town’s West Coast are fast becoming magnets for pensioners from Europe and the United States. Smaller towns like Greyton, Knysna and Hermanus, because of their peaceful country lifestyle, amenities and welcoming people, are also popular places for foreign pensioners.

So why do pensioners love South Africa so much, that they are prepared to leave their home country and settle there?

Temperatures are mild all year round and there is definitely no lack of activities for young and old. After all your grandchildren might feel obliged to come and see how you are doing in your little beach house in Cape Town.

In terms of activities, besides the many beaches, there is the Sea Point promenade. Being flat and safe, it’s ideal for Nordic walking, sun-gazing and ice-cream eating. Sea Point Pool invites all ages for swimming, whale and dolphin watching.

Then there is Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, nestled in the lap of the slopes of Table Mountain in the southern suburbs of Cape Town. Its called the most beautiful garden in Africa for a reason. With numerous benches, shady restaurants and live music on weekends, you can easily spend an entire day here, reflecting on life or just enjoying the birds and the fresh African air.

Table Mountain is another Cape Town gem. You don’t need to be a trail runner to get up this impressive peak. A modern cable way with 360° views will get you up the mountain, where a beautiful coffee shop awaits. Germans will be pleased to know, that besides traditional South African dishes like Bobotie and chicken curries Glühwein is available on top of the mountain to complete the full alpine vibe.

Most attractions in Cape Town love pensioners and charge them accordingly at prices far below those paid by younger people.

Medical facilities are state-of-the-art in South Africa and many overseas medical aid schemes cover hospital stays. After all the first heart transplant was successfully undertaken in South Africa and doctors get exposure to real cases early on in their medical studies. In fact, many medicine students from Germany and other European countries spend a year in one of the many hospitals in South Africa as part of their training.

Secure accommodation, including leafy retirement villages with like-minded pensioners owning their own space are widely available.

Retirement in South Africa | Visas & Permits

In terms of permits and visas several options are available for those staying short term (temporary residence retirement permits) and those really serious about retiring to South Africa (permanent retirement permits). Generally we can distinguish between temporary stays and permanent stays for retired people in South Africa. Retirement or pensioners visas are available for four years initially but can be extended after that.

For a successful application, the pensioner needs to prove that s/he is financially independent, for example by drawing a pension every month. A minimum of R20 000 needs to be available monthly. Alternatively, retirees can prove that a certain amount of money is available in her/his bank account to cover living expenses.

If you are serious about spending your ‘golden years’ in South Africa, it is possible and advisable to apply for both a temporary and a permanent residency permit at the same time. This saves time, because documentation can be done once and used for both applications.

If you are not sure, weather you qualify for a retirement permit/visa please contact us to discuss your individual situation with us.

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Michaela heads up the marketing department for Initiate Holdings. An expat herself she understands the unique challenges immigrants are facing in South Africa.

1 Comment

  • Norman & Janet Brown says:

    My wife and I would like to apply for 4 year retirement visas and would like to know the requirements. We own a property in Cape Town and visit two or three times a year for two weeks at a time. we are looking to semi retire in the not too distant future. I am currently still working in the UK but am in a position to spend a bit more time there. Our property in Cape Town is mortgage free and own it out right. Any information would be appreciated.

    I was actually brought up in Cape Town and was educated there although my parents did not apply for South African passports. They came back to the UK in 1970


    Norman Brown

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