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Removals to South Africa: A Guide to Relocating

May 10. 2023

Moving to South Africa
South Africa, known as the “Rainbow Nation,” is a land of astonishing beauty, cultural diversity, and a complex history. From its breath-taking landscapes and wildlife to its dynamic cities and vibrant people, South Africa offers a unique blend of experiences for those looking to make it their new home.

The country boasts some of the world’s most awe-inspiring natural landscapes. From the iconic Table Mountain in Cape Town to the vast plains of Kruger National Park, the country offers a diverse range of natural wonders. For nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers, South Africa provides ample opportunities for hiking, safaris, surfing, and exploring its breath-taking coastlines. The country’s diverse ecosystems harbor an abundance of wildlife, including the iconic Big Five—lions, elephants, buffalos, leopards, and rhinos—offering unforgettable encounters with the animal kingdom.

South Africa is the economic powerhouse of the African continent, offering a wide range of opportunities for both entrepreneurs and professionals. Major sectors such as mining, finance, manufacturing, tourism, and information technology contribute significantly to the country’s economy. The cities of Johannesburg, Cape Town, and Durban are key economic hubs, attracting business and investment. However, it is essential to note that the job market can be competitive and understanding the local business environment is crucial for success.

Removals to South Africa
Embarking on an international move can be both exciting and challenging. If you’re considering moving to South Africa, understanding the removals process is essential for a smooth transition. From planning and logistics to shipping and customs, this guide will provide you with an overview of the key steps involved in relocating to South Africa and help you navigate the process with confidence.

1. Planning and Preparation:
Before you begin the removals process, it’s crucial to plan and prepare thoroughly. Start by creating a checklist of tasks and deadlines to ensure nothing is overlooked. Research the visa requirements and necessary permits for relocating to South Africa and make sure to obtain the appropriate documentation well in advance. Additionally, consider hiring a reputable international removals company with experience in South Africa to assist you throughout the process.

2. Sorting and Packing:
Moving overseas presents an excellent opportunity to declutter and organize your belongings. Sort through your possessions and decide what to keep, sell, donate, or discard. Remember that shipping costs are based on the volume and weight of your items, so it’s wise to only bring what you truly need and value. Properly pack your belongings using high-quality packing materials and label each box with a detailed inventory list for easy identification upon arrival.

3. Choosing a Removals Company:
Selecting a reliable and experienced removals company is crucial for a successful move to South Africa. It’s well worth taking your time and doing some research before making a decision on which one to opt for. There are a few ways that you can research removal companies. One of the best ways is by recommendation. If you know someone who has moved recently, particularly if this was an international move, it’s worth asking them for their feedback on the removal company they used. Equally, online testimonials can be a useful point of reference. Sites such as Sirelo, where the reviews are checked to ensure that they’re from genuine customers who have used the company are worth taking a look at. Check that the company is a member of the British Association of Removers and of FIDI (the largest global alliance of independent quality international removal companies) to ensure that the company has been independently audited and that your move is protected.

4. The Pre-move Survey
It’s important to then obtain a quotation from the international removals company. This is not only for the purposes of being able to budget for the removals to South Africa, but also to obtain further information about the services that the company offer. A professional company should arrange a surveyor or moving consultant to either visit your home to complete a pre-move survey, or if you prefer, the pre-move survey can be done via a video link. Either way, it’s a good opportunity to speak to the surveyor and ask questions about the experience they have in removals to South Africa, if they employ their own removal crews who are trained in export packing etc.  A reputable removals company will guide you through the entire process, provide packing and shipping services, assist with customs documentation, and ensure your belongings arrive safely and on time.

5. Shipping Options:
When it comes to shipping your belongings to South Africa, you have two primary options: air freight and sea freight. Air freight is faster but more expensive, making it suitable for essential or time-sensitive items. Sea freight is the most common and cost-effective method for transporting household goods. Depending on the volume of your belongings, you can choose between a full container load (FCL) if you’re moving an entire household of effects or a shared container (LCL). If you’re moving less than a full household of furniture and possessions, a shared container may well be the more cost-effective option. Discuss the options with your international removals company to determine the most suitable shipping method for your particular move.

6. Storage
Your move to South Africa, will most likely involve your furniture and possessions going into storage for a while. Again, your international moving company should be able to talk through the options with you and arrange this for you. You can either opt for containerised storage, where your effects are stored in wooden containers within a secure warehouse facility. Alternatively, you can store your possessions in self-access storage rooms. Rooms of a variety of sizes are available and you will be able to access your possessions should you wish to retrieve items prior to your move.

7. Customs and Duties:
South Africa has specific customs regulations that must be followed when importing personal goods. It’s important to familiarize yourself with these regulations and ensure compliance to avoid delays or additional costs. Your removals company should assist you in preparing the required documentation, such as an inventory list, passport copies, and residency permit, if applicable. Be aware that certain items, such as firearms, certain food products, and restricted goods, may require special permits or be subject to import restrictions.

8. Insurance Coverage:
Protecting your belongings during the removals process is crucial. Before shipping your items, consider obtaining comprehensive transit insurance to cover any potential loss or damage. Your removals company can provide insurance options tailored to your specific needs. Carefully review the policy terms, coverage limits, and exclusions to ensure you have adequate protection.

9. Arrival and Unpacking:
Once your belongings arrive in South Africa, they will go through the customs clearance process. Your removals company should handle the necessary paperwork and coordinate with local authorities. Upon clearance, your items will be delivered to your new address. Take inventory and inspect your belongings for any damage. If you notice any issues, report them to your removals company and insurance provider promptly. Begin unpacking and settling into your new home, taking the time to adjust to your new surroundings and embrace the South African culture.

10. Further information and resources:
If you would like any further information on removal services to South Africa and how best to prepare for the move, our team of experts are on hand to help and can be contacted on 01902 714555 or via sales@burkebros.co.uk. Our blog details a range of information on international moving services and our Facebook and Twitter pages provides important updates.

Moving to South Africa requires careful planning, organization, and collaboration with a trusted international removals company with experience of removals to South Africa. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can ensure a smooth relocation to your new life in South Africa.



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