cost of livingin sa

Cost of Living in South Africa 2023

  Cost of living in South Africa is generally low and affordable, Individuals have different perspectives about South Africa, especially during the country’s struggles. South Africa has a high standard, higher than some European countries, If you are wondering what Cost of living is like, you might want to read closely . 

In this article, we will discuss the generalCost of living in South Africa, coupled with other basic costs.

 Cost of Living in South Africa

 In the last 30 years, South Africa has made much progress in improving citizens’ welfare. All thanks to community programs and social grants, absolute poverty has been significantly reduced. There has been a vast improvement in housing, education, and basic infrastructure through investment.

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In Mercer’s Quality of Living Survey, three South African cities rank in the top 100:

  • Durban (88th)-ranked the highest 
  • Cape Town (95th) 
  • Johannesburg (96th)

Numbeo estimates that :

  • A family of four would need around R30,775 per month (excluding rent)
  • A single person would need around R8,875.

Below is a breakdown of how much it costs to live in the largest South African cities compared to other major cities worldwide.

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Cost of living in Johannesburg

  • 68% cheaper than New York
  • 60% cheaper than London
  • 53% cheaper than Paris
  • 52% cheaper than Tokyo
  • 59% cheaper than Los Angeles

Cost of living in South Africa: Cape Town

  • 68% cheaper than New York
  • 60% cheaper than London
  • 53% cheaper than Paris
  • 51% cheaper than Tokyo
  • 59% cheaper than Los Angeles

Cost of living in South Africa : Durban

  • 61% less expensive than New York
  • 65% less expensive than London
  • 60% less expensive than Paris
  • 58% less expensive than Tokyo
  • 64% less expensive than Los Angeles 
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Cost of living in South Africa : Bloemfontein

  • 71% cheaper than New York
  • 64% cheaper than London
  • 59% cheaper than Paris
  • 57% cheaper than Tokyo
  • 63% cheaper than Los Angeles

cost of living in south africa

Wages and Salary in South Africa

The average annual disposable income in South Africa is R175,942, which is lower than the OECD average of R510,036. Still, a lot of South Africans are underpaid.

The National Minimum Wage in South Africa is presently R21.69 per hour for the majority of workers, or R867.60 for a 40-hour workweek, according to the government’s yearly assessment.

Housing Costs in South Africa

For ex-pats living in the suburbs, renting a house in South Africa is very affordable. However, prices can vary if you live in the city center.

  • Monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the middle of Johannesburg can cost one-bedroom
  • A flat suburban costs below R8,000 a month.
  • Rent for a larger home of three bedrooms in or near Johannesburg can cost R8,500 – R30,000.

Where you live will determine the price of your rent or property.

  Cost of living in South Africa

Utilities in South Africa

According to Numbeo, utilities in South Africa cost around R1,700 per month. Utilities mostly account for electricity and water. Most electricity comes from Eskom, which has several tariffs. As an example of water costs, in Cape Town, you’ll pay around R433 for 10,500 liters, including sanitation. Bear in mind that prices can rise significantly during droughts.

Healthcare Costs in South Africa

South African healthcare is divided into two sectors: public and private. Public healthcare is mostly subsidized, and the South African government is currently carrying out reforms in health to ensure free healthcare in the country.

 However, there is still a huge difference between public and private healthcare quality, so it’s usually advisable to take out private health insurance.

Considerably, the cost of private health insurance varies, but you might be able to get it through your employer.

Always read the health insurance policy to know what it covers when you decide to go for one. Always avoid all-cost companies that reserve the right to cancel a policy if you have a critical illness or reach a certain age. Most insurance policies will cover you only for five years.

Childcare Costs in South Africa

For parents who work full-time, there are numerous childcare options in South Africa. Preschool is not required in South Africa, however there are several options. The majority of these preschools are run privately, however they get government funding. Although costs can vary, make sure to check with the education department in your area for further details, including costs.

An additional recommended choice is to hire a nanny. The cost of the nanny will depend on your location, your children’s ages, and the nanny’s expertise. For a single shift, a daytime or nighttime nanny might cost about R325 or R3,750 per month.

To take care of your kids, you can also engage an au pair. Depending on the agency you choose, the cost could change. Your au pair may ask for R50 to R90 per hour in compensation due to their experience. You should prepare to pay more if your au pair has a car and can drive. But, if your au pair lives with you, their pay may be less, but you’ll need to budget for some of their living expenses.

Study Costs in South Africa

For many ex-pats, the cost of educating your child at a private school in South Africa is probably less expensive than in your own country.

You should note that many schools in South Africa allow you to choose how often your child attends school; half-day, full-day, or three-quarters of the day. This structure also affects costs. South Africa only has 23 public universities, and the cost of an education in the country is considerably higher than in many European countries. 

However, students should also consider the general living costs, which are considerably lower in South Africa than in Europe or North America.

For example, in 2022, the University of Cape Town requires tuition fees of R30,000 – R105,000, and students might be required to pay fees for application and accommodation.

Cost of food and drink in South Africa

The general cost of groceries in South Africa varies across different income groups. BFAP suggests that a ‘moderate-cost healthy food basket’ (including staple foods, proteins, fruit, and veg) costs about R3,618 per month.

Here are some average prices of typical items from Numbeo:

  • One liter of milk – R16
  • Loaf of fresh white bread – R14
  • One kilogram of rice – R26
  • One kilogram of apples – R23

Restaurants in South Africa   

  The cost of dining out is relatively cheap compared to many other countries around the world. Of course, the cost of a meal depends on where you choose to eat, as high-end restaurants in big cities still charge high prices.

In general, an inexpensive restaurant charges about R150 for a meal. A budget fast food meal costs around R60.

Cost of Beer, Wine, and Spirits in South Africa

You can budget R30 for a half-liter of domestic beer and R40 for a 33cl bottle of imported beer if you want to drink with a restaurant meal. Wine can cost up to three times more from a restaurant than in a supermarket. In addition, it costs more in Western Cape, which is home to South Africa’s wine industry.

Supermarket prices are lower across for alcohol. A bottle of wine costs, on average, R75, while beer costs around R12–R45.

Coffee in South Africa

In most South African cities, a cappuccino costs about R29. This is about a third of the price paid in London or Paris and cheaper than neighboring Botswana and Zimbabwe. It’s about the same as the cost in Windhoek in Nambia .

Transport Costs in South Africa

You can either use public or private transport in South Africa. Below is the cost of using these two (2) 

Public Transport in South Africa

Public transport in South Africa varies, depending on where you live. However, there are several options if you live in a larger city. Meanwhile, South Africa has the largest rail network on the continent.

Metro rail prices are determined by region and vary according to your travel distance. A single metro ticket for a short journey in Gauteng costs R7.50, while a longer distance (135–200km) costs R12.50. You can purchase monthly purchases to save you extra money. 

Long-distance and commuter trains cost considerably more. For example, you can calculate your fare online using the Gautrain, the Gauteng commuter rail network.

South African cities have two types of public road transport: minibus taxis and buses. Minibus taxis are often the cheapest way to travel (as little as R13.13) but are not always the safest. On the other hand, bus costs are variable – some are run by the local municipality, while private companies organize others. Fares can cost around R7.40–R27.90 depending on travel and how far.

Private Transport in South Africa

If you decide to travel by taxi, you can expect to pay, on average, R20 to start the taxi and R12 for each kilometer. Usually, you’ll need to get to a taxi stand or book in advance.

Are you thinking of buying your car? A Volkswagen Golf drive in South Africa will set you back about R300,000, while a Toyota Corolla Sedan costs around R337,000. Gasoline prices cost around R17 per liter.


Taxation and Social Security in South Africa

If you have been living and working in South Africa for more than 183 days, you are eligible to pay personal income tax on your income. This includes a monthly salary and income you receive from overseas capital such as rent.




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