Moving to SA!!

Mar 16th, 2003, 08:04 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 149
Moving to SA!!

Well, guys, I am finally doing it. I quit my job, sold my house, and selling all my earthly possessions. Life is too short to hate what you are doing! Hopefully, I am going to be a real doctor in South Africa, and hope to deal with children with AIDS, TB, and malaria.

I have some employment leads, but need help from the experts about a good real estate agent in Joburg I can email, and how to contact Capetown's medical school. I have emailed them about a thousand times and they all get returned.(address off their website)I also have a job offer in Durban, which seems a bit cheaper in living expenses but don't have a sense of the weather. I was there in their winter and it was lovely but I hear summers are horrible. A house on the beach watching the whales could cure the discomfort. Capetown is just too expensive in terms of housing.

There is a chance I won't be paid for two years until I get my SA medical license so I have to be frugal. I can also return to the States a few months a year to work here.

What I really want is a small house in Madikwe to go to on the weekends! But I still wake up scared out of my mind that I am doing this.

Anybody envious, or am I crazy?

kimwhits is offline  
Mar 16th, 2003, 09:01 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 9,220
Definitely don't think you're crazy.

What is the point of having dreams about one's future life if you never make any attempt to achieve them?

Woo Hoo to you and best best best of luck!

I hope you will continue to post here and keep in touch about your progress.

[email protected]
Kavey is offline  
Mar 16th, 2003, 09:55 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 24
I don't know if the name has changed but you may want to try writing to The Red Cross Childrens Hospital, Klipfontein Road, Rondebosch, Cape Town. I believe most jobs are addressed through the Medical Superintendent which is different from in USA. Medicine is certainly very different in these 2 countries.
Cape Town is superb and I would do all I could to live there rather in Jhb. If you have US $ you should be able to find reasonable rental. Also there is so much 'free stuff' to do in your off time in CT. Not crazy! Follow your dreams!
ann2 is offline  
Mar 16th, 2003, 10:18 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5,553

I am green with envy!

Congratulations...what a courageous and selfless thing you are doing.

If you don't mind me asking a few personal questions, I am interested in the following:

Are you married or in a committed relationship, and if so, how is your partner handling it???

With what you sold your house for, will you have enough leftover to buy a house outright in Joburg???

Are you responsible for paying capital gains on money from your real estate transaction that you are taking to South Africa???

Do you already have a bank account in South Africa??? (I tried to open one up when I was there but because my passport didn't have a business stamp on it, but only a tourist or visitor stamp, I was not able to do so).

Are you American or British???

What is the most time you have previously spent in South Africa at any one given time and how much time total have you spent in South Africa???

Do you have any pets, and if so are you taking them with you or will you try to find someone to adopt them???

Do you have friends or family in South Africa???

I am sure I will think of fifty other questions. Personally, I would like to pay off my three mortgages on the houses I own, perhaps by the time I am 40 (nine years from now), and save money meanwhile, buy a house in the Western Cape, live there for at six months or so a year while I have pure income coming in from 2 of my 3 houses and then just have my 3rd house available for my own use. I could imagine spending January - June in South Africa and July - December in Southern California.

Congratulations again and best of luck.
Roccco is offline  
Mar 16th, 2003, 11:15 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 149
So many questions! I will answer the personal questions. I am in Northern California, not in a relationship. (One of the major problems, being a middle aged bright woman!)I made lots of money on my house, really enough to never have to work again, plus have saved enough in my IRA to live another life. In terms of capital gains, I am using my one time exclusion and with the extra work done on the house will have to pay nothing. so yes, I could buy a castle anywhere in SA. I have also noticed that interest is about 10% on big accounts so have to look into that. I have a 16 year old daughter who will remain where she is in boarding school in Mass, and she will come home for holidays and summer. She loves South Africa too and plans to spend her summer with AIDS orphans. We are going with her school to SA next month and hope to meet Mandela and other dignitaries. (The school has friends in high places!) I have a pet Corgi but don't think she would survive the journey. Hopefully, my long term housekeeper/nanny can take her. I have nobody in SA, except a few South African patients can introduce me to family there. I have been corresponding with the head of a new medical center there who used to be the head of the Boston hospital I trained in. Another classmate is in Malawi.

I have taken 3 trips of 3 weeks there, mostly spent on game reserves with some time in Joburg and the area above Durban.

Don't have a bank account yet but I am sure they will welcome my money when I arrive there. You have to have 5 years residency to become a permanent resident. For the work visa, hopefully I will be able to get some type of lowly paying job at a university or hospital.

so do any native South Africans have any advice for me. Is Durban survivable? I have a feeling I will end up in Joburg and a house in the bush!

kimwhits is offline  
Mar 17th, 2003, 03:33 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 251
I love this! Kim - welcome to SA, you've chosen the best place in the world to live. Sure we have our problems (you obviously are well informed of the medical ones!), but SA get's under your skin and will thereafter always be home. Regarding where to stay - I suggest you choose somewhere in the greater Durban area. A couple of reasons:
* You want to work with HIV/AIDS sufferers, and KwaZulu-Natal has the highest infection rate by any measurement. They also have the most exciting programmes that look like they may actually get something done.
* I grew up in Durban, and attended university there - it is really the most beautiful city.
* The weather - winters are virtually non-existant. Yes, the summer months can be hot and humid and if you land in the middle of Feb without any time to adjust the heat can really be tough. However, if you come over during our winter months, and slowly acclimatise to the summer as it grows warmer you should be fine. I used to move down to Durban in the middle of February each year when I was studying and it took me two weeks to adjust to the climate. Also, the homes are designed for the heat.
* Durban is definitely cheaper to live in than Johannesburg and especially Cape Town. Property in Cape Town (if you're paying in Rand) is exhorbitant!
* I don't want you to be disappointed (or maybe I mis-read your post) so please remember that you won't see whales off the KZN coast (too warm), but you will see many, many dolphins.
* Durbanites are very friendly and you get the best curries south of the Equator in Durban.
If you do end up in Jo'burg you will at least only be a few hours away from Madikwe (if that's where you choose for the bush).
In terms of househunting, if you end up in Jo'burg the Saturday Star newspaper has a huge property section. If you can get hold of a copy through your newsagent it will give you the contact details of many estate agents and will also give good info on price ranges in various areas. My experience is that agents are much the same - so rather focus on finding the house you want.
I hope all this helps, and now I'm envious! I wonder if I can convince my boss that I need to relocate to Durban ...?
traci_local_in_sa is offline  
Mar 17th, 2003, 03:33 AM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 20
Hi Kim

I haven't posted for quite a while but could not let this one go by. I think what you are doing is incredible and I sincerely trust that the SA posters will be able to help in whatever way.

First things first, you will have to start to learn South African English which is slightly different from the rest of the world, eg we put petrol in our car; we stop (or many times not) at the robot; we have a braai (BBQ) and today's weather is lekker (nice). (See for some more local expressions.) At the moment we play bad rugby and bad cricket so I would not worry too much about that....

On a more serious note and, if I understand you correct, you are looking more specific to Durban which is in KwaZuluNatal province which has the highest number of AIDS sufferers in the country and also malaria in the north. (But this you already know.) I haven't stayed there but mixing high humidity and high temperatures in summer have never been my idea of pleasure but many people stay there and I assume you get used to it.

Have to go but will be back.

Local_John is offline  
Mar 17th, 2003, 04:41 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 144
First of all, Local John, if that is my old friend, "Local", from Pretoria, Welcome Back. Your advice, expertise and willingness to go to gret lengths to get information for people has been sorely missed.

Secondly, Kimwhits, lots of luck and happiness with your big life change. Let me start off by saying that if I was going to move (back) to SA, my first choice of a place to live would be the most beautiful place in the world, Cape Town (or somewhere in the coastal regions of the Cape).

That being said, talking about living in Durban, I can only relate my cousin's experience. He moved to Durban about 30 years ago from the Highveld (now Gauteng). He loves it and always talks about the wonderful quality of his life. He surfs before and after work and canoes along the Umgeni. His house sits on the banks of the Umgeni and he has a beautiful view.he has an acitve social life and has made many friends. He makes the most of what there is to offer and I have never heard him complain about the weather. Rather I hear how wonderful it is to be able to swim,, surf and canoe year round. He would never leave it.

Because of the subtropical climate, the foliage and vegetation are lush and it is beautiful. I would say while the climate is similar to Florida, it is more beautiful because you have the rolling hills and great scenery.

The area to the north of Durban, namely la Lucia, Umhlanga Rocks and further to Ballito Bay are beautiful (but probably pricey).

If you want more information, you can email me and I can ask my cousin if he would mind you contacting him for more info directly from him. He is great and I am sure he would not mind.

[email protected]
Waverley is offline  
Mar 17th, 2003, 07:04 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 149
Thanks for all the replies. I am giving you all my email address so all of you can give me contacts in SA! Finally got a reply from Capetown so my next step is contacting the central licensing board so I can see if they recognize my Harvard education!!

[email protected]
kimwhits is offline  
Mar 17th, 2003, 10:04 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 987
Congratulations, Kimwhits! I wish you the very best! As one who once lived in Arcady (well, Jo'burg actually), I know you will find deep satisfaction in your work there, and you'll also feel appreciated in a way you don't usually find in the US. And besides the great climate, good wine, and good food, you'll find wonderfully hospitable people who will turn into good friends!

Good for you!

Celia is offline  
Mar 18th, 2003, 06:06 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 612
Dear Kimwhits,

Good for you! I am green with envy. I have only been to SA once but never stop talking about it to all my canadian friends who think there is something wrong with me.
I had to laugh when John mentioned the english there.
I think that it is fantastic and I wish you well. Patricia
pattysuericia is offline  

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