Skip to main content

What Do South Africans Living Abroad Miss Most About Home?

By January 23, 2020February 27th, 2024FinGlobal

What Do South Africans Living Abroad Miss Most About Home?

January 23, 2020


No matter where South Africans end up living abroad, there’s no place like the one they left behind. The clichés are clichéd because they’re so incredibly true: there really is no place like home.

So, what do South Africans miss when they’re far from the land of their birth? Here are some things that come to mind.


South African expats living abroad can miss the incredible diversity of flora, fauna and the contrasting landscapes of our beautiful country

There’s nothing like a South African bush sunset. With the smell of dust and dry grass in the air, taking in a game drive during the golden hour when all the animals come down to the water’s edge to drink? A priceless memory for most South African expats, and usually one of the first things on the holiday itinerary when visiting home.

We’re so unbelievably lucky to have so many wildlife and outdoor experiences practically around every corner in South Africa. From the timeless Drakensberg mountains, to the daisies of the Namaqualands, the arid beauty of the Karoo and a coastal expanse second to none, with beaches for surfing, snorkelling, diving, fishing and more, South Africa is truly blessed with natural abundance.


The scents, sounds and sights of daily life in South Africa

The smell of hot asphalt after a summer thunderstorm at the end of a scorching hot day. The fragrant aroma of the neighbour’s braai as it wafts over the wall, bringing with it hints of charcoal, boerewors and sizzling steaks. The sound of the kids splashing in the pool throughout the summer, long games of Marco Polo and long nights of it being too hot to sleep.

The sun. The glorious summer sun beating down as you enjoy a soft-serve ice cream – the pink and white swirl, with a Flake, contrasted with the immense pleasure that comes from sitting in the afternoon sun on a midwinter afternoon in Johannesburg. Big suburban gardens with lush green lawns and swimming pools. Having space between your neighbour and yourself. Durban humidity, Cape Town winds and frosty Joburg mornings.

The sheer beauty of Jacaranda season, the cosmos that grow alongside the N3 highway between Durban and Johannesburg over the Easter period. The fact that you can hear eleven different languages spoken in one country. The unifying power of our provincial and national sports teams, and our fanatic love of rugby and cricket.

More than sport, South Africans living abroad often miss the people back home. We’re not talking just family, or friends here – we’re talking friendly locals and smiling South Africans that greet each other and take time to chitchat in the supermarket queues. South Africans are genuinely friendly and welcoming, which isn’t as common abroad as one would think. Plus, South Africans have a sense of humour that’s second to none, with jokes being a nationwide coping mechanism.


The flavours of home, that’s what South Africans miss the most when living abroad

Ask any South African what they’re pining for, and they’ll tell you it’s the food. The glorious South African food. With such a melting pot of cultures, it’s no surprise that food is such a big deal for us; and when we’re far away all we can do is daydream about what we’d be eating if we were back home right now. Milk tart, peppermint fridge tart, boerewors, biltong – all the South African delicacies. Mielie Pap, samp and beans, bobotie, Gatsbys, bunny chows, braais and potjies. Potato salad, pickled beetroot, chakalaka, braai broodjies, vetkoek and pumpkin fritters. Koeksisters, lamingtons, snowballs, soetkoekies and rusks dipped in hot boeretroos koffie.

Let’s not even get started on South African sweets, drinks and crisps. (Okay, let’s talk about them, so we can drool about them)! South Africans living abroad have spent many an hour planning their first trip to the supermarket when they get back home so they can buy all their favourites – Simba chips (salt and vinegar!),  TV Bars, Caramello Bears, Wilson’s Toffees, Fizzers and Fruit Chews. Creme Soda and Sparletta, Milo milkshakes and pink Nesquik. (Are you hungry for home yet?)


FinGlobal: Fast, efficient cross-border financial services for South Africans living abroad

When it comes to your financial emigration and retirement annuity encashment, we handle everything for you.

Choosing to work with FinGlobal means you’ll have your money faster. All our services can be rendered remotely – so you’ll never have to queue for anything – and we provide you with signature-ready documentation and an online portal for you to track the progress of your transactions. Seamless, efficient forex services, tax consulting and advisory, all the cross-border financial services that South Africans could possibly need living abroad.

From start to finish, we’ll handle every step of your financial emigration, retirement annuity encashment and the international transfer of your funds to your new home abroad.


Interested in finding out more about financial emigration?





Leave a Reply