Skip to main content

Top 10 things SA expats miss about home

By April 28, 2021FinGlobal

Top 10 things SA expats miss about home

April 28, 2021


South African expats heading for foreign shores often overlook what makes South Africa unique. Once there, it hits them like a ton of bricks: South Africa is unique and there’s a lot to miss about “back home”. Something that we often hear expats say is that they are missing the tastes and comforts of home. They have also told us that they spend a considerable about of time scrounging the internet for South African products and looking around the various neighbourhoods for a South African store.

If you’re one of those people, you probably already know what expats miss most about South Africa. If you’re only in the process of planning and preparing for your emigration, now is the perfect opportunity to note what expats miss most and make sure that you take a healthy supply along with you. Alternatively, you can find out where your local South African store is before you even get there.

What expats miss most about South Africa

Let’s take a quick look at our pick of top 10 things that Saffas miss about home when they are living and working abroad.

Petrol attendants

Most new expats find out the embarrassing way that petrol attendants aren’t the norm in other countries. You actually have to refuel your car yourself! Yup, get out your car in the cold and fill it up! You can’t take a petrol attendant with you (please don’t pack your local friendly petrol attendant in your luggage), but you can start showing extra appreciation for them now, while you have the chance.


What makes South Africa unique in terms of suburban wildlife? Hadedas! You won’t miss their early morning squawks until they’re not there anymore, that’s for sure. Snap a picture of your garden’s regular Hadeda visitors – you’re going to want to remember them and tell people about them on your travels.

Ouma rusks

No one makes a batch of rusks quite like Ouma Greyvenstein! Even though Ouma is no longer around to revel in her country-wide appreciation, there is no doubt that absolutely every South African loves Ouma’s Rusks. Pack a box of mini rusks for your travels.


Attending sporting events and even some concerts just won’t be the same. Overseas, the vuvuzela isn’t a “thing” but here it is. You might not want to pack one for your trip and new life, but perhaps you can get your fill of vuvuzela blasting at your going-away party!

Wine tasting in Franschhoek

There aren’t many places in the world where you can go on an epic booze cruise on board a tram…except in SA! Wine tasting in Franschhoek is something you are sure to miss once you’re gone. You can’t pop a wine tram or a piece of Franshhoek into your luggage, but you can take some great South African wine with you.

Anytime of day clapping & dancing

The culture is what makes South Africa unique, don’t you think? Clapping and dancing is a great form of expression in South Africa. It is used to celebrate, show joy, and even let the world know that we downright upset about things and are actively planning change. Don’t forget to clap and dance whenever you can overseas…never lose your inner SA fire!

Boerewors and braais

These two things go hand-in-hand and are undoubtedly what expats miss most about South Africa. You can’t have boerewors without a braai and vice versa! South Africans are known for their ability to spontaneously light a fire and cook a meal at any time of the day or night. You are bound to miss having languid family braais or knocking back a few beers and boerie rolls with your friends. The good news is that South African stores popping up around the world often sell boerewors. Yay!

Car guards

You know the guys that watch your car when you go shopping and ever-so-helpfully direct you in and out of parking spots? Well, they don’t really exist in foreign countries. In fact, if you see someone in a reflective jacket wandering around a parking lot overseas, they’re probably issuing parking fines. Again, don’t try to take a car guard with you in your luggage, but spare a bit more change for them the next time you’re parked outside Checkers or Woolies. They will certainly miss you!

Rooibos tea

If you’re a tea drinker, you don’t need to worry about having no tea at all overseas. There’s plenty tea for sale abroad, but Rooibos tea is sometimes a little harder to come by. You may have to visit a South African shop or head to a specialist store to find some. Pack a few teabags to take along, just to get you through the settling in phase.

Road chaos

This might seem like a bit of a crazy one to miss, but once you have a taste of what traveling along a road aboard is like, you might miss the interesting chaos that seems to ensue in South Africa. For instance, you won’t see chickens or goats running across the average road in the UK and you certainly won’t see many roadside stalls selling fresh produce or some grass brooms. It’s one of those things that gives South Africans that “ah I am home” feeling when they come home to visit. If you’re worried about missing these things, there’s no need to take extreme measures. Don’t try to introduce livestock to the roads in your local area or set up a roadside veggie stall, rather spend a bit of time truly appreciating these things while you can, before you go. If you have already left SA, make a point of noticing and enjoying the chaos when you’re next in the country.

Great South African customer service

At FinGlobal, we want to ensure that you’re provided with the type of great customer service that’s easy to miss when it’s no longer there. Don’t worry though – we’re not going anywhere and neither is our great service! Our team of dedicated and experienced consultants is well versed in assisting SA expats all over the globe with their tax and financial emigration. We can also assist you with gaining access to your South African retirement annuity while abroad. Whether you need simple guidance and advice or a full-on service offering, we are ready to assist. All you have to do is get in touch with us.

Leave a Reply