Tips from a South African on Moving to London

I thought this was a post worth writing as many people have asked me about the what, when, where and hows of moving to London. Here’s my guide:

London
Image: www.timeout.com

Accommodation:

If you’re contemplating moving, the first thing you will most likely be wondering is which area to live in…

There are many great areas to choose from. A lot of South Africans – or Saffas / Saffers as we are called here – live in the South or SW of London in places such as Wimbledon, Wandsworth, Richmond, Raynes Park, Putney, Colliers Wood, Morden.

I live on the opposite side of London in the NE and I’m very happy here. A few nice areas on this side that I know of are Highbury & Islington, South Woodford, Snaresbrook, Buckhurst Hill, Loughton and Epping.

Friends of mine mentioned to me that it was easier for them to find a place in the SW because it’s renowned for South Africans. The estate agent was more inclined to help them even though they had just moved to London and didn’t yet have jobs.

The average rent for your own place could be anything from £800+ per month depending on the area. If you are open to house sharing (which a lot of South Africans do here even though they may not have back home), then it could be anything from £450+. You’ll most likely be expected to put down at least one month’s rent as a deposit.

Helpful property rental websites: 
www.rightmove.co.uk
www.zoopla.co.uk
www.spareroom.co.uk

Job hunting:

The average annual UK salary is about £25,000 whilst the average salary in London is about £31,000. Initially your biggest expenses will probably be rent and transport. Food is fairly affordable and a lot cheaper in comparison to South Africa. Whilst job hunting, it would be useful to set up a LinkedIn profile to start forming your professional network. Many employment agents also use the site for job advertisements.

Other job websites:
www.cwjobs.co.uk
www.jobsite.co.uk
www.monster.co.uk

Transport:

If you use the tube or bus daily for commuting to work, it’s worth getting an Oyster card. This can be purchased from the ticket machines at tube stations. It’s a plastic travel card that looks like a debit card which you use to store your travel card and cash. Travel in London is charged by zones. Zone 1 starts in the middle of London going outwards up to Zone 9. So you would purchase a travel card to commute from the zone that you live in to the zone that you work in. Travel cards are available for 7 days, monthly or annually. If you don’t commute daily you could also use the pay as you go option where you can top up your Oyster card with cash. TFL now also allows you to use your debit or credit contactless card for pay as you go. The pay as you go rates can work out a little more expensive than purchasing a monthly travel card if you commute often.
https://tfl.gov.uk/fares-and-payments/fares?intcmp=1648

If you are staying further outside of London, the National Rail website will be able to help you with your journey planning: www.nationalrail.co.uk

SIM cards:

You can get a free sim card online which offers good rates for calls to South Africa. At the time of writing, Vectone Mobile offers landline calls at 1p per min and mobile calls at 5p per min.

http://www.vectonemobile.co.uk
https://www.giffgaff.com
http://www.lebara.co.uk

South African shops:

There is a chain of South African shops in London called The Savanna where you can stock up on biltong, boerewors, Nik Naks, jelly tots, cream soda and all things Saffa:) I know you can find these stores in London Liverpool Street station, Victoria station and London Bridge station. I’ve also been told that you can find the best biltong at Snoggys Butchery in Upper Richmond Road, Putney and Snoggys Wimbledon Station.

Hopefully you will find some of this information helpful. Good luck on this new journey and make the most of the opportunities that may come your way.

“When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life” – Samuel Johnson

PLEASE view the original post on Natalie’s blog  lifestyle blog about anticancer, life in the UK and this and that…

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I am a thirty something woman living in London. I have been living here for over 8 years and have been wanting to start my blog for a while now. I feel that I have learnt a lot in the last few years and would like to use my blog to share a few things with you. I am constantly researching all sorts of things online and have also been named “Princess Googlethu” by my husband. The word Googlethu was coined from a township in South Africa called Gugulethu. I originally come from South Africa and the word sounds similar to Google hence my namesake:) If I can help at least 1 person from the information I have shared writing this blog then I will have achieved my goal. Check out my blog to hear what I have to say about life in the UK and this and that: whatudidntknow.co.uk