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  • Writer's pictureHannah D

Essential apps for expats in South Africa

Updated: Jul 14, 2022

Being surrounded by technology in the 21st century, it's hard to imagine life before the internet and smartphones. How did we communicate with our family and friends? What resources did we use to learn about the best destinations to visit? It seems like a long time ago that we relied on travel books, printed maps and the lost art of handwritten letters.

Not only does technology help keep expats connected with their loved ones back home, but it can also help with the process of settling into a new country.

Here are some essential apps expats in South Africa should download.


A quick, easy and safe way for getting from a to b. We were heavily reliant on Uber before we purchased our SUV.

Google Maps

Continuing on the driving theme, this is what the locals use instead of a sat nav. Pair with your car's Bluetooth and you have safe, hands-free driving.

DStv Now

Never miss your favourite local and international TV shows, sports teams or breaking news. You can even download shows offline to watch at a later date.


The mobile payment app for cardless transactions. SnapScan uses your phone's camera to scan a SnapCode (a.k.a a QR code) for quick and easy payments. It's also free to use and works with any South African bank, and some international credit cards.


For safety-conscious expats, this app is for you. Users can share their GPS coordinates with a 24/7 response call centre when in an emergency. Response teams, such as the police, are then dispatched to your location.


Find top-rated salons (hair, nails and beauty) at the tap of a button. It showcases salons close to your location along with services, reviews and pricing, so you can book with confidence. The app also sends helpful reminders ahead of your appointments.

Checkers Sixty60

I would be lost without this app! You can get up to 30 grocery items delivered to your door within 60 minutes and they also recycle the brown paper delivery bags. A double win.


Choose from over 50,000 areas for push notifications, updates and forecasts on load shedding*.

* When the electricity demand exceeds the supply, planned interruptions have to be carried out. It's a controlled way of rotating the available electricity between all Eskom customers.


Slow the spread of Covid-19 in South Africa by downloading this free app. It'll let you know if you've been in close contact with someone who has tested positive. Make sure you keep your Bluetooth on to receive alerts and notifications.

Mr D Food

Food, food and more food at your fingertips. Look out for delicious deals and promo codes to get a bargain on your favourite takeaways, such as Nando's, John Dory's and Simply Asia.


Make new friends in your new home. Connect over your interests, join groups and attend online and in-person events.

For expats in South Africa, apps can be crucial for helping them settle in and get around.


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