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How to make friends in South Africa

Updated: Feb 15

Whether you are moving to a new country on your own, with a partner, or as a family, it can be lonely leaving behind loved ones. Take comfort in the fact that there are millions of expats around the world in the same position, who are looking to make new friends - like you.


Here are some easy ways to find and make friends in South Africa.


Volunteer

There are so many organisations crying out for volunteers and supporters in South Africa.

If you have a specific cause you're passionate about you can find an NGO that addresses that issue and volunteer.

Volunteering is a great way to give back to the community while building relationships. Those friendships can also end up being with people from a completely different background to you.

Go to free events

Look out for adverts and keep your ear to the ground for free events in your local area. These events are a great way to meet people while also checking out some new places you might not have been to before. Get involved with any activities and be willing to put yourself out there.


Love thy neighbour

Whether it's a quick hello and intro over the garden hedge or a brave knock on the front door, it's worthwhile getting to know your neighbours who can help you navigate living in a new city and everything you might need to know about where you live.

Why not invite them over for a braai one evening to break the ice and get to know each other?

Download Meetup

Meetup is a website and app that helps you find groups that host online or in-person events in your local community that share your interests. Based on the interests you select on sign-up, you can then view related events and activities. I am due to go to my first event - a wine tasting tour in Stellenbosch - at the end of the month with 10 other attendees.


Network with local and international expats

Expat networking sites such as Internations, Expatica, and Expat.com not only provide a wealth of information about life abroad, but they are also a great resource for connecting with other expats. I am an Albatross member of Internations which means I get access to events and groups where I can meet members who share my interests and hobbies.


Join clubs

Enjoying being outdoors does help with making friends in South Africa. There's an abundance of clubs, from surfing to hiking and cycling, to get involved in. However, if you don’t enjoy sport that much, there are other clubs you can join, from business groups to religion & spirituality, or even a board game club.

Whatever type of club you are looking for, you are sure to find it in a country as diverse as South Africa.

Study buddies

If you are moving to South Africa for higher education, there isn’t a much better place to look for friends than your campus. Similar to joining a club or volunteering, your campus will probably have clubs or groups for various interests.

Just don't party too hard!


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