South African Expat Living in Namibia - Interview with Tracey

Published: 12 Aug at 9 AM
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Filed: Interviews,Namibia
Tracey, her husband Ryan, and cat, packed up and left the demanding city of Johannesburg, South Africa to move to the desert (Namibia) in 2013. They had been looking to move abroad and experience life in other countries so when Ryan got an opportunity to work in Windhoek they jumped at the offer. Tracey's expat blog is called Journal of a City Girl Tracey's expat blog is called Journal of a City Girl (see listing here)

African Sunset
African Sunset

Here's the interview with Tracey...

Where are you originally from?
We were both born and raised in Johannesburg, South Africa

In which country and city are you living now?
Windhoek, Namibia

How long have you lived in Namibia and how long are you planning to stay?
We have been in Windhoek for just under a year and my husband is here on a 2 year work contract.

Desert Dunes
Desert Dunes
Why did you move to Namibia and what do you do?
My husband is a CA and got a job offer to move to the Windhoek branch of the company he was with in South Africa. I have a background in marketing and PR but am unable to work in Namibia as they have very strict working permit requirements and prefer to hire locals over foreigners.

Did you bring family with you?
Just our cat, Bella

How did you find the transition to living in a foreign country?
Once all the paper work was out the way it wasn't to bad, because Namibia and South Africa are so close. Namibia takes a lot of its influence from SA and so all the shops, and brands are the same here. So luckily it hasn't been a very hard adjustment

Was it easy making friends and meeting people; do you mainly socialise with other expats?
We have found it hard to meet locals as it is a small and very tight knit community its been challenging. So we do socialise with mainly expats.

Sites of Windhoek
Sites of Windhoek
What are the best things to do in the area; anything to recommend to future expats?
Namibia is called Africa for beginners - it is not nearly as rural as most African countries and it is relatively safe to travel around the country solo as a tourist. It has a diverse landscape including coast, desert dunes, mountain ranges and African wildlife so it makes for a travelers dream.

What do you enjoy most about living in Namibia?
That life is more balanced, less stressful and there is NO traffic. Namibia firmly believes in work to live not live to work and so tomorrow is always another day.

How does the cost of living in Namibia compare to home?
Housing is double the price in Namibia compared to SA and since almost all food and textiles are imported that ups the price on most living expenses.

Me and my husband Ryan
Me and my husband Ryan
What negatives, if any, are there to living in Namibia?
The lack of theatre productions and big concerts.

If you could pick one piece of advice to anyone moving to Namibia, what would it be?
Buy a 4x4, as it makes getting around the country much easier.

What has been the hardest aspect to your expat experience so far?
Meeting friends. As it has been quite hard to integrate with locals and most of the expats are older or have children so they are in a very different phase in their lives.

When you finally return home, how do you think you'll cope with repatriation?
We are not ready to go back and would like to move onto other countries. Haven't giving going back and reintegrating much thought as yet, I think one just assumes life will go on like it did before you left?

What are your top 5 expat tips for anyone following in your footsteps?
  1. I joined a women's group. Since I am unable to work and there are many others like me that have followed their husbands and can't work here. It has been a wonderful support system and knowledge base to help me settle in. I believe most countries have these groups for women that can't work in their host countries.
  2. Get out and explore, I love playing tourist in my host city.
  3. Start sorting out the paper work and moving admin well before you move as things always crop up that take time to sort and will delay your move.
  4. Try not to compare your new country to your hometown and rather just embrace the new life, challenges and travel opportunities.
  5. Visit the country you plan to live in before you actually move, it will help with understanding what you are really getting yourself into.
Tell us a bit about your own expat blog.
My blog is really a journal of what life is like in Namibia, our experiences, and our other travels. I started it so I could always look back and remember the experiences we have had throughout our life. But it has grown to be more and I now include reviews, travel tips and advice.

How can you be contacted for further advice to future expats coming to your area?
The best way would be through my blog or Twitter

About the author

Expat Blog ListingTracey is a South African expat living in Namibia. Blog description: I moved from the busy city of Johannesburg to Namibia with my dear husband and my baby (Bella the cat). This is a journal of my new hometown, adventures and everything in-between.
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