Moving to South Africa

Relocating overseas?

More than 200,000 UK expats are drawn to The Republic of South Africa due to the relatively low cost of living; warm climate, beautiful beaches, amazing wildlife and game parks, as well as opportunities for an outdoors lifestyle to embrace the country’s incredible scenery.

You’d think that shipping your effects the 6000 plus miles to South Africa would prove to be a major logistical headache. But you needn’t worry; we will sit down with you and discuss your individual requirements and explain the shipping process. We will even be able to provide you with comparative costs to assist you in the decision making process.

All our removal quotations are free and without obligation and should you decide to entrust us with your relocation we’ll be on hand to guide you through the moving process.

We have put together a Guide to Planning your Removal Overseas Download here


Documents that you will require to ship your household effects to South Africa:

  • Customs Form DA 302 and P.1.60
  • Copy of your Passport and Visa/Permits
  • Numbered Inventory/Packing List
  • Affidavit stating reason for arrival

Please note that the shipper must be present in South Africa for customs clearance; you will need to present your passport with the date of entry stamp. If the importer is not in the country or no residence permit has been produced effects will be cleared into bond storage and charges will apply.

Additional documents will be required if you are importing antiques, paintings or inherited goods.

Timeframes & Schedule

Sole Use Containers

For large household relocations the quickest and most cost efficient way to ship your effects to South Africa is by sole use container. Our crew arrive at your property in advance of the container to pack and wrap your effects. Once the container arrives at your property your effects will be carefully loaded into it, sealed and driven to the port to be loaded onto the next ship destined for South Africa.

Shipping containers generally come in two sizes;

  • 20ft. This container holds 1050 cu ft.; large enough to hold an average 2- 3 bedroom house.
  • 40ft. This container holds 2100 cu ft.; large enough to hold an average 3- 4 bedroom house

Shipment to South Africa can take between 6-8 weeks, with allowance for some seasonal fluctuations. You should then allow a further 10 -14 days to clear customs before delivery to your new home can be arranged.


Our groupage service is recommended for smaller consignments as you pay only for the space you occupy in the container. Consignments are export packed at your home and taken to our warehouse where it is consolidated with other consignments bound for the same destination, as soon as volumes permit.

Shipment to South Africa by groupage generally takes between 10 – 12 weeks plus an additional 10 -14 days to clear customs.

Shipping Cars*

You are able to ship cars into South Africa as long as you have been the owner of the vehicle for at least 12 months prior to shipment. You will need to complete a DA 304/A and provide other documents such as the purchase invoice that shows that the car has been in use and in your possession for over a year as well as papers that show that the car is properly insured.

All cars will need to meet the compulsory vehicle specifications and regulations regarding road traffic in South Africa and a fee of R1800 will be payable for each vehicle that is imported. You will also need to apply for an Import Permit and a Letter of Authority.

It is very important that the owner of the vehicle has been in South Africa for at least 10 days before the car arrives into the country in order to quicken the process of clearing customs.

Further details can be found on NRCS website.

What can't I take?*

Certain items cannot be accepted under general conditions of carriage and storage e.g. explosives, flammable gasses, lithium batteries, poisons & toxins, scuba tanks, gas cylinders.

Below is a summary of some of the everyday items that are prohibited or restricted.

Prohibited Goods

  • Plants and vegetable products
  • Certain animal products (including those covered by CITES)
  • Walkie talkies and radios

Restricted/Dutiable Goods

Certain goods are restricted, and may only be brought into South Africa if you have the necessary licence or import permit.

  • Plants, seeds and bulbs.
  • Firearms (permits required)
  • Cigarettes, cigar and tobacco (amounts restricted)
  • Alcohol (Documentation and duties are applicable)

The above lists a by no means exhaustive and destination regulations can change without notice. Further details on restricted and prohibited items can be found here.

What isn't covered in the removal cost?

It is important that all details about your properties and access to them are passed on to us. Unless specifically requested, charges for storage, special lifting equipment and tranship due to limited access for a large vehicle are excluded from the quotation. You are also responsible for parking permits and charges will also be your responsibility so it is prudent to budget for these from the outset.
All duties and customs charges that become payable on inspection of goods upon arrival in South Africa will be your responsibility.

Duty and Tax

Household goods may be imported duty free as long as they have been in use and belonged to the importer for more than 12 months and are not of sale within 2 years. Works of Art are exempt if they are over 100 years old and are part of a bona-fide shipment of household effects.

Temporary residence will need to be in possession of a temporary work permit for their household effects to gain duty free entry.

All new items will be subject to full duty. Duty rates can vary up to 45% on imported goods and VAT applies on most imports up to 14% of the items’ value.

For more information please visit South African Revenue Service (SARS) website.

What happens when my goods arrive at their destination?

When your consignment arrives at the destination port or airport our destination partner will contact you to arrange customs and quarantine formalities and a suitable date for delivery to your residence.

As we are managing your relocation we will have already ensured that all the correct documents have been completed to ensure your effects are not tied up in customs which can prove costly.
Upon delivery our destination partner will complete the unpacking of all items and position furniture as required and remove discarded packing materials.


We take the utmost care with every shipment and use specialist boxes and protective wrap to ensure your effects arrive safety in whichever corner of the globe you are moving. We do however recommend that you take out Marine Insurance as accidents can happen.

Cover is available on professionally packed goods for all risks of loss and/or damage in transit. Cover on owner packed boxes is limited to total loss only.

Please ensure your insure your items for full replacement value at destination, it is not advisable to under-insure your items.

We will provide you with an Insurance Proposal Form, which must be completed prior to the packing and collection date.
Insurance premiums are subject to Insurance Premium Tax (IPT), at the current rate. Please note that if you decline cover, we will rely upon our BAR Terms & Conditions (clause 8) in the unforeseen event of loss or damage, however caused.

*Please note rules, regulations and charges are subject to change and we advise all customers to obtain direct rulings from their destination customs authority.

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