Where to live

Where to live

When deciding on which area to live in Johannesburg it’s very important to take into account where your husband or you will be working and the schools your children (if you have any) will be going to.

A lot of expats moving here work mainly in the Sandton area.  We live in the Northern suburbs and the majority of expats we know live here too.

Some of the more popular areas in these suburbs are Sandton, Bryanston, The Parks, Saxonwold, Fourways, Dainfern, Morningside and Riverclub.  Sandhurst and Westcliff are two of the most expensive suburbs in Johannesburg and South Africa!

The main business areas are in Sandton and downtown Johannesburg so rush hour can be exceptionally busy.  It is important to remember you will spend more time commuting home if you don’t take that into consideration when deciding where to live.

There are various types of accommodation available, and I think it’s easier if it’s broken down into the following as I had no idea where to look, what to look for or where to go before we moved here many moons ago!!

Stand Alone


As it states, a stand alone house will have its own security.  You should expect electric fencing, beams, alarms etc (see SECURITY section for more details).  If someone mentions a pan-handle it’s a stand alone home with a long narrow driveway.   A lot of companies who send their staff here may not allow you to stay in a stand alone home as they are deemed less secure than gated accommodation or streets.  Personally as long as you have all your security in order it need not be a problem.

Apartment Complex


Usually from 20 to maybe 200+ apartments and surrounded by walls with only 1 entrance and a security guard.

Cluster Development


From 2 to maybe 20 houses which will be surrounded by walls and have 1 entrance, usually a security guard but in some cases you have your own remotes to access the cluster compound. These will be separate houses within the cluster.

Townhouse Development

Like a cluster development with up to as many as 40 houses or more but townhouses are generally smaller with a communal pool and gardens.

Estate (like the Truman show!)
Huge walled estates where you can only enter through a controlled security entrance.  Usually over 100 homes and in some such as the new Waterfall Estate there is a school too.  The estates tend to be further out of Sandton so you must take into account the commute will be much longer as the traffic is bad heading back home in the evenings.  Some of the biggest estates are Dainfern (Dainfern College is just outside – Co-ed primary and High school). Waterfall Estate has the new co-ed primary and high school called Reddam, and Fourways Gardens.

Simplex (Basically a bungalow)


On 1 level!!

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