The Expat Chronicles – Meet Jenny

This month we caught up with Jenny Cameron, who moved to South Africa from Surrey four years ago.

Where did you move from?

Woking in the UK

Where did you move to and when?

My husband and I moved to South Africa in October 2008.

How did your move come about?

We came to Cape Town on holiday in 2004 and 2007. The second time we were here we were invited to a dinner party in Camps Bay. At the dinner, the host mentioned that he was thinking of selling his house. My husband asked what he wanted for it and jokingly made an offer. (My husband has been ready to retire for a year or two now.)

Back home, over the next few weeks, we spoke about it and we were in email contact with the Camps Bay gentleman. We decided to make the offer in earnest one day, and before we knew it, we were going ahead full steam! We were here lock, stock and barrel within ten months, and we still live in our wonderful home in Camps Bay.

Why did you choose the country you chose?

Because of the way we felt while we were on holiday here. I love Table Mountain and the West Coast, and my husband loves the beach at Camps Bay and a little town called Wilderness. The weather is mostly much better than the UK. The whole lifestyle is different; more relaxed. When we came here on holiday, one thing we noticed was that people in general seemed quite happy… We felt happier too. My husband is in his early 60s and I’m not far behind – so why not put our feet up and enjoy life?

What is the best thing about your new country?

We have found the best restaurants in Cape Town and find dining in South Africa a pleasure (if you are willing to scout around). The beaches, weather, people…

We are both dog lovers too, so it was wonderful to see that dogs are a part of the lifestyle here. I love that the most.

What do you miss the most about your home country?

The pubs.

Anything you struggled to get used to in your new country?

Car guards and Afrikaans.

Will you ever go back?

To visit, yes. To stay, no.

Which country do you identify with most strongly now?

I am a Brit, through and through – that I cannot deny. I don’t feel like a South African, but I am very happy to live out my days as a long-term visitor in this spectacular country.

Which country’s sports teams do you support?

Believe it or not, we are not big sports people.

How does the food compare?

The bad food is better than the bad food in the UK and the good food is cheaper than the good food in the UK.

Was it what you expected?

I didn’t know it was so bloody cold in winter!

How has your life changed?

We are more relaxed. We have put on a little weight and we have better tans. I have also learnt how to belly dance and read tarot cards, which I can’t say I would ever have done back home.

What advice would you give to others wanting to do the same?

Cape Town is the perfect retirement city and I would highly recommend you pack up your troubles and move here.

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If you’d like to give life in a foreign country a try, visit or call 0808 141 5508 (UK free phone), 0800 003 163 (SA free phone), 1800 039 300 (free phone within Aus), or 0800 224 322 (free phone within NZ).