Discover a unique and diverse culture amongst sprawling national parks, impressive wildlife and spectacular mountain ranges with a TEFL job in South Africa.
When you think of teaching English abroad, South Africa might not be the first place that springs to mind. But with its jaw-dropping scenery, eclectic mix of wild grasslands and cosmopolitan cities and relatively low cost of living, this fascinating country is actually an exciting option for TEFLers worldwide.
If you’re looking for a TEFL destination fit for adrenaline-junkies or animal lovers, South Africa has everything you could possibly want. We’re talking wildlife safaris, shark-cage diving, helicopter and balloon tours, tons of white-knuckle water sports and much, much more – get ready for the adventure of a lifetime if you choose to TEFL in South Africa.
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£900-1,500 per month
Degree not required
Cost of living
TEFL certificate needed
120 hours +
Main job types
Language schools & public schools
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Like many countries, the main types of TEFL jobs in South Africa are in public schools and private language centres. However, there’s also work available in international schools and as a private tutor, which is a growing area of TEFL all over the world.
In recent years, South Africa has made an active effort to recruit foreign teachers so public school work is a great place to start when you’re on the TEFL job hunt. Working days tend to start and finish early, running from 7.30am until 2.30pm which gives you plenty of time to explore in the afternoon. Your contracted working hours will be around 35 per week but you won’t be teaching for the whole time – the rest of your time will be taken up with lesson planning and general teacher duties.
Class sizes in public schools tend to be anything from 25 to 35 students per class, whereas, private language centre classes can vary much more – with anything from 10-50 students in a class, depending on the age group and time of year. Also, as they operate around school terms and normal working hours, language centres usually want teachers to work more evenings and weekends than normal weekday hours. There is plenty of work available in these types of institutions as there are a large number of language centres in South Africa and in particular, Johannesburg.
If you’re fluent in English and you have at least 120 hours of TEFL training under your belt, you’re eligible to find a TEFL job in South Africa. Before you hop on the plane though, you’ll need a legitimate job offer and a General Work Visa which cannot be applied for once you’re already in the country.
The General Work Visa doesn’t require you to have a bachelor’s degree so you can teach English in South Africa if you don’t have one but it does always help. TEFL teachers who have degrees are likely to be offered more opportunities than those who don’t.
It’s worth bearing in mind that South Africa is one of the most multi-lingual countries in the world and English is one of the main languages spoken so, unfortunately, there isn’t a high demand for English teachers. This means you might need to be more flexible about the type of TEFL job you want and where you’re willing to work.
As a newly qualified TEFL teacher, you can expect to be paid around 16,000-26,900 ZAR / £900-1,500 / $1,100-1,900 per month – but you could expect a hefty amount more than this if you’re an experienced teacher or you’ve got a higher level of qualification.
If you’d like to get some teaching experience before jetting off to South Africa, you could get your foot on the ladder with a TEFL Internship. Internships are a great way to practice teaching while still getting full academic and personal support, earning a competitive living allowance or salary and have your placement and accommodation arranged for you. Check out our range of TEFL Internships here.
Taking into account accommodation and daily living costs, a TEFL teacher’s salary in South Africa will allow you to live comfortably and possibly save some extra cash on top of your outgoings (depending on your job and lifestyle) as the cost of living is quite low.
A meal at a standard, inexpensive restaurant will cost you around £6-£8, a bottle of beer is about £1.50 and a one-way ticket on public transport will cost 80p. In Cape Town, you can expect to spend about £400 per month, not including rent, and a one-bedroom apartment outside of the centre will set you back about £275-£350 per month.
Because you can’t apply for a General Work Visa when you’re already in the country, the best way to find TEFL jobs in South Africa is online via TEFL jobs boards such as LoveTEFL Jobs. This is the case for most TEFL jobs around the world as it’s an easy way for employers to advertise positions to teachers all over the world and for teachers to view and apply for roles in multiple different countries. The application process normally involves submitting an application form online, having a Skype or telephone interview and then you’ll probably hear back in a week or two from the employer.
The school in South Africa runs from January to December but there is a break between terms. So, the best time to start your TEFL job hunt is around November / December before the new term begins.
South Africa’s bustling capital city, Cape Town, is a diverse mix of cultures and traditions. Home to the world-famous Table Mountain, it’s the birthplace of some of the country’s most notable historic events and probably the most popular place for English teachers. If you choose to TEFL in Cape Town, you’ll benefit from its breath-taking natural beauty, incredible local wildlife and historic heritage sites.
Durban, on South Africa’s east coast, enjoys a warm climate, plenty of nature trails and reserves and a buzzing city life with plenty of sporting events and cultural hubs – another great option for TEFLers coming to South Africa. Alternatively, if you’re looking for more of a beach-side lifestyle and you enjoy water sports, Port Elizabeth on South Africa’s south coast is an ideal TEFL destination with plenty of marine life including dolphins and whales.
This depends very much on where in South Africa you choose to work as the weather varies across the country. In general, due to its location in the southern hemisphere, it’s a tropical climate with the hottest time of year being around February and the coolest being June/July. Even in winter, though, the temperature rarely drops below 7°C so you’ll never see a frosty winter morning.
Summer temperatures range from a reasonable 17°C to a dreamy 29°C in Cape Town and a sweaty 40°C in Durban (due to it being closer to the equator). Cities close to mountain ranges can expect more rainfall than others and coastal cities tend to experience more wind from the nearby seas. If you fancy rafting on the Orange River, head there in spring to see the abundance of flowers. Or, if you’re a beach bunny, take a road trip along the Eastern or Western Cape for the most stunning beaches. Winter is a great time of year to go whale watching on the Western Cape coast or for a city break with crisp blue skies and dry weather conditions.
There’s a growing demand for private tutors for school children in South Africa and if you choose to go down this route, you’ll be earning around US$12-$21 per hour – private tutoring is also a good idea to do part-time alongside a full-time school teaching position as you can make some extra cash to save for your future travels! However, you’ll need to find your own students by advertising your services online and locally, which can be trickier than having a classroom provided for you.
Various official languages, including English
TEFL teachers demand
South African Rand (ZAR)
Our South Africa TEFL rating
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