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South Africans in Germany

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Moving to Germany

Präpositionen / Prepositions

These are words like in, on, at, for, to, by, into, towards, through, under.
It is important to understand the concept of movement and that of a state or situation (sometimes indicated Sein (bin, bist etc)).  Is something moving somewhere for example Er hängt das Bild and die Wand (akk)  or is it already there Das Bild hängt and der Wand (Dativ)

 mit Akkmit Datmit Genmit Dat / akk (Wechsel)
Wo oder ‘Wann / Where or when?
Wohin / where to?
 Von In
 Seit Unter
 Außer Vor


Zu, nach, in oder ins??

Nach is used to indicate going to a geographic place or points of the compass. Is used to say you’re going to a country or a city, for example, Ich fahre nach Südafrika (I’m going to South Africa.) or Ich fahre nach Stuttgart (I’m going to Stuttgart.) It is always followed with the Dativ Kasus.
Nach doesn’t work with countries that have an article like Switzerland – wir fahren in die Schweiz. (We are going to Switzerland.)
Nach is also used when you refer to cardinal directions  (North) or left and right, up and down.
Nach is rarely used with an article while zu are followed by articles
Nach can also mean after something for example nach der Schule – after school. The following verbs are used with nach: abreisen, fliegen, fahren, frage, gehen, reisen, suchen

In is used when you plan to end up INSIDE (into) a building for example die Oper or Das Kino  – Ich gehe in der Opera (I am going to the opera) or Ich gehe ins Kino (I am going to the movies) .
In can be used with Akkusativ or Dativ, depending on whether there is movement or if it is a “state” / at a location.
You also use it to say you are going into something like into the mountains or into town, for example, die Berger or die Stadt (wir fahren in  die Berge) or wir gehen in die Stadt  – movement therefore Akkusativ.
Im is a contraction of “in dem” wich is in the Dativ case for example im Winter or im Prinzip. An example with Das Auto –  Mein Schlüssel ist im Auto (in dem Auto)

Auf – On top of something. Akkusativ or Dativ, depending whether there is movement or if it is a “state”

An – At the side of something. Akkusativ or Dativ, depending on whether there is movement or if it is a “state”

Zu is used to say you are going to someone/somewhere. You are heading in a direction or going to a destination. It is exclusively used to say you are going to someone’s house or a company that is specified by just its name like McDonalds. Examples Ich hehe zu Marianne or ich gehe zu McDonalds. Zu always takes the Dativ case even when there is movement involved.

In most cases, you can substitute in/auf/an with zu. Here are some examples:

  • Ich gehe ins Fitnessstudio/ Ich gehe zum Fitnessstudio
  • Ich gehe an den Strand / Ich gehe zum Strand
Nach Hause or zu Hause?? Ich gehe nach Hause means I am going home, but Ich bin zu Hause means I am Home


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German Spelling Alphabet

To help spell a word, you can usually use the NATO Phonetic Alphabet. In Germany unfortunately they use a different set of words. A is Anton


It would be best if you learned the gender of each new word (Noun) you learn in German. This is not always easy to do and


Verbs are action words (e.g., to run, to eat, to learn).In German, verbs that describe actions are known as “tun-Verben” (doing verbs) and verbs that describe


Pronouns are words that take the place of a noun. Words like I, me, she, you, it, herself. Additionally, you get Relative and possessive pronounsRelative pronouns:


Adjectives are descriptive words like young, old, beautiful etc. In German, adjectives change their endings depending on whether the person or thing you are referring to

To help spell a word, you can usually use the NATO Phonetic Alphabet.
In Germany unfortunately they use a different set of words. A is Anton and not Alpha, B is Berta and not Bravo.
It is sometimes difficult to be sure whether someone said M or N, and in German you can sometimes hear E and I wrong, especially if it spoken by an English speaking person.

Below is a table with the German terms. To spell Melktert to a German person, you will say: M wie Martha, E wie Emil, L wie Ludwig, K wie Kaufmann, T wie Theodor, E wie Emil, R wie Richard and T wie Theodor

LetterWord to useLetterWord to use

Download the file

You can download a .pdf via this link.  Print it out for easy access

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German Grammar and Language

Here are some links to German Grammar information.It is a compilation of information I gathered over time. I hope you find it useful. Please notify

Moving to a new country can be both exciting and overwhelming at the same time. The thought of starting a new chapter in your life can bring a sense of thrill, while the idea of going through the process of moving can be daunting. Countless things need to be taken into consideration, and it can be tough to know where to start. Where will you find a suitable place to live? Should you buy or rent? What will be the cost of living? What about your belongings? What should you keep and what should you dispose of? How do you ensure that you don’t forget anything important or leave something behind? You need to make sure that you have everything you need to start fresh in your new home.
To assist you in this process, we have created a page filled with useful information, tips, and recommendations to help you plan your journey smoothly and efficiently. 

Start by reading the information our “Good to know” page. There you will find helpful information about moving to and life in Germany, housing, electronics and much more 

Good to know

Your Visas are approved, your paperwork is finalised and you are ready to start planning the big move. This can be a very stressful time, and we hope the information we provide here helps to ease the process.

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To help you keep track of everything, we’ve put together a thorough checklist of things to consider before embarking on your move to Germany. Our checklist covers all the essential tasks you need to complete, such as finding a place to live, opening a bank account, and registering with the local authorities. 
Furthermore, we have created a list of essential documents you should bring with you to Germany. This list includes items such as your passport, visa documents, and proof of health insurance. With our comprehensive guide, you can be sure that nothing is overlooked and you are fully prepared for your new life in Germany!



Raising a family in Germany can be a wonderful experience, but with any new adventure, it’s important to be aware of the cultural, legal, financial,

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Moving your belongings

The sleeping arrangements in Germany is a bit different from that in South Africa. The bedding sizes are also different. Plan accordingly and don’t bring bedding with you that will not fit on the beds.
Make sure you know what you are allowed to bring into Germany.
We also have a page about importing a used vehicle. Our advice is only do this if you really really cannot part with your beloved vehicle.

We also have a list of Shipping and relocation companies that was suggested by members that used them.


It is only natural to want your furry friends to come along with you as well. After all, they are a part of your family and it would be unthinkable to leave them behind. However, moving pets can be a daunting task and requires careful planning and preparation, from choosing the correct mode of transportation, to obtaining necessary health certificates and complying with regulations. WE have to pages that we hope can assist you. 


Dangerous (Banned) Dogs Some dog breeds are banned in Germany. There are additional rules for individual states.  Up-to-date information can be found on the Zoll

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It helps to start learning German as soon as you can. You can find a collection of tips, rules and suggestions for apps, or schools on our Learning German page

Learning German

There are several approaches to learn German, all of which can help you achieve your language learning goals. You can opt for convenient online sites

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Flights and travel tips

Flying with Children

Flying with Children Travelling with small kids can be an amazing experience but also quite a task especially when it involves long flights. One of the key

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Arriving in Germany

Our team has created an informative online space to help you settle in Germany. You can find information on transport, accommodation, banking, language learning, and more. 


Here are some shared experiences by our Facebook members.  If you would like to add your experience to our website, please submit it via our contact form

December 2022

I did DIY from Pretoria to Jhb to Cape Town to Frankfurt on 24 December. Both dogs were in the cargo hold for both flights.
DIY can only be done from CPT airport, which is why that flight was added. It means your dogs fly as excess baggage on your flight ticket. There is no pet travel agent involved. It saves a lot of money but does add a lot of stress so be well prepared. I heavily relied on the Facebook group, EMBARK: South Africans Emigrating With Pets.

Dogs: 2 x Italian Greyhounds
Airlines: CemAir (Jhb – CPT) and Lufthansa (CPT – Frankfurt)
Private Vet: Wilgers Animal Hospital (Pretoria)
State Vet: Pretoria (c/o Lillian Ngoyi Street & Pretorius Street – the entrance to the building is next to the McDonalds and the state vet is on the 7th floor)

Tips learned from the process:
* Try and do everything from vaccinations, titre tests and health checks with the same private vet that has done this process before
* Our trainer suggested the dogs sleep in the crates for at least the last two weeks prior to their flight. Our plans ended up being quite rushed so we eventually only had them sleep in the crates for 1 week prior to departure. But we trained them with the crates for 2/3 months prior.
* Book a direct and night flight if you can, best for the dogs
* The DIY guide by Elizabeth Gie mentions a separate Western Cape Health check form, in Gauteng you just use the EU Health Certificate form & the extra declaration page stating you do not intend to export the pets for commercial purposes. There is no specific Gauteng form.
* I did this alone with 2 x 23kg bags and 2 size L Viaggio crates when we arrived at CPT airport, none of the baggage staff wanted to assist me with transporting my dogs and luggage to the arrivals area from the baggage carousel. I ended up relying on kind strangers. Side note, we did fly on 24 December.
* At CPT airport there is a baggage storage place called A-Tech – I left my crates and baggage with them to take the dogs running in between flights. Their prices were very reasonable. I think like R70 a piece of luggage for 5 hours.
We arrived in CPT at 9 AM and only departed for Frankfurt at 18h20.
* We booked a private porter for arrival in Frankfurt to avoid the drama of CPT again. I highly recommend this. Since our flight arrived at 5h30 local time, the customs officials were not there yet. The porter went to the Lufthansa counter while we were busy waiting for my luggage & sorted everything. He literally asked, “do you have your papers?” and when I said yes, he said, “okay then we can go” – I doubt it would have been that easy without him. Again, I speak German quite well which probably helped too. Hiring him did cost €90 but he helped us so much & as it was Christmas morning, I doubt someone else would have helped me with transporting the dogs and my luggage.
* If not using a porter, remember you have to pay for the baggage trolleys I think one or two euros each.
* My husband was already in Germany & rented a VW Tiguan for the journey to our new home in Baden-Württemberg.
* We gave the dogs CalmEze the week leading up to the flights as well as CBD biscuits that they were used to.


March 2022

Since I just flew into Frankfurt on Saturday, with my cat in cargo (Lufthansa), I thought I could provide an update on costs and flesh out some info given by others.
I went the Semi-DIY route with ITTA – airfares have jumped – cost over R19k to fly JHB to FRA direct – okay my cat is fat (7kgs) and needed a bigger box. ( was amazing!) Once I had a flight for my cat, I THEN booked myself on the same flight.
I say ‘SEMI’ DIY because I had help doing the final health certificates – Venessa at Animals En Route ( has a good relationship with ITTA. It was the best R3000 I spent – I dropped off my cat 2 days before departure with Titre, Vac book, etc and she took care of everything else, she even fetched the box from ITTA for me. All I had to do then was get myself to Frankfurt.
– You cannot walk from Arrivals at the airport to the Animal Lounge unless you want to walk outdoors for 3,2kms with your luggage. (btw it’s on Google maps.)
– if you ask for directions, ignore staff members who think you can fetch your pet from the bulky luggage section.
Animal Lounge: Exit the elevator and turn to the office on the right first to present Airway Bill
– They’ll give you all the docs to take to the vet’s reception to the left of the elevator.
– I landed on a weekend so I paid €90 instead of €60 to the vet’s office.
– I later had to pay another €83 to the other office for lounge facilities or whatever they call it.
Customs / Zoll: You don’t want to try to walk here either even though it’s not that far. Leave the parking lot of the Animal lounge and turn right onto the main road. Not even a minute later turn right again.
– Park the car close to a bus stop and small office you’ll see up ahead.
*NB: This little office is where you’ll receive the KEY CARD to get through the entrance boom. (On your way out the machine will swallow the key card.)
– Building D is correct BUT it’s not on the 3rd floor. The elevator only lets you go to the 1st floor. Exit the elevator to the left and you’ll see the Zoll sign.
– You won’t pay taxes if you’re flying with your animal/s.
– You can finally drive back to the Animal Lounge to collect your fur babies.

December 2021

The following information was shared on our FB page by Ruan Moolman-Dreyer, who gave us permission to share it on our website (December 2021)
Hi all, I have decided to do a post on how I did the DIY route from South Africa to Germany. It was surprisingly easier than I thought.
Took my cats for a rabies vaccination – Wait one month + 1 day and take the cats to the vet for Titre tests. Mine was sent to Onderstepoort and cost about R1500 per cat.
You have to wait 3 months + 1 day after the blood was drawn before the cats can fly.
I decided on cargo as it would be difficult to carry two cats in the cabin with me and I was afraid they might cry a lot as they do not like being in a cage.
I asked Lufthansa to direct me to the correct place and the cheapest I found was ITTA (International Trade and Transport Agency. You can email
Total costs were R20 000 for both cats (included everything from built cages and all airport fees – paid nothing extra). They are only an agency that takes the cat from point a to b and does not advise on vet things, which makes them a bit cheaper. Other agents quoted me about R 36 000 per cat.
After a flight date was confirmed I had to take the following documents to a private vet within 10 days from their flight date (not later than 10 days). I did it within 5 days just to be safe.
Make sure the private vet fills in his own health declaration as well as the following: The document shows instructions as to whom must fill in what.
– Most important sites (you can find all the explanations and documents here.…/heimtiere-einreiseregelung.html
Try to find a state vet closest to where you stay (this can be quite a mission as I phoned around quite a bit.
After the private vet, the state vet has to fill in most of the document and stamp and sign it.
I flew my cats to Frankfurt as I wanted a direct flight for my kitties.
I took my cats on the day of the flight to ITTA, dropped off the cats and they handled the rest. They were so friendly and helpful.
You have to fly within 5 days of sending your cats to qualify as a non-commercial movement. (Dogs are very much the same in terms of the process.)
After landing in Frankfurt I went to the Animal Lounge (they will provide the address and paid about 400 euros for both cats to check them out.
I hope this makes sense (I tried to summarise as much as I can as I did months of research.
If you need more information you can email the authorities at, try to Google Translate to German if you can’t speak it well and they usually answer within 2 days.
It’s really easy and do not be scared to nag German authorities for information.
Finally, you do not need an import permit from the German authorities.
If you would like to add your experience to our website, please submit it via our contact form

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Dangerous (Banned) Dogs Some dog breeds are banned in Germany. There are additional rules for individual states.  Up-to-date information can be found on the Zoll

Every county has their own way of doing things, and your first couple of months living in a new country will be a steep learning curve.  Here are some of the differences between South Africa and Germany as well as some basic info we would classify into “I wish someone told me that!”

Most of the information were translated from German, and although we do our upmost to provide correct and up to date information, you are still responsible for your own legal clarifications. No liability accepted.


Here are some basic differences in road rules

South AfricaGermany
Driving on the left-hand sideDriving on the right-hand side. Right before left rule
Speed limitsThe general speed limit (Tempolimit) on highways (autobahn) is 130 km/h. On most highways, the speed limit is dynamically controlled depending on the traffic conditions. It can also be unlimited.
Pass vehicles on the right and leftNo passing on the right. It is illegal to pass a vehicle on the right. You must move into a left lane in order to pass. The pass-on-the-left-only rule is one of the things that make the autobahn work.
Traffic circles yield to the right

 Traffic circles (Kreis) yield to the left, and a vehicle already in the circle has right of way. You only use your turn signals when you leave the circle, and not when entering. When there is no sign to indicate it is a traffic circle, you handle it like a normal intersection and the right-before-left rule applies

Main roads have priority and side streets must yield Side roads, unless you have a right of way sign on the main road, have right of way from the right.
A fuel pump attendant fills up your vehicle at the Petrol stationYou have to fill up your vehicle yourself. Remember to note the pump number when paying. Always ask for a receipt when paying by cash.
When denting another vehicle in a parking lot, you can leave a note for the person to contact youHit-and-run (Fahrerflucht) is a very serious offence. A hit-and-run occurs when a person involved in the accident moves away from the scene of the accident,
If you damage another vehicle in the parking lot, you must wait for the person to return before you can leave, or else it is seen as a hit-and-run.  See Division 7 Section 142 of the StGB – Leaving the scene of an accident. If the owner of the vehicle does not return after a reasonable period, report the incident to the police.
  • It is illegal to run out of fuel on the Autobahn
  • According to paragraph 23 paragraph 1a of the Road Traffic Act (StVO),  Anyone who drives a vehicle may only use an electronic device that serves or is intended to serve communication, information or organization if  1. the device is not picked up or held for this purpose and 2. either a) only one voice control and read-aloud function is used or b) in order to operate and use the device, only a brief look at the device, taking in consideration the road, traffic, visibility and weather conditions, while simultaneously looking away from the traffic situation, takes place or is necessary. The ban applies to all electronic devices used for communication, information or organization and includes navigation devices. You are allowed to follow navigation instructions but not manually enter your destination address while driving. The law also applies to bicycles.  More detailed info on ADAC and Bussgeldkatalog
  • There are no precise regulations in Germany or in most European countries as to which shoes are permitted and which are forbidden when driving. Nevertheless: From a liability and insurance perspective, driving with open, loose-fitting, high-heeled shoes can be problematic. More info on ADAC
  • You are not permitted to wash your car at home. This is to protect the underground water.

Road Rules

  Driving on German roads is very well regulated and if you don’t adhere to the rules you will get penalty points against your name



South AfricaGermany
Shopping on SundayShops are closed on Sundays. There are special Sunday Shopping days in certain cities and towns. Shops at Petrol stations, Trains stations and Airports are open
Someone bags your grocery shopping You have to bring your own shopping bags and pack your own items at lightning speed
Clothing and shoe sizes according to the UK sizes Clothing and shoe sizes according to EU sizes. Children’s clothing sizes are according to their length
Fresh produce is available irrespective of whether they are in season Fresh produce is very seasonal. Out-of-season items are very expensive when available
 Salespeople mostly have no clue about the products in the shops Salespeople are very well-informed and can give professional assistance


Shopping in Germany can be a daunting experience if you are not familiar with how things work here. The worst is probably grocery shopping. In South Africa there is usually someone at the till that bags your groceries for you. It is mostly a relaxed experience and you can even pay some of your utility bills at the till. In Germany, there are no grocery packers and the workers at the till are extremely fast and efficient. So much that you do not even have time to pack in your own groceries. And

Dining out

South AfricaGermany
Waiting to be seatedYou can choose a table and sit down, without being shown where to sit.
It is quite common, especially in beer gardens, to share a table with other patrons.
Tip usually 10%Round off to the nearest 5
Paying for everyone or splitting the billEveryone pays for themselves unless you are “invited/eingeladen”, then the host normally pays. The waiter will ask “Getrennt (Split bill) oder zusammen (one bill)”
Be very careful to use the words “ich lade dich ein” if you want to invite someone to join you in a restaurant, it implies you are paying for the meal.
DogsDogs are welcomed in most restaurants, and will even get a water bowl. Best to find out beforehand if your dogs will be permitted inside.


South Africa Germany
 Academic year is from Jan to Dec  Academic year is from September to August

School Information

The German School system is quite unique and distinguishes itself from the South African models in a number of ways Types of schools There are different types of schools to choose from in Germany. The main system is Public schooling, but if  There are different types of schools to choose from in Germany. The German public school system is renowned for its comprehensive approach to education. Students from all backgrounds have access to free education. Other options are:  Montessori  Waldorf schools, based on Rudolf Steiner’s anthroposophical human studies. They are state-approved or state recognised independent schools. Jenaplan-Schulen The Catholic church also

House and home

For more information visit our Beds, mattresses and Duvets page

South AfricaGermany
Pillow Size 45×70 cmSquare 80 x 80 cm pillows
Double bed mattressTwo single mattresses on the bed
Double bed duvetTwo Single duvets


South Africa Germany
No dog tax You have to pay taxes on your dogs. The Hundesteuer is between e120 and €180 per dog per year
No dogs in restaurants Dogs are allowed in some restaurants


Dangerous (Banned) Dogs Some dog breeds are banned in Germany. There are additional rules for individual states.  Up-to-date information can be found on the Zoll (Customs) website.Some dangerous dog breeds are allowed, depending on the Federal state, and must be registered at the Ordnungsamt. Qualzuchten (Torture Breeds) Section 11b of the German Animal Welfare Act [1] prohibits breeding animals with characteristics that cause them to suffer – but so far there are no guidelines on how these should be defined. For this reason, torture breeding is still widespread.  Examples are English Bulldogs, “Teacup dogs”, Sphinx cats A list of


Here are some interesting laws, rules and exceptions that you need to know about. 

  • When speaking to a police officer you must always do so in the first person (per Sie), you can get fined (or go to prison) when you use the 2nd person (per du). It can be seen as an insult
  • You are not allowed to use certain swear words towards a police officer, or other people, also not on the road. You can get heavy fines or time in prison for giving insults on the road. Showing someone the middle finger also falls under this law. See  Division 14 (Insults) Section 185 of the StGB (German Criminal Code) – “The penalty for insult is imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year or a fine and, if the insult is committed publicly, in a meeting, by disseminating content (section 11 (3)) or by means of an assault, imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years or a fine.”
  • Don’t drink and then ride on your bicycle. You are not allowed to drive anything under the influence of alcohol. More info on ADAC
  • It is forbidden to keep urns with ashes of a deceased person at home. Funeral laws (BestattG) are regulated by the individual federal states.
  • You can drink beer and wine from the age of 16 without a legal guardian or parent present. With a parent or legal guardian present, 14-year-olds can also drink wine or beer (<1.2% alcohol)
  • You cannot be fined for consuming too much alcohol, but you are not allowed to drive while intoxicated
  • Quiet times – there are laws to keep the noise levels to a minimum on Sundays and between 22:00 and 06:00 on a weekday
  • Pillows are classified as passive weapons (Schutzwaffe), which are actually equipment that are intended to protect the wearer against the use of weapons. A bit of useless information 🙂
  • It is prohibited to make a Nazi salute or wear a swastika. Avoid making inappropriate jokes about history
  • It is illegal to carry certain knives, it is a complicated law so acquaint yourself with it if you need to carry a knife for whatever purpose.
  • The laws for carrying and handling weapons are very strict and detailed. Information about the weapons act (WaffG)  can be found on the Gesetze-im-Internet website. It is also illegal to carry fake guns. 

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The last thing you might want to think of while settling into your new home is funeral planning.But this is something you will need to

German laws and regulations

Disclaimer The information provided on this website is for general informational purposes only and is not intended to constitute legal advice. You should consult a