Moving to southern Africa with 2DCs... what do I need to stockpile?

(23 Posts)
toomuchteaching Mon 01-Oct-12 16:38:00

DH has been offered a job in Swaziland starting in January for 3 years. DD is 2 in January and DC2 is due in December (I know I know!) So I'm wondering what do I need to get or stock up on? I'm don't particularly mean food (although there may be a few jars of Nutella in our shipment and I've heard stock cubes are hard to get hold of, so do tell me what else) more things that necessary for life/childhood. I'm thinking books, shoes, children's toothpaste etc.

DH says I'm being silly and that we'll be able to get what we need there or in RSA, that shoes are available everywhere. But whilst I'm not expecting DD's life to be the same as here, that's part of the reason for the move, I don't want her to miss out because of my poor planning/naivety. So what should I be getting? TIA.

RillaBlythe Tue 02-Oct-12 10:19:49

Awesome! We went to Swaziland to visit friends when DD was about 14m, had a lovely time. Am trying to cast my mind back - obviously we took all shoes needed with us... Mbabane isn't big but there is a good sized supermarket where you can get most stuff. Fruit & veg markets on the streets. Books will not be cheap nor will there be much variety, I would definitely stock up on those, as even in Jo'burg it will be limited.

Would you consider cloth nappies? Pampers/Huggies are really expensive & I found the supermarket own brand to be not much cop.

Sorry I can't be more use really. We are thinking about a move to rural RSA, & I have been wondering recently about the availability & expensive-ness of things like scooters, bikes, outside toys (because the weather will be good enough to be outside!).

RillaBlythe Tue 02-Oct-12 10:20:51

Would you be in Mbabane?

toomuchteaching Tue 02-Oct-12 10:46:34

Just on the edge of Mbabane yes.

Definitely thinking cloth nappies for DC2 (got that minefield to sort out) but not sure what to do about DD. I'm debating packing a few boxes of nappies and potty training asap!

Scooters/bikes/toys all exactly the kind of thing I'm wondering about. DH is absolutely insistent that we don't need to ship anything. I need to convince him he's wrong and that in the long run we will save money by sorting things out from the UK.

RillaBlythe Tue 02-Oct-12 10:55:37

Get birth to potty nappies for DC2 & use them on DD1, speed up potty training. I moved DD1 onto cloth nappies at 2 & started training at the same time (because we were going travelling & I wanted her out of nappies).

Do you have a shipping allowance & a container to fill?

Looking here, a wooden balance bike is roughly £140 www.buycycle.co.za/buycycles/kiddies-bikes/early-rider/early-rider-lite-1-4-years-earrly-rider.html

toomuchteaching Tue 02-Oct-12 14:42:55

We haven't fully sorted shipping allowance yet so I don't know how much will be realistic... I definitely can't fit a scooter in my luggage!

Birth to potty it is then.

LulaPalooza Tue 02-Oct-12 14:51:40

The cost of things in SA is hugely variable. I was really shocked by the price of consumer goods, particularly English books, electronics and children's shoes. Kids bikes and toys are also comparatively expensive, although it depends a lot on the exchange rate which fluctuates a lot for the ZAR.

We buy DSS shoes over here and take them with us when we go to SA. Clothes are relatively inexpensive at shops like Woolworths (which is much more like our M&S).

I really want to go to Swaziland next time we're there. What a fantastic opportunity for you and your family, toomuch. Enjoy!

Lardbean Tue 02-Oct-12 14:59:41

My DSis lives in RSA in the sticks and her dc have books,bikes, scooters etc. What you need to spend extra on luxuries you will be saving on everthing else. I lived in rural Southern Africa as a child and never felt I missed out on anything, far from it. I'm actually sat here feeling really jealous of you and your family!

Salbertina Tue 02-Oct-12 18:55:56

No need to buy Nutella or marmite etc as can buy in sA. Do buy clothes esp shoes, books , toys ESP Lego, DVDs

Salbertina Tue 02-Oct-12 18:56:42

Oh and yes bikes etc v expensive sk import if u can

Alligatorpie Wed 03-Oct-12 07:24:06

I am in Egypt, so it is very different, but I get very frustrated shopping here. Dd1's scooter broke in a week, the shoes are cheap and fall apart ( I tend to buy them at expensive imported shops now, which has it's own set of frustrations - I spent £22 on a pair of shoes on sale at Mothercare here and found them in the UK reg price £10) and English books are really expensive.

I bring - books, scooter, shoes, clothes, toys and swim nappies, ( we swim a lot in this heat)

I also bring birthday cards. Dd goes to a lot of parties and they are hard to find. I get them at a cheapie place that has them 10 for a quid.

I do have a secret stash of granola bars and dd1's favorite pasta for when she is homesick / frustrated. But I don't waste too much luggage space on food.

toomuchteaching Wed 03-Oct-12 19:21:18

Excellent... I shall show DH that I am not wrong about shoes and bikes! Thank you everyone.

joshandjamie Wed 03-Oct-12 19:37:58

In SA you can buy really cheap little plastic ride on motorbikes that I had as a kid and I know kids still have. Books are expensive there as are nappies and formula

Hi toomuch I've pm'ed you & posted on your other thread.
Check out game.co.za to get an idea of what you will be able to get household goods-wise, but remember the quality may well be poor. If house not furnished (this often means no cooker or white goods either) then buy it all in ikea and ship it. Kids clothes are v overpriced and generally poor quality, shoes ditto, bring with you. And books. And Lego. Tv is pretty poor & expensive. Rip off DVDs are not smile. The price of disposable Nappies & formula will make you wince. Cloth ones need to be robust & simple to survive the rigours of the Afri-wash. Check if there are putsi/mango flies where you're going - if so, every single thing will need ironing!!

wildcake Mon 08-Oct-12 14:47:22

I don't really know much about Swaziland (it sounds lovely though), but my recommendations after moving to rural RSA 2 years ago with my then 4 month old ds are to bring cloth nappies - I brought Bum Genius ones with me that worked really well (+ a big advantage is they dry really quickly due to the mostly lovely warm weather). For birthdays/Christmas I ask my family in UK to send books + also joined the local library so never buy books. I always buy winter clothes in the UK, the selection here isn't great - especially warm jackets + I have found it impossible to find warm pjs with covered feet for kids over the age of 18 months (I resorted to having some made here). My ds has one of those plastic motorbike things (also popular with girls), I think it cost about GBP10, he got the bike as a present + we will be looking @ scooters for Christmas - but I have no idea how much they cost in the UK so will remain blissfully ignorant + just pay the going rate. I agree with Lardbean that what you save on not going to the movies, indoor soft play centres etc (we have no choice) we spend on outdoor toys. Bikes + scooters get used a lot, kids go everywhere here - to all social occasions + we all just bring along scooters/bikes. For myself in duty free I buy moisturiser, suncream + perfume (I think it's cheaper in the UK but also I'm fussy + the selection can be limited here). We shipped over our 4x4 as we relocated here permanently + filled the back of the vehicle + also around it in the container. I was so glad I did, it really helps when you don't have to start from scratch. For me I was really glad of all the kitchen stuff + my clothes + pictures, I regret not bringing my sofas + white goods but I think your requirements are different if you're just going for 3 years rather than permanently...for clothes you could check out www.woolworths.co.za + mrp.co.za and for books, music etc www.kalahari.net - Mr Price + Kalahari deliver within SA, not sure about Swaziland...

toomuchteaching Tue 09-Oct-12 19:10:33

That is really helpful wildcake thank you. Having conversed with the school it looks like we will be trying to do most things by excess baggage (!) and send one bit of shipping with the absolutely cannot be packed things ahead of us. It will only be for things like the cot, bike, highchair etc. The house is furnished and we will end up buying what we really need there I guess. Can anyone recommend a shipping company?

akuabadoll Wed 10-Oct-12 07:16:26

Sorry don't know a shipping company but wanted to add a silly thing. You are totally right about shoes, it's a big bother. Crocs is the answer for me, in several sizes. They love them, can wear them for most of the year (mine even has fur lined ones for the cold blush ) they last for ages and you can literally see how much room there is left through the holes! Great for the outdoor life. I also second cloth nappies and early potty training. Sounds great, good luck.

Biltongmuncher Wed 10-Oct-12 07:27:16

From sa and go home a few times a year, so....

Buy the plastic motorbikes out there, brilliant and last really well on rough terrain. The little wooden balance bikes will crumble and die in Africa...smile

Basic clothes are cheap and easy to get, they don't do winter stuff very well though. Shoes, cheap croc variants is the way to go. Lots of colours and sizes and wear with socks in winter.

Everything else you can easily get, joburg is a big well stocked city. Have fun, very jealous!

notmydog Sat 13-Oct-12 08:59:44

Living in SA at the moment, so here is my 2 cents worth:

I have to second the plastic motorbikes. All kids have them here, and they are cheap and easy to replace - just buy them from the local supermarket.

I've got no idea about Swaziland, but I'm sure in Mbabane you would have at least a couple of big supermarkets where you would find most things like marmite and nutella.

I also second the cheapy crocs. My DD (7) lives in hers, as (school shoes aside) I have given up finding the correct fitting shoes for her very fat feet!

toomuchteaching Sat 13-Oct-12 19:20:22

<must find somewhere to stock up on crocs having never worn them before>

notmydog Sat 13-Oct-12 22:32:33

toomuchteaching you buy them at Pick 'n Pay (similar to Tesco) :D
For around R40

timetosmile Sat 13-Oct-12 22:44:12

<waves at Rilla>

They sell fantastic plasic ride-on scooters in Game and Pick and pay which my DCs enjoyed far more than anything from the UK. We have one which is 7 years old admittedly it is mostly duck tape now.. which all three DCs have used

Books are hugely expensive and the SA marmite didn't taste right.

Also take longlasting indestructibletoys like lego and playmobil.

Loads of stock cubes in standard supermarkets. I lived 100km South in SA..no cooking apples (wierd thing to miss!)

Take a slow cooker and/or pressure cooker as a lot of the meat needs slow cooking(!)

Please take malaria precautions as appropriate. Not to give you a 'downer' but its a serious disease.

And cars are proportionately far, far more expensive but hold their secondhand value really well.

Hope you have an amazing time. And learn as much of the language as you possibly can, even if you don't 'need' to - it will totally transform your experience if you can speak in people's mother tongue...

We used Pickfords international and have no complaints. Not the cheapest but they did the job with no fuss and seemed to know what they were about.

You'll have an amazing time. And potty trining is soo easy outdoors/on wooden floors, and where laundry dries in an hour grin

KatherineKrupnik Wed 30-Jan-13 14:38:15

How's it going, OP?

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