Frequently Asked Questions
Everything you’ve ever wanted to ask about traveling and working online in Africa.
If you have a question we didn’t answer, leave a comment at the bottom of the page.
Is Africa a Country?
Come on guys, don’t be silly.
Is Africa Safe?
Quick answer: Safer than you think.
There may be no other continent that receives as many alarmist government travel warnings as Africa. Alongside these are media portrayals and news stories depicting the continent as one massive, crime ridden warzone.
We did some digging and found some very illumintating statistics. When compared to other parts of the world, even Europe, African countries are far from the most dangerous for tourists to travel in.
Put simply, ‘tourist fatalities’ refers to the number of deaths amongst tourists in a particular country. Only a few studies have been done on this but the results are ALWAYS surprising. And while these studies don’t take into account theft and assault, they are still a great barometer for your safety in a country.
So, which countries rank highest for tourist deaths in the world? Here are some findings:
1. Pakistan, 2. Thailand, 3. Philippines, 4. Haiti, 5. Honduras, 6. Nigeria, 7. Belize, 8. Guyana, 9. Egypt, 10. Mexico
While its disappointing to see two African countries listed, they are the only 2 in the top 25.
The Global Epidemiology of Tourist Fatalities, “Distribution of Tourist Fatalities by Country of Incidence, January 1, 2013 to December 31, 2015”:
Asia accounts for 49.4% of tourist fatalities in the world.
Europe accounts for 15.3%.
Africa is third, at 14.6%.
British newspaper The Express quotes the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office as listing the following countries highest for tourist murders in 2016 & 2017, just for British citizens:
1. Pakistan, 2. USA, 3. France, 4. Spain, 5. Finland, Tied 6. Australia, Burma (Myanmar), Estonia, Italy, Portugal, India and South Africa.
This one is much more straight forward. Which countries have experienced the most terrorist attacks in 2017 (the most recent available data)?
1. Iraq, 2. Afghanistan, 3. India, 4. Pakistan, 5. Philippines, 6. Nigeria, 7. Somalia, 8. Nepal 9. Egypt, 10. Syria
One additional note, according to these stats, the USA has experienced significantly more terrorist attacks than most African countries.
Most sociologists, criminologists & staticians use murder rates as the simplist metric to measure overall crimes rates in a country.
While findings vary, the following top 10 countries with the highest murder rates in the world are usually listed as:
Venezuala, Honduras, Brazil, Mexico, Virgin Islands, South Africa, Nigeria, El Salvador, Jamaica & Lesotho.
Again, most of these countries are outside of Africa.
We’re not going to deny that crime and theft are an issue in most African cities, especially for tourists. But, hopefully with these quick findings you can appreciate that the continent is nowhere near as dangerous as you probably think.
The question of safety in Africa is one we will answer more fully later on, but for now just know that if you act responsibly and take the usual precautions, you should experience no issues when traveling there.
Does Africa Have Fast Internet?
Yes. And no.
The speeds and reliability of internet across this vast continent are as varied as the countries they are found in.
While it’s true that much of the continent languishes far behind the rest of the world, its also true that there are thriving internet-based businesses everywhere. For the sake of simplicity, these are the 5 African countries with the fastest average internet.
1) Madagascar = 24.87 Mbps
This makes Madagascar 22nd in world rankings, with faster internet than the UK, most of Europe (including France & Germany) and Australia.
2) Kenya = 10.11 Mbps
3) South Africa = 6.38Mbps
4) Cape Verde = 3.24Mbps
5) Ghana = 2.88 Mbps
It’s important to note that these are AVERAGE speeds. This means faster internet speeds are available in each country.
Are There Digital Nomads in Africa?
Of course there are.
African businesses need web designers, social media marketers & copywriters like everywhere else in the world. The continent of Africa also has some of the youngest populations in the world. That’s a lot of young, creative entrepreneurs using the internet to realise their business dreams.
Also, increasing numbers of international nomads are making their way to all corners of Africa – with plenty of coworking spaces, hotels and Airbnb’s to accommodate them. This means working online in Africa is only going to get easier and more popular.
What Are The Best Digital Nomad Destinations in Africa?
What follows is a quick list, based on the following criteria: Reliable, fast internet; Coworking spaces; Safety and convenience; Amazing travel experiences; Thriving entrepreneurial communities.
-Taghazout & Marrakech, Morocco
-Cape Town, South Africa
And so many more.
Join our Facebook Community to connect with local entrepreneurs across Africa and learn about working online in their home cities.
Are There Coworking Spaces in Africa?
According to Coworker.com, there are over 400 verified coworking spaces in Africa listed on their site.
Which means there are also plenty unverified. That number is only set to grow quickly in the coming years.
How Much Does it Cost to Travel in Africa?
This is not so straight forward a question to answer and depends a great deal on where on the continent you plan on traveling and what you do for fun and adventure.
We will suggest budgets for every destination we write about. In the meantime, we recokon most countries in Africa fall about halfway between Western Europe and Southeast Asia for expenses.
Where is The Best Hiking in Africa?
You probably know all about the magnificent, astounding beauty of Mt. Kilamanjaro in Tanzania and Table Mountain in South Africa.
The truth is, the continent is packed full of incredible, diverse hiking.
Snow-capped peaks in Morroco? Check.
Trekking to chimpanzees and gorillas in the lush green, rolling hills and lakes of Rwanda and Uganda? Check.
The otherworldly beauty of the Danakil Depression in Eithiopia? Check.
Here are three different lists to fuel your wanderlust:
Where is The Best Diving in Africa, for Digital Nomads?
There are great diving destinations across every coastal region of Africa. However some are much more accessible than others.
For digital nomads, the best places to dive and find a great community are Egypt’s Red Sea Coast and South Africa.
In between these two, all along the east coasts of Africa, Madagascar, Mozambique and Tanzania offer the best diving.
Diving in Ghana has also been recommended to us when this question was in the Nomad Africa Facebook Community.
However, the best diving in all of Africa? Without a doubt, Sudan. Just south of Egypt, it may lack its northern neighbour’s famous ship wrecks but they share a coastline dotted with stunning reefs teeming with life.
Except that Sudan’s dive sites are far superior – and nowhere near as crowded. Currently, its only really possible to dive Sudan in an organised group tour. However, when we visited in 2017 a very friendly lady named Iman was building the country’s first dive resort.
Hotels vs Airbnb in Africa
Traveling in East Africa is not always convenient, especially if you’re on a budget.
While Airbnb may be appealing to remote workers for the privacy and ability to work in peace and quiet, we don’t recommend it for short trips.
Here are a few reasons why you should stay in a guesthouse instead:
Hotels offer facilities like daily breakfast, luggage storage and 24 hr reception. Instead of starting your day looking for a grocery store, relax with some pancakes, fresh fruit and coffee; leave your bags in the city while you go on safari; check in at any time, including the middle of the night, without having to wake someone up.
Using Booking.com, you also often get the option to cancel your reservation for free, up to 48 hours before check in. This gives you a lot more flexibility than Airbnb.
Most of the nicest Airbnbs in African cities are in gated estates in wealthy neighbourhoods. This is great if you’re living here, but its not very convenient for a short stay. Taxis are mandatory and often the nearest grocery store is a 20 minute walk away. You also risk getting stuck in traffic any time you go downtown.
Value for Money
I once stayed in an Airbnb to save money on hotels during a stopover in Nairobi. For breakfast, I walked 15 minutes to a small shopping mall. As I couldn’t access my host’s kitchen, I got a porridge and coffee for breakfast. It cost me $7.50.
Ever since, I book budget hotels with breakfast included and save, on average, $7-10 per day.
1 bedroom and studio apartments are rare in East Africa. The ones that are available are usually incredibly overpriced. So, in an Airbnb you’ll often share your space with the host and their family. Most good hotel rooms have workspaces for business travellers and lounges in which you won’t be disturbed.
East African hospitality is the best in the world and staying with a local family is an amazing experience: you’ll often be adopted as a temporary family member.
However, hotel staff have years of experience dealing with every possible tourist issue and question. Hotel receptionists are attentive, friendly, and patient, and will go out of their way to make sure you have the smoothest experience wherever you are.
Even the friendliest family in the world can’t compete with the level of service in a hotel.
Is it Possible to Travel Overland in Africa?
Yes – in many cases, it’s the only cost effective way. At least until more budget airlines start operating.
Recent years have seen a huge increase in highways being built across every region of Africa. This has made traveling overland safer, quicker and much more comfortable. In less developed countries, it’s still best to drive in the day time, unless unavoidable, but always follow local guidance on these matters.
Do You Have a Question?
Do you have a question about working online in Africa? Let us know in the comments below and we’ll answer it.