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Best Places to Live in Africa | Top 10 Places to Emigrate to

Africa is home to vast landscapes, colossal mountain ranges, and diverse ecosystems. Where nature ends and civilization begins, and sometimes in between, you’ll find thriving cities and vibrant cultures that host some of the world’s most extraordinary lifestyles and experiences.

With Africa quickly becoming the next Garden of Eden for Expats worldwide, you may be wondering which cities offer the most and if you could consider making them your next home. After all, you may want to go trekking and see wildlife of Uganda or climb Mount Kilimanjaro but choosing a place to live has other considerations. This guide breaks down everything you need to know about picking the ten best places to live in Africa.

Best Places to Live in Africa for…

  1. Expats: Johannesburg (South Africa)
  2. English Speakers: Cape Town (South Africa)
  3. Digital Nomads: Casablanca (Morocco)
  4. Solo Travelers: Marrakech (Morocco)
  5. Couples: Windhoek (Namibia)
  6. Groups: Gaborone (Botswana)

Top 10 Places to Live in Africa

1. Cape Town (South Africa)

Best City for English Speakers

Cost of Living: $$

Listed in the top 10 most beautiful cities globally, Cape Town’s canvas-worthy sunsets and beaches, breathtaking mountain ranges, and world-famous wine farms will make your jaw drop. Expats worldwide risk it all to call the Mother City’s warm embrace “home.” There seems to be endless unusual things to do in Cape Town.

Tip: Avoid using public transport such as taxis or trains when exploring the city. The Red Bus tours are a great way to learn about the city and see its best sights while also getting around.

Who Would Like to Live There: Expats, English speakers.

Pros:

  • Incredible natural beauty.
  • Vibrant nightlife.
  • Great weather year-round. 

Cons:

  • High crime rates. 
  • The economy and political status of Cape Town has declined over the past few years.
  • Finer living is very expensive.

2. Johannesburg (South Africa)

Best City for Business

Johanesburg City

Cost of living: $

Johannesburg is South Africa’s largest city and is known as the economic trade capital of Africa. Johannesburg is a perfect city for Expats due to its thriving economy and business opportunities. The cost of living in the city is relatively low, especially compared to Cape Town.

 Tip: Gated residential areas surround the city and offer a safer, higher quality of living at affordable rates.

Who Would Like to Live There: Expats, Entrepreneurs.

Pros: 

  • A thriving economy.
  • Affordable.
  • Located near major game reserves and national parks.

 Cons: 

3. Marrakech (Morocco)

Best City for Culture

Marrakech

Cost of living: $

Known as “The Red City,” Marrakech is a bustling empire of culture, vibrant colors, and a blend between nature and city life. Marrakech is almost 1,000 years old, and its age reflects in its breathtaking architecture and unique traditions. Despite the outside impression of its infrastructure, the city is very well developed, mainly due to its tourism infrastructure.  

Tip: Using city maps, or Google maps, to pin locations and help you find your way around is your best chance for stress-free exploration.

Who Would Like to Live There: Digital nomads, solo travelers.

Pros: 

  • Friendly locals.
  • Enormous tourism economy.
  • Affordable living.

Cons:

  • Summers get extremely hot.
  • Scammers and petty thieves.
  • “Haggling” is the popular form of business interaction here.

4. Gaborone (Botswana)

Best City for Tranquil Landscapes

Gaborone

Cost of living: $

Living in Gaborone, Botswana presents you with the opportunity to live amongst some of the world’s most miraculous landscapes and scenery. This humble country has quickly improved its infrastructure. It is becoming a viable option for Expats looking for a peaceful and picturesque countryside to call home. 

Tip: Although health care is excellent, you’ll need insurance as quality medical services are costly.

Who would like to live there: Digital nomads, solo travelers.

Pros:

  • Low crime rate.
  • Strong infrastructure.
  • Summers are very hot, and last all year.

Cons:

  • Intolerance of LGBTQ.
  • Health risks such as rabies outbreaks. 
  • Traffic is chaotic.

5. Windhoek (Namibia)

Best City for Peaceful Living

Namibian Church

Cost of living: $ – $$

Namibia is a country of indescribable beauty and peaceful living. Clean and well-developed cities scatter the desert-like oasis and are some of the friendliest and safest places to live. A politically stable government, a thriving tourism economy, and a low-density population mean that having a life here is quiet, comfortable, breathtakingly surreal, and all-encompassing.

Tip: 4×4 vehicles are popularly used to navigate Namibia’s rugged terrain. 

Pros:

  • Well-developed health care.
  • Nature and city life blend together.
  • Low cost of living.

Cons: 

  • High unemployment rate.
  • Lack of entertainment facilities.
  • Property costs can be very high.

6. Durban (South Africa)

Best City for Food

Durban Beach

Cost of Living: $$

Durban is a tropical city on the East coast of South Africa. It is praised for its rich food culture and ocean-based social focus. Durban is also home to the world’s largest Indian community outside of India, contributing to its rich blend of cultural diversity. The atmosphere of Durban is exciting and adventurous, with a significant focus on arts and outdoor lifestyles.

Tip: There is a large gap between Durban’s private and public health care.

Who Would Like to Live There: Expats, Foodies.

Pros:

  • Good weather year-round.
  • Excellent food and culture scene.
  • Affordable cost of living.

Cons:

  • Increasing crime rate.
  • Beaches get very crowded during the December holidays.
  • Public transport is not reliable or safe.

7. Algiers (Algeria)

Best City for Infrastructure

Algiers Gardens

Cost of Living: $$

Algiers is referred to as “The France of Africa” due to its lavish architecture, impressive infrastructure, and great weather. Situated in the Mediterranean region, Algiers has the potential to become a major center in Africa due to its exceptional standard of living and tourism attraction. There has been a growing demand for new workers and city development in the last few years.

Tip: Due to intricate cultural norms, women and men do not socialize together.

Who Would Like to Live There: Expats, entrepreneurs.

Pros:

  • Cheap gasoline and electricity.
  • Booming economy.
  • Welcoming/friendly locals.

Cons:

  • Traffic is severe.
  • High property rates.
  • Strict cultural systems.

8. Casablanca (Morocco)

Best City for Photos

Casablanca Mosque

Cost of Living: $

In addition to being the largest city in Morocco, Casablanca is also the biggest Atlantic port city in this country. It takes a significant role in the worldwide exchange, and it is the primary monetary focus in Africa. Schools here are predominantly Arabic or French-speaking, and there are a few international schools as well. 

Tip: Casablanca is the center of recreation in Morrocco, with an excellent dining scene and plenty of sights to see.

Who Would Like to Live There: Digital Nomads, solo travelers.

Pros:

  • Affordable living.
  • Fantastic reputation for food and culture.
  • Great weather.

Cons:

  • Sexism towards women.
  • Increasing crime rate.
  • Low-quality education.

9. Grahamstown (South Africa)

Best City for Education

Grahams church

Cost of Living: $

Grahamstown’s primary economic focus is education and it is home to the world-renowned Rhodes University. It is also known as the “City of Saints” for its mass collection of religious buildings and gatherings for many different religions. Due to its educational focus, Grahamstown also prides itself on its impressive infrastructure of art and literature. 

Tip: The world-famous ‘Natural Arts Festival’ is held here every year.

Who Would Like to Live There: Students, groups.

Pros:

  • Affordable living.
  • Very safe.
  • High quality of education.

Cons:

  • Poor medical infrastructure. 
  • Poor weather.
  • High unemployment rate.

10. Nairobi (Kenya)

Best City for Health Care

Nairobi Skyline

Cost of Living:$$$

Over the last few years, Nairobi has dramatically improved the city’s infrastructure and economic liberality. It has quickly become one of Africa’s most prominent political and financial centers. Surrounded by breathtaking natural landscapes, Nairobi offers a perfect blend of tranquil outdoor living and inner-city hustle-and-bustle.

Tip: People travel worldwide to go to Niarobi Hospital, for its excellent staff and affordability.

Who Would Like to Live There: Expats.

Pros:

  • Excellent health care.
  • English is widely spoken by locals.
  • Affordable living.

Cons:

  • Limited shopping facilities.
  • Crime.
  • Dangerous driving conditions.

FAQs

1. Is It Safe in Africa?

Africa generally has high crime rates, but these vary from country to country.

2. What Currency Do They Use in Africa?

Africa uses several different currencies. South Africa, for example, uses the South African Rand (ZAR), and Morroco uses the Moroccan Dirham (MAD).

3. What Language Do They Speak in Africa?

Africa is the most culturally diverse continent in the world, with over 2,000 different languages spoken throughout.

4. How to Travel Around Africa?

Being such a vast continent, traveling through Africa can be a long and intricate journey. Flying, cross-country buses, and trains are commonly used to navigate the continent.

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