Moving to Africa
The continent of Africa is vast, taking in 53 countries and stretching from Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia in the north to South Africa in the south. Sitting over the equator, Africa holds untold numbers of cultures, languages, religions and treasures.
If you’re thinking of moving to Africa the experiences you’ll have living there will vary dramatically depending on which country you plan to live in. Outlined below are just some of the places you might be thinking of relocating to.
Botswana is situated in Southern Africa, bordered by Zambia, Zimbabwe, South Africa and Namibia. With a population of nearly 1.7 million people, it is a peaceful and stable country with a myriad of beautiful, rich cultures and wonderful scenery. The capital city, Gaborone, is a fast-growing, busy and modern city, but one that might, at first, seem so spread out that you can't identify the city centre. However it is diverse, tranquil and safe.
The two most widely spoken languages here are Setswana and English. English is commonly used for business and everyday life and you’ll find that the people of Botswana are educated and communicate well. However, it is polite to make an effort and try to learn and use the local language when you can
Kenya is located in east Africa and is well known for its wildlife, national parks and game reserves. This is where to come if you want to spot the ‘big five’ – lions, leopards, elephants, rhinoceros and buffalo. Nairobi, the capital city, literally means ‘the place of cool waters’, but it is also called ‘Green City in the Sun’ because of its climate and pollution-free, green environment. The climate is enjoyable but the altitude does make for some chilly evenings. The warmest time of the year is during summer from December to March.
Nairobi is now one of the most prominent cities in Africa, both politically and financially. Due to its size it can be quite overwhelming when you first arrive and it may appear unsafe, however crime here is on the decrease due to the efforts of the police. Many expats choose to live in suburban areas such as Runda and Westland, and once you are away from the hustle and bustle of the big city it will feel less intimidating.
Also in the east of Africa is Tanzania, a country with around 40 million inhabitants. The largest city, although no longer the capital, is Dar es Salaam, where you’ll find a real fusion of African, Arabian, Asian and European cultures. The vast city is divided into four distinct areas: the town centre (a mixture of office buildings, hotels, restaurants, bars, night clubs, parks and sports facilities); the peninsular (home to most of the diplomatic corps and expatriates, with good views of the sea and some restaurants, shops, hotels and the sailing club); coastal homes and resorts stretching 20-30 kilometres to the north and south of the city; and the remainder of the city (a mass of low-cost housing with three to four million people living close to the poverty line).
The change from socialism to a more capitalist-aligned government in the last 15 years and the influx of diplomats, large businesses and foreign aid donations has resulted in a gradual uplift of the local population, and the infrastructure and public facilities are improving each year. Power failures were once frequent but have now been replaced by just the occasional loss of power. Water and sewage remain high on the Government's list of priorities.
South Africa is situated at the southernmost tip of the African continent. It is a diverse country of breathtaking natural beauty, from sun-baked deserts to sub-tropical coastlines, vast expanses of untamed bush to majestic mountains. Its population of nearly 50 million people speak 11 official languages.
South Africa is a warm and friendly multicultural country, a fact which is illustrated by its nickname, the ‘Rainbow Nation’. Just as diverse as the culture is the climate, from hot summer days and dry frosty winters in the north to the humid summers and balmy winter nights of Kwa Zulu-Natal
As with all places, not all areas of South Africa are safe so you are advised to do your research and seek advice before deciding where to live. Exercise caution, seek safety in numbers and keep your wits about you.
Find out more about moving abroad
Continue exploring the rest of this site to find out more useful information about moving overseas. There are a number of guides and tips to help you begin to plan your relocation, but also make sure you do some research of your own and try to seek the views of others who have been before.
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