How To Decide Which African Country To Visit First And How Much $$$ You'll Need

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Your burning African travel questions!


Question 1: How do I decide which African country to visit first?!

With 54 countries it can be downright overwhelming to narrow down which part of Africa you want to visit or move to!

You know you best, so a good start is to brainstorm about what style of living and experience is important to you.

Do you want to be in a beachy locale (don’t The Gambia’s beaches look beautiful)? Do you want to experience an African ‘winter’ (southern Africa can get pretty chilly!)? Or would you rather be somewhere that has no rainy season? Would you like to be in a country with a high or low population (Namibia, where I live, only has about 2 million people!). How much does Internet speed and access matter to you? What kind of investment or entrepreneurial opportunities are you interested in? Do you want to live in a country that has been independent from before the 90s? Would you rather be in a country where English is the official language or not? Is a country’s religion an important factor to you? What kind of social scene and nightlife are you interested in?

As you can see I could go on forever. I’ve created this free downloadable worksheet for you with a long list of things you can think about as you decide what African nation you’d like to spend time in. As you consider what's most important to you, the list will help you narrow down what country/ies you'd like to see!

Photo credit: Col André Kritzinger,  Cinquenta Kwanzas obverse ,  CC BY-SA 3.0

Photo credit: Col André Kritzinger, Cinquenta Kwanzas obverseCC BY-SA 3.0

Question 2: How much money should I save in order to move to or visit Africa?

I receive quite a lot of emails with this exact question. First things first, you've gotta stop thinking of the entire continent of Africa "as a country". Africa is a ginormous and incredibly diverse continent! Each nation, region, community, and tribe differs significantly.

Understand that how much you need to save entirely depends on what country and community you’d like to be in, just as it would in North America or Europe, for example.

So, it’s impossible for me to give a specific amount on how much you should save to move to Africa. But have no fear! Thanks to the Internet you can get a rough idea of how much money you might need for most nations.

Treat planning for your African vacation or trip as you would visiting any other city or country. This may seem like basic advice, but I’ve realized a lot of people simply don’t know where to begin… and that’s okay.

So, what you should do?

Follow exchange rates (I use so that you understand how far your US dollars (or the currency of your home country) will take you. Keep in mind that the cost of living of some African nations will be way more expensive than others. Some communities will be pricey, like Christopher’s in Nigeria. It all depends on the neighborhood you want to be in.

For budgeting in-country expenses, jot down a list of your current expenses as most of them will probably transfer over to an African nation. Hit up the Internet and google the same expenses, but in the country you’re interested in. Some examples are:

  • Accommodation
  • Utilities (water, food, electricity, Internet, cell phones etc)
  • In-country transportation
  • Contingency funds (in the event of an emergency)

If you’re on Facebook, join travel related groups like "Black Americans Living Abroad" and ask what things cost! You can also search for Facebook groups based in African countries. Then join them and ask nationals budget related questions. For example, there are many marketplace like Facebook groups run by Namibians, advertising rentals and properties for sale in Namibia, where I’m based.

There are a host of other pre and post travel related expenses that can arise, particularly if you’re diving into a more permanent move. Check out this helpful BBC article on how to budget for living abroad. This one by Travel Noire shares crafty ideas on how to live abroad on a budget! And don’t forget to sign up for frequent flyer miles!

A little research can take you a long way in terms of giving you an idea of how much money you might need to begin saving.

Happy planning! Don’t forget grab your free downloadable worksheet with everything you need to think about as you pick out an African nation to visit! Then subscribe to our newsletter for more advice and reflections from the great continent!