Digital nomads are location-independent workers who use technology to get their work done while traveling the world. They are always looking for new places to work, explore, discover and add to their lists of cities visited. They also love places where they can simultaneously explore, work remotely, and learn about the local culture and local people.
Digital nomads need certain things to function effectively outside of their laptops. Some of these things are stable internet, security, coworking centers, charming cities, etc. The availability of these things will impact the quality of the nomad’s work.
For people trying to embrace the digital nomad lifestyle, I have curated a list of the best cities to work in Africa. Although not exhaustive, the selection methodology was based on Internet ranking (Speed test Global Index, by Ookla, a mobile and broadband network intelligence company), the availability of coworking hubs, the existence of a technological ecosystem and beautiful places to see. .
The list includes Nairobi, Kenya; Cape Town, South Africa; Cairo, Egypt; Marrakech, Morocco; Lagos, Nigeria; Abidjan Ivory Coast and Accra, Ghana.
Nairobi, the capital of Kenya, is a leading African city home to several leading technology companies. Internet download speed in Kenya is 24.94 Mbps which is relatively fair compared to other African cities. With ICANN entering Kenya, internet speed will improve over time in the coming months.
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Digital nomads in Kenya can get closer to nature by seeing wildlife on any safari in Kenya. The city also offers many markets, bazaars and restaurants to visit. There are over 87 coworking centers in Nairobi, Kenya to choose from.
Visiting African citizens can enter Kenya on a visa on arrival and stay for up to 30 days. However, other nationalities must apply for a single entry visa, a multiple entry visa or an East African tourist visa.
Cape Town, South Africa
Cape Town, South Africa offers digital nomads plenty to see in terms of culture, scenery and lifestyle. The city hosts more than 450 startups in Silicon Valley in South Africa. Broadband internet in South Africa is one of the fastest on the continent with a median download speed of 46.05 Mbps.
Some beautiful places to see in Cape Town are Wander Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens, Table Mountain National Park, a cruise along Chapman’s Peak Drive, Cape Town Museum and many more. More than 59 coworking centers are available to work in Cape Town, South Africa.
Currently, there is no digital nomad visa program in South Africa. However, a temporary residence visa can be acquired to stay in South Africa for more than 90 days.
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Cairo, an ancient Egyptian city, is emerging as a thriving digital nomad destination. Although technology is growing in the city, mobile internet signals are decent. The median download speed in Cairo, Egypt is 21.42 Mbps.
Boasting a rich history and culture, digital nomads working in Cairo will be spoiled for choice for places to visit. From the Great Pyramid of Giza to the Great Sphinx, passing through the Egyptian Museum, Al-Azhar Park and many more. There are over 87 coworking spaces in Cairo.
Obtaining an Egyptian visa varies depending on the nationality of the digital nomad. Egypt issues visa waiver to citizens of some countries, e-visa, visa on arrival to others and visa before travelling.
A digital nomad looking for a city teeming with creativity, culture, art and commerce would do well to consider Marrakech, Morocco. The city with red sandstone walls, monuments and a desert aesthetic has a relatively modest internet. In the fourth quarter of 2021, the speed score in Morocco was 67.26 on modern chipsets.
The beautiful places that digital nomads can see in Marrakech, Morocco are Bahia Palace, Manara Garden, Toubkal National Park, Jemaa el-Fnaa traditional market, etc. Digital nomads can check out the coworking centers available in Marrakech, Morocco.
Morocco offers visa-free entry to citizens of an impressive number of countries. But other citizens can process a Moroccan tourist visa if they intend to stay for up to 90 days.
Lagos is the most populous city in Africa with over 20 million inhabitants. Aside from the traffic jams associated with the city, Lagos has a cosmopolitan nature, friendly locals, and a thriving tech startup scene. The median fixed broadband download in Lagos, Nigeria is 21.34 Mbps.
Although not a typical tourist destination, Lagos has some beautiful places to see. Some of these places are Lekki Conservation Center, Terra Kulture, Jhalobia Leisure Parks and Gardens, Tarkwa Bay, Nike Art Center, etc. There are over 108 coworking centers in Lagos, Nigeria.
To visit Nigeria, digital nomads can obtain a tourist visa, a business visa, a temporary work visa or a visa subject to regularization. These Nigerian visas allow holders to stay in the country for up to 6 months.
Abidjan, Ivory Coast
A lesser-known choice, Abidjan is an efficient city with basic infrastructure (like good roads, less traffic, and a stable power supply) to help digital nomads integrate seamlessly. Abidjan’s fastest median internet speed is 38.86 Mbps.
The best places that digital nomads in Abidjan can visit are Assinie-Mafia Beach, Basilica of Our Lady of Peace, L’ile Flottante, Banco National Park, etc. More than 10 coworking hubs are available in Abidjan, Ivory Coast for digital nomads to work.
There are different types of visas in Ivory Coast depending on the duration and stay of the digital nomad. A short-stay visa is valid for a maximum of 3 months and a long-stay visa is valid for one year.
Accra, the administrative capital of Ghana, is one of the fastest growing technology hubs in West Africa. Twitter’s announcement of its African headquarters in Accra solidifies the city’s position as a hotspot for tech-savvy foreigners and digital nomads. The median fixed broadband download speed in Accra is 22.74 Mbps.
Captivating places to visit in Accra are Kokrobite Beach, Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum, Legon Botanical Gardens, Jamestown Cafe, etc. There are over 28 coworking centers in Accra.
Digital nomads visiting Ghana can apply for a single re-entry visa or multiple re-entry visa valid for 90 days and 180 days respectively from the date of issue.
These cities are also worth mentioning on the lists: Port Louis, Mauritius; Tunis, Tunisia; Zanzibar, Tanzania; Kampala, Uganda; Victoria, Seychelles (they have a digital nomad visa) etc. These African cities are attractive and welcoming to foreigners. Their infrastructures make it easy for digital nomads to live and work there.