The 11 Best Places to Move to in Africa
Africa has a lot to offer. Stretching over 30.37 million km² – larger than the United States, China, and Brazil combined – the continent has everything from the Sahara Desert and Mount Kilimanjaro to surf-friendly coastlines and the grassy Savannah.
To give you an idea of which area will suit you best on your move to this giant continent, we’ve listed the top 11 places to move to in Africa below.
Someone standing on Lion's Head mountain, looking over Cape Town at sunset
1. Cape Town, South Africa
Cape Town is one of the most popular destinations for expats in Africa. This lively city has something for everyone – a mixture of top nightlife venues, cute cafés, incredible beaches, and a phenomenal dining scene.
And, as the 10th-largest city in Africa, Cape Town has a lot of different neighbourhoods to choose from. This is something expats should take their time with, since some areas of Cape Town can be quite dangerous.
The best – and safest – suburbs in Cape Town are Camps Bay and Clifton, which are home to a lot of wealthy expats. After something a little more central? Try out the historic and multicultural Bo-Kaap area.
2. Johannesburg, South Africa
Johannesburg – also known as Joburg, Egoli (city of gold), and Jozi – is South Africa's biggest city and Africa’s largest business centre.
Perfect for expats looking for a plethora of job opportunities, Johannesburg is the centre of trade and logistics in Africa. The majority of South African and international businesses base their African headquarters in this thriving city, so there are countless fields and sectors to choose from.
Unfortunately, crime is rife in some areas of Johannesburg, so make sure you do your research on areas before you move. To combat high crime rates, gated communities are now commonplace in most suburbs, providing locals with extra reassurance.
3. Marrakech, Morocco
Marrakech is enchanting. Street corners are etched with history that dates back to the Berber Empire, mosques have beautiful intricate features, the densely-packed Medina offers rows upon rows of colourful market stalls, and green gardens are dotted around the city.
This former imperial city is a major economic hub, so expats can rest easy knowing there are job opportunities here. Popular roles for foreigners include teaching English or working in healthcare.
Locals also tend to welcome foreigners with open arms – it’s not uncommon for people in Marrakech to strike up a conversation with strangers in a restaurant.
Cairo will welcome you with hundreds of historical artefacts, right on your doorstep
4. Accra, Ghana
Located on the west coast of Africa is Accra – the capital of Ghana. This buzzing city has expanded so much over the past 20 years that it’s now literally hugging the regional borders.
One reason for Accra’s expansion is that it’s gradually becoming more popular for businesses. As a central hub of Ghana, the city is home to a range of national banks, government buildings, and a wealth of commercial and industrial opportunities.
Want to fit in with the locals? Make sure to keep up with “Kumkum Bhagya” and “Osofo Dadzie” – popular TV dramas in Ghana. These shows are taken so seriously that, in some neighbourhoods, people will actually bring their televisions outside so everyone can watch.
5. Victoria, Seychelles
Despite being the smallest capital city in the whole of Africa, Victoria draws in a lot of expats from around the world.
Located on the northeastern coast of Mahe – Seychelles’s largest island – Victoria residents make up roughly one-third of the country’s population.
Locals here live life at a slower pace – perfect for expats in retirement. But there’s more to this capital than lazing around on the beach. Spend mornings exploring colourful fabrics and tropical food at the Sir Selwyn Selwyn Clarke Market, venture into the stunning Vallée de Mai Nature Reserve, or discover wildlife in the corals with a spot of scuba diving.
6. Port Louis, Mauritius
Port Louis is pretty popular with tourists, mainly due to its tropical climate and stunning landscapes. The city’s picturesque Anglican and Roman Catholic cathedrals are also easy on the eyes.
But this city is more than just a tourist hotspot.
In terms of employment, Port Louis is one of the major financial centres in Africa, and it is home to the biggest port facility in the Indian Ocean. In fact, the port is one of the biggest contributors to the city’s economy – with tourism, manufacturing, and financial services also making up large portions.
Expats can also use Port Louis’s libraries, educational institutions, and research facilities for work or school.
7. Durban, South Africa
Durban is the perfect location for anyone looking for a new job opportunity alongside a slower pace of life.
Famous for its unmatched surfing spots and white sandy beaches – perfectly paired with a sunny climate – Durban offers a great quality of life for expats.
Since Durban is a harbour city – with the busiest port in Africa – it’s a central point for importing and exporting goods. If you’re not interested in getting into the trade industry, other major sectors include sugar cane agriculture, forestry, and the automotive sector.
Despite being a relatively small city, there are plenty of trendy neighbourhoods for expats to choose from. If you want to be by the beach, it’s a good idea to check out Amanzimtoti. If that isn’t your vibe, head over to Durban Central, where you’ll find pockets of parks and an eclectic nightlife scene.
8. Cairo, Egypt
Expats wanting to move to Africa without adjusting their lifestyle too much will be pleased to know that there are a number of international restaurants, shops, and schools to explore in Cairo.
The city is also a super affordable place to live, which makes it ideal for anyone wanting to move abroad on a budget. Plus, any history fanatics will practically be in heaven here. There are tonnes of Egyptian museums to wander through, and the Giza pyramids are just a short ride away.
But before you move to Cairo, make sure to do your research on the different neighbourhoods – the differences in quality of living are stark. Some areas have beautiful architecture, large mosques and churches, and green parks, whilst others have decrepit buildings and very little else.
Rows upon rows of stalls sit below sunset at Marrakech's buzzing medina
9. Algiers, Algeria
Nicknamed the “Paris of North Africa”, Algiers has a blend of European and Arab cultures. The city is also visually gorgeous – with its whitewashed buildings sitting on the bay just off the Mediterranean coast.
Foreigners can live comfortably here. Although the expat community is small, it’s very close-knit, so you should be able to make friends easily. And, despite the main languages being French, Arabic, and Berber, English is also widely spoken in Algiers.
If you have little ones with you, the local international school El Kalimat School will certainly come in handy. This popular English-speaking school uses the Cambridge International Curriculum, and covers both primary and secondary years for children aged 5-14.
10. Windhoek, Namibia
Despite being Namibia's capital city, Windhoek has a small-town vibe to it. It’s safe, contemporary, and clean – and its brightly coloured traditional German houses add a lot of character to the place.
Expats looking for work in Windhoek will typically find most roles in the finance, tourism, and transport industries. The city is also a focal point for retail companies and is home to Namibia’s national university.
Unlike many other places in Africa, Namibia has very low levels of political and ethnic tension, thanks to its stable, democratically-elected government. As a result, Windhoek is safer than many other African capitals, and violent crime and discrimination against foreign residents are pretty rare.
11. Stone Town, Zanzibar
This old Swahili coastal town is one of the most intriguing destinations in Africa. Located on the beautiful island of Zanzibar, just off the Tanzanian coast, Stone Town dates back more than 200 years and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Perfect for anyone looking for a peaceful way of life or a relaxing retirement, Stone Town is filled with winding alleys and old riads (a type of traditional Moroccan and Andalusi interior garden or courtyard).
Spend your days chatting to friendly locals, working your way through the town's vibrant bazaars, and trying fresh dishes from various food vendors – all with a gorgeous view of the waterfront.
There are plenty of incredible places to live in Africa. Expats hoping to move to this enormous continent can choose from built-up cities, quaint coastal towns, or villages on the edge of some of the world’s most mesmerising jungles.
With all these options on the table, you’re certain to find something just right for you.