Any tips for nomad'ing from Tanzania to South Africa?

Hi nomads! I’m headed to Tanzania in mid-July and working my way down to Cape Town over about 2.5 months. It’s my first time in the region. Any tips or warnings for typical nomad concerns in Tanzania, Zambia, Botswana, Mozambique and South Africa?

I’m anticipating worse than usual wifi speed but any tips on connectivity would be great.

What are the best sites or strategies for accommodation? I usually use Airbnb, hostelworld or booking.com and target guesthouses in the $50/night or cheaper range. Is that realistic?

Most importantly what should we do?! I’ve already research the obvious highlights: Kilimanjaro, Serengeti, Zanzibar, Victoria Falls, etc. Any off the beaten path things to do and/or good spots to post up for a few weeks and enjoy/work?

Thanks :smile:

Hi there, not a nomad just a lurker on the forums so don’t really have any nomadic specific tips, but I’m currently in Zambia for a couple of months and have visited some of the countries in the region on earlier occasions.

Eastern and Southern Africa is a fantastic part of the world, so you’re going to have a great time. $50/night should be enough to get some decent accomodation, but you might have to shop around and don’t expect too much. Tanzania, Zambia and Botswana don’t cater to individual travelleres and backpackers the same way many Asian and South American countries do. Hostels are quite rare since the tourist industry caters mostly people on all-inclusive safaris. Don’t know about Mozambique and South Africa though.

In Zambia internet connection is not exactly great, usually it only qualifies as acceptable. If you’re staying in better hotels or lodges you’ll probably be looking at 10 Mbit/s at best. I’d recommend getting a local SIM and just accept the fact that you’ll have to pay for reliable internet. There’s three operators in Zambia: Airtel, MTN and Zamtel. I’m using MTN which is supposedly the best of the bunch. Data packages cost about 200 ZMK for 2GB, 300 for 3GB and 800 for 10GB. Valid for 30 days. Airtel should be avoided since they charge extra for access to WhatsApp, Facebook and Twitter. In my experience, Livingstone has better mobile internet speeds than Lusaka, regularly got about 20 Mbit/s in Livingstone while in Lusaka I’m rarely above 2 Mbit/s.
If you’re planning on visiting Lusaka, the best internet is found at The Deli, a great café with good coffee and fantastic food.

A word of warning though, there’s load shedding going on in all of Zambia for the indeterminate future. Appearently the rainy season wasn’t as rainy as it usually is, so water levels are low and power generation cannot keep up with demand. Expect power outages on an irregular basis, lasting for up to 8 hours at a time. If that’s a dealbreaker for you, I’d suggest skipping most of Zambia (except Victoria Falls) and instead consider Namibia, which will be a great contrast to the other countries.

Hi Tyler,

I have just been back from 2 months nomading in Mozambique, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Botswana. And I have resided 1.5 years in South Africa so I can share you some tips.

As you may expect it, the internet is not great there. In Mozambique, you can buy a SIM card from Vodacom and get 2GB for no more than USD10, cheap, and the connection in 3G is good. I had more ease working on 3G than on most Wi-Fi hotspots.

You can do the same in Tanzania with Airtel, but the quality of the network is quite poor.

I don’t know about the 3G in Zambia, Zimbabwe and Botswana, but I found it hard to find Wi-Fi in most hotels.

In South Africa the connection is good and most places have Wi-Fi (at least compared to the countries above), the 3G is good but expensive.

I have been 2 weeks in Zanzibar and let me save you some troubles if you decide to travel around the island: withdraw as much money as you need in Stone Town, the capital city, because then there is no ATM on the whole island!

This region is fantastic, relatively unexplored as compared to many typical nomad Asian cities. The 2 main downsides of traveling there is the difficulty to find proper internet connection, and the relatively high prices of everything. Mozambique and Zanzibar are relatively expensive (especially the North of Mozambique, region of Pemba). Zambia, Zimbabwe and Botswana are surprisingly expensive. South Africa is cheaper and probably more suited to nomading.

Don’t hesitate if you need more info, I’ll be happy to help.

Cheers, enjoy your nomading in this awesome part of the world! :smile:

Hi romandz! Seems like you have great knowledge of the region. My girlfriend and I are really anxious to spend a month in Africa during August. We’ve been heavily researching Cape Town but she has reservations about the safety of the city. We’re open to most countries in Africa but safety and internet are our top priorities. Prior to spending August in Africa, we’ll be on Reunion for 2 months. Can you share any advice about Cape Town to ease her concerns or countries in Africa you prefer instead? Any help would be awesome!