Picking a foreign destination for retirement involves a bunch of trade-offs that are very personal. Other than the biggie — health care and costs — you also want to consider ease of everyday living, travel restrictions, scenery, food, culture, amenities, the weather and the law. Then there’s also this one: will you like your new environment full time? Here are 12 great cities to retire to in Africa.
Grahamstown, South Africa
If you plan on finally devoting your attention to the arts and literature during retirement, Grahamstown is perfect. The city is the home of the famous Rhodes University and hosts the National Arts Festival each year, so it is a hub for cultural activity and famous art and literature speakers. You can enjoy a meal at a nice restaurant for around $25 and rent a three-bedroom apartment in the city center for less than $700 per month.
Ibadan isn’t far from Lagos, so if you want the conveniences of a big city, you can get their secure units throughout the city and the city’s reputation has expanded from a place with ancient roots to one with gorgeous hotels and upscale restaurants. Cost of living is quite affordable, too.
Kumasi is in the middle of lovely green hills, so it has a feel of country living while still being a bustling place. Kumasi has fun educational offerings such as dancing and drumming classes, and fascinating historical sites such as the National Cultural Center, which has inside an enormous library. Kumasi is drivable to airports in Accra and Tamale, so retirees can easily receive visitors. A quick peek at a real estate site will show you that you can buy a multi-bedroom house for between $300,000 and $700,000 in the city.
One of the most important facts about Tunis for retirees is the life expectancy: 74.6 years. If you’ve been blessed with Western medicine and a healthy lifestyle, your life expectancy could be even higher. Nation.co.ke ranked Tunis on the Happy Index as the second happiest place to live in Africa. The city also has a very manageable railway system.
Libreville is a modern city near the Atlantic Ocean so it’s great for those looking for beach living. Libreville is one of the largest cities in Gabon, so you can find modern conveniences. The downtown area has luxury apartments with satellite TV and air conditioning. Libreville is home to one of Gabon’s major universities, so it is a hub for cultural and educational events.
The port city is easily accessed from Europe or the Middle East, so retirees here can welcome guests easily. France colonized Algiers for a while in the 1800s and the French influence is still felt in the shopping, wide boulevards and food, earning the city the name “The Paris of Africa.” Algiers is, however, a Mediterranean city so there is a breezy feeling to the cafes and beaches.
Asmara was named the world’s safest city by Madote.com. Visitors to the city have observed that strangers will offer to help you if you’re lost, and crime is so low that people don’t even lock up their bicycles. Asamar enjoys a rich Italian culture, so you’ll find Italian cuisine and mannerisms mixed with the local desert culture. Cost of housing and meals is very low, and hotels are inexpensive for your visiting family.
Enugu is ideal for those looking for a laid back vibe. Recently the public transportation and housing have improved greatly. You can rent a three-bedroom, four-bathroom home for around $2,000 per month or buy a three-bedroom house for around $75,000.
With welcoming locals and a large community of expats, Kigali offers the best of many worlds including luxury hotels and restaurants amid stunning, lush wildlife. If you’re a foodie, Kigali is your spot: it has a vibrant, fun and dynamic culinary culture and you can dine in upscale restaurants for relatively low prices.
Johannesburg, South Africa
Johannesburg might be one of the pricier cities on this list, but it is still relatively inexpensive compared to American retirement cities. You can dine at an upscale restaurant for around $30, get a monthly metro pass for less than $50, join a fitness club for less than $30 a month and rent a three-bedroom apartment in the city center for just over $1,000. It’s also very clean and has gorgeous shopping centers.
Diani Beach, Kenya
Diani Beach might be best for a vacation home-away-from-home in Africa. The beach is one of the most famous and pristine in Africa. Diani has a vibrant seaside village full of supermarkets, local craftspeople, and charming cottages for rent or sale.