Simba Approved: 4 Top Locales to Teach English in East Africa

by Published

Where should I teach English in Africa?

Hakuna Matata. What a wonderful phrase. Or is it? When considering where to teach abroad, teaching English in Africa may mean no worries for the rest of your days. Whether you are seeking adventure, a steady – though likely modest – income, or a chance to experience life in a different part of the world, teaching in East Africa can offer it all. No matter if you are teaching English in Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, or Tanzania— you will have the chance to live out your Lion King fantasies while exploring the real daily life of East Africans.

4 Top Places to Teach English in Africa

Jetting off to teach English in East Africa will not mean gazing out over grassy savannahs as you admire vegetarian warthogs at a watering hole – it may mean living in a city with access to amenities you are used to at home, contrary to popular belief. Although, if you accept a teaching position in a rural area, you could wake up to those sweeping savannah views, but you will also be living with real people who will (hopefully!) be excited about you teaching them a useful language as you grow in your understanding of their own life, language, and culture.

The Best Places to Teach English in East Africa 

Teachers looking for a totally new environment and unique challenges to help them grow as travelers, educators, and people, should look at ESL teaching placements in one of these four East African countries. 

Lion cub laying down
Simba says, “Stop lion around!” If you want to teach in Kenya, get to work!

1. Kenya

If you teach abroad in Kenya you can choose from opportunities in Nairobi, Kenya’s capital, or placements in cities like Mombasa or Diani Beach. Since it’s one of Kenya’s official languages, the ability to speak, read, and write English is an important professional skill that can help language learners of any age excel in school and the workplace. 

As you adjust and adapt to life while teaching English in Kenya, remember Timon’s guidance: if you live with us,  you have to eat like us! In Kenya, this means heavy doses of cornmeal and rich stews with beans and potatoes. While we can’t guarantee that what you eat will taste like chicken, we are pretty sure it’s going to be delicious! While you might feel at times that no matter if you look left or look right you will be standing spotlight, remember that your role teaching in East Africa is to put the spotlight on your students and their potential.

Hornbill bird sitting on a branch 
You’ll have a lovely bunch of coconuts and ESL students. 

2. Uganda

When considering whether you want to teach abroad in Uganda, you may say to yourself that there is more to do than can ever be done. With Lake Victoria and Bwindi Forest National Park, you will be reminded of the circle of life all around you on your weekend excursions or on teaching breaks. 

Just remember to take the time to teach your students those shapes and water body forms in your English classes! Teaching English in Uganda may be a challenging experience as you navigate the education system’s bureaucracy or your host school’s policy and practices, but we are confident you can find a perfect harmony with all the world’s living things and find success both inside, and outside, the classroom. 

3. Rwanda 

As one of three official languages in Rwanda, speaking English is an increasingly sought after skill set as the Rwandan government transitions from a predominantly French-based education system to an English one. Teaching jobs in Rwanda can be difficult to identify from a distance, but they are out there. Just start your search for teaching opportunities in Rwanda on GoAbroad and you'll be well on your way. Though teaching English in Africa, especially in Rwanda, will require meticulous planning, the job can be done and we know you’ll be a star!

[Learn more about Africa's up and coming destinations for teaching English abroad]

Close up of Meerkats
This will be the start of a beautiful acquaintanceship— er, teach abroad adventure?

4. Tanzania

If you think that when you teach abroad in Tanzania you will be the main event, like no English teacher was before, well, you need to think again. With the highest mountain in Africa (Mt. Kilimanjaro) and Serengeti National Park, Tanzania has a lot of main events and reasons to draw visitors, and most definitely English teachers, to their country. The need for English teachers is high, so students and adults can have the skills needed to communicate with English-speaking foreigners who drive a large percentage of the country’s economy. 

As you teach English in Tanzania, you might think that you can run around all day doing everything your way, but do not be fooled. Teaching in Africa will require you to be humble and aware of your surroundings, so you can best serve your students as you seek to understand Tanzanian culture. In fact, once you arrive and find your classroom, it’s not a bad idea to arrange a heart-to-heart with someone from your new community so you can best understand your role in their locale.

Teach English in Africa with one of these Stellar Programs:

Remember who you are, and also remember that teaching in Africa is no passing craze. It likely won’t mean no worries for the rest of your days, but taking the leap to teach English in East Africa could very well mean no worries for some of your days— if not most of them! 

[Check out these 8 teach English abroad programs in Africa hiring now]

Two lions laying on a rock
Before you know it you’ll be king of Pride Rock (aka. the ESL classroom). 

Are you looking for a problem-free teaching abroad philosophy? We’re sorry (#notsorry) to burst your bubble, but it doesn’t exist. What does exist are thrilling opportunities to share your English-teaching expertise in a region of the world that offers the Lonely Planet guide-making ‘African’ safari/exotic animal experience (on weekend trips) while also giving you the chance to live in thriving urban (or rural) city in some of the fastest growing economies in the world. 

Like Pumbaa says, ‘Home is where your rump rests!’ so where are you going to rest yours? With enticing options to teach throughout East Africa, you won’t have a problem finding opportunities to teach English in Africa. You may, however, have a problem finding your answer to Rafiki’s question: “Who are you?” If you just can’t wait to be king an English teacher in East Africa, then what are you waiting for? Get prepared for the chance of a lifetime! 

Find your way to teaching English in Africa now!