7 Unconventional Countries for Teaching in Africa 

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Africa is a destination well-suited for the adventurous, open-minded, globally focused teacher. It’s a place where creativity means more than a library full of books. Teaching in Africa offers plenty of opportunities to soak up the sun, whether on beaches or the savannah. There are nature reserves, beekeeping workshops, and safari parks to visit on weekends and holidays (the perfect respite for ESL teachers in Africa). Not to mention ample fresh local bread – from tapalapa to njera to fat cakes to chapati – that will welcome you home after each long day in the classroom.

7 Unconventional Countries for Teaching in Africa

However, to discover this continent in an untraditional way, why not explore a country that is off the beaten path? You’ll be truly immersing yourself in the culture and appreciate humanity in a new light. For those who are not afraid to embrace challenges and are eager to teach English in Africa, you’ll be one of the few who are opening doors for your students’ personal and professional lives. So fuggitabout those popular countries! You’re a rebel who wants to meet the high demand of teaching jobs in Africa in unconventional countries, right?!

Here are seven uncommon destinations for teaching in Africa:

1. Algeria

Camels in the Sahara Desert
Commute to work on a camel.

Algeria is the largest country in Africa located in the northern area on the Mediterranean coast. It’s home to a diverse wildlife with jackals and gazelles, vegetation with coastal, mountainous, and desert-like regions, and cuisines from couscous to pastries. Algeria’s clean water supply is spotty and still improving, and English teachers in Africa should expect a lower salary, minimal resources, and large class sizes. Fortunately, you’ll be fascinated with its welcoming locals, music, ancient ruins, and the Sahara Desert.

Suggested program for teaching in Algeria: 

2. Angola

Winding road leading up a mountain
The winding road to these landscapes are worth it.

About twice the size of Texas and in southern Africa lies the country of Angola. After gaining independence in 2002 from a war, Angola is recovering with developing infrastructure and transportation. Most areas are still poor with intermittent electricity and spotty crime. With seven nationally recognized languages, English teachers are in high demand, and it usually helps to know how to speak Portuguese, as it’s the main language. The endless beaches, ruins from Portuguese colonialism, and wildlife parks make up for the hardships.

Suggested program for teaching in Angola: 

3. Benin

Sunset photo of a wooden bridge near the ocean
The sunsets here will make you sigh from their beauty.

Benin is located in West Africa, and its good roads, accommodation options, extensive wildlife, and beautiful scenery makes it a top contender to teach English in Africa. Most of the people in the country speak French as the main language, but citizens speak other indigenous languages as well. The country’s economy is strengthening with tourism and business developments, and its literacy rate is one of the lowest in the world, so the need for English is high here. The best part about Benin? The culture revolves around food, so go ahead and plan to teach here!

Suggested program for teaching in Benin: 

4. Cape Verde

Fishing boats on the Atlantic Ocean
The sparkling seas call you to come to shore here.

Protruding from the Atlantic Ocean, about 350 miles off the coast of West Africa, is an enchanting archipelago of 10 volcanic islands. Adventurers will rejoice with epic hikes possible on the towering peaks with valleys and sugarcane fields sweeping across the land. Tap your feet to the rhythm of the beats here and savor the hospitality. As Cape Verde becomes more competitive in the global market, and with Portuguese being the main language spoken, the need for business English teachers is continuing to grow in demand.

Suggested program for teaching in Cape Verde: 

5. Namibia 

Sand dunes at sunrise
Rise to the occasion of a new world here.

From the Kavango and Zambezi savannas to Namibia’s desert coast with windswept dunes, this southern African country characterizes environmental diversity. With 11 national languages, Namibia boasts being linguistically diverse as well to say the least! Animal lovers will exult in the available areas to see rhinos, big cats, elephants and more at the Etosha National Park, Damaraland, Bwabwata, and Nkasa Rupara. The population here is growing rapidly, and so is the need for qualified English teachers with the strain for education.

Suggested program for teaching in Namibia: 

6. Senegal

A man and child on a cart with a horse near the ocean
Take a journey on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean.

Sip on mango juice, dance to mbalax music, and listen to a griot tell a story in this Western African country, where hospitality is its national identity. Marvel at the colonial architecture and the scenic national parks, and awe at the strips of beaches and the hundreds of bird species.  Senegal is a stable country with an affordable cost of living, and French is the primary spoken language. However, it’s working to provide quality education to its students, so English teaching jobs are available here.

Suggested programs for teaching in Senegal:

7. Zambia

Rainbow at Victoria Falls
The rewards from teaching at the end of this rainbow is high.

For those really looking to venture out, Zambia is a challenge for travelers, as it’s landlocked in southern Africa. With landscapes ranging from mountains to river basins and a vastness of wildlife, the tricky trek to journey to this country is worth it. You can even canoe down serene rivers and raging rapids to the majestic Victoria Falls. While English is the official language, most citizens don’t learn the language until they start school, so Zambia needs English teachers. For those who are certified with experience, you can expect to receive competitive salaries, but with most positions available on a volunteer basis, many schools offer free accommodation.

Suggested programs for teaching in Zambia: 

What to Consider Before Browsing Teaching Jobs in Africa

Regardless of your country of choice, keep in mind that the conditions of the country, schools, and classrooms might not be what you’re used to while teaching in Africa. There might be health or environmental scares, a shortage of supplies, unmotivated students, or a significant amount of low-quality supplies. A TEFL certification might not be required to teach English in Africa, but it will better equip you with the skills necessary to be an effective teacher to handle problems you face.

While you can find paid teaching jobs in Africa, your salary will not leave a ton of wiggle room for savings or extraneous expenditures (nor might it accurately reflect the hard work you do!). Unparalleled experience is the wealth obtained through this work. However, if you’re drawn to the mother continent but aren’t in the mood for a teaching experience in a particularly extreme destination, more popular countries for teaching jobs in Africa, that are more equipped for foreign English teachers, may be better suited for you. If this sounds like your cup of tea, consider South Africa, Tanzania, or Morocco instead.

Pack your bags! It’s time to Teach in Africa

Despite the obstacles you’ll face as an ESL teacher in Africa, just remember that your experience will be meaningful and worth it. You’ll make lifelong connections with the locals, enjoy the sounds of the ocean, learn the ways of the wildlife, and appreciate the little things even more. With your passport and visa in hand, sunblock packed, and immunizations covered, you’re well on your way to an unforgettable adventure teaching in Africa!

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