Walk into any coffee shop where power outlets and wi-fi are readily available and you’ll find them, digital nomads – the latest travel trend – modern day jetsetters – tapping away on their keyboards behind a laptop; smartphone in hand and a flat white on the table.
Digital Nomads – The Latest Travel Trend
The term, “Digital Nomad” has been around for quite some time but the nomadic career phenomenon has increased tremendously since 2014 as studies revealed that the digital nomad population has doubled during the last two to three years.
What exactly is a Digital Nomad?
Digital nomads are people who are location independent and use technology to perform their job; while some are freelance writers and designers, other run social media management companies, are online merchants or system administrators. Their careers and survival depend on their creative and innovative minds, their entrepreneurial spirit, a steady internet connection and the ability to move around.
One of the major contributing factors why more and more people with digitally-orientated careers choose to become a digital nomad is the fact that they can be location independent. You have the freedom to move around as much, little or far as you want to; it is as simple as pick a country, get a visa, connect to the internet and work.
While a lot of digital nomads flock to Southeast Asia, research has shown that South Africa is not only the best country in Africa to be stationed in during a career of moving around, but South Africa is also one of the best countries in the world where digital nomads can jet off to, earn a buck online and live a comfortable life.
10 Reasons why South Africa is good for Digital Nomads
South Africa offers a stay of a 3 month period (Visa Info) to tourists from more than 60 countries.
The cost of living in South Africa is 41.83% lower than in the United States and the country offers great value for money, and even more if you venture out of the main hubs like Cape Town and Johannesburg to the smaller cities and/or towns.
The monthly rental fee of a centrally located one bedroom (or studio) apartment is on an average between $300 and $700; dormitory accommodation starts from $9, and budget rooms and Airbnb spaces from $23 and up. A mid-range bottle of wine is $4, a domestic beer is under $2, water (1.5l) is $1 and a meal in a local, inexpensive, restaurant is between $3 and $9. Uber’s base fare starts at $1.50; in Cape Town, a bus from the airport to town will cost you $6 whereas a one-way train ticket from O.R Tambo airport to Sandton will be $11. Rental cars start from $22 per day and internet (10 Mbps, Unlimited Data, Cable/ADSL) is around $60 per month.
3) Good infrastructure
Getting around in South Africa is relatively easy via excellent, well-kept national highways and roads for self-driving, via air with South Africa’s numerous low-cost airlines, train and the Gautrain; an 80-kilometre mass rapid transit railway system in Gauteng. Inner-city navigation is easy and in the bigger cities like Cape Town and Johannesburg, modern public transport is readily available plus Uber.
South Africa is geared towards the high-end, mid-class and budget conscious traveler and with transport systems such as the Baz Bus – a backpackers bus stopping at over a hundred hostel accommodations between around South Africa – travelers can travel with peace of mind.
4) High-tech and developed
South Africa has experienced transformation from all sides possible, even from a technical side. The country has a strong IT infrastructure with a constant increase in tech innovation; the Western Cape is often referred to as Silicon Cape because of its strong entrepreneurial ecosystem and similarities with Silicon Valley’s business community and mindset. And rest assured if you ever need technical help with a phone, a website, a laptop or camera, there are digital technicians in South Africa for every possible device.
5) Social Culture
There is an event for anything and everything in South Africa; from markets to cheery festivals and formal events. It is easy to socialize, meet new people and network as a digital nomad in South Africa with other like-minded entrepreneurs, freelancers, and digital creatives.
6) Co-Working Spaces.
Co-Working Spaces and digital nomad meet ups such as Co-Working Days are on the rise due to the rapid incline of entrepreneurial enterprises in South Africa. The workspaces offer fiber optic internet, desks, private cubicles and meeting rooms.
7) Great WIFI – 3G and 4G (LTE) Coverage
Most digital nomads can’t afford to put their phone down for a second and South Africa is tapped into the market of being connected and online 24/7. Tourists can pick up a prepaid sim card from the airport (or most convenience stores) and add money and/or data with ease. More than 60% of South Africa offers 4G (LTE) coverage whereas 3G coverage is more than 90%.
8) Coffee Cultures
South Africans thrive on caffeine and the country is home to world-renowned boutique roasters. Coffee Shops – or rather coffices – are popular workspaces and meeting locations for digital nomads in South Africa. More and more offer power outlets, fast internet and some double as laundromats or bookstores.
7) Outdoor Activities
South Africa is the face of adventure and the country boasts unsurpassable landscapes and scenery which is perfect for digital nomads to unwind and recharge. Not only can you have a big five safari experience in South Africa, but there are plenty of hiking trails to choose from plus adrenaline activities like rafting, rock climbing and paragliding. The pristine beaches and Atlantic and Indian ocean offer excellent all year-round opportunities for diving, swimming, surfing, snorkeling, kayaking and kiteboarding.
10) Gateway to Africa
South Africa is the gateway to the rest of Africa for travelers and entrepreneurs alike; neighbouring countries can be easily reached via inexpensive long distance buses, via an overland trip or via one of the country’s international airports.