The dominance of the British Empire in Africa brought the English language to the continent. Even today, Africans speak good English compared to many other countries without direct contact with the British Empire.
But given the international appeal of the English language called ‘The Mother Tongue’ by Bill Bryson, it’s no wonder so many Africans speak it alongside speaking multiple dialects in some cases.
Here are the best English-speaking countries in Africa.
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English is an official language in Rwanda together with French and Swahili. The country has a population of over 12 million people and it is run by a president with extended powers, including the ability to create and pass laws. Attractions include natural habitats with diverse wildlife. The country attracts a large number of English-speaking trekking fans who’re out to see gorillas in the Volcanoes Natural Park.
English is one of the many recognized languages and dialects in Ghana. If you’re an English speaker, you can visit Ghana for some of the best African food and some of the most spectacular cities in the country. Most tourists head to Accra. This city of 2 million residents impresses with its raw natural beauty. You can hear English being spoken on the popular Accra Labadi Beach every day.
It took a long time for local Malawi residents to get rid of British rule. The country only gained independence in 1966. It’s now the home of more than 19 million people. At the moment, the country is struggling with political and economic stability. But what it lacks in economics it gains in culture. Just a short drive will take you to the UNESCO World Heritage city of Lilongwe. This is where you can still find some of the oldest drawings in the world dated back to the Stone Age.
English is an official language in Zimbabwe. There are 16 official languages in this South African country. But English is the official language of the education system as well as the official language of the judiciary system. With a diverse ecosystem of languages, the countries somehow pull together as one of the emerging nations of the African continent. With its natural attractions, it’s no wonder so many English-speaking tourists plan a visit here. We recommend the world-famous Victoria Falls which are one of the 7 natural wonders of the world with its height of over 300 feet.
Botswana has a small population of just 2 million people. English is not the first language here as it sits behind Setswana and Sekalanga. But many of its residents speak and understand English. If you plan to visit this small country, you can head over to the impressive Chobe National Park. There are more than 120.000 elephants in this vast national park. Zebras, buffalos, and giraffes also call this area their home.
English is the official language of Zambia. It’s spoken widely in official circumstances. Other popular languages here include Chewa and Bemba. With a population of over 17 million people, Zambia has its English dialect and distinct words. But you’ll want to visit it for its top attractions as well. We recommend heading over to the Kasanka National Park with an English-speaking guide. You can see plenty of antelopes in the grassy fields of the national park.
With a large population of over 40 million people, Kenya speaks very good English at all levels. British English is the main language here alongside Swahili. The country has some of the best international African relations as a result. If you plan to visit the country, we recommend the surprising 5.199 meters tall mountain in the Great Rift Valley. Its glaciers are very surprising given you’re in an Equatorial country.
As the most populous country in Africa, Nigeria speaks very good English. Over 200 million people are living here and their first language is English. The language is still not spoken in remote areas of the country. But Nigeria decided to adopt the language to facilitate communication with the British colonists. The country only saw liberation from British rule in 1960. You can visit Lagos, the country’s largest city which offers an excellent gateway to Africa and local culture through multiple large museums.
English, Luganda, and Swahili are the official languages of Uganda. An African country with a population of over 42 million people, Uganda is still finding its identity. English was the only official language of the country up until 2005. You can visit Kampala City which is considered the best destination for nightlife in East Africa.
1. South Africa
With a population of nearly 60 million people, South Africa is a country where English is an official language. The country boasts 11 official languages such as isiZulu and Afrikaans. The international openness of the country has been highly appreciated in 2010 when it hosted a cheerful Football World Cup.
The country saw a large influx of tourists for this event. All of them got by simply speaking English. Modern cities such as Cape Town are places where you hear English being spoken on every street.
But the country has a significant history with colonists coming from Europe. It has first seen Portuguese colonists arrive to seek wealth here. Later on, South Africa became the first country on the continent with nuclear capabilities.
Today, the English-speaking countries receive tourists and even medical patients from all over the world. It was the country that saw the first successful human-to-human heart transplant back in 1962. Some of its cities such as Durban also attract international investment given the higher education system in the country is world-renowned.
For those who like to combine business with pleasure, some of the beaches in Cape Town and Durban can be relaxation places where you also get to speak English either with locals or with other tourists that visit the state every year.