Visiting Africa soon? Make sure to know what to expect when it comes to purchasing an Africa SIM card.
Fortunately, Africa is one of the best places where you can buy a SIM card easily. You should be able to find a cheap SIM card pretty much anywhere in Africa.
In fact, most data packages are affordable, which makes the whole thing easier!
In this guide, we’ll explain where to buy a SIM card in Africa in person and online. We’ll also discuss prepaid SIM cards and eSIMs if your mobile supports them.
Before you read this guide, you may wonder if you actually need a SIM card in Africa. If you don’t mind not having Internet, you’ll likely find free Wifi in restaurants, shopping malls, and hotels.
That said, if you need data to get around, call a cab, or translate into a foreign language – you may want to get a SIM card for your travels in Africa.
Best SIM Cards For Africa
Africa is enormous, and you’ll find various mobile providers depending on the countries you’re visiting. Some providers have partnerships and offer coverage in multiple countries in Africa.
We recommend using a SIM card from Airtel, Ooredoo, or Airalo. (I’ll get back to Airalo later on, so keep reading to learn more!)
That said, depending on your first destination, you might find other providers.
How To Buy A SIM Card In Africa
You can either buy an African prepaid SIM card in person in some international airports, in mobile provider stores, in a convenience store or online.
Usually, you can expect higher costs and low data offers at the airport, so we don’t recommend buying a SIM card at the airport.
That said, you won’t necessarily find SIM card shops in every airport, so it’s essential to keep this in mind.
For this reason, I’d recommend buying a SIM card directly from the mobile provider store. Note that you may need your passport to buy one. Each country has its own rules; you might even need to provide an address.
Although, this means you won’t get data right upon your arrival. So, if you’d rather be connected at all times, you could use an eSIM or purchase an African prepaid SIM card online.
How To Buy An Africa Prepaid SIM Card Online
If you wish to have your SIM card ready for your arrival, you could purchase it online or on websites like Amazon.
You’ll find different plans on Amazon. For example, OneSimCard works in more than 100+ countries and gives you data for $0.01 per MB. Several African countries are included is included.
But, there are many other options worth considering, so have a look and make sure the countries you’re planning on visiting are listed.
Another option is to purchase a prepaid SIM card on Simify. This works if you live in the United States or Australia. They currently offer 1 package that covers several African countries.
- 6 GB, valid for 15 days for $40 – works in 120 countries
Get 10% off your first order with our discount code: ABB10.
Finally, the last option is to buy an eSIM plan for Africa.
How To Buy An African eSIM Plan
eSIM is a new concept allowing you to have a virtual SIM card inside your phone.
If your mobile phone supports eSIM cards – it’s definitely one of the best options to get data in Africa.
Curious? Learn more about the best eSIM providers.
Airalo offers many eSIM cards worldwide, and they have regional plans for Africa. I’ve now been using Airalo in Europe for several months, and I love its convenience.
Read our complete Airalo eSIM review to learn more.
Here’s an overview of the options available in Africa:
- 1 GB, valid for 30 days for $27
- 3 GB, valid for 30 days for $59
The options mentioned above are part of the Hello Africa plan and include 26 countries.
Alternatively, if you’re traveling in other countries that are not mentioned on the list, you can try Discover Global, which offers coverage in 87 countries.
Here’s an overview of the options available on Discover Global:
- 1 GB, valid for 7 days for $9
- 3 GB, valid for 15 days for $24
- 5 GB, valid for 30 days for $35
- 10 GB, valid for 60 days for $59
- 20 GB, valid for 180 days for $89
Now, one important thing to note about Airalo is that you’ll need to keep an eye out for the provider in each country. Suppose you ever have trouble connecting to the Internet during your trip.
In that case, it might be because you’re connecting automatically to networks, and you need to select a network manually instead.
When you purchase the eSIM, you’ll get access to the list of networks supported in each country.
I’ve also tried Holafly during my travels in Europe, and it worked fine. Overall, it’s important to note that Holafly is more expensive, but they offer unlimited plans.
Holafly doesn’t have a specific plan for Africa, but it offers individual plans for several African countries such as Kenya, Ghana, and Tanzania:
- Kenya: 6 GB, 15 days, USD 44
- Ghana: 6 GB, 15 days, USD 44
- Tanzania: 5 GB, 30 days, USD 44
Another option worth considering is Nomad. They have a global eSIM plan which covers some African countries, just be sure to check that your destination is on the list.
Here’s an overview of the global plan offered by Nomad:
- 1 GB, valid for 7 days for $20
- 3 GB, valid for 30 days for $48
- 5 GB, valid for 30 days for $54
Finally, you could sign up for BNESIM Africa. They have individual eSIM plans for several African countries.
BNESIM offers monthly plan subscriptions and one-time plans.
Here are some of the African countries available:
- South Africa
You can also get €4 off with my promo code: MELISSA4OFF.
Final Thoughts On African SIM Cards
As you can see, it’s pretty easy to get a prepaid SIM card in Africa or even an eSIM for Africa.
I believe the eSIM card is the most convenient way to get data in Africa if you wish to have data on your arrival.
This way, you won’t need to go to a store to buy a SIM card for Africa.
Obviously, you need to make sure your mobile phone supports eSIM first.
Traveling to Africa soon? Read one of the following blog posts: