Life as a digital nomad in Tunisia: the most overlooked destination in Africa
Thank you so much for reaching out! I also love the culture in Tunisia but I haven’t been back since 2013. With this, I invited a fellow digital nomad who is actually Tunisian to share his insider experiences about being a DN in Tunisia.
Achraf from Walk Beside Me blog is an expert when it comes to Tunisia Digital Nomad topics. Feel free to reach out to him if you have more questions! If you also make it there, you can personally meet Achraf!
I hope you make it to Tunisia – it’s really one of my favorite countries and is often less visited by tourists. You’ll definitely have very little American interaction there, for sure!
Good luck and may the force be with you! Now I leave the floor to Achraf.
The digital nomad life has become really famous and more and more people are adopting it nowadays. It is a true step that one takes. However, it is not as simple as it looks like.
Sitting somewhere sunny at a laptop is what we see (and think of) first when we hear the word “digital nomad”. But that picture is actually the end of a digital nomad transformation period, not the beginning.
How can we become digital nomads? Is it rather a personal decision or just a new way of life for the newest generations? Is it a trend that people are following? Let me explain how I see it along with my story:
When I graduated about 10 years ago, I was eager to start working at a multinational and famous company. To be honest, I was dreaming about starting an international career. And that is what I got.
I started working at an international company in Germany (I am originally from Tunisia). I saw it as a great achievement and I invested a lot to climb the career stairs, year by year. I started as an R&D Engineer in the Automotive industry and switched to Technical Sales and Account Management. Then ended up in Pre-Selling technical activities.
During my last position, my mind started to change, and I started feeling that I might not belong where I am at that moment. At the same time, I have always had this hobby of writing, photography, and traveling. A hobby in which I’ve put almost everything I have in terms of time and money.
As of 2020, my mind completely shifted to that mindset, and I was trying hard to find my own way with the hobby of blogging and setting an online business so that I become independent of a location-related, full-time job contract.
Is Tunisia open?
Tunisia is open for tourism with the following entry rules (from April 2021). You need to have a negative PCR test less than 72 hours prior to arrival. They also require 5 days of quarantine at your accommodation of choice. After this 5-day quarantine period, you need to take another PCR test in Tunisia. If the result is negative, then you are free to go out and explore following strict COVID precautions (masks). If your test is positive, you need to self-isolate for another 10-14 days.
All travelers entering Tunisia are required to fill out an online form. After filling out this form, you will be given a QR code which is mandatory before you board your flight to Tunisia. Temperatures are checked before boarding and upon arrival in the country.
Personal experience in Tunisia as a digital nomad
Now that I got my unpaid leave from work confirmed, I got really excited (and of course stressed out) and started seeing things differently. I not only was saying goodbye to my last monthly pay-slips but also started together with my wife a travel-related initiative called WildyNess.
I am about to start this Nomad Life in a couple of months and I already can’t wait to see how it would work! Not only that, but I am also eager for freedom and independence, and also trying something on my own that I’ve always believed in the past 5 years.
Our Nomad Life will start in Tunisia, a destination not necessarily known for such a thing. But hey there is always a first time 🙂
As I am originally Tunisian, here is what you should know about the country for digital nomads.
Tunisia digital nomad: quick facts
🌍 Region: Africa
🚩 Capital: Tunis
📡 Internet speed: 5 MBPS
🔌 Outlet: European Type C
🚑 Travel medical insurance: Safetywing Digital Nomad coverage
📱 Best wireless carrier: Tunisie Telecom
🏧 Suggested ATM take out: 10 TND = $3 USD
💻 Best coworking space: Cogite
🚰 Safe tap water: No, not drinkable
👨👩👧👦 Population: 1,100,000 people
🏞 Foreign land ownership allowed: Yes
✈️ Where to find cheap flights: Kiwi.com
💵 Cost of living for local: $141 USD per month
🏠 1br studio rent in center: $79 per month
🏢 Coworking: $82 USD per month
🏨 Hotel: $1,336 per month
🍛 Meals (restaurants): $2.19 USD
🍺 Beer (bars): $1.09
☕️ Coffee: $0.29
✅ Affordable to live
✅ Pretty safe
✅ Lots of fun stuff to do
✅ Warm in the spring
✅ Good air quality on average
✅ Spacious and not crowded
❌ Pretty slow internet
❌ Quality of education is low
❌ Hospitals are not that great
❌ Roads can be dangerous
❌ Hostile towards LGBTQ+
The digital nomad scene in Tunisia
As much as this term is not common in Tunisia, the country has A LOT to offer in terms of flexibility. Many expats have tried to build independent businesses, and it worked well for many of them, especially in liberal activities (translation, copywriting, photography…)
The expat community there is just huge! At the same time, many young people are getting into entrepreneurship and innovation. That is why more than 30 coworking spaces, internet cafés, and even co-living spaces have opened in the past few years. It is something uncommon for a relatively small country with about 12 million inhabitants.
Furthermore, this community is well-connected and active all year long thanks to their meet-up events and Facebook group.
Internet speed in Tunisia
Internet connection is almost available anywhere in Tunisia, yet mostly on DSL lines. This makes it sometimes not reliable and slow. Although fiber-optics technology is being used, it still rather only in big spaces like companies or internet-cafés.
That is why I recommend using a SIM card with enough volume of data as a good backup plan. Mobile data in Tunisia is really fast and more reliable than DSL lines.
SIM cards are easy to buy, can be activated right away, and are affordable with a proper volume of internet data.
Cost of living in Tunisia
Tunisia has witnessed a high inflation rate over the past few years. Nevertheless, the cost of living is still not considered very high for digital nomads having an international income.
The Tunisian Dinar is about 3 EUR and 2,8 USD. That makes the cost of life way cheaper in the country.
Depending on your lifestyle and standards, I would say that a month of living in Tunisia will roughly cost anything between 700 and 1200 EUR, including transportation and leisure activities.
Accommodation can easily be found through the expats network, where you can also find good pieces of advice about where to live. There are also many local accommodation platforms where one can look.
Transportation is considered a bit challenging as local buses and tramways are not very reliable (yet very cheap). That is why most people use their own cars or taxis.
Visa in Tunisia
Tunisia is visa-free or offers visa-on-arrival for most western countries. If you are intending to stay more than 90 days in the country, then you definitely need a long-stay visa, which is not very difficult to get.
For Americans who wish to stay more than 90 days in Tunisia, you need to apply for a visa. In the traditional application process, you need to personally apply in a Tunisian embassy in the US but this year, Tunisia changed its visa requirements for citizens of the United States to a simple e-visa process. It’s really fast and you can get it within days from the comforts of your home!
Tunisian visas used to be very hard because of the bureaucracy of the country but since digital nomadism is becoming more and more acceptable, many countries are adjusting and re-inventing their visa policies.
Wifi cafes in Tunis
Cosmitto is a great coworking café in the northern suburbs of Tunis. Located in La Marsa, this internet café brings together a good community living in the neighborhood. The space is clean and well maintained. It also offers a great mood and food. La Marsa is one of the cities with the highest expats rate in the country.
Kenko is rather a food bar, but it is mostly known for its great atmosphere and cozy space. The food bar is situated in Carthage, a neighboring city of La Marsa. The place also keeps high-quality standards in terms of cleanliness and food and it is more than suitable for getting some work done.
Sabato is a cool spot to grab a nourishing drink, with a light meal or a snack, however too pricey. The café-restaurant is not far away from Kenko. The place is cozy, with a simple and classy design, and has both indoor and outdoor seating spaces. It’s also suitable for working a couple of hours on the day.
Coworking spaces in Tunis
L’Agora is situated in La Marsa Tunisia and is one of the favorite spots to work or study for locals. Sometimes it gets loud and crowded (if there are events planned). If you want to try it, you definitely should come early to get a good spot to work.
Cogite is one of the best coworking spaces in Tunisia. The internet and Wi-Fi are great and really reliable. The space is also well maintained and clean. Sometimes it gets annoying with the noise. But I think it should work with noise-canceling headphones. Cogite is perfectly situated in the middle of the business area in the capital Tunis.
Work Zone-Coworking Space
This is a quiet, cozy co-working space. Work-Zone is also located in a growing business area of Tunis. It offers a great view and is usually 24/7 open. The internet connection is great. The community taking care of the space is friendly and professional.
CoZi – Coworking Café
CoZi is situated on the so-called “island of dreams” Djerba, a tourist hotspot in Tunisia. The place is relatively new but already offers a great service. The community using is so friendly and welcoming. This space is one of the best if you want to settle down in the south of Tunisia. It also offers an accommodation option.
Tunisia is a great emerging destination for Digital Nomads and full-time travelers! The country has witnessed great a transformation during the past decade that made it very attractive to visitors and long-term stayers. Besides, it has SO MANY hidden gems to discover. As part of North Africa, you could find anything from dense rain forests in the north to amazing beaches on the coasts, to the wild desert in the South.
In any region, sustainable tourism is booming and is being encouraged and promoted. This is a great opportunity to try the traditional and local life in guesthouses anywhere in the country. Not to forget the tasty and spicy food! In two words: Tunisia is an emerging gem to put on your countries-to-try-living-in list for the next years!