On Lion's Head with a view

About This Blog

Firstly, welcome to Johnny Africa! If you haven’t already guessed, my name is Johnny and I’ve been writing this blog for a few years now. To put it simply, I’m just a regular dude that loves to travel. I started this blog when I first moved to South Africa in 2013 as a way to store my thoughts and experiences on the expat experience (outside of the typical Facebook and Instagram).

Lecce Lake Como Italy

My Time in Africa

While living in South Africa, I traveled extensively around Africa visiting mesmerizing beaches in Mozambique, lemurs in Madagascar, red deserts in Namibia, gorilla trekking in Uganda, and of course all over South Africa. So the name “Johnny Africa”. was born. After moving home from South Africa, my love for travel never went away. I flirted with changing the name of the blog numerous times but decided to keep it because my time in Africa really was the genesis for my life of travel!

the rock restaurant zanzibar
The Rock restaurant in Zanzibar!

After spending two years in South Africa, I moved back to the US where I continued traveling as much as I could with a full time job. Eventually, I got the itch to move abroad again because I just realized how dull life was living in the same places you’ve grown up in.

Kids flocking to me in Uganda.

Now comes 2019 where I made a move to Europe and lived in Germany! Europe is of course worlds away from living in South Africa but it was exactly what I needed. Life in Europe is fantastic and I was able to travel to almost every country on the continent.

Amorgos Chora
Amorgos island in the Cyclades.

Chasing Financial Independence

In addition to my life of travel, I was always had a strong interest in Finance. My career up to this point had been at a financial institution so this goes hand in hand. I stopped working in 2020 after achieving Financial Independence which is essentially saving up enough money to live off your investments without worrying about working at a traditional job.

Everyone has their reasons for no longer working and mine was simply that I felt like there was more meaning to life than staring at a 2-4 computer monitors all day. In addition to travel, I also on occasion write about financial topics (credit cards, stocks, my portfolio etc.) which I think actually goes hand in hand with travel!

Svinafellsjokull iceland
Going about as far away from South Africa as possible here at Svinafellsjokull in Iceland!
Sunrise over Lake Bled
Sunrise over Lake Bled

Why I started blogging

I started this blog purely out of interest, hobby, and passion. I never planned or plan to write things like how to travel for $50 a day, or how you can get rich by blogging, or anything related to “how you can be like me super easily”. I think there are too many travel bloggers focused on making a living from their blogs that they forget why they started writing and traveling in the first place. To see and experience the world.

This blog is purely just me writing about my travels in the way I see it. I love taking nice photos and showcasing what the world has to offer. The whole idea of this is to inspire you, the reader, to one day make that journey of your own because travel makes everyone better in my opinion. I’ve been to over 80 countries at this point in my life and have no plans to stop any time soon.

So with that said, enjoy my travel experiences, my life as an expat, and please leave a comment if you like what you see and/or have any questions about planning your trip!


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  2. Hey Johnny! I stumbled upon your blog while researching option trading. Turns out, we have a lot in common! My wife and I are FIRE and have been traveling full-time for the past two years. We are kiteboarders and have spent most of those two years kiting in Baja, Mexico and the Caribbean with plans to visit Europe once COVID becomes less of an issue (I would die if the Coliseum in Rome was closed once we arrived!). I also have a finance background.

    While we are FIRE, I’ve had a hard time letting go of my accounting practice back in the States, so I put in about 5 hours a week doing that and plan to keep it going for the next 1-2 years until our sequence of return risk diminishes. That being said, as I mentioned, I am looking at getting into options trading to supplement monthly income. Your website is an amazing resource for that and so much more! I’m now using your option, credit card churn, and travel planning google sheets! Thank you so much for all the great content and resources. We look forward to reading about what comes next!

    • Hey Eric! Thanks for the kind words and glad you enjoy the blog. Also very cool to meet other fire people that are also doing what I’m doing with traveling the world. You def need to make it to Europe for the kiting in Spain, turkey, France and the likes.

      Recent market moves has also got me thinking of the sequence of return risks. I think ultimately with my blogging income and cost of living in Bali (at the moment), I don’t need much money from my portfolio at all.

      • Yes, kiting in Tarifa, Spain is high on the bucket list. There’s supposed to be good kiting in Portugal too, but it’s cold water! The Dominican Republic has consistent wind and no wetsuit required. I hear you about the market…using geographical arbitrage, like yourself, we can control our spending dramatically. So far, so good. I just hope SE Asia stays cheap for decades to come! We love the food and the people.

        • Glad to meet someone else into the geographical arbitrage. I just look at as the best of both worlds, living cheaply and doing something amazing that I love. Anyway, let me know when you make it out to Europe. Would love to chat about fire and travel!

  3. Your blog was a random find after google searching the wheel strategy. Nice gem I found! Thank you for you sharing your life on FIRE and travel stories!

  4. Its great to hear about all your travels Johnny. I enjoy reading. You should try making a trip in Warmbaths, South Africa. there you will find a great place to relax with friends and also access a hydro and spa and so on. Its also known as a place of natural hot springs.While you make a visit there Golden Lantern Guest House also had accommodation at its best prices for a wonderful stay.

  5. Hi Johnny,
    Awesome blog, I’m planning our Babymoon in South Africa and your blog is helpful. Do you curate itineraries like you did for your friend Niv etc (I read that blog just now as I’m trying to pick a luxury safari). I hope you continue to write more, the style and insight you bring are invaluable and authentic!

  6. Hi Johnny,

    I will be moving to Joburg in August 2020 for 6-month assignment and hope to travel around Africa as well. I loved your blog and it looks like I will spend more time reading your posts, all are very informative.

    Greetings from Switzerland!

  7. Hello Johnny,
    Really lovely and informative blog. Just seen your EU Blue Card post and I wanted to pick your brain a little more on it. Already sent you a message and i’d really love to hear from you.


  8. Found this site accidentally when I was browsing the net for cost of living in Johannesburg; ended up spending most of Friday night reading your articles! Keep up the good work!

  9. It‘s great to have come across your blog via Reddit. We share some similar ambitions. I have just become a dive instructor after building my passive income stream and reaching FI in real estate in Eastern Europe. Currently I work in Spain, before in Indonesia. Loving the new life so keep the good work up and one day we might bump into each other on some tropical island teaching others our passion for the underwater world.

    • Hey man! Funny enough, I’ve been to Poland numerous times for work. Are you in Wroclaw by chance? Would love to pick your brain about where you are and how you did it!

  10. Hey Johnny! Stumbled upon your site when planning for Red Sea dive trip and thanks for the “Is Egypt Safe?” post – it gave a lot of good perspectives! I’ve been diving my way around the world (Bonaire, Great Barrier Reef, Kona etc) and am writing this from Azores. Finally took the plunge and think it’s time for Red Sea, my bucket list. Would you consider writing up a post about diving Red Sea via Egypt?

  11. Thanks for the very comprehensive spreadsheet Johnny! One thing I would add to mine is the points expiration date since some of the airline/hotel points have expiration dates and they are hard to track! I’m currently using awardwallet but they’re not the most user-friendly. I randomly discovered your blog when I was looking for credit card tracking spreadsheets and I will definitely be reading more of your articles. I’m also based out of NYC so if you host any reader meetups in the future, I’ll definitely be down!

    P.S. I tried to post this comment to the spreadsheet article but it says comments are closed…

  12. Hello Johnny! Found your blog accidentally. It’s a nice blog and I like it. My husband has worked in Africa for almost ten years. He has worked in ten countries of Africa. We live in Johannesburg now. Really like South Africa. We have traveled to four countries of Africa until now. We are preparing our next Africa trip and learned many information from your blog. I have put your blog in my favorites. Keep writing! Happy dog year????

  13. Thanks Johnny for this amazing site – I live in the NYC metro area and my husband is from Joburg. We visit family often and would like to retire there. Your comparison of the rand vs dollar was very helpful in supporting the argument to retire in Cape Town – hopefully the cost won’t increase too much in the next 20 years when we are retiring!

    • Thanks Amy! That is fantastic. Our plan is to retire in South Africa some day as well. My dad is already on the bandwagon and he might be going in the next few years. South Africa has much higher inflation and that can exponentially increase at any point (or decrease) depending on the political situation but if you’re earning USD, it largely mitigates that problem. As terrible as it sounds, it’s an amazing place for people with no money worries to live (a struggle for many people that live there and earn rands).

    • I love your Blog! You are an amazing writer as everyone else on here has said. I lived on the South Coast of South Africa for 6 1/2 years (2004-2010) and absolutely loved it. Your blog is so fun because I did not document my time in the manner you did. I miss it so much. There were TONS of retirees where I lived—most from the UK but a few more from Germany—because the weather averages 75 degrees year round and there were 10 golf courses in a very small radius. They could live like royalty on their pensions. Obviously things have changed with the exchange rates since I left—-I was lucky to sell my home and condo when I did or I would have lost 50%! So it may not be as easy now. It is an AMAZINGLY beautiful country and I’d love to live there again one day.

      • Thanks Sharon! Having lived in South Africa, I think it’s an AMAZING place for people that are not worried about money and are coming from a place with a strong currency. You get to live in one of the most beautiful places in the world and for a very affordable price. Unfortunately, for the people that are from here with no ancestral citizenships that can’t just pick up and leave on a whim, life has gotten worse I think. I’m hopeful things turn around in the coming years and that SA finds new leadership but who knows these days!

  14. Hi

    My name is Joyce, I am a marketing executive at expatfinder.com which is a leading expat information and services website.

    I saw on your blog that you are and expat. I wish to interview you to further share some of your tips. The questions are mainly about the housing, the daily life etc.

    It just takes 5 minutes (or more depending if you have lots to say 🙂

    Of course, if you accept we can add a link to your blog or some of your website.

    If you are interested to participate at this project, please send me an email at interview@expatfinder.com.

  15. Johnny,
    Great blog! Excellent writer. You educate and captivate with your travels. Helps prepare me for the places I will be visiting in a few months.
    How do you take care of laundry and staying in shape while you’re on the road?

    Keep up the great writing! Happy Lunar New Year!


    • Thanks Joe! I’ve actually moved back stateside so my nomad days were short lived :(. As far as laundry goes, there are so many wash services in other countries that will wash your clothes for cheap, or I’d just wash it with some soap myself. Staying in shape . . . is not so easy. Lifting is almost always out of the question so it would just be body weight exercises here and there. However, I was either always diving, or exploring some new place so I always got plenty of cardio in!

  16. Your blog is so amazing!
    I am going to South Africa in 6 weeks, I was born in Durban and moved to Australia when I was 5, so a lot has changed and so have I!
    I am extremely into gym so you helped me with your nandos post aswell as the gym culture there!
    what are the best gyms for Joberg, cape town and Durban ? do they have PTs? and can you get like a week free trial or pay as you go?

    Thank you

    • Hi thanks for the kind words! I’ve met quite a few people born in SA that moved to Australia around the end of Apartheid living in America actually! There aren’t that many gym options in SA but the best options are Virgin Active and Planet Fitness. Virgin Active is probably my go to and the one in Sandton is still probably one of the nicest gyms I’ve seen around. The Virgin active in Seapoint, Cape Town is also very nice so would start there. Virgin only gives you a one time pass (maybe two if you ask for it)! Enjoy!

  17. Amazing job on this blog! Will be heading back to SA in a few months time for a 2 year assignment. Your posts on apartment hunting, car purchase, and service providers will be a huge help to me. Thanks for all the info and shortcuts! Out of curiosity, what industry were you working in while there?

    • Hi again Steve, I was working in the banking sector. Lived in Sandhurst Towers and was walking distance to work. Your first few months in SA will certainly be interesting but it will ultimately be so very rewarding and you will love it. Let me know how things go!

  18. Oh and if I can ask, did you want to stay here longer than the 2.5 years? I’m assuming you worked 2 then traveled the 5 months. Curious what led you to move back? Gave yourself a deadline? My commitment is open-ended so I can technically stay or go whenever.

    • I actually had an open ended contract too but I set a hard timeline for myself and decided it was time to move on after almost 2 years. Johannesburg is no NYC and you miss the big city life after living the tamed suburban life in Joburg.

      Plus I had traveled everywhere I wanted to travel in Africa so I wasn’t staying for that anymore. Nevertheless, my time in Africa was definitely the highlight of my life up to this point!

  19. Thanks man! I’m in East London (about 3 hours east of PE). Those 5 months of travel must have been absolutely incredible. So cool! Fortunately I’ve done the Garden Route from EL to CT and did the bungee jump on the way. What a thrill!

    I know exactly what you mean about need. I felt the same since my first trip here in 2011. I even heard a girl one time say “I wish I was hungrier so I could eat all this food.” …………… :-\

    Glad to hear about NYC…and helps to know it wasn’t a difficult at all. Wish I was back there to watch March Madness!

  20. Awesome blog and very helpful! I lived in NYC (UWS) for 6+ years before leaving my job at JPMorgan in June 2014 to volunteer here in South Africa. I’m here until at least December, but probably more.

    Great advice on the site! As a volunteer, I don’t have the finances to travel as much, but can live vicariously through you, ha! The new website layout looks great.

    Have you moved back to NYC? I desperately miss the city. What was the transition back like? Thanks again for all the info!

    • Adam, that’s awesome you’re doing what you’re doing. Far better man than I. Where you based out of right now?

      I took about 5 months off to travel after my stint in SA before coming back to the states and I had thought about volunteering in Mozambique but never got around to it.

      Coming back to the states has been pretty straight forward. Nothing surprising. NYC hasn’t changed at all, and I find the change to be pretty easy, especially considering the slow pace of life in SA. I will say that having traveled to so many places in Africa really opens up my eyes to what good of a life we lead here, and makes you wonder how people in Africa are so happy and yet they KNOW they have so little, while we in America complain endlessly about the smallest of things. Most of our problems are not real problems. I suppose that’s one thing I’ve been realizing.

      But anyway, hope you enjoy the rest of your time in SA and hope you can see at least something besides the pictures on this blog 🙂

      • Thanks man! I’m in East London (about 3 hours east of PE). Those 5 months of travel must have been absolutely incredible. So cool! Fortunately I’ve done the Garden Route from EL to CT and did the bungee jump on the way. What a thrill!

        I know exactly what you mean about need. I felt the same since my first trip here in 2011. I even heard a girl one time say “I wish I was hungrier so I could eat all this food.” …………… :-\

        Glad to hear about NYC…and helps to know it wasn’t a difficult at all. Wish I was back there to watch March Madness!

  21. Hi John! I love your blog.. well done!! I remember your 48 hours European trips but written down they look even better 🙂 Seeing the pics from Africa and reading about your discoveries made me want to go and see all those places you write about. Its great to see that you made truly the best out of your stay in Africa and that you are doing so well. Keep your blog alive, share your new adventures!! Next time you set your foot in Europe, make sure to reach out.. greetings from Geneva, Alena

    • Alena! So good to hear from you. It’s been awhile. I definitely made the most of my time in Africa and saw everything that I wanted to see. Glad to have inspired you to visit and when you do, you will know who to contact first :).

  22. So where are the best schools? Only kidding! We are moving to SA with kids but we also love travelling so I will enjoy reading your posts and learning about some of the places we may (or may not – depending how child friendly they are!) be able to go. I have just been drooling over your photos of the beaches in Mozambique….

    • Welcome to SA Clara! You will love it! Mozambique indeed has the nicest beaches I’ve ever seen 🙂 Perhaps not the best place to take your kids as it is a bit pricey to get to the really nice beaches and not developed. Best enjoyed as a couples getaway! Don’t worry though, SA has PLENTY of great places for your kids. Enjoy your time!

  23. Whilst I find your view on SA interesting, I dare say the Burger King here tastes nothing like the crap burgers served in the states. I spent a year in Washington DC and the food has absolutely no taste… the Burger King here will do great, cause our meat in SA tastes awesome….

    • I’m not even going to lie about this but I have been to Burger King not one, not two, but THREE times now! Perhaps I just miss American fast food but I find it better than Steers or the McD here.

      • Well Johnny i assure u the food here is amazing! Yiu can actually taste the natural goodness of the fruit n veg! Enjoy ur SA expierience, i know a lot of people who have moved here from the USA and refuse to go bck! SA is first world and def not third world my friend! I am widely travelled and SA offers the best of everything! Food, housing, vehicles and our infrastructure is world class! Our financial institutions are one of the most sophisticated in the world! Trust you will keep an open mind when u commenting on our beautiful country

  24. My husband accidentally stumbled across this blog whilst Googling for a gym.. Its great to read about all of these experiences through the eyes of an American :). Keep on blogging and enjoy this crazy place we call home!

  25. Having experienced the same gap of electronic wisdom whilst preparing for my move to Joburg, I was very happy to find your blog! I laughed to myself about many of the things you said that I can relate to (visa, weather, suburb v city life, etc) and I’ve said the same things to friends about the Brooklyn comparisons! Nicely done, I’ll be keeping up.

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