Accommodation in Africa can be hit or miss, in terms of availability, quality, and price, depending where you travel on the continent. In popular gap year destinations like South Africa, Egypt, and Morocco you'll find plenty of variety, whereas other countries with less developed backpacking infrastructure, like Chad, Lesotho, and Uganda can prove a little more limited. It's definitely worth researching and getting this sorted ahead of time.
Accommodation in this region of Africa is generally good thanks to the popularity of Egypt, Morocco, and Tunisia. In these countries you should find everything from hostels to luxury hotels, guesthouses and beach huts. There are also luxury resorts all along the coast.
Further from the coast in countries like Niger and Chad, finding a place to stay can prove more difficult. Bigger cities have a handful of hotels, and these aren't usually too expensive by western standards. Outside of cities can prove a great deal more difficult - there might be some specialist accommodation around natural tourist attractions, but we certainly don't recommend trying to wing it.
Like the north far above it, southern Africa is one of the easiest regions of the continent to find a place to stay. South Africa is incredibly well-equipped for all your gap year needs, and the growing popularity of neighbouring Botswana and Namibia, with their incredible natural attractions, means they're beginning to catch up, and finding accommodation here shouldn't be a problem.
Other nations like Zimbabwe and Zambia aren't quite as robust, but there's still a range of hotels, lodges, and safari camps that will suit most budgets. Outside of big cities the quality of accommodation can dip steeply.
This region can be a mixed bag for accommodation. Ghana is incredibly well-equipped for all price ranges, as is Senegal; Cape Verde has some wonderful accommodation to cater for its beaches, and the coastline of Gambia has a host of resorts, inland boasting fairly basic eco camps and lodges.
Elsewhere in this region can prove trickier. Countries like Nigeria, Benin, and Ivory Coast have cities that have some options for visitors, whereas other nations like Burkina Faso, Sierra Leone, and Togo are not developed enough to really cater for visitors.
With exceptions, you shouldn't have too much difficulty finding a place to stay in eastern Africa. It's home to many popular visitor destinations like Kenya, Tanzania, Madagascar, and Mauritius, which means there's plenty of hotels, hostels, and guesthouses to cater to their numerous tourist attractions. You might end up paying a little more unless you can find somewhere a little more out of the way.
Other countries, like Rwanda and Djibouti have more limited options, and some, like Somalia, simply aren't safe for independent travellers at present.
Another mixed bag here, as despite being home to some of Africa's most stunning landscapes, many of the central countries are not as developed as elsewhere on the continent, which can make accommodation limited or occasionally unsafe.
Cameroon and Angola have some good hotels, though prices can be high and other options limited. Independent camping isn't recommended due to safety concerns. Other countries, like DR Congo and Gabon, are beginning to improve in larger cities, but are still not equipped for travellers.