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Quick Guide to Africa's Talking
How do I get started on the Africa's Talking Sandbox?
How do I get started on the Africa's Talking Sandbox?

Steps to getting started on the sandbox simulator, including set up of the callback URL or webhook

Graham Ingokho avatar
Written by Graham Ingokho
Updated over a week ago

Sand Box Set Up

The sandbox allows you to create a free 2-way SMS short codes, USSD channels, Payments channels, Virtual Voice numbers, Airtime Distribution resources that you can use to develop and test your mobile communication application on our simulator instead of your handset.

This has several advantages like sharing your prototype across the internet.

To get started:

  1. Go to  and sign up for an account - it's free.

  2. Once you are logged in, you can create resources to use for developing/testing your application.

  •  To create short codes use this link; the webhook/callback for this goes here

  • To create a ussd channel use this link; the webhook/callback for this goes here.

  • To create a virtual voice number use this link; the webhook/callback for this goes here

  • To create a payment product+channel for use in Client2Business/checkout, Business2Client or Business2Business transfers use this link; the web-hook/callback for this goes here.

Please Note : 

The interactions with these resources occur in the SIMULATOR: and NOT the HANDSET for all development and tests on the sandbox. 

Register the number or numbers on different browser sessions to interact with your application.

You can now begin testing your application. When testing, ensure you look at your web-server logs, and the session logs/inbox for SMS on your dashboard.

We also provide an overview video that you can use when getting started on the sandbox. This allows you to quickly see what's where and what is available to you. Please take a look at it here:

CallBack URL/Webhooks

Africa's Talking APIs are accessible on the web via HTTP(s). To access the endpoints therefore, you should be running an environment that can interact with the World Wide Web, most notably using a web server.

Before you interact with the code samples over at or in this booklet, kindly ensure that you have prepared your environment as below.

  • Web server: You should set up a web server that exposes your application to the internet. The most common web server is Apache, but you can use any web server that you are familiar with. Note that some frameworks come bundled with a web server by default.

  • Publicly exposed URL: Given that most developers use their localhost for the development process, it is important to note that this does not expose the developed application to the internet -- even though the application can send HTTP requests to various endpoints. To be accessible to other hosts online e.g the Africa's Talking Servers, the application should be accessible by external hosts via a public IP/URL. You can use ngrok to tunnel your local host to the internet (it is free to use) or set up a Vagrant instance that allows you a free Publicly available URL via the Vagrant Share command.

  • A bit on Callbacks(Also called a webhook.)This is an address that a server provides, and any computer in the internet/private network can POST data to it. This proves to be more efficient as opposed to a computer continuously waiting or polling for data.Take an example of a post office. The PO gives you an address box where the whole world can send you letters and you do not have to be there to receive. You can just periodically check for your mail. For this to work, you have to share your address with anyone interested in sending you mail. Whatever you receive has to also be appropriately packaged in the rules that the PO gives (size, weight, stamp etc)This is similar to how a call back work. You have to set up the call back in the way that the sender of the data you want specifies. E.g. a call back for Facebook to receive data from FB is different to how you will set up a call back to receive data from AT.

Please reach out if you have any questions about getting started on the Sandbox. Send an email to

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