So many travel choices open up when you’ve only got yourself to answer to. With no-one else’s quirky habits and irrational fears to take into consideration, you are free to choose on a whim and travel exactly as you please.
What is overlooked are the annoying downsides of travelling solo. From safety considerations, to the extra cost of transfers and private guides. As well as the dreaded single supplements…
We’ll always do our best to get intrepid travelers where they want to go, but sometimes the logistics and costs just don’t add up. From our experience, we find that there are some places and ways of travelling that work better than others for solo travelers.
Below we outline safaris & friendly hotels in Africa where solo travelers feel at home.
This article gives a candid low-down on the best ways to travel and also showcases some possible safaris which you might like to consider.
Solo Travel in South Africa
There’s no reason not to travel around South Africa independently, but we reckon that the driving distances make a pure self-drive slightly daunting for most people. (Though it could be an option for a few days?)
That leaves other modes of transport. Unfortunately, there is surprisingly little choice in group tours, though some of the tours along the Garden Route have guaranteed departures which single people can join. But you are unlikely to be able to get to the more remote or unique areas without paying a heavy price for a private tour or transfer.
The answer may be to join some scheduled tours in Cape Town or take a multi-day tour along the Garden Route. Then add a safari which is a convivial activity by its very nature?
Another option is to combine some scheduled day tours in Cape Town with private transfers to a convivial country lodge which offers a range of activities in-house.
Accommodation for Solo Travellers in South Africa
So which lodge or hotel should you choose? The selection below features hotels and game lodges in South Africa where the single supplement ranges from a welcome 'zero' to not more than 30%.
However there are many other wonderful options which could also work for you. These are small, friendly lodges where the owners are very hands-on and happy to chat. Sometimes they meet their guests for evening drinks, at others dining is around a communal table. Often there are activities on offer where you can meet other guests if you wish to. Chat to us about your needs.
Safaris for Solo Travelers
A safari is a sociable experience by its very nature. Guests from around the world, and all walks of life, tend to mix easily on game drive vehicles. Dining is often around a communal dining table, united by a common interest in the natural world. Thus, most of our game lodges would be good for single travelers, especially the ones mentioned below which don’t charge much of a single supplement...
Note: We don't specifically mention camps in Botswana, Zambia or Zimbabwe because many don't have single supplements outside of peak season. So there are too many to mention!
Solo Travelers in Botswana & Namibia
In Botswana, and Namibia, mobile safaris with no more than eight other guests are also a great option for single travelers. They offer a more rounded understanding of the country, its landscape and its people than fly-in safaris. Though far from cheap, the ‘per night’ cost is lower than lodge accommodation. Comfort levels are high and the trips are fully serviced with camp hands to take care of all the chores. But, as with all group travel, mobile safaris will appeal most to those who are flexible and adaptable, especially about departure dates.
At the opposite end of the spectrum, if you have a lower budget but more time, then a small group camping safari will get you to most of the ‘must-see’ icons of the country. These can be semi-participative trips so less luxurious than our normal suggestions. But they could be ideal for more easy-going travelers.
Solo Travelers in Zambia and Zimbabwe
The relaxed and authentic safari ambience in Zambia and Zimbabwe, as well as the focus on walking safaris and getting out of the vehicle - by boat, canoe or on foot - means that these are wonderful destinations for solo travellers.
Solo Travel in Kenya
The small and friendly safari camps on Kenya's private ranches attract lots of solo travelers. Many of the camps charge no supplement. Plus the popularity of the country means that most flights are charged ‘per person’ rather than ‘per chartered plane’. We’ve run into lots of single people in the Kenyan camps, from wildlife artists to off-duty models.
- A safari is a sociable experience by its very nature. The shared sightings get re-lived over coffee and around the camp-fire.
- Safari activities are typically shared with others so there's naturally people to chat to about the experience.
- No single supplement is charged in the green & shoulder seasons in The norm in Zambia, Zimbabwe & Botswana. ie all months except July to October.
Dream holiday"Milandi (et all at C. A. T.) …”Like talking to a good friend/family member who genuinely, listens… then sets skill and extensive knowledge to work to fulfill (AND OFTEN BEYOND!!) all expectations!!” This Africa holiday was simply “ANOTHER” dream animal photo safari and experience Milandi (Cedarberg) put together… we have experienced TWO previous “dream holiday” from Milandi and Crew. How could a 3rd be better?… It simply was. “I may have left Africa” … “Africa will NEVER leave Me”… I (WE) will be going back, with Milandi’s guidance B4 this decade is over It has been 3 weeks since return, still dreaming/thinking/processing this tremendous experience. Milandi and Cedarberg are My “Tools” towards many rewards!!! Thank-You, ALL" Mr Wally Rohrer
Hope to return for a third visit"Helpful, patient, understanding. Did not meet anyone face to face but seemed friendly over the email. Although the trip was basically our design, it was good to work with Peter in deciding the actual locations and final route. He took all the “admin” hassle away – car hire, arranging accommodation etc. which meant we could just arrive and enjoy the trip. The final printed trip programme was excellent." Mr & Mrs Harrison, UK
I would only want to book through Cedarberg"Thank you so much for booking this experience for us, Mari. Everything was so well organized and went so smoothly, from car rental and driving and hotel directions, to lodge details, inclusions, exclusions, etc. The link you gave us with all the details on the locations we were going to as well as the detailed itinerary and pre-departure information was very helpful. We’re grateful for your efforts and for making this an outstanding experience for us. I have already sent your details to friends in case they’re interested in booking a trip of their own, and now that Tom has seen the beauty of Africa I know I won’t have to convince him to head back there again. I’m dreaming of safari in Namibia next time, and I would only want to book it through Cedarberg." Mrs Michelle B
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- Single SupplementsMost safari camps in Zambia & Botswana have no single supplement outside of Peak Season