Safaris & friendly hotels in Africa where solo travelers feel at home
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. By all means ask whether a certain tour or destination works out price-wise for a single traveler. But from our experience, we find that there are some places and ways of travelling that work better than others for solo travelers.
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This 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 various other modes of transport. Unfortunately there is surprisingly little choice in group tours, though some of the popular 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, other times 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, if any…
Note: We don’t mention camps in Botswana, Zambia or Zimbabwe below. This is because the norm is no single supplement in the green and shoulder season ie all months except July to October. So there would be too many to mention!
Suggested Tours for Solo Travellers in Southern Africa
Our suggested sample tours below are a mixture.
- Safaris with no or low single supplement,(for much of the year), where you can meet others on your own terms.
- Some escorted or mobile safari trips which have set departures.
- Some tours which mix scheduled tours with private transfers so that the single person price is not too much more than if sharing.
- Some walking safaris
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 travelers.
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 Kenyan camps, from wildlife artists to off-duty models.