Your Guide to Solo Travel in Africa

Your Guide to Solo Travel in Africa

Solo travel has become a popular way to travel these days. Believe it or not, there are people who thoroughly enjoy traveling alone – it’s said to be a liberating experience. And how can it not be when you don’t have to compromise!

We think taking a solo trip through Africa would be one of the greatest experiences on earth because the aim of solo travel is to reconnect with the world around you and the one within. What better way to reconnect than to surround yourself with the purity of nature? With the soul-stirring sights and phenomena that Africa is known for, as well as the warmth of its people and the peaceful energy that it emits, there’s no doubt that this experience will be deeply moving.

Let’s dive into the gist of the journey and answer all your solo travel questions so that you can begin planning your trip to Africa, which is sure to be filled with the fondest of memories that will last a lifetime!

Pre-Planning for Your Solo Travel in Africa

First and foremost, do your research regarding visas. Most African countries issue visas on arrival for selected passport holders, however, some require prior visa arrangements to be made. Another essential element in the planning process is researching whether or not you need to get vaccinations prior to the trip. It is always advisable to consult with your doctor about vaccinations that may be mandatory and others that may be recommendable.

African Experiences that are Perfect for Solo Travellers

When traveling solo, it’s important to keep busy and occupied – this will ensure that you bypass that feeling of ‘loneliness’, and instead feel the comfort of new, thrilling experiences. That’s why we suggest you leave the beach lifestyle for the romantics and rather opt for destinations that ooze adventure. And if you’re wondering which destinations those are, read our suggested list below!

Botswana

  • Language: English
  • Safety: Very safe

Okavango Delta Tours and Safaris

The Okavango Delta can be best described as an oasis in the heart of Botswana. This is one of the few places in the country where water is in abundance most of the year, and as they say ‘where there is water, there is life’ – so you can just imagine how densely populated this area is with wildlife. Not only is there plenty of heartwarming sights to see, but there is plenty to do! From game-drives to boat cruises, walking safaris and mokoro excursions – you’ll be spoilt for choice in this picturesque corner of Africa.

Where to Stay: Find our list of incredible accommodation options here.

Luckily for solo travelers, some of the camps do not charge a single supplement during certain periods of the year – one option being the luxurious Chiefs Camp located in the Moremi Game Reserve within the Okavango Delta.

The Kalahari Desert and Makgadikgadi Salt Pan tours and safaris

If you’re looking for something different and incredibly unique, the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans in the Kalahari Desert is a sight and experience to behold. Don’t be fooled by the word desert – surprisingly there is a plethora of wildlife out here, in fact, this desert area is known to inhabit the greatest species in the world. The landscape of the Kalahari is breathtaking and unlike anything you’ve seen before – a trip definitely worth taking.

Where to Stay: Botswana has many different lodges and tented camps. No matter what requirements you have, or which activities you’d like to do, there is a perfect fit for you. Take a look at our list of accommodation in Botswana.

Kenya

  • Language: English
  • Safety: Extremely safe in reserves, moderately safe in larger cities

Safari in the Masai Mara

If you’re considering a trip to Kenya, the Masai Mara should not be missed! The open plains of the Mara are world-renowned for the greatest mammal migration in the world – which sees over 2 million mammals stampede through the plains in search of food, water and a place to give birth to their young. This is one of Africa’s greatest phenomena!

These mammals travel here once a year, generally between July and October, with visitors able to see the wildebeest cross the Mara River, often swarming with crocodiles who wait for their opportunity to feed.

Even if you don’t travel to the Masai Mara during the migration season, you can still be sure to have an incredible trip filled with wildlife sightings, pristine landscapes, and activities that will get your heart racing – A must is hot-air ballooning in the reserve!

Where to Stay: The Masai Mara is known for its wide variety of accommodation options which suit every type of traveler. See our options here.

A good option to consider is Governor’s Camp – a tented camp which does not charge a single supplement during certain periods of the year.

Have Breakfast with Giraffes at Giraffe Manor

I can’t think of anything more heartwarming than getting up close and personal with gentle animals, who are innocently inquisitive about their human counterparts. This describes giraffes pretty well, as they are known to be the gentle giants of the wild. These beautiful, sweet-tempered mammals roam free at Giraffe Manor, giving you a once in a lifetime opportunity to spend quality time with them. You may find them peeping through the windows while enjoying your morning cup of coffee, hopeful for a treat.  

Where to Stay: Giraffe Manor

Namibia

  • Language: English
  • Safety: Very Safe

Hike the Dunes of Sossusvlei

Namibia is one of the most untouched, picturesque places in all of Africa. The landscape is incredibly unique as the red dunes of the Namib desert are unlike any other on the continent. An incredible experience to be had is a hike up one of the tallest dunes in Sossusvlei known as ‘Big Daddy’. What makes this dune so spectacular, other than its height, is its convenient position – right next to Deadvlei. The Sossusvlei area is dense with awe-inspiring sand dunes which span across approximately 49 768 km. When you’re not trotting across the dunes, you can find yourself quad biking, driving across the desert, or even floating amongst the clouds on a hot-air balloon!

Where to Stay: There are two main places to stay in Sossusvlei – both of which cater for solo travelers.

Safari in Etosha National Park

Etosha National Park is the place to be if you’re eager for a Safari with a focus on wildlife and game drives. Etosha sets itself apart from the rest, as the terrain is quite different from your usual game reserve. The Etosha is centered around a salt pan which extends over approximately 5000 square kilometers and is home to over one million flamingos in the rainy season. Over and above the vast number of other species in the reserve; such as four of the big five as well as zebra, giraffe, spotted hyena and oryx to name a few, Etosha is also known to hold one of the world’s largest populations of the rare and endangered black rhino!

Where to Stay: Find our list of accommodation options in Etosha National Park here.

Tanzania

  • Language: Swahili (main), English second language
  • Safety: Very safe

Serengeti National Park

Tanzania is dotted with exquisite reserves which are ideal for those who are looking for an authentic African Safari. Other than the Serengeti National Park, Tanzania also boasts many other National Parks that each offer something unique: from Tarangire National Park, which has the densest population of elephant in the country, to Lake Manyara National Park known for its impressive bird life, and Arusha which is a quaint town at the foot of Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Menu. The Serengeti is regarded to be the most popular park as it’s known for the Great Mammal Migration and exquisite scenery. The plains roll on for as far as the eye can see – which makes it the perfect place to unwind and experience the true essence of Africa.

Where to Stay: Find our list of accommodation options here.

Consider looking at Singita Sambora Tented Camp and Singita Mara Tented Camp in the Serengeti National Park as both camps don’t charge a single supplement.

Ngorongoro Crater

The Ngorongoro Crater earned its stripes as the largest caldera in the world, which was formed due to a volcano that erupted and collapsed more than three million years ago. The crater has become a breeding ground for an array of wildlife species, including the Big Five, the endangered black rhino, and black-maned lions. The views are utterly spectacular as are the soul-stirring wildlife sightings, which makes this area one of the most sought-after spots in the country.

Where to Stay: You’ll be spoiled for choice when it comes to accommodation – as most of the lodges are perched up on the surrounding ‘cliffs’, which offers you impeccable views of the reserve. See our list of accommodation here.

Remember that you can also curate a tailor-made experience with Safari.com for any destination you choose!

Getting Around on Your Own

Your transport in Africa depends completely on where you are going and what you wish to experience. If your plans include a safari, you’ll generally stay on the reserve and your activities will be guided. Most reserves are accessible by light aircraft or are within driving distance of major airports. It is easy to get around Africa, and even easier if you let Safari.com organize your flights and transfers for you!

Safety in Africa & Helpful Tips

You may have heard that Africa is unsafe – and there are indeed areas that require the need to be vigilant. However, this goes for any place in the world. You will be pleasantly surprised when you visit Africa and realize that what you may have heard is grossly exaggerated. Sadly, most people conclude that where there is extreme poverty there is a high rate of crime. We would like to set your mind at ease and let you know that iconic tourist destinations in Africa are not riddled with crime, although we do encourage vigilance. Places such as game reserves are extremely safe as these reserves and concessions are privately owned and are not accessible by non-guests. Where we do recommend awareness and vigilance is in the main cities, however, if you stick to the safety guidelines you will be absolutely safe.

Over and above the ‘crime’, many people wonder whether or not being out in the bush is safe, as one is entering into the territory of wild animals. Rest assured that safaris are incredibly safe – the guides are highly qualified and experienced – they know the behavior of the wildlife, and would never put any guests (or themselves) in danger.

Here are some safety tips for traveling Africa:

  • If you’re traveling in the main cities, don’t walk around alone at night.
  • Find out more about the areas to stay away from, from locals or your hotels’ concierge.
  • Don’t flaunt valuables, leave money out, or exchange money in the streets.
  • Be mindful of pickpocketing by keeping your bags at arm’s length.
  • Listen to your guides whilst on safari – they are experienced and knowledgeable in the behavior of animals.
  • Wear the appropriate safari attire and the correct color clothing.