Africa is a continent full of contrasts. You could even sum it up as one vast melting pot of adventures, so once people have had their first taste of the safari experience they usually come back for more. If we’re talking, cramming in all the highlights and some of its lesser-known treasures many time-sensitive solo female travellers will tell you overland travel is hard to beat, and with your location constantly in flux, there are plenty of safe harbours for the singleton who just wants to revel in her own company for a while.
As part of our #WomenGoSolo initiative, we interviewed a few members of the team who have recently been out on tour in Africa and asked them for their feedback on what it’s like to switch from independent to group travel as a single traveller.
Michelle hails from Australia and while she was first drawn to Africa as a tour leader, she has risen up the ranks of our Sales and Marketing department and she now lives and works in vibrant Cape Town. On her last travel jaunt Michelle touched down in Georgia USA, but she often gets itchy feet, and to date, she has visited Egypt, the UK, Ireland, France, Spain, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Southern India, Australia, some parts of Northern America, Southern and Eastern Africa and parts of Asia.
You’ve hosted overland tours in Africa and booked tours as a solo female traveller, so what keeps you and others coming back? I am an avid traveller and I really love the diverse culture, ancient buildings, meeting new people from all walks of life and the delicious authentic foods.
Do you have any advice for singles joining group tours? Do come with an open mind and join in on the fun with the group. You will most probably be surprised after your adventure, as you will leave with a treasure-trove of unforgettable memories and a new bunch of friends that you will have for life!
What were the best locations for testing out your skills as a solo traveller? After many years of travelling, I would have to say Southern and Eastern Africa. Nothing beats a 58 – day (8 African countries) adventure trekking the mountain gorillas in Uganda, wild game drives in the Masai Mara, Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater, Chobe and Etosha National Parks. Southern and Eastern Africa offers lush forest, dramatic waterfalls, rolling desert dunes, pristine white sandy beaches with warm azure waters. The culture and history of each country is unbelievable. There’s so much to offer in this part of the world. Within those countries there are also some incredibly peaceful, meditative places for the solo traveller to unwind – Lake Malawi, Zanzibar, Vilanculos and Spitzkoppe, to name but a few.
What did you learn about yourself from the experience? Wow… great question! I certainly learnt to be more patient, participate more, listen more and my confidence increased. It really does give you that extra boost of growth from your school days. Once you master your first trip, you will find yourself back for more and more and more… it’s hard to stop!
What do you think are the plus factors for solo travellers joining group tours? Solo travelling is about yourself and where you would like to go, but visiting your ultimate destination with other like-minded people is also awesome. You get to share your experiences, make new friends and explore your ultimate places on a safe level.
What inspires you the most about solo female travel? It takes a lot of inner strength to travel alone, but once you start, it’ll be the start of a whole new adventure!
Do you have any tips for women who might be thinking of booking as a solo female traveller on a group tour? Don’t hesitate, just do it! You will be travelling with other single travellers all feeling the same. It’s a great way to break away from the comfort zone of your day to day life.
Be empowered to see the world solo and check out these words of inspiration from expert solo female travel bloggers. Come and join us this Friday or if you can’t make it on International Women’s Day (08 March) search for the #WomenGoSolo hashtag to glean loads of helpful hints and tips for your solo female travel trip.