Some solo female travellers choose to “group it” round Africa. Why? Because there are countries which lack infrastructure and reliable public transport, and that makes escorted tours one of the better options. Malawi and Mozambique might well come into that category, the Warm Heart of Africa visited on many of our camping and accommodated overland itineraries.
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.
Our General Manager Sabine Behrmann works out of our office in Cape Town – South Africa’s stunning Mother City. A native of the Rainbow Nation, she boasts a pretty impressive travel CV, Sabine having joined groups to travel across Egypt, Bhutan, Western Australia and China, as well as in Southern & East Africa. Her most recent trip was on our 29-day East African Explorer camping overland tour, the itinerary visiting South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, Tanzania, Zanzibar and Kenya.
Would you go solo out on tour again, and why? Yes definitely – I love that as a solo traveller I get to make new like-minded friends from different backgrounds. While we have different jobs and cultures, we all come together to experience the highlights of that trip which brings a common interest and is a great ice-breaker to chat with people you’d ordinarily pass by. I also like the safety of having things pre-organised so you don’t need to stress about how to get to places or the safety of your possessions, While I’ve travelled independently of groups too – I find joining a group fun and stress-free and it allows me to relax and fully enjoy the destination.
What are some good ice breakers when you’re single and joining a group tour? Don’t be afraid to be yourself and share your thoughts and questions – often others are thinking the same thing and through sharing it brings everyone together. It also makes for some good laughs when you see that its not only you wondering what the [insert bizarre object] you’re admiring is supposed to be 😉
What’s the best way to get started as a solo female traveller? I think most destinations have tours that you can join, so follow your heart and go explore. If you’re unsure, start with a destination that’s more like your homeland so you can understand the language or culture and get into the groove of travelling before you head out to a completely different one. Also, don’t be afraid to get out of your comfort zone – you’ve come all that way so do the activities – even if they scare you a little!
What did you learn about yourself by going solo out on tour? On every trip I take, I bring back a new nugget of wisdom or some experience that changes the way I approach life. Sometimes it’s from one of the fellow travellers, and at other times it may be a local place or experience that has left me changed. Seeing how other people live, where they live and the natural environment on different continents makes me appreciate where I come from all the more and encourages me to add new destinations to my ‘bucket-list’ too.
What do you think are the plus factors for solo travellers joining group tours? It saves the hassle and stress of having to research and arrange all the logistics of getting around. In places like Africa, it can be difficult and expensive to travel independently and joining a tour means you won’t worry all day about how to get from point A to B or where you’re going to sleep. Organised tours also have a guide so you’ll get loads of extra information along the way you probably wouldn’t have if travelling on your own. There’s also a lot to say about safety in numbers, so for countries where women cannot easily travel independently, joining a group tour offers a safe, fun and affordable way to explore.
What inspires you the most about solo female travel? I’m inspired by all the travellers you meet along the way and their stories of why they chose that destination. I admire women who don’t let anything hold them back and challenge themselves to experience the adventures that travel brings. We should all forge our own path out on the road.
Do you have any tips for women who might be thinking of booking as a single on a group tour? Give it a go – you won’t regret it!
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.