It’s a choice you may be faced with at some time or another. Do you go it alone, or not go at all? Sometimes circumstances are beyond your control: a travel partner has bailed last-minute, plans change, life happens. Perhaps it’s just a case of being tired of sitting home alone with itchy feet.
Surprisingly, there are many who’ve done it successfully: so much so, that they won’t safari any other way!
Considering embarking on a solo safari? These helpful pointers may help you along:
1. Check single supplements. Ask! Some lodges will gladly waive this, instantly making your safari more affordable. Sharing with strangers can be an option, but be advised you run the risk of dealing with snoring, weird behaviour, ‘sharing’ your stuff and other surprises.
2. Find a seriously good tour operator – sites like Tripadvisor and SafariBookings are good places to start. Make sure the company’s got the basics: trading history, accreditation and bonding, at the very least. It’ll costs you no more (often less) so give them all the hard work.
3. Opt for smaller groups: they’re way friendlier and easier to fit into. Many companies offer small group safaris – usually for nine people or less. Some even offer regular scheduled departures and dedicated single safaris.
4. Make new friends – travelling solo, you make more of an effort to make friends than if you were travelling with someone. You’ll find that fellow safari mates will often try and include you, too. Besides, sharing great wildlife sightings is a sure conversation starter.
5. Choose smaller lodges – some safari lodges are more ‘single friendly’ and any travel consultant worth their salt will be sure to find them for you. The staff will go out of their way to help you feel at home if they know you’re solo. Smaller lodges often have communal dining tables which make you feel part of the group.
6. Safety first. Typically, your travel consultant will make sure you’re met at airports and meeting points and transferred safely to your accommodation. Be aware and use common sense. Ask your concierge or tour guide about local safety conditions and heed their advice. Be prepared. Going solo requires good planning. You can’t always rely on others to lend you some vital item you forgot to pack. Do your research and read up about where you’re going before you leave. Check out our article on what you need to know about packing for an African safari.
7. Leave only footprints, take only memories. More than ever, it’s easy to blog on the go, share your pics on Facebook and Instagram, even Tweet your progress. And, for those more remote areas, remember to take a notebook and a pen.
Going on a solo safari can be a life-changing experience. Are you willing to give it a go?