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Tips for women on safari

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Going on a safari is an adventure of a lifetime, but for single women, the prospect of travelling alone or in a group can be daunting. It is important to acknowledge that women have different concerns and needs than men when it comes to travel, and taking precautions and planning ahead can make all the difference.

Having crafted countless awesome safaris for our female clients (solo travel and groups) - and having received 5-star feedback - we thought we would share some of the best advice gathered over the years. Note that most of teamAG are women, so we feel qualified to provide this advice and craft your epic safari.

Scroll down to find our most popular trips for women on safari - solo and groups


THIS ADVICE IS FOR WOMEN TRAVELLING ALONE OR WITH FEMALE COMPANIONS
Health and hygiene

A concern amongst women travellers is health and hygiene. Keep in mind that personal hygiene supplies may not be available when travelling to remote destinations. Camps and lodges recommended by us will provide suitable disposal facilities.

Pack appropriate clothing for the climate, including long sleeves and pants to protect against insect bites and sunburn. Bring mosquito repellent and high-factor sunscreen - and use them liberally. It is also a good idea to bring a water bottle and to avoid drinking local tap water.

Safety

Another concern for women travelling on safari is safety. Is Africa a safe place to travel? Yes, it is - if you take the usual precautions you would take anywhere else. Crime incidents against tourists are extremely rare, particularly in remote areas - but some areas must be avoided (our travel consultants will provide all necessary advice).

  • It is essential to choose a reputable tour operator (hello ;-) and to research the country and area you will be visiting;

  • Be aware of the local customs, laws, and potential risks;

  • Stay in safe accommodation and avoid travelling alone at night;

  • Leave a copy of your travel itinerary & passport with loved ones at home. Be sure to check in now and then with them so they know your whereabouts and that you’re safe;

  • Keep an eye on your bags at all times when en route between camps/lodges, and use a lock on your luggage;

  • In the unlikely event of being harassed by male strangers, a polite “No thank you” or “I’d prefer some alone time” will usually suffice. If not, ask for assistance from your guide or lodge manager;

  • Portray yourself as a confident and experienced traveller. Usually, only those who look vulnerable (or lost) receive unwanted attention.

Luggage types and weight restrictions

Although international flights may permit hard suitcases and higher luggage weight allowances, the small planes fly into remote bushveld locations don’t. The luggage holds require soft luggage and cannot carry as much weight. So it’s essential to plan your luggage and wardrobe and to pack wisely. For example, you will only need three pairs of shoes - a smart pair for travelling and hotels, supportive walking shoes for activities and sandals for poolside and lodge time. Remember to leave room for the spoils of your shopping while on safari - all those gifts and curios. Your packed luggage should be light enough for you to carry, even though there are usually drivers/guides and lodge staff members who will do that for you. Ask your safari consultant for these details about your chosen safari. Check out our suggested packing list here

Hand luggage

Remember to pack a water bottle, basic toiletries, medication, toothbrush+paste and snacks in your hand luggage - to cater for airport and road transfer time and unexpected travel delays.

Laundry

Most camps and lodges offer a 24-hour laundry service, so you can easily cut down on that safari wardrobe. Be aware, though, that washing is usually done by hand and drying is by the sun - so don’t pack delicate items as they may be damaged. Speaking of delicates, you must wash your undies - for cultural reasons; camp staff are not expected to perform that chore. You will find washing powder in your tent/chalet for this purpose.

Spa treatments

Increasingly, lodges and camps offer spa treatments. Many have spa centres, and others have mobile spa equipment and staff who visit you in your room. Ask your safari consultant for these details about your chosen safari. 

Retail therapy

Who doesn’t enjoy a bit of retail therapy while on holiday? Not all camps/lodges have a shop, and many airport shops are over-priced or only offer mass-produced curios. Ask your safari consultant about shopping opportunities at your chosen lodges, and consider visiting a local village, city market or shopping centre during your safari. 

Bathrooms and toilets at remote camps/lodges

African city hotels and guesthouses will have all the amenities you have at home. And the majority of camps and lodges also offer comfortable bathrooms and toilets. 

However, you should know that some remote seasonal camps or so-called ‘bush/fly camps’ offer rustic facilities. By ‘rustic’, we mean no bath, and the shower is a ‘bucket/safari shower’ - a canvas or tin bucket with a tap filled with warm or cold water (your choice) on request. The water is heated over a fire or wood-fueled stove. Typically, a bucket shower will hold about 15 litres of water - enough to feel fresh and clean after a long day out. Ask for a refill if required. 

Most bush/fly camps provide the usual throne toilet with flushing water, but some offer ‘long-drop/pit toilets’ with the usual throne - where no flushing water is involved.  

The shower and toilet area for bush/fly camps is usually enclosed by reeds or canvas for privacy and is usually en-suite to your tent/chalet. 

What about going to the loo during game drives? If you need to go, don’t be shy - ask your guide to stop for a toilet break. You are probably not alone - others will be feeling the same need or are keen to grab the opportunity to stretch their legs. Your guide will stop the vehicle in a suitable area and check for dangerous wildlife before pointing you toward a private bush - boys on one side of the vehicle and girls on the other. There will be a loo roll stashed away in the vehicle.

Solo travel?

 We wrote a separate advice article about solo travel - see our notes about single supplements and ask your consultant about camps and lodges that offer low or no additional charges for single travellers.

Finally

Here is another resource with general Safari advice not covered above


WHICH OF OUR SAFARIS ARE SUITABLE FOR FEMALE TRAVELLERS?

All of the safaris we offer are suitable for women on safari, with some tweaking to suit your specific expectations. But here are some of our most popular safaris, as chosen by our female clients - to whet your appetite :-)

Search for leopards and other predators in the famous Sabi Sands

Your guide: Jamie Paterson - our scientific editor and former NatGeo Wild guide

"Join me in big cat paradise in this limited-offer safari. We will have our own exclusive safari villa and vehicle in the northern Sabi Sands"

Length: 6 days / 5 nights
Group Size: Maximum 6
Location: Sabi Sands, Greater Kruger, South Africa
Departure Dates: 8-13 Dec 2023 | 5-10 Jan 2024

FULL DETAILS HERE

Trek for mountain or lowland gorillas

Your trekking permit fee goes directly towards keeping gorillas safe in their shrinking habitat

Gorilla trekking has been described by many as a life-changing experience. Time spent with this fellow great ape is a humbling and profoundly spiritual experience that has to be at the top of your bucket list

Length: from 3 days to whatever suits you
Group Size: To suit you, solo travellers welcome
Location: Rwanda, Uganda, DRC or Congo-Brazzaville
Departure Dates: To suit you

FULL DETAILS HERE

Guided tour - Best of Namibia

Your private guide will collect you at the airport and be with you for every fantastic day of this epic tour, before dropping you off for your departure flight

Length: 13 days / 12 nights
Group Size: 2 upwards, to suit you
Location: Namibia - Sossusvlei - Walvis Bay - Twyfelfontein (Damaraland) - Etosha South - Etosha National Park - Onguma Game Reserve - Windhoek
Departure Dates: To suit you

FULL DETAILS HERE

Champagne safari - Maasai Mara & the Great Migration

“Design me a safari to beat all Maasai Mara safaris. I want supreme luxury, a private safari vehicle and a hot-air balloon flight with champagne breakfast. Oh, and a view from my room to die for.”

Challenge accepted!

Length: 6 days / 5 nights
Group Size: Flexible – you tell us how many are in your party.
Location: Mara Triangle, Maasai Mara, Kenya
Departure Dates: To suit you - including during the Great Wildebeest Migration

FULL DETAILS HERE

Botswana classic - fully-catered guided mobile tented safari

Led by experienced guides and a seasoned support team to pamper you and move your camp between destinations while you are out exploring

You will track the big cats and wild dogs across the dry savanna, glide silently down meandering waterways in search of glittering birds and drift along the Chobe River seeking the large elephant herds

Length: 11 days / 10 nights
Group Size: 2 upwards, maximum of 7 guests
Location: Botswana: Maun - Moremi - Okavango Delta - Khwai - Savute - Chobe - Kasane (or vice versa)
Departure Dates: Set departure dates (click the link below)

FULL DETAILS HERE

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