Set sail, solo: tips for the single safari goer

Welcome to 2020, a time of self-reflection, self-care, and solo travel. More and more people are taking the plunge and seeking out places in the world that will rejuvenate the soul. Alone time in the world is a go! We are in full support of this movement for mindfulness and want to share our ideas for single safari goers. The perks, the pro-tips, and the money-saving moves that will get solo travellers on African safaris more easily.

solo travel, Set sail, solo: tips for the single safari goer

Solo traveller enjoys the view of an elephant feeding at Sanctuary Chief’s Camp.

Perks of solo travel in Africa

Lack of distraction. Take it all in on your own terms. It’s ultimately about self-care, so you choose what you need without feeling the need to consider what a partner might need. Take a morning to lie-in, alone. Enjoy the luxurious bed linen, take in the bush views through the windows, and listen to the sounds of birds in the morning. Make one cup of coffee. Travelling alone, you generally speak less, pay attention to your surroundings more. In the case of safari that means absorbing the new environment on game drive, choosing to sun-lounge or read a book or siesta in the afternoon. You decide.

Enhancing the human experience. As a solo traveller, you’ll find yourself creating more memorable bonds with a guide or fellow guests as you share often first-time experiences. Travelling alone, you engage with people more and the result is often higher impact human connections.

Getting one-on-one safari experiences. Many safari activities are offered on a private or personal basis. Private game drives, tracking wildlife on foot, interpretive bush walks, or spending time in a photography hide armed with your longest lens and an expert guide. These activities are a luxury and are likely to come at an additional price.

Recharge and reconnect with nature. Take the time out, talk less, absorb more. Many would argue that Africa is the perfect place to disconnect from routine and technology and enjoy being surrounded by wilderness. Early mornings with the sunrise, early nights, full of good food and tired from a day of discovery. Full, happy heart.

solo travel, Set sail, solo: tips for the single safari goer

Quiet contemplation, free of distraction, at Kwitonda Camp in Rwanda

Activities for solo safari travellers:

Mokoro excursions. What was once (and still is) the traditional way to get around waterways of the Okavango Delta in Botswana is today a unique safari activity. Solo travellers can hop aboard the narrow canoe while their personal guide and enjoy the tranquility of a slow cruise through calm channels and lagoons.

Horseback riding. Experienced horse riders will find their happy place on the back of a noble steed, cantering through untamed areas inhabited by wildlife. We’ve got a list of incredible horse riding destinations, from Selinda in lush, northern Botswana to the open desert landscapes of Makgadikgadi further south.

Game drives and gorilla trekking. These iconic safari activities are designed for groups, but not necessarily for couples. Gorilla trekking groups are usually limited to eight people, so whether you’re a single or half of a whole, you’ll be counted as one of eight individuals destined to head into primate territory with a guide. Game drives are the same. Most game viewers take six to nine guests and singles and couples alike will jump aboard together. No singles discrimination here!

Similar interest group safaris. Some activities like birding, fishing, or walking can be arranged as a group interest safari. This type of offer gives many solo travellers the opportunity to travel with people who might be strangers, but who share the same interest.

solo travel, Set sail, solo: tips for the single safari goer

Horseback riding at Lew Wilderness

solo travel, Set sail, solo: tips for the single safari goer

Fishing trip in the Delta at Xugana Island Camp

Safari properties good for solo travellers

Communal dining is often something that is important for solo travellers. To sit around a table to enjoy a meal and share experiences is a meaningful way to get to know new people. After an exciting day on safari, eating together is a chatty affair and is often hosted by the lodge host or your safari guide. Perfect for those travelling alone.

  • At Lewa Wilderness Camp in Kenya, guests dine together along with the lodge owners. It is a seasonal camp, closed during April and May and only has a high season single supplement. During June, October, November, February and March, and most of September and January, singles can stay without a surcharge.
solo travel, Set sail, solo: tips for the single safari goer

Discovering new cultures in the golden light of Kenya at Lewa Wilderness.

solo travel, Set sail, solo: tips for the single safari goer

Lewa Wilderness Camp glowing under a darkening night sky.

Green season specials are well worth considering if you want to cut some zeros off your safari bill. It is well known that off-peak season offers half-price or heavily discounted rates. Safari rates are generally the same whether you’re sharing a room or not and most of the time singles have to pay a surcharge. So, when those rates are dramatically cut down, it’s a good time to take advantage!

  • Sanctuary Chief’s Camp is ideal for a beautiful Botswana wetland safari. In the low season, no single supplement required, so solo travellers can make the most of this luxury destination without paying the extra 30-50% supplementary fee.
  • Xugana Island Lodge and Camp Okavango are two water-based safari camps we love in Botswana. In the low season they also waive the single supplement fee for the first two singles travelling in a group booking. Only the third and subsequent guests in the group are charged extra, making the whole group booking a fair bit cheaper.
solo travel, Set sail, solo: tips for the single safari goer

Mokoro excursions at Sanctuary Chief’s Camp are perfect for solo travellers.

solo travel, Set sail, solo: tips for the single safari goer

Guests enjoy the view from Xugana Island Camp in the Okavango Delta.

Some lodges cater for single occupancy in the best way, by requiring no single supplement whatsoever. These are a few of our favourites:

  • Stanley Safari Lodge requires no single supplement and is just 10 minutes from Victoria Falls. It is located bordering Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park and has unspoilt views of the wilderness. The options for activities are endless and this is a fantastic central southern African safari location.
  • Elephant Pepper in the premier Mara North Conservancy in the Masai Mara requires no single supplement for solo travellers. This is a magnificent location with access to Mara River crossings and an emphasis on cultural and community involvement.
  • Kwitonda is Singita’s answer to the inimitable experience of gorilla trekking. High-end primate safari with world class sustainability ethics in Rwanda. It comes at a cost, but with no single supplement required for the first two single suites in a booking, this is one way to get your gorilla trekking experience on in style!
solo travel, Set sail, solo: tips for the single safari goer

Bubble bath with lanterns and a view of the bush at Stanley Safari Lodge.

solo travel, Set sail, solo: tips for the single safari goer

Relaxation station at Elephant Pepper Camp in the Masai Mara.

Sun Safaris Says

  • Travel in off-peak seasons and make use of lower rates and a more exclusive, less populated safari period. Ideal if you’re a single traveller wanting to disconnect from crowds and reconnect with nature.
  • Find out about dining options if you have a personal preference. Some lodges host family-style communal dining which suits those who want to meet and develop relationships with fellow travellers. Some lodges emphasise personal privacy and set dinner tables apart for groups and solo travellers.
  • Work with a travel expert who will listen to your preferences and give you honest advice about solo travel options in Africa. Our team is tuned in the various specials which could benefit those travelling alone and know where to look to create the perfect safari for one.

solo travel, Set sail, solo: tips for the single safari goer

solo travel, Set sail, solo: tips for the single safari goer

Author: Chloe Cooper

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