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  • Writer's pictureIndy Escapes Crew

Exploring Africa Alone: The Thrill of Solo Travel in Africa

Updated: Jan 28

Solo travel in Africa has become an increasingly popular way to explore the continent — and there are plenty of good reasons why. From the stunning wildlife to the vibrant cultures, there's something special about Africa that can only be experienced firsthand.




But there's also something romantic about traveling through Africa alone that really draws people in. Perhaps it's the idea of facing all the unknowns head-on or maybe it's just being able to go freely wherever and whenever your heart desires. Whatever it may be, solo travel in Africa is an incredible experience, not for the faint of heart.


Are you ready to explore Africa solo? Then buckle up, because unique opportunities await you! In this article we'll dive into what solo travel in Africa looks like and discuss some tips and tricks to make sure your adventure is a safe and unforgettable one.


What to Consider Before Solo Traveling in Africa


Exploring Africa alone can be an incredibly thrilling and rewarding experience, but it does come with some unique challenges—and it's important to consider what those are before you set off.

Firstly, the continent is hard to travel alone. It’s difficult to meet other travelers on your journey, and that means you will have to be more self-reliant. You will also find that, compared to other places in the world, Africa can be expensive traveling on your own— as there are no well establish tourist routes for independent travelers.

Another thing to take into account is how far you are from home, where you feel most comfortable and any language barriers you may face. On the other hand, if you’re prepared to embrace this uncertainty and challenge yourself with powerful experiences and cultural exchanges then Africa could be the perfect place for your solo journey of exploration.


Essential Safety Tips for Traveling Solo in Africa


When you have the opportunity to explore a place like Africa on your own, it can be an incredibly rewarding experience—but it's important to remain wary and cautious of your surroundings. Here are some essential tips for staying safe while traveling solo in Africa.

  • Always keep valuables close to you and secure. This includes keeping important documents, money and jewelry on your person at all times.

  • Be aware of pickpockets and scammers. Take caution when in large crowds and always be mindful of distractions that might leave you vulnerable.

  • Research local laws and cultures prior to arriving in a new location. Make sure you know the rules and regulations before taking part in activities such as driving or taking pictures of important cultural sites.

  • Make sure you have access to medical care if needed, especially if traveling remotely or alone through rural areas. Check that your health insurance covers foreign medical emergencies before embarking on your journey.

By following these safety tips, you will be able to enjoy a smooth solo travel experience throughout Africa without any worries!


Accommodations for Solo Travelers in Africa


Solo travelers in Africa face a unique challenge: finding the right accommodation. Because Africa can be expensive, you want to make sure you're getting the best bang for your buck. But that doesn't mean you need to compromise on comfort either!


Fortunately, there are plenty of lodging options for those traveling solo in Africa. Whether you want a hotel for a night or two, an Airbnb for a few weeks, or a hostel for an extended stay, there's something that'll fit your needs perfectly — and at a price that won't break the bank. Here's a quick breakdown of some of your options:


Hotels


Hotels come with all the comforts of home — think room service and hot showers — and most offer discountsif you book in advance. If you are looking for luxury without spending too much, opt for smaller boutique hotels.


AirBnB


Airbnb is one of the most popular choices among solo travelers in Africa due to its affordability and freedom. Plus, it allows you to feel like part of the local community while having their own space during your stay.


Hostels


Hostels are great if you're on a budget or if you’re looking to meet other travelers during your journey. You can find hostels with private rooms or dorms in almost every major city - just be sure to read up on reviews before booking! Check out Hostelworld to see what is available.


Transportation & Getting Around African Countries


Traveling alone in Africa offers a thrilling and unique set of experiences, meaning that you won't be able to just follow the usual tourist routes. Instead, you'll have to get creative with how you get around! And the good news is that transportation options are getting better all the time.


Air Travel


Most African countries have an extensive network of airports connected to both each other and the outside world. This means it's much easier than ever before to get around quickly and efficiently, while also providing great opportunities to check out amazing sights from the air.


Road Travel


Getting around by car is another option that allows you to experience African scenery in all its glory. Depending on the country, you may find it difficult or even dangerous to drive yourself, but there are plenty of local drivers who can help make your journey safe and enjoyable. Plus, public transport is often available in the form of busses or minivans, making it a great way to meet locals along the way.


Rail Travel


Rail travel is becoming increasingly popular all over Africa for both tourists and locals alike, as more railway lines are being built with greater access across borders. In some countries rail travel is definitely faster and more comfortable than bus travel—so asking around for advice is always a good idea!


No matter how you get around while traveling alone in Africa, there will always be plenty of adventure waiting for you. With so many unique opportunities for discovering different cultures and exploring untouched nature, traveling solo can be one of the most rewarding ways to experience this amazing continent!


Unique Experiences to Have as a Solo Traveler in Africa


When exploring Africa as a solo traveler, you can truly immerse yourself in the culture. There is no better way to experience a new country than by keeping your schedule open and being willing to open yourself up to all the people, cuisines, customs and experiences that each African country has to offer.


Whether it’s visiting the local market and bartering with the shopkeepers or taking a bus tour across rural areas, there are tons of unique experiences you can have during your trip. Here are a few examples to get you started:


Visiting Local Villages:


A great way to immerse yourself in the culture is by visiting local villages and getting an understanding of their lifestyle first-hand. Go for a walk around the town, join in on conversations with the locals and venture out into nearby nature spots.


Participate in African Festivals:


Africa is known for its vibrant festivals that celebrate their vibrant culture. These festivals are filled with traditional music, dance and art performances from different African cultures from across the continent that you should definitely check out while alone in Africa.


Sample Street Food:


Trying street food offers an incredible way to experience different flavors of a city or region without spending too much money. Have a chat with locals who often know all of the hidden places serving delicacies made with fresh local ingredients and then enjoy some amazing food while appreciating their hospitality.


By going out of your comfort zone and immersing yourself in African cultures, you will have an unforgettable experience as a solo traveler exploring Africa.


Tips to Meet Other Solo Travelers in Africa


Exploring Africa alone may feel intimidating, but you're not alone. There are actually quite a few other solo travelers out there looking to connect with like-minded adventurers. To meet them follow these tips:


Big Cities


Big cities like Cape Town, Johannesburg, Nairobi and Cairo are perfect places to meet people. Spend some time in the hostels or bars and you'll definitely find fellow travelers who can provide some great company.


Day Trips


When you're in smaller towns, look for day trips or group tours – these can be great opportunities to make some new friends. Most tour operators will have signage up in your hostel letting you know about tours and activities leaving from the town so keep an eye out for those!


Safari Tours


One of the main reasons all of us want to travel to Africa is to go on Safari! This is one of the most exciting bucket list activities that you can do in Africa, but the biggest problem is finding the best operator for you. Some offer budget backpacker trips in buses with basic facilities, where you pitch your own tent and use an open air bathroom, other tours are luxury level, where you fly around in a helicopter and thousand dollar a night hotels.


At Indy Escapes, we fall in the midrange section, where we delicately navigate the balance between quality and value for money. Our guests are all guaranteed window seats in a safari jeep in Kenya, we only use licensed guides, all of our lodges and glamping accomodation have ensuites and common pool areas. So, be sure to confirm the places that you are staying, the vehicles (bus, van, car, overland truck or jeep) that you will be using and if permits like the Maasai Mara or Gorilla Trekking are included.


A final thing to consider when deciding which tour safari company to use is the age of the guests. Most companies offer open age tours, so you could share you vehicle with people in the their 60's, 40's down to children. At Indy Escapes our guests are all in their 20's and 30's.


Bars


If you're looking to meet people without having to commit to a full day tour, try some of the local bars. These can be great places to relax after a long day on the road and swap travel stories with other tourists who may also be solo traveling around Africa.


Facebook Groups


Finally, give Facebook groups a try! Searching online for something like “solo travel Africa” is going to bring up lots of amazing groups full of solo travelers sharing tips and advice, giving you a perfect opportunity to get connected with other passionate explorers just like yourself. There are also more sophisticated Facebook groups like 'Every Passport Stamp' for people trying to tackle some of the more difficult countries to travel


Should you travel Africa solo?


So, if you’re one of those people who has ever dreamt of visiting Africa, but wondered if it’s too daunting a challenge to undertake alone, fear not. Africa is well-equipped for solo travelers, with plenty of tips and tricks for making your journey a safe, thrilling and unforgettable experience.


Africa does lacks established travel routes like South East Asia and Latina America, where you will meet a multitude of travellers passing through each day, but fear not.. You will not have to fly solo! There are a variety of tour operators that facilitate local cultural excursions and wildlife encounters in most designations. Whether you’re a culture vulture or a beach bunny, an adventure seeker or a wildlife enthusiast, Africa has something for everyone – just make sure you get out of your comfort zone and explore!



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