By Kirsten 10 April 2019

Expert advice - being a solo traveller in Kenya

YZ expert Kirsten recently returned from an educational trip in which she travelled solo around Kenya. Here’s how she designed the perfect solo safari.

Africa is one of the most perfect places for travelling solo! There is literally something for everyone when it comes to destinations and activities on offer. I have visited South Africa, Botswana, Zambia, Tanzania, Kenya, Mauritius, and Mozambique as a solo traveller, and I have enjoyed every varied experience. 

As much as my husband would love to come with me on all the educational trips that I take for work, sometimes it’s just not possible. On my most recent trip I went on safari in Kenya for two-and-a-half weeks and then spent a bit of time on the Kenyan Coast. I have always been drawn to Kenya and this was finally my chance to experience the birthplace of safaris.

SAFETY

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"Both my husband and parents were worried about the safety element of my trip, as Kenya has had several issues during the past few years. I did my best to reassure them that I would be met on arrival and assisted through immigration and passport control. I explained that, from that moment, I would be transferred and flown between areas by companies that YZ has been working with for years and that we trust implicitly."
Kirsten on her solo adventure to Kenya

SHOULD YOU JOIN A GROUP?

Quite often, solo travellers are tempted to join a group tour, and there are loads of pros and cons to consider with this. The main advantages are that you will travel with the same people and you will have a tour guide with you from start to finish. I also find it is usually slightly more cost effective as the tour organisers use driving instead of flying; however, that can mean you are missing out on time at the lodge or, worse still, on safari!

It’s also worth mentioning that group trips tend to visit the mainstream areas, so if you are looking for anything off the beaten track or if you have any specific interests the organisers can find it hard to accommodate you. For this reason, I always suggest looking at a tailor-made trip as you can visit the areas you really want to and for as long as you want to.

WHAT TO LOOK OUT FOR WHEN PLANNING A SOLO SAFARI

While planning my trip, I was researching which camps offer communal dining. I do like spending time on my own (especially in Africa with a good book or my binoculars), but in the evenings I enjoy sharing stories around the campfire and learning about the other guests as well as the local guides and managers working at the lodges. 

The other thing I suggest chatting to your specialist about is costs. Travelling solo can be almost double the per-person cost of a trip if you are not careful, so I would always try to stay at places that have a low single supplement or none at all. Generally, places that offer this will also feature communal dining. The Elewana properties, such as Tortilis and Elephant Pepper, and the Serian camps are among my favourites for solo travellers.

A BIT OF BEACHTIME

The last thing I want to touch on is my time on the beach. I thought I was going to feel a bit out of place on the beach on my own, but I was wrong. I mainly stayed at Diani. The locals here are incredibly friendly and have a genuine interest in getting to know you and finding out where you have been. So many locals don’t get to travel around their own country and they like to live through the stories from travellers passing through.

Diani has lots of great bars and restaurants, and I was able to get out and about and meet some locals and tourists alike. I went for a really long walk on the beach and didn’t feel unsafe once. There was a couple of locals trying to sell some local treasures, but I did not feel hassled as I have before in other beach destinations. 

If you are thinking of travelling on your own to Africa, or if you have any specific concerns about solo travel, please get in touch for a chat with one of our experts on +44 020 8547 2305 or via email: [email protected]