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By Angela 07 July 2020

Going alone to Africa: my solo holiday to Botswana and Zimbabwe

YZ’s Angela has just returned from a solo safari to Zimbabwe and Botswana. She explains why Africa is such a great destination for a solo holiday.

Over the last few years, the best travel worldwide has moved towards tailored travel, with destination specialists matching each type of traveller with the perfect experience. While the idea of solo travel may be a bit intimidating for some, due to the dismay of facing the single supplement or the prospect of joining a group of sometimes less than like-minded travellers (eek!), tailored travel can actually ensure you get the best from your solo safari!

Why I like to go on solo safaris

Travelling solo gives you flexibility and the ability to be specific about your requirements – I love this! A safari holiday is a genuine adventure and a real retreat to nature. With big game and extraordinary animals providing a major focus, some travellers only realise once they’ve arrived into a truly remote camp, in a very beautiful and peaceful setting, that the full experience is as much action as it is an opportunity for relaxation and reflection!

Having travelled through Africa extensively and with many variations of travel companions – colleagues, family, friends, or my partner –, I have always found safari an amazing adventure to share. However, a bit selfishly, when I travel solo I can’t help but appreciate the solitude and the serenity nature brings… I love the ability to set my own schedule and move at my own pace.

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Usually my favourite time on a solo journey is my quiet morning coffee at dawn before heading out on a drive. That said, on my most recent trip into Zimbabwe and Botswana this fell away completely – the game viewing was so good, I started taking a travel mug onto the vehicle, ready to set off before the sun hit the horizon! And on my previous safari I was raring to go and willing to get involved in any activity that would get me out into the wilderness! On a recent blog about this journey, I wrote about one of the biggest game-viewing decisions I’ve ever had to make – the action was non-stop!

My experience as a solo traveller in Botswana

Safari in Botswana has gained a bit of notoriety for its sky-high pricing, but if you can be flexible with your dates, you could consider travelling in shoulder seasons, when the dreaded single supplement falls away. Ask a travel specialist when the deals are best, and you’ll get the most bang for your buck!

The diversity of activities available in Botswana did mean that, between the racing around for epic game, there were some gorgeous moments during which everything slowed down, out on mokoro or boating activities enjoying the sounds of the birds and the water… utterly beautiful!

My experience as a solo traveller in Zimbabwe

The walking safaris in Zimbabwe are known to be some of the best. I joined in on every possible occasion – and on the odd time when I was lucky enough to have my own dedicated guide and tracker, I loved being able to ask every question I had ever had!

So why is a safari such a great solo adventure?

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A solo safari can be a very social holiday style (or not), game drives are shared (and private vehicles can be arranged), meals are communal (or in your tent if you prefer your own company), but one constant is that hospitality in Africa is so intuitive, your guides and camp managers will assist and guide you to ensure that your stay is ideal!

Southern African hospitality is so special, I found myself hanging out with staff in the lodge during my afternoon rest time. So many staff members of the Botswanan and Zimbabwean camps are incredibly long serving, and having grown up locally in the closest village their awareness of the area and its history is enthralling. Stories of the people and land were so willingly shared, I never felt like I was imposing and I appreciated every minute that each person shared with me.

Travelling in Zimbabwe and Botswana solo was a perfect mix of fun, social, action-packed safari, and moments to really connect with myself and the wonderful hosts who showcase the warmth of Africa so perfectly.

If you’d like to travel to Zimbabwe and/or Botswana, please don’t hesitate to contact us here. Alternatively, do take a look below for more solo-focused inspiration: