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Solo safari: why joining an African tour on your own could be your best holiday ever.
Posted by Jo Duxbury on May 14 2015 in African Safaris
A small group tour, like many of the ones we offer here at African Budget Safaris, can be perfect for solo travellers. Here’s how to make the most of it:
- Sign up for a short safari first to see if it’s for you. A week or 10 days is enough time to adjust to being on your own in a group, and for the group to bond. Anything shorter, and your group won’t bond – the couples will keep to themselves. Anything longer could be pure torture if it doesn’t work for you.
- Arrive a day or two early. This gives you time to adjust to jetlag, acclimatise, recover from your journey and get a feel for your new environment. I always have a day to myself before a tour to walk around the departure city on my own. Do this and when you meet your group, you will be refreshed, feel confident and already a little in-the-know. It will also give you a couple of local stories to tell (this really helps me get past my natural shyness).
- Make an effort. It’s a cliché, but whatever you put in, you’ll get back out. You don’t need to be the life and soul of the party, but be friendly and interested in your travel companions. Break the ice by asking them about their home towns and previous travels. Learning everyone’s names quickly will endear you: usually it’s the solo travellers who know who everyone is first, as couples talk to each other more than to the rest of the group.
- Pick a different seat every day. You know how everyone chooses a seat on the minivan on day 1, and sticks to it for the entire holiday? Well, shake it up by by sitting in a new place daily yourself. It’s not only a great way to meet everyone else, but you’ll be encouraging the others to do the same.
- Contribute to the group. Do something to make the trip more fun for everyone else. On one tour, I initiated a tacky souvenir Secret Santa competition which gave everyone a little project to work on. You might also want to introduce the group to your favourite card game (I always travel with a deck of cards), or drinking game, or conduct a fun awards ceremony on the last night.
- Be flexible. Relax, go with the flow, and enjoy it. Focus on the fantastic things you are seeing and experiencing, rather than on the guy who is always late to the bus. Be open to suggestions and ideas from your travel mates – they might introduce you to something you’d never have come across on your own.
- Recognise the upsides of travelling alone and revel in them. You don’t have to deal with a cranky partner or relationship drama. You have the luxury of just looking after yourself, which really does free you up to experience your trip more. Travel on your own and you will have far more, and meaningful, interactions and connections with people.
For more safari adventures at great prices for solos, please follow this link.