We are pleased to present a new Solo Travel Destination Post from Andrea, a member of the Solo Travel Society on Facebook. Andrea is from Canada, and submitted the following report about South Africa. Do you have a solo travel destination that you would like to recommend? Submit your description here, along with a few photos, and share it with fellow travelers!
Solo travel rating: 2 (1 is easiest, 4 is most difficult. Please see chart below)
Languages spoken: English, Xhosa, Zulu
Reasons to go: South Africa offers so much in terms of fantastic scenery, unbelievable adventures, rich culture, amazing food, and incredible nature with its abundant wildlife. I was there for 9 days in December 2012 as a solo traveler. It was summer in South Africa and a fantastic time to visit.
My first stop was in the Hoedspruit area in the private Balule reserve of the Greater Kruger National Park on safari with Naledi Enkoveni. Naledi offers 2 lodges, Enkoveni and Bush Camp. I had an amazing 2 days and 4 safari drives with them and saw everything from impala, giraffe, zebra, baboons and warthogs to the Big 5. It was incredible to be up close and personal with African elephants, lions, the elusive leopard and more. I really enjoyed watching a hippo in the Olifants River as well as various antelope and baboons at play across the river. They offer great lodging, fantastic food, beautiful scenery, and amazing safari drives and are very welcoming. The price is also very affordable, especially for what you get.
In Cape Town I stayed at The Backpack hostel. They are highly rated on Trip Advisor and participate in the Pack With a Purpose program and other responsible tourism endeavours. It was a fantastic location and a great, reasonably priced place to stay. While in Cape Town, I also saw the most stunning sunset over the Atlantic Ocean from Signal Hill.
I enjoyed an interactive and ethical township tour with James Fernie of Uthando South Africa. I highly, highly recommend a tour with Uthando. We got to visit 3 projects and interact with the people of the Khayelitsha Township as well as learn of the inspiring things being done there. A portion of the tour cost goes directly to the projects Uthando supports.
Adventurous types can go cage diving with Great White Sharks. It was so incredible to be front row in the cage to see the ocean's greatest predator and misunderstood creature. They were a joy to watch and it was definitely a once in a lifetime experience.
Did you know there are penguins in South Africa? There is a colony of African penguins in the Cape Peninsula area of Boulders Beach. There are many tour operators offering an opportunity to visit them.
I felt very safe in South Africa and had amazing experiences, but my favourite thing about South Africa was the people. They were warm and welcoming no matter where I went. From spontaneous drumming with a young shopkeeper at the popular V&A waterfront arts and crafts building to hearing the personal path of an apprentice Sangoma in a local township to singing Christmas carols with 5000 locals against the backdrop of Table Mountain, it was the most incredible trip of my life. My trip there would have only been a series of proud bucket list type accomplishments without the interactions with the people of South Africa. It was truly special. I cannot wait to return.
Solo Travel Destination Rating System
Safety – 2 (1 very safe, 2 safe in most areas, 3 be cautious at all times.)
Language – 2 (1 English is first language, 2 English speakers easy to find, 3 English speakers rare)
Navigation – 1 (1 easy to navigate by transit or car, 2 poor transit, car necessary, 3 not easy to get around)
Culture – 2 (1 Similar to North America or Western Europe, 2 Different from above but relaxed and easy, 3 Challenging)
Average Rating – 2 (1 is easiest, 4 is most difficult)