Solo Travel in Africa
Africa is a diverse continent and solo travel in Africa can be a challenge depending on which region you choose to visit. The continent is best known for its safaris and games reserves from the famous Kruger Park in the South to the Masai Mara in the North, the Big Five are plentiful throughout the continent.
Africa is a continent like no other, but travelling here can be a struggle and as a Western traveller you will stick out. Although some African countries are very stable and safe, some remain unpredictable. As a solo, you may feel more comfortable in Namibia, South Africa, Botswana, Zambia, Malawi and Tanzania. If you are planning to visit more than one country, consider an overland tour. It's a great way to see several countries and be in the safety of a group at the same time.
Below is a summary of each country to help you decide where to go. Click on the image below for the solo destination guide.
North Africa consists of Mauritania, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya and Egypt. Some of these countries feel more like the Middle East than Africa. Not all of these countries are safe to travel to. The countries which attract solos are Morocco, Tunisia and Egypt. Head here for ancient Egyptian tombs and monuments or enjoy a camel ride in the French- speaking countries of Morocco or Tunisia, famous for their mint tea.
One big attraction here is the desert, so visit these countries if you want to sleep under the desert stars and experience time with nomadic tribes. It’s also big in movie tourism: Star Wars was filmed in Tunisia and many movies in Ouarzazate in Morocco. As a solo, expect to be hassled even if it’s just within the souks. Dress conservatively here to avoid any attention.
Victoria Falls sits between Zimbabwe and Zambia, and the Zambezi River is perfect for adrenalin junkies. Visit Namibia for the Skeleton Coast, Fish River Canyon and stunning salt flats within red dunes. Experience a walking safari at the Okavango Delta in Botswana or by river in a traditional mokoro. Malawi is a magical country and is home to Lake Malawi, which lies within the Great Rift Valley, running from the north of Africa to Mozambique. South Africa is a wine-tasters dream and has plenty of sightseeing; dive with great whites, visit the infamous Robben Island or just enjoy the city view from Table Mountain.
East Africa consists of: Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania (and Zanzibar), Rwanda, Burundi, South Sudan, Ethiopia, Djibouti, Eritrea and Somalia.
The east is home to the Masai tribe and the annual migration of the wildebeest who share their terrain with Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain. Just off the east coast of Tanzania is the tropical island of Zanzibar. Lose yourself in the maze that is Stone Town or visit an authentic Spice Farm. Uganda and Rwanda are known for gorilla trekking and attract wildlife solos who want to see primates in the wild.
Some of these countries are not really accessible to tourists. You wouldn’t want to visit Somalia for example, but Ethiopia is increasing in popularity due to it incredible landscapes and tribal culture.
West Africa includes Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Togo, Mali, Niger, Chad and the islands of: Cape Verde, São Tomé and Príncipe.
West Africa is not as visited as the rest of the continent, with many countries out of bounds due to political unrest and extreme terrorist groups threatening tourism. They can also be difficult to enter, with many requiring a visa. Senegal and the Gambia are the most visited here, and many fly direct to Cape Verde for a holiday. Even though the Gambia is one of the safest countries in West Africa, expect attention on the beaches. The same applies to Ghana, where being friendly can be seen by men as an invitation for a relationship.
Central Africa is not a region that most solos travel to. The region includes countries such as Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which are known for their political unrest. Unless you are travelling with an NGO, it is better to avoid this region at the current time.
There is so much to see in Africa; Gorillas in Uganda and Rwanda, merekats in the Kalahari, tribal villages in Ethiopia, and the old kingdom of Eswatini. If you prefer an island getaway visit the islands of Madagascar or the Seychelles. Whatever your reason for travelling to Africa, you are guaranteed to get more than you bargained for.