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Experts-I need help!Solo female traveler wanting to go to Africa, can't decide exactly what to do.

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Jan 19th, 2005, 06:09 AM
  #1
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Experts-I need help!Solo female traveler wanting to go to Africa, can't decide exactly what to do.

Hi all-
I am trying to decide if I should go to Africa this July 2005. I will be traveling alone and can go for a few weeks. Originally I thought I'd want to take a tour so I would not be lonely but now I have second thoughts.

I will be in my mid-thirties when I go and worry about either being the oldest (on a camping tour) or the youngest (on a bus tour). I really don't want to be either. I also don't want to go on a camping tour and spend half the time looking for a shower. I don't need a high-end kind of trip but definitely some basics.

I have contacted Taga Safaris and Go2Africa and am weighing some quotes. Here is where I am thinking are must-sees for me:
Cape Town (5 nights)
Vic Falls (3 nights)
Kruger (4-5 nights)
Beaches of Mozambique

What am I missing? My problem is that by traveling alone and not taking a tour it will be very expensive. I was also thinking about Tanzania and Zanzibar, but my main interest is South Africa. I am very adventurous and don't like sitting around all day except for the few days I"ll be at the beach. What else should I be seeing (I'm sure that is a loaded question, but time contraints/$$ get in the way) and/or what are some "can't miss" places?? I'm not interested in Namibia, Zimbabwe, or Botswana. I definitely want to see South Africa and Mozambique beaches. I know I could also do something along the Garden Route but is this something I can skip in favor or something else??

Please help! I can see from reading your posts y'all know so much and I can benefit from your knowledge. Thanks in advance.
Abby
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Jan 19th, 2005, 06:16 AM
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Not sure that I have too much advice for you, but I just wanted to say that I went to Kenya by myself a few years ago (I'm in my 20's). I won a safari on skyauction.com...it turned out to be a great deal as it was almost identical (route&lodges) to an Abercrombie& KentSafari.

If you have the time, why not start out and get adjusted by taking a tour or safari with a group, then move on to travelling by yourself?

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Jan 19th, 2005, 06:47 AM
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Abby,

To my knowledge, CCAfrica lodges do not charge a single supplement. While their lodges are top-notch, since you will not be paying a single supplement, CCAfrica may be worth looking into.

CCAfrica has lodges all over Southern and Eastern Africa.

www.ccafrica.com

Good luck.
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Jan 19th, 2005, 07:31 AM
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Abby
You'll love Africa!
Can I just ask - is your preference for a tour (provided age range and comfort level is appropriate) or for travelling on your own (provided cost isn't exhorbitant)?
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Jan 19th, 2005, 07:39 AM
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Hi, I did a solo trip to South Arica a few years ago, and I also worked with Mark at Taga.

Cape Town -- you can easily visit it by yourself and don't need a tour; if you want to do something like cage diving with sharks, which is great, you can always book that with a local operator

Vic Falls -- there's a lot to do, and you can arrange all sorts of activities when you are there; again, no need to be on a tour

Kruger -- you can visit Kruger with a 2WD rental, and Mark was able to arrange for me to fly to Kruger and pick up rental at the airport. The lodging in Kruger is affordable and comfortable, and with a map and patience, you'll see many animals, and I think its fun to drive and find them yourself (also, passing cars will alert you to upcoming animals)

Moz -- no need for tour to lie on beach

Sounds like a great trip, and Mark at Taga could give lots of info. Any questions or info on Taga, you can email me at thit_cho AT yahoo.com

Michael
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Jan 19th, 2005, 08:36 AM
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Hi Abby -

I too am a solo female traveller going to Africa this year. I tend to shy away from tours - not because of the age issue, but in fear being stuck in a group that doesn't get along. I don't know that I'd worry too much about the age issue, you can speak to the tour operators and they may be able to tell you the typical age ranges of the specific tours you are looking at.

A couple of thoughts on the $$ vs. loneliness issue, primarily addressing the loneliness....

First, for Cape Town, consider staying at a guesthouse as opposed to a hotel for the smaller, friendlier (and possibly cheaper!) environment. Selwyn has posted several suggestions.

For Vic Falls, the time you're planning on spending here might be a little long, unless you are planning on some activities (river rafting, sundowners on the Zambezi, etc.) The activities will also give you a chance to meet people...

For Kruger, I'm guessing that you are looking at the national park camps? My experiences in the camps has been that people are generally very friendly, but as an alternative, you might check the less expensive lodges in Sabi Sands. That way you'll be with a group and have food and game drives included. Also, the less expensive lodges don't add an insane single supplement.

I haven't been to Mozambique, so can't add anything there. I was looking at it for this year, but it added substantially to the cost of my itinerary.



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Jan 19th, 2005, 09:51 AM
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Thanks everyone! I don't really know what my preference is-I've done 2 Contiki tours and loved them, but on the second one I felt a little old. Also, I don't want to be on a tour with people my parents' age (no offense anyone!!!) and would rather be with people who are adventurous and want to do lots of crazy activities. I did ask some tour operators about the age ranges and for the camping they say late 20s-early 30s, but I'm skeptical after my past experiences. I'm pretty outgoing and find it easy to talk to strangers so I think if I'm around people and it's not a tour I won't be too lonely. If I could find the right tour I'd do it, but otherwise I'm happy to go on my own.

Am I missing anything in my proposed itinerary that I MUST do/see? Also, I don't know much about the game lodges. Are these hotels within the parks, like Kruger and Sabi Sabi? I was quoted for the Protea Kruger Hotel Gate. Thanks!
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Jan 19th, 2005, 10:36 AM
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Abby -

The Protea Hotel Kruger Gate is just outside of Kruger Park.

The hotel outside the park, private game reserves and national park accomodations are all different experiences. Which you'll prefer comes down to your personal preferences & tolerance for costs. This link http://www.frommers.com/destinations...456010027.html has some good overview information, plus some comparison of the rest camp experience to the private lodges. You might also look at Kavey's trip report (search on The Long Report). She stayed at Berg-en-Dal & Olifants in Kruger - look toward the end of the thread.
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Jan 19th, 2005, 02:08 PM
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Also, what is Chobe like? I've read a lot about it and it was just suggested to me by a tour operator, perhaps instead of Kruger. If I can do both it would be great. Thanks!
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Jan 19th, 2005, 03:18 PM
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Chobe is a great park, and you can drive there from Vic Falls. They offer traditional safaris on land, but also safaris by boat on the Chobe River, which are great. Are you working with Mark? He booked me into Chobe Game Lodge on my trip to Chobe, which is a larger place to stay, but great location and very reasonable price.
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Jan 20th, 2005, 02:43 AM
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Hello,

This from cruisinred is excellent advice:

If you have the time, why not start out and get adjusted by taking a tour or safari with a group, then move on to travelling by yourself?

Absolutely.

But, look, there are many companies that will show you the best of Africa (well not the exclusive game lodges, obviously) but will give you access to most of the "must sees". I've never travelled in SA or anywhere in East Africa with a group - always done it independently - cos I have the experience - you don't. But I have travelled with budget "truck" tours in West and Central Africa.

Believe me - it is a life enhancing experience. These days the E Africa route is not one on which you "bush camp" (when you can get seriously filthy!). It's camp grounds - and facilities may be limited - but, hey, you know, after a few days it doesn't matter.

I was older than you are when I did a trans africa 20 week trip and I was not the oldest. A good friend just came back from a trip with "African Trails" to Kenya and Uganda. She is 29 and everyone else was late 20's to late 30's.

I write at length to encourage you, if you are on a small budget, to consider a tour in which you participate - you are never just a passenger (well if you are, you will miss out and won't be very loved).

www.explore.co.uk

Do a google for exodus, guerba, african trails.

You only live once!
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Jan 21st, 2005, 05:22 AM
  #12
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Thanks everyone for your help and assistance. I am working on getting a great itinerary together and this information really helps. Any more info is always greatly appreciated.

I'm thinking that I will do at least 5 days in CT, 2-3 Kruger, possible a few days in Chobe and then Vic Falls, and 4-5 in Mozambique. This could add up to almost 20 days after it's planned and then I might not have more money to stay!

The other thing about the tour that I was thinking about is that they move from place to place and there is heaps of driving involved. I did a tour like this in Australia and there were times I wished I could have stayed in one location for more than a few hours. That, on top of the camping/no showering, makes me feel like going on my but on an organized itinerary where I will have guides, etc. is more up my alley.

Thanks again!
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