I have no idea what I am doing!!


Aug 21st, 2004, 03:06 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2003
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I have no idea what I am doing!!

I have some time and some money to go to Africa for a few weeks.
I never been - barely know anyone that has been either.

I am a single woman and will be traveling alone. I would like to just spend some time maybe on a short small safari (?), some time in some smaller villages attemping to eat some local food, shop some local markets...

I dont even know what country to look at first! I love to do research on a trip and I'm not trying to be lazy and someone plan my trip! I am just hoping someone can point me to a few countries I could look at.

I am sure like most "off the beaten track" is appealing??

Any one know of any tour provider they loved??

I will be using frequent flyer miles hopefully- so only land.

crosbie is offline  
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Aug 21st, 2004, 05:26 PM
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Please refer to "first time safari and solo traveler". I earlier today posted some information. It might help you sort out your plans. If you have any questions don't hesitate to ask.

You'll have as much fun planning as you will the trip itself.

JanGoss is offline  
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Aug 22nd, 2004, 05:24 AM
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Crosbie - and read Jan's "Just Back" report. It's outstanding.
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Aug 22nd, 2004, 05:53 AM
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Oh - it's a wonderful adventure you are starting out on. There's obviously pros and cons in going on an organised trip - but just in case you haven't come across them - there are companies that run small group adventure tours in East and southern Africa. (I guess you are not planning on going to West Africa just yet).

So to help in your research - these sites will give you loads of ideas - and maybe it'll be your sort of thing - try a google or check out:


Happy trails.
alice13 is offline  
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Aug 22nd, 2004, 07:38 AM
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Dear Crosbie: I am the one who posted on the "fist time safari travelling solo" I am a woman as well and trying to go for a few weeks to get started on Africa adventures. when and where are you planning on going maybe we can discuss further to avoid the dreaded single supplement?
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Aug 23rd, 2004, 11:48 AM
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I know two approaches: first, in SA, sometime in Capetown - tours, including wine country. Then fly straight to a reserve, such as Phinda in Natal, or up to a place in Kruger, such as Sabi Sands.

Or you can work with an agent who handles wilderness Safaris, and plan a tour of several of their lodges, transportation by small plane.
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Aug 25th, 2004, 06:14 AM
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Dear Crosbie,

Just want to say that there are 50 (or is it 51?) countries in Africa - don't let yourself be hounded into going to the one that appears most often on this board - ie South Africa. So many other options. SA is wonderful but not necessarily the 'best' - unless you have no desire to go beyond the 'norm'.
alice13 is offline  
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Aug 25th, 2004, 09:38 AM
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No disrespect intended, Alice, but what exactly are you trying to say?

crosbie indicates interest in a safari ... what does 50/51 countries have to do with that? have you ever been on a safari? are you aware which countries offer the most relaibel ones for first timers?

If you wish to help, advise on countries.

SA is an obvious choice, hence providing that name isn't coercing anyone to select SA.

I find your message to be confusing.
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Aug 25th, 2004, 10:23 AM
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Hello Crosbie,

If you could give an indication of the time of year that you'll be going, that would help enormously in making recommendations. In some countries weather variations really do make some seasons infinitely more desirable than others.

Also, you did say you were planning to get to Africa on FF points, so I think that will narrow your choices to some extent. Your FF points will not get you to some of the more out-of-the-way destinations.

You also said you wanted to include a safari experience, so that usually means East Africa or Southern Africa, especially for a first timer.

It also would be very helpful to know your budget. Safari accommodations go all the way from very basic to exceedingly luxurious, so the traveller's price range really is a useful thing to know.

As far as the issue of contact with local villagers is concerned, that is a tricky thing to arrange. Both in East Africa and Southern Africa there are so called tribal villages that one can visit in order to observe the local lifestyle. I am absolutely allergic to most of them. The people in those "villages" show up for work, don their costumes, do their basket weaving or grinding of grain or whatever it is that they do for the benefit of foreign visitors, and then at the end of their shift they change back into their western clothes and return to their real homes. I hate zoos, but if there is anything I hate almost as much as a zoo, it's one of these canned "tribal villages." I guess the "tribal villages" do provide employment for the people who work in them, and I certainly don't begrudge those people the income they earn from that work, but I sure wish there was a more meaningful way for them to earn a living.

We do have a Fodorite, Selwyn Davidowitz, who provides what I believe is an authentic experience for foreign visitors who want to meet local people. His tour offerings include individual or small group visits to Kayamandi township in Cape Town. Selwyn has developed a rapport with the residents of Kayamandi through his volunteer work there and, from what I understand, the visitor gets to have one-on-one interactions with local residents.

However, since Selwyn's tour of Kayamanadi township involves an urban, as opposed to a village, experience, it may not be what you want (if, indeed, you even want to go to South Africa).

A few months ago a Fodorite was asking about an authentic village experience in Swaziland, which happens to be the country in which I was born and grew up. I did an Internet search and found an outfit in Swaziland that sounded as if it offered exactly what that Fodors family was looking for. I described my findings in this thread:


It happens that Swaziland is wedged between Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal, the two South African provinces that contain most of that country's game reserves in which people go on safari. Consequently, if you chose South Africa as your safari destination, it would be quite feasible to get to the place in Swaziland that my Internet search identified.

I'm not saying by any means that Swaziland is the only African country in which you can find an authentic village experience. It's entirely possible that equally authentic village experiences are available in other African countries. I just don't know about them.

Since the Lonely Planet forum is more geared towards adventure / budget travel than Fodors is, and since budget travel tends to bring the visitor in closer contact with local people than luxury travel does, you may be able to supplement your findings by visiting:


Hope this has helped.
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
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Aug 26th, 2004, 05:05 AM
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aisleadjoining - hello!! Guess what I am trying to say is look beyond the usual frame. My earlier post gave addresses for websites for companies that offer trips to SA and other countries - I thought this would provide useful background info.

Have I been on safari? Well, that depends on your definition. I have visited Tsavo, Ambroseli, Samburu, Serengeti, Ngorongoro, Q Elizabeth NP, Etosha, Mana Pools, Simien, Garamba.

My tip for a first timer - SA for sure -
but consider also East Africa.

This board has a preponderance of tips for southern africa; trips based on lodges; trips that think 'Africa' is only about animals.

The OP seems to want something a little broader than that. Hence advice to check out the 'adventure' companies.

She's a single woman, and confesses she is casting around for info and ideas. That is what I was offering.
alice13 is offline  
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Aug 26th, 2004, 05:34 AM
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Given her criteria, suggest she first contact Wilderness Safaris to see what they have available in southern Africa, which currenlty offers perhaps the best game viewing opportunities in safe groups. It's fine you've been all those places, and glad you enjoyed the safaris. She does sound lost, thus needs some hand holding and simplicity, at least at first, jst to get started. Hence SA and Botswana are logicla starting places, given ease of travel to and from the USA. I'd also proposed that she purchase a Fodors guide, and one or two others and read a bit.
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