Safety for woman alone on safari

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Jul 16th, 2005, 05:33 PM
  #1
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Safety for woman alone on safari

How safe is for 2 woman to be travelling alone in Tanzania and Zanzibar? My friend and I, enroute to Zambia are booked with Good Earth for a two day camping safari at the end of the month. We will not be with a group. I am getting abit nervous and wondering if this was a good idea.
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Jul 16th, 2005, 11:42 PM
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I'm not sure I understand your question. Are you worried about being alone on safari (say in your tent alone in a park or game reserve)? Or is it travelling to get to where your safari starts? Cities along the way?

Are both of you travelling together the whole time? Will you be travelling without guides or escorts in Tanzania or Zanzibar? By public transport or guided? I haven't been to Tanzania, but I've travelled in Southern Africa and Kenya alone. Friends (women) have travelled alone in Tanzania.
Be smart, follow good travel safety rules in the cities, don't worry about the guided safari time, and have a good time!

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Jul 17th, 2005, 06:07 AM
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sandi
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I don't understand - you have 2-days of camping safari... in Tanzania or on Zanzibar? Either or? Not enough time in both places for more then setting up a tent. Please clarify.

We just returned from safari in Tanzania, beach R&R on Zanzibar and safari in Kenya - 2 women and we felt perfectly safe throughout both countries. This is, in fact, the second time that I've traveled with another woman to these countries. Other times I've traveled with a male partner.

All of my safaris (East and Southern Africa) have been private safaris and we always felt we were in "good hands" - with our choice of outfitters and definitely our guide/drivers.

What specifically is your concern?
 
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Jul 17th, 2005, 06:36 AM
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dusty2 - sorry to piggyback on your thread, but I have similar question. I'm considering a fly-in safari in southern Africa by myself (husband/sister/friends all unavailable to go with).

Having read many threads on this board that dealt with hearing various animals roaring away at night, here's one question: Will what is apparently a fascinating experience when shared by two people be a frightening one when alone in a tent at night? Thankfully, I'm an accountant with not a lot of imagination , but.....

Secondly, will I be a fifth wheel? Will there be someone to talk with at dinner or will it resemble solitary confinement?

Sorry to sound so wimpy! I've traveled solo on business many times and traveled as one in a group on occasion, but this trip would be very different and a bit of a stretch (which after all, is one reason why a lot of us travel). I really want to do this, but I'm getting sister/friend feedback (though they've never been there) suggesting that it's not a good idea.

Your thoughts?
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Jul 17th, 2005, 07:33 AM
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Sorry I wasn't very Clear. My friend and I will be travelling together. We will be in Zanzibar for some R&R for two nights and we are booked for 3 day mini safari with Good Earth. My concern is especially for our personal safety on Safari as we will be camping in public campsites alone, not with a group as it turning out to be a private safari. I am hoping Good Earth fits into that "good safari outfitter category". I am not as equally concerned about Zanzibar as we will follow all the good advise posted on this board. We will take the shuttle to Nairobi from Arusha and then proceed to Zambia for our volunteer stint. Thanks to all who have posted such helpful info on this board.
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Jul 17th, 2005, 11:33 AM
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dsquared,
All my trips to Africa have been solo, although I was joined by a friend for part of one trip. I think safari travel is perfect for singles (other than single supplements, sigh...) On a safari you have activities with the group every day on game drives and meals, but you can also have some private time. You will never feel like a fifth wheel, because everyone is really more oriented toward wildlife and the Africa experience than anything else. Although there are mostly couples, these places don't have a couples feel. There are also pairs of men and women travelling together, and sometimes other solo travellers. I've always had a great time with the other travellers. And remember, there are always guides & camp managers around in the mix. If you get more time from the good looking young guides because you are solo, are you really going to complain?

Please don't take advice from those who haven't been to Africa...there really don't have a clue! If you really want to go, and are willing to go alone, I bet you will come back and tell everyone it was the very best holiday you've ever done. After my first solo trip, I was very leery of travelling there again with others, at least for a whole trip. I will always arrange to do at least part of the trip solo, because I enjoy it so much.
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Jul 17th, 2005, 11:38 AM
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To answer the more general question about being alone in your tent and hearing animals at night...

Well, if you were with husband or boyfriend and a dangerous animal broke into your tent, just what would he do? Not that this is going to happen!

In addition, most of the places that I have been have night watchmen (even cheap places like Wildlife Camp and Flatdogs). There is nothing I love more than the sound of wildlife at night...but if those sounds...or a random spider or centipede makes you so nervous you can't enjoy things, it may not be the trip of your dreams.
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Jul 17th, 2005, 12:22 PM
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I totally agree with tashak (not only his thoughts on solo safari travel).

I best fall asleep if I hear elephants around the tent (unless they trumpet).

You're absolutely safe in your tent if you keep it closed. If you have to leave at night to do some business, make some noise and light the surroundings of the tent before you go out - thus letting know any quiet visitor what you're planning to do, and don't surprise him.

Mitch
 
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Jul 17th, 2005, 12:58 PM
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tashak said: "these places don't have a couples feel..."

Well, sometimes I feel more like being in senior residencies, especially at the more luxurious options. I remember many nights at camp bars - just me, and guides and managers. So I often conclude that luxury accommodation isn't always the best option for younger people.

Mitch
 
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Jul 17th, 2005, 01:27 PM
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sandi
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The sounds of an African night are what makes it so exciting.

No car horns, alarm systems, garbage trucks, cats meowing, dogs barking, children crying, couples fighting.

Though we've not done a "camping" safari, when we spent two nights at the Starbeds in Kenya, only the first night were there other couples (2 to be exact) besides the staff. The second night, just the two of us and the staff. The staff does walk the site at night and for the last evening they did leave extra lanterns out for our peace of mind. We counted the stars (every last one of them) and then slept like babies... lost to dreamland.

While I've never done safari solo, I know I would have no problem doing so. Though there are often couples, or two men or two women or small groups traveling... the management of both lodges/camps certainly make sure that their solo guests don't get a "fifth wheel" feeling.

We've often invited a solo traveler to join us for meals, or share a game drive. With few exceptions, we've found that people on safari are very friendly and welcoming of others.

As to the age of participants, especially at more lux properties - yes, a more mature group... but then they have the time and the money. That's not to say that we haven't met up with many 30-somethings at various price range properties... even the higher end. It's always a mixed bag and seasonal.

Safari isn't any less safe then travel anywhere and probably safer. You'll be fine.
 
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Jul 17th, 2005, 01:49 PM
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sandy,

at least once you should really try this more bushier "camping" option. Without lights and guards, only you and the dark African night, it's more than twice as much intense...

If you know the leopard is in camp, and you have to go out... alone... wow!

Mitch
 
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Jul 17th, 2005, 02:23 PM
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sandi
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Mitch -

You've got the wrong gal for that. I still sleep with a night light!

... and where would I plug in the hair blower? Too fru fru! LOL!
 
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Jul 17th, 2005, 03:14 PM
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bwanamitch
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sandi,

I've no problem with my long hair... )

Whatsoever, the nice thing with Africa is that you always find a place of your dreams - regardless of your preferences.

Mitch
 
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Jul 17th, 2005, 03:15 PM
  #14
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hhm, wrong smiley...
 
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Jul 17th, 2005, 04:04 PM
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dusty2:

There is only one thing in your notes that I think needs clarification from you. If I understand you correctly, you are saying "staying in public campsites alone, not with a group". Is this correct?

Most of what all the other posters have stated is entirely true, but I think most of them are posting about tented camps, which might be entirely different than a public camp site.

In my limited experience, a public campsite is where anyone can stay if they pay for it at the gate at the park entrance. With tented camps people book far in advance, and there is usually quite a large staff looking after you. Not necessarily the same with a public campsite.

I have traveled alone to Kenya seven times in the last four years and have felt entirely safe, staying at both lodges and tented camps.

The only thing I would look into were I you is how open the public campsites are to other strangers, and how many staff are there to look after you.

Perhaps other Fodorites have more experience with this than I, but with all my experience I might be a little concerned staying at a public campsite alone. Would definitely inquire deeper into the number of employees, if anyone driving in is allowed, etc., and whether you will have a guide with you at all times.

Jan
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Jul 17th, 2005, 04:56 PM
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If you make a camping safari, and you don't choose the self-driving option, at least the drivers are with you on this public campsite.

Mitch
 
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Jul 17th, 2005, 05:37 PM
  #17
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Jan:
Thanks for your reply. I am going to call up and ask for more information re: the campsites. We will have the driver and cook with us. I know the campsites at Lake Manyara will be the Twiga campsite. It does not look too bad on their website, however I need more info for my peace of mind. I am also leaning towards going a step up to a budget lodge. That's if they are available at this late date and I am allowed the change. I have just 10 day to go before I am in Arusha.
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Jul 17th, 2005, 06:13 PM
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dusty2:

If you have a driver and cook along with you, you will most likely be fine. They will be responsible for your welfare. However, I have seen campsites in both Amboseli and Samburu where anyone can self-drive, pay at the gate and stay. As women traveling alone, I would steer away from this kind for safety purposes.

Jan
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Jul 17th, 2005, 06:49 PM
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dusty2,

Twiga is located in Mto wa Mbu village, there's absolutely no reason to get worried. Look at the photos on their website www.taa-safaris.com.

Mitch
 
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Jul 18th, 2005, 08:17 AM
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dusty2, thanks for posting this thread - hope you have a wonderful journey.

Thank you to everyone who replied. Your information is most helpful.

tashak: my husband laughed when he saw your post and agrees that his presence wouldn't necessarily be any help!

sandi - thanks for your reassurance.

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