I’m a solo female traveler. It’s what I do. And the important word in that definition is solo (the female I had no choice about, and the traveler is just a part of me now). The solo is a choice, and I’m loving and promoting that way of traveling a much as possible. So it might come as a bit of a shock to the people who’ve been reading me for a while that, for my first time in Africa, I chose to go on a tour.
For two weeks, from Windhoek in Namibia, to Cape Town in South Africa, I traveled in an overland truck with a group of other twenty something people. Here’s why:
Namibia is not an easy country to travel around. I’m not talking about the safety at all here (of course you have to be cautious, as always, but otherwise it’s a very safe country), but simply about the lack of accommodation and public transportation! If you have a car and a tent, you should be fine. If you’re like me and don’t have either a license or a backpack big enough to carry camping equipment, it gets more complicated. I still explored part of the country on my own, but the beautiful desert awaiting in the south would have been out of my reach!
As I’m still me, I didn’t choose a fancy, cocktail-in-hand, tour, but an adventure tour with Acacia Africa, where we set up our tents ourselves and help with the cooking and life of the camp. This was truly life in a truck and camping in the bush, and I loved that I got to experience the true silence and beauty of camping in the middle of the desert!
To be completely honest, I struggled a bit the first few days to adapt to this new way of traveling. I had no problem with sharing my time with the group (no different from a dorm, really), but it was weird for me to let someone else decide and plan the activities of the day.
After a while, though, I realized that a tour is just insanely practical! I got to see so many things, while spending most of my spare time reading my book instead of researching the next day, and eating the delicious food our guide was cooking each day (vegetarian option available, by the way).
At the end of the day, I don’t regret my decision to take a tour in Africa. I’m still a solo traveler at heart, but it was also a relief to be able to rely on someone else’s deep knowledge of the country for a while!
Have you ever been on a group tour? What was your take on it?