Solo Travel: A guide to exploring South Africa on your own – The South African

https://www.thesouthafrican.com/travel/solo-travel-a-guide-to-exploring-south-africa-on-your-own/

Have you ever wanted to venture out on a holiday that is planned on your own accord? Here’s what a solo traveller can expect when visiting parts of South Africa.

How and why to travel solo in South Africa

Solo travel guides are often provided for explorers on their gap year when they visit continents across the globe. But travelling in South Africa can be even easier to do, in a trip that is soul-fulfilling, without the anxiety of being in a foreign land.

To begin with, the type of trip you embark on is totally up to you. You can cater your destination and itinerary to different needs, like solitude – perhaps you need a quiet, private holiday to write or paint, or perhaps you’re on a quest to reap the benefits of being single, with the aim of meeting new people along the way. 

Once you have the kind of trip you’d like to have figured out, pick a province. While it is usually about the journey and not the destination, destinations across the country are available in abundance and will set the tone for your trip. 

KwaZulu Natal

Durban
Durban. Photo by Finding Dan | Dan Grinwis via Unsplash

A trip to the Durban shores is just what the doctor ordered, with sunshine and warm ocean waters on the shores. From here, you can explore the province, travelling either north or south to find coastal towns and beaches. When visiting, be sure to stroll down the Golden Mile and get yourself some bunny chow.

Mpumalanga

Blyde River Canyon, Mpumalanga.
Blyde River Canyon, Mpumalanga. Photo by Kurt Cotoaga via Unsplash

Mpumalanga’s Lowveld, often aptly referred to as the slowveld, is a province where you can actually find a lot of adventure. Take scenic drives to zip lines and river rafting, with lush mountainous areas and waterfalls in between. If the bush is what you prefer, head straight to the Kruger National Park.

North West

North West. Photo via Flickr: South African Tourism

The North West is home to the Pilanesberg National Park, where you can explore this bush environment on foot on guided walking tours and trails. If you’d prefer a resort, head straight to Sun City where a world of fun awaits. Along the way, stopover in Hartebeespoort, where you can enjoy a pancake by the dam and shopping at the market. 

Gauteng

Photo by James Finney on Unsplash
Golden hour in Pretoria. Photo by James Finney via Unsplash

Gauteng has a lot to offer independent travelers. Visit the Union Buildings in Pretoria, or head to the city of gold, where you will find activity, art and culture. It is best to explore the city neighbourhood by neighbourhood, from the quirks of Melville to the richly historic and vibrant Newtown.

Western Cape

western cape
Aerial view of Cape Town. Photo by Tim Johnson via Unsplash

The Western Cape is the country’s beauty queen, meaning it’s well equipped for tourists and visitors. Explore the Winelands, visit the beaches, or explore the culture and heritage which is evident in the architecture all around the city. 

Eastern Cape

The Wild Coast in the Eastern Cape.
The Wild Coast in the Eastern Cape. Photo by Arthur Hickinbotham via Unsplash

A natural, seemingly untouched province filled with nature and animals. If you’d like the beach, head to the shores, and if you’d prefer a cultural trip, take a road trip in search of small towns. This is also home to the Tsitsikamma National Park, a must for your bucket list.

Now that you’ve got your bearings, it’s time to decide on your accommodation. This too plays an important role in your solo travel experience: will it be the luxury of a hotel, or do you want to rough it out at a backpackers? 

Finally, you’ll want to consider transport. One needs to be safe when travelling alone, though there are many options: busses, cabs, car rentals and shuttles are all options to be considered. 

Staying safe on your solo journey

As always, one should be mindful of crime, especially when traveling alone; be alert and do not flash your valuables. Keep emergency contacts details with you and check in with your family and friends to let them know you are safe.

Inspired? Now its time to get sorted, booked and ready. Explore the beauty that is South Africa, in a solo travel experience that will do wonders for your wellbeing.

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