The African continent is one of those larger-than-life destinations that’s on many people’s bucket lists, but for a woman travelling alone, it can be an intimidating place to visit. Then the questions begin to arise: Should I travel to Africa alone? Will I be safe?
Well, if you are grappling with the decisions to go and see this unique, confronting but ultimately beautiful part of the world, then these tips about doing some solo female travel in Africa are sure to help you make up your mind.
Read more: Safe countries for retired women travelling alone
1. Join a group
If you’re a solo female traveller in your 60s and don’t have someone who wants to go on an African adventure with you, then why not join a group of like-minded women. There are tour groups that specialise in ladies-only packages and experiences, and they can be a great way to see the world, but also help you to feel safe and secure while you’re away.
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2. Be aware of your surroundings
If travelling with a tour group isn’t for you, then it will be particularly important to be aware of your surroundings. Things like, time of day, how busy the area is, and whether there are other tourists around, can impact your safety in the region. Make sure you’re not walking around at night in areas you aren’t familiar with, and if you’re given advice about taking a taxi instead of walking because of security in the region, take that advice and follow the local’s suggestions, they know best.
3. Dress modestly
Now, dressing modestly means a couple of different things. Firstly, you want to make sure you are covering your body, especially in areas that have particularly modest dress expectations. Cover your shoulders and bring along a scarf you can easily wrap around yourself if you need some extra coverage. Dressing modestly also includes not being flashy with your belongings. Don’t wear all your gold jewellery, your most expensive blouses and your glittery watch, that will just attract the wrong attention and could get you into trouble.
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This is something that happens around the world, not just in Africa, and it really doesn’t matter what age you are or your size, there are men that love to call names out to women, simply because they are women. There are a few ways to deal with such a situation, but sometimes it is best to just keep walking and not waste your energy on such things. Don’t make eye contact, don’t stop, just keep walking as if you never heard what the person said. This might seem to be a bit complacent and passive about the situation, but you don’t want to incite violence or any extra attention by engaging. Just keep walking.
5. Don’t tell people you’re travelling alone
You might begin to make friends and meet people on different tours and at hotels, and before too long you’ve made life-long friends. But just because you’re feeling confident in different people’s company, doesn’t mean you have to tell them where you’re staying, who you’re travelling (or not travelling) with and what your travel itinerary is. Keep that information to yourself, because once that information gets into the wrong hands, you could become vulnerable to others wanting to take advantage of your situation.
6. Stick with other solo female travellers
Along the way, it’s likely that you’re going to meet other women who are in the same situation as you are. If you find a group of women that are either travelling together or alone during your travels, then befriend them. You might just decide to continue your journey together, making it safe and fun to travel in numbers.
Have you travelled solo through Africa? What were your experiences like? Share them with us in the comments section below.