Solo traveling through South Africa
Solo travel through South Africa is a pleasure. Locals are friendly and you’ll be able to meet many people
Most parts of South Africa are suited to solo travel. Locals are very friendly, and will often go out of their way to make single travellers feel at home. Cape Town in particular is suited to those who relish urban attractions, whether it be museums, galleries and theatres, or bars, nightclubs and live music venues. Private reserves are probably better suited to single travellers than national parks and other public sanctuaries, since they tend to offer a more hands-on personalised service.
Solo travellers tend to gravitate towards more urban attractions than couples. Cape Town is a must for solo travellers, and it is a good base for exploring the gorgeous Cape Peninsula and Winelands. Many solo travellers prefer not to self-drive, which makes it difficult to explore areas like the Kruger Park and Garden Route unless you join an organised tour. Private game reserves such as Sabi Sand and Phinda are particularly well-suited to solo travellers.
An excellent way for single travellers to explore South Africa is by using the combination of the Baz Bus and the many backpacker hostels that are scattered around its cities and other main sites of interest. The Baz Bus is an affordable hop-on, hop-off bus service that connects Johannesburg, Durban, Cape Town and several other popular places of interest, and its clientele is dominated by single travellers who are receptive to making new friends and meeting like-minded travel companions on the road. Likewise, most backpacker hostels have lively communal areas where it is easy to meet other travellers, and they usually also offer affordable group tours to local sites of interest, as well as overnight tours further afield, for instance from Gauteng to the Kruger National Park or Cape Town to the Winelands.
At a more luxurious level, most private reserves operate group game drives and many also encourage guests to dine together, which makes it easy for solo travellers to mingle.
In the middle range, solo travellers seeking personalised attention should consider booking into small B&Bs and other owner-managed lodges rather than larger and more institutional hotels.
There are no risks specific to solo travel in South Africa, but single women in particular should apply the usual common sense precautions such as not walking alone in cities at night, and avoiding deserted beaches. Additionally, it is advisable to notify family and friends of your whereabouts during travels.