It had always been a dream of mine to go on safari in Africa and when I got the chance to visit South Africa, I knew this dream was going to come true!
Going on safari solo was a bit daunting to me but my curiosity and excitement outweighed my fear of being alone. Would I be alone the whole time? How would I meet people? Lot’s of questions went through my mind but I decided to just bite the bullet and go for it.
Choosing a safari
I chose a higher end safari as I figured this was a once in a lifetime experience so I should treat myself a bit. I didn’t know at the time how addictive safaris were and how much I’d want to go again! I chose to go with And Beyond in Phinda Game Reserve. It was much fancier than holidays I usually do but wow was it worth it. I also knew I was only going to be there for three days so that helped with the budget. There are tons of types of safaris from high end to low end that will fit your budget. Just do some research beforehand to find a good fit for you.
The And Beyond Mountain lodge I stayed at had 25 suites and since it was just me, I had a whole house to myself. There was a gorgeous bathroom with a soaker tub and each suite had it’s own plunge pool! I took advantage of that for sure. There were a few bugs in the room but since you are in the middle of the jungle you have to let that slide a bit.
There are no fences around the property so if you wanted to go from your room to the main lodge or anywhere else, you needed to be escorted by a hotel porter. There was a chance that a lion could be outside your suite so don’t take the chance.
The first morning I woke up to a monkey staring at me from my balcony window and some warthogs digging by my front porch!
The safari drives happen each morning and again later in the afternoon so you will be up early everyday. Usually, I was up by 5am and in the jeep by 5:30am. I was with the same group each drive so it was great opportunity to get to know people. We had a tracker who sat at the front of the jeep and spotted the animals and then our guide who would explain what we were seeing.
Each day we would head out in a different direction looking for animals we hadn’t seen on our trip yet. There was no guarantee of seeing any animals besides warthogs (they are everywhere!) and monkeys but we got lucky and saw the “big five”:
- African elephant.
- Black rhinoceros.
- Cape buffalo.
- African lion.
- African leopard
The meals were amazing and you had delicious choices every night. They even did “sundowners” in the middle of the jungle with a portable bar cart. Each day you ate with your group, having great chats about what you’d seen and sharing photos. I highly recommend bringing the best zoom camera you have!
Our last night on the safari, we were treated to a banquet in the bush under twinkling lights. Such a beautiful way to end a once in a lifetime trip.
I wouldn’t hesitate to go on a safari alone again. I actually think it was easier to meet people on safari than on a solo trip to a city. The group shared a common interest of wanting to see the animals so you had no trouble starting up conversations. You also had the same people on your jeep each drive so it was easy to get to know people well.
This safari was one of my favourite travel memories of all time but I didn’t think it would be so tiring. You are up very early each morning and even though you can nap, you don’t tend to in such an awesome environment. Keep that in mind when you are thinking of how many days to go for and what you will be doing afterwards. I did three days and I think this was the perfect amount of time.
In terms of what to wear, you don’t need to have a full safari wardrobe. Just keep to muted colours and you’ll be fine. I had a ball cap I wore and I brought a jacket because the mornings can be very chilly.
Finally, enjoy every moment and don’t forget to bring binoculars if you have them!