If you were to pick up a map tomorrow and blindly point your finger at a destination, be sure you’ve chosen the map of Africa as there is no better place than an African safari to recharge, re-centre and reconnect with nature.
Picture yourself in the middle of nowhere (‘nowhere’ being the most picturesque safari lodge you’ve ever laid eyes on, of course), your ears adjusting to the surrounding orchestra of the bush; the chatter of the Southern red-billed hornbill rising in crescendo, distant “wawa-ops” from a herd of zebra finding their way to a watering hole, followed by a grunts of Gnus following suite. You notice a few other guests distantly cocooned in their own experience, as the lodge staff expertly attend to your individual desires…
Welcome to your Solo Safari.
WHAT KIND OF PEOPLE DO SOLO SAFARIS?
More and more individuals, be it family members, singletons or young professionals, are opting in for a solo safari experience. It’s becoming less of an excursion for retirees and more of a retreat experience in nature that travellers want to immerse themselves in. Whether you’re a solo female or a single male, a solo safari experience is tailored for individual travellers.
Travelling solo grants you the freedom to engage in what you please, it’s an opportunity to shape your experience to pursue your personal passions. If you’re a keen photographer, allow your safari to fulfil that creative exercise, or if you’re an enthusiastic birder, allow your guide to mold game drives for you to finally spot that lifer… a solo safari is the perfect experience for a little self-enrichment.
Even if you’re just looking for some time for introspection, going on safari can be a life-changing experience that can give you a new perspective and lease on life. Once you realize that being a solo safari’er allows you to be fully immersed in a customized bush experience, you might never want to travel accompanied again…
WILL I BE LEFT ALONE?
Just like any lodge environment, the days are structured to allow you to engage in whichever activities you like, but still ensuring you’re getting the most out of your safari experience. Whether you choose to go through your days in your own company, or spark up a conversation with other guests, it’s completely up to you.
There will be times where being a part of a group is encouraged and you’ll probably want to exchange stories with guests after an afternoon drive. Wilderness adventures seem to bring like-minded souls together, so don’t be surprised if you make meaningful connections along the way.
There’s nothing more exciting than reliving the adrenaline of a great sighting over a cold beverage and evening campfire.
At Thornybush we want your experience to be as tailored as close to your expectations as possible, so please let us know what type of solo experience you would like so we can help you achieve it.
HOW DO I KNOW WHAT KIND OF SOLO SAFARI I WANT TO GO ON?
A great safari starts with good communication. There should be no detail too small which we cannot fulfil in some way.
A few questions to ask your booking agent, which will help understand the type of solo safari you’re after are:
- Do I want to be alone at meal times? Or do I want the choice of who I dine with day by day?
- Do I want to be part of a tour group or be fully independent?
- Is there a special rate for solo travellers? Or will I have to pay a single-supplement?
- Am I going on safari to fulfill a specific passion such as birdwatching or photographing wildlife?
- Do I want a variety of activities included in my stay, such as walking safaris or private game drives?
- Would I mind being around families with young children, or do I want to be in a more mature and private environment?
- The same for being around honeymooners – do I want a less romantic atmosphere or does it not matter?
- Do I want a bigger lodge with more communal space or intimate accommodation?
By asking yourself these questions, you can already gauge an idea of what type of solo safari you’re after. At Thornybush, attention is in the detail for every one of our guest’s stay, and if you know what you want, then we can make sure you get your dream experience.
IS THERE A GOOD TIME OF YEAR FOR SOLO TRAVELLERS?
From April to September is the preferred safari season, however, Africa’s magic is not seasonal. We do recommend the drier months because the landscape is less dense and allows guests to see deeper into the bush for better and easier sightings. As for solo bookings, we get year round solo safari travellers who have each relished in their stays. So when the mood strikes, feel free to book your trip.
IS A SOLO SAFARI DIFFERENT TO A REGULAR SAFARI?
Yes and No. The structure of the safari experience remains the same, but your participation in the adventure is what makes it unique. From feeling free to go about your day as you conduct it, to finding the time for some self-reflection, it is time-off from the world you know.
To highlight, we’ve expanded on what a day would look like for a solo safari guest, we are sure this will inspire your next trip:
A Typical** Day on a Solo Safari
**Each lodge differs in activities, so please check with your booking agent on what activities your selected lodge offers.
Morning Calls and Game Drives
As the day dawns you’ll be woken by natures companions, the African alarm clock of the spurfowl or morning chorus of the African bushveld, this will surely ‘ease’ you into the day.
At this point you have a choice to sit and welcome the day solo and serene on your private balcony or join a morning game drive.
If you’ve chosen to join the morning drive, your vehicle will await your arrival, and then off you go to greet the wildlife. Whether you’re on a solo drive or accompanying other lodge guests, you’ll be bound to see sightings that will inspire your day.
Breakfast in the Bush
We cater for every sense, and there’s no better meal of the day than that shared in the African bushveld. Prepare to have your taste buds awoken by fresh coffee, and delectable breakfast treats. If working on your culinary wellbeing was something you’ve come for, we’ve definitely got that covered.
Down Time is Me Time
As the bush quietens in the midmorning lull, so will your soul. This is a great time to do some inner reflection or treat yourself to one of our wellness spas. Spending time alone in nature is a luxury that we don’t get to indulge in often enough, so soak up the sounds of the wild and let the sense of space be a cleansing experience.
Start a journal and jot down your thoughts of the day, remember your sightings and attach gratitude to each of your experiences. You could take part in a wellness session and get a massage or indulge in one of our unique treatments from our local therapists or simply head to the deck and enjoy a lazy afternoon by the pool, updating your social channels to let your friends and family know how you are. This is purely time for you, and will quickly become the centering part of why you chose to do a solo safari.
At Thornybush we are privileged to offer some variety to our afternoon activities. These activities will suit any solo traveller and allow you to engage more deeply into your experience.
Take a Walking Safari** – Walking Safaris are a great option for solo safari travellers. By nature the walking safari groups are small in numbers allowing you to get more up-close-and-personal with other guests as well as the bush itself. It’s a chance to encounter the bush like you’ve never known before.
**Check with your booking agent if they offer walking safaris at your selected lodge.
Go on a transformational afternoon safari by visiting the local community – Thornybush runs a non-profit organisation that aims to uplift the surrounding local communities that many of our staff members come from. Encouraged visits to these communities allows guests to learn about the impact that our lodges have had on the individuals that rely on these beautiful surroundings. There are many options for you to interact with the community, so please ask your guide to elaborate on these for you.
Afternoon Game Drive – Watch the bush come alive after the midday snooze as our expert guides take you back into the bush for an afternoon bush bumble. Expect to see exciting sightings as the nocturnal wildlife prepares to take on the night. The drive also includes a sundowner session where you can soak in the magic of an African sunset.
Time to Dine
Prepare to be wined and dined as the dinners at Thornybush are roaming affairs – you’ll find our locations will range from lantern-lit bomas to starry riverbeds, and depending on your mood to socialize, you might find the most memorable will be enjoyed in the privacy of your own deck. Solo or not, the sounds of the bush at night will remind you that you’re not completely alone, and as the symphony of the African bush rings through the air, you’ll get to enjoy superbly prepared meals accompanied by South Africa’s finest wines.
They say the hardest thing about travelling solo is deciding where to go…
But once you’ve chosen Africa, it’s the only place that’ll make you truly grow.