The answers to your questions depend a lot on where you're thinking of travelling and what you'd like to focus your trip on.
Are you looking at Southern Africa (Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe) or East Africa (Tanzania and Kenya)? Assuming your focus is game-viewing of the larger mammals (leopards, lions, buffalo, elephants, antelope etc) June, July, and August are good for Southern Africa (July and August are best). June and July are good for Tanzania whereas August is better in Kenya due to the movement of the wildebeest herds.
The best company for solo travellers is generally CCAfrica, as they are the only company which does not a charge a single supplement in their camps (except for Mnemba Island and Tanzania Under Canvas). CCA are based in South Africa and most of their camps are located in South Africa, though they also have camps in Botswana and Tanzania as well as one camp in Kenya and one camp in Namibia. I've travelled solo extensively with CCA and had an excellent experience. CCA's guides are excellent and they are also known for the food in their camps.
Wilderness Safaris is a superb company, with an excellent selection of camps in Botswana, Namibia, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. Their Botswana and Namibia camps are the best of any company, with superb guiding and locations. WS do charge a single supplement but it's quite reasonable (between $125-$185 per night).
Generally speaking I've found Southern Africa more single-friendly, as most transportation between camps is by plane where you just buy a seat. In East Africa, though it is possible to fly, the normal method of transport between camps is by Land Rover which is very expensive for a single person since the charge is for the entire vehicle.
If you could provide a bit more detail, I'd be happy to give some more specific information.
Thanks so much for your note. I want to go to Tanzania (Serengeti/Ngorongoro) with a stop in Kenya, possibly Lewa. Lewa can only take me the beginning of June which sounds like it may be too early to see lots of animals. Also, that date means I must start whatever I do in Tanzania in early June. Is that is good time??? I am obviously very confused.
Besides the single supplement, wouldn't it be more fun to be with the same group the whole time? Since I have been unable to find a group to join, I may be stuck with flying between camps by myself and meeting new people every few days. I have ALWAYS wanted to see Tanzania but I am now reluctant.
Thanks for the additional information. The beginning of June is a bit early for Lewa -- the bush will be quite thick, which will make seeing the animals more challenging. I'm not sure what your budget is, but getting to Lewa is also very expensive, which combined with the need to fly between the two countries may mean that you get better value for money by staying within Tanzania. Is there a special reason you want to see Lewa?
Tanzania in early June would be fine -- the big herds will be spread between the central Serengeti and the Western Corridor at that time of year. Ngorongoro has good game-viewing year-round as the animals don't migrate out of the crater. Lake Manyara should also be quite good in June -- this is a smaller park but worth visiting for the tree-climbing lions.
If you join a group, you'd still pay the single supplement if you don't want to share a tent. Personally, I prefer not to travel with a group, as it gives much more flexibility in terms of making the itinerary exactly what you want it to be. I've also found that the group trips tend to move rather quickly -- two nights here, one night there -- which doesn't give you a lot of time to enjoy your trip.
I prefer to fly when I can, even in East Africa, as the condition of the roads is often quite bad and I don't care to spend four to six hours bouncing around on them -- after a journey like that the last thing you'll want to do is go on a game drive. I've done both driving and flying safaris in East Africa, and having done both I nearly always fly now unless the drive actually promises to be interesting and is not just a way to get from point A to point B.
I've done most of my travelling in Africa on my own, and while it was initially a bit nerve-wracking I've found that there are definite pluses to being solo. It does mean needing to get to know new people at each camp, but I've found it very easy to make friends with fellow safari-goers as well as with the guides and staff. The local people are much more willing to approach a solo traveller and to see you as an individual rather than just one of a group of tourists.
Message Edited by jashermd on 02-09-200702:54 PM
Best luxury safari companies? Best month: June, July, August?
Best for solo travelers?
freebird...welcome to the community. We have seen LL offers onEast Africansafarisand East African destinations at auction (there are a few destinations for purchasementioned in the Portfolio)
When we went to Tanzania and Kenya a few years back, we settled on Africa Safari Specialistswww.safaris.com, to handle our arrangements. The owner is Sue Harader, whodeals directly with each client. She travels to Africa at least twice a year to remain current on destinations (old and new). Her ground service providers, with whom she has forged long standing relationships, make regular visits to the US to be current on her requirements.
She does offer a few planned packages, but the most memorable experiences will be developed through open communications with her, in order to adjust the safarifor personalization.
If you are in the Masai Mara (and the Mara Explorer is a lovely tented camp for ten guests) inlate August, you may witness the annual migration south across the Mara River into the Serengetti (a morning balloon trip, followed by a bush breakfast or brunch, will remain indelible in your mind). If you are looking for something unique and secluded, consider Elsa's Kopjehttp://www.chelipeacock.com/camps/elsas.htm. Elsa's is located in Meru National Parkin northeast Kenya(the location Adamson, the author of Born Free,released Elsa and her cubs back into the wild.
Solo travel is not a problem (especially safety) for Sue's clients (as a matter of fact, you will likely enjoy a regular change of guests as yoursafari progresses..the samepeople, night after night, can be a bit suffocating).
No matter where you decide to visitandwith whom you ultimately travel in North, East, orSouth Africa, enjoy your safari (remember, the Swahili and Arabic roots of "safari" refer to the "journey" and not the destination).
Nice to know that there are fellow safari-goers in the community! I agree that solo travel on safari is unlikely to be a safety problem -- in fact, a safari is probably one of the safest options for a solo traveller. I know plenty of people, men and women of various ages, who have enjoyed two or three weeks on safari as solo travellers.
Unfortunately, being solo on safari can be a rather large financial problem in East Africa if you do the traditional road-based safari. This, plus a desire to see leopards up-close (not easy in East Africa where you can't drive off-road) and to visit the Okavango Delta, is one of the main reasons I headed down to Southern Africa when I started travelling more often on my own, as I was a graduate student at the time and a bit strapped for cash.
I've been back to Tanzania since then, and really enjoyed combining flying and driving -- I drove when the journey took me through the parks and there were animals to see, and flew the longer distances when it would have been a punishing six-hour 'African massage' by road. I also enjoyed seeing the plains and the herds from the air -- it really gives a different perspective.
Welcome to the LL community! I've also had great experiences with CCA, both in East and Southern Africa. The guiding was first-class and so were the camps. I haven't had a chance to try out their new luxury mobile tented camps (Tanzania Under Canvas) but they are definitely on my list -- head and shoulders above the other options on the luxury front.
Hi there and thanks for the welcome. No, I've not been back yet, but I certainly plan to one day. So far I've spent time in Morocco, Tanzania and South Africa, and enjoyed all three. Our travels nowadays tend to be less far flung as we have a young family but I'm sure that as the children get older, we'll explore further afield once more. When we were at Grumeti, there were quite young children there and they were very knowledgable about the wildlife for their age, so it's not only great fun, but also educational too.