Solo travelling is like a gift to yourself, even though some people, most likely your mum, might feel edgy when her darling daughter wants to venture into the unknown all by herself. Sounds like fun? Great, then continue reading.
To answer the question right away: Yes, Namibia is a safe destination for solo female travellers. I’d say the worldwide guidelines for solo female travelling are applicable here and a little common sense goes a long way.
Below are a handful of tips for solo female travellers, plus my top five picks of Gondwana destinations to stay at when travelling on your own.
- If you are renting a car, make sure you know how to change a tyre, just in case. When fuelling up, service station attendants will assist you and will also help you with checking tyre pressure as well as oil and water levels. They’ll also clean your windshield. So, sit back, relax, and wait for your nail polish to dry… joking, not joking. Solo female travellers are versatile like that. And don’t forget to give your petrol attendant a tip to show your gratitude.
2. Try to blend in and don’t look lost and confused. See? Primary school acting classes can totally come in handy.If you feel the need to leave an uncomfortable situation, just say, “I have to go meet my friends, bye!”
3. Don’t get wasted.Of course, this is not to say that you shouldn’t enjoy Namibia’stop-quality beer.But never place yourself in a vulnerable position when travelling solo.
4. Don’t tell people where you are staying.This might seem obvious, but seriously, nobody needs to know this. Maybe you hit it off with a friendly stranger and you don’t see an issue with it, but don’t do it – it leaves you incredibly vulnerable.
5. Join a day tour. This way you will avoid feelings of loneliness that might creep up from time to time, because let’s face it, it happens to everyone.
6. Book a few things in advance. This goes hand in hand with researching your destination and sharing an outline of your itinerary with the ones you leave behind to offer them peace of mind.
7. Avoid any display of possessions.There is sometimes a general notion that if you can afford to travel, you must be rich. Even though this might not be true, don’t swing around your camera in public, and avoid talking on your cellphone in the streets.
8. Don’t go to places alone after dark. Also try to travel during daytime as much as possible. Keep in mind that public transport in Namibia is very limited, even in Windhoek, the capital city.
9. Stay in touch with people back home. The internet connection in Namibia has improved tremendously over the past couple of years and although there won’t be signal everywhere you go, you will have enough opportunities to connect with your people back home.
10. You might be asked where your husband is, when people find out that you are travelling alone as this concept is largely unknown to a lot of Namibians. You might even receive a couple of marriage proposals!The best way to avoid any awkwardness in this regard is to be evasive when questioned and not to let people know that you are travelling all by yourself.
My top 5 picks of Gondwana destinations that are ideal for solo female travellers:
Swakopmund is a definite must on your itinerary. And there is no better place to stay than the modern, centrally located Delight Hotel. It is only 5 minutes’ walk from the main Swakopmund beach. There are plenty of tours and activities to book. No time for boredom in a beautiful place like this!Here you will have no trouble meeting other travellers, as it is the coastal hub of the country. The free Wi-Fi will give you enough opportunity to make sure you tick off number 9. Plus, your followers will have Instagram-envy for days!
Venture off to the oldest desert in the world – the Namib. Here you will get to climb to the top of some of the world’s highest dunes! Soft pink hues characterise the interiors of the new (and already popular)The Desert Grace Lodge, emulating the rosy-coloured sky at dusk. For exploring and potential socialising, how about joining guided excursions to Sossusvlei, guided e-bike trails, walking trails, scorpion night-walks or dune drives? Afterwards, retreat to your private sun terrace and plunge pool for some much-needed rest. If you meet any cool people, enjoy a drink with them at the bar boasting pink neon lights that spell out:One night in Namibia.
Perhaps you decide to head even further south to visit the biggest canyon in Africa, namely the Fish River Canyon. Set among the most stunning boulders, Gondwana Canyon Lodge is ideal for being fully immersed in nature. Enjoy the superb scenery when going on unguided morning hikes, canyon and scenic drives, as well as guided sunset walks. Like May Sarton said, “Loneliness is the poverty of self; solitude is the richness of self.” Prepare to become a wealthy woman./Ai-/Ais Richtersveld Transfrontier Park, the only park straddling the South African and Namibian border, is located nearby and is well worth a visit.
Eventually you will have to venture back to Windhoek again – where all international journeys start and end. To break up the journey, stop by Kalahari Anib Lodge situated close to Mariental. There are several activities to ensure you stretch your legs and have an opportunity to explore yet another desert, the Kalahari. Opt for electronic bike tours, hiking trails or go on a game drive.The Wi-Fi will ensure everyone knows you are alive, but more notably, that you are living your best life. Find respite from the heat in one of the pools.Relax at the fabulous outside areas while sipping a drink.
World-renowned Etosha National Park is on most, if not every, travellers’ itinerary. And the down-to-earth Etosha Safari Camp, located about 7 km from the Andersson Gate,offers a prime spot to stay if you decide to head north. Accommodation is set in your own private bungalow – perfect for any adventurous soul who also seeks comfort in the Namibian bush. When you are not exploring Etosha itself, discover the surrounding area on foot. Walks range from one to two and a half hours. Enjoy a drink at the very popular Oshebeena Bar where the eclectic furniture and décor will enthrall the creative eye.
So, there you go! Take a look at more Gondwana destinations on our website. Will you travel to Namibia alone? If you have travelled solo in Namibia, tell us where you stayed and what you did. Do you have tips to share with other prospective solo travellers?