Kristin’s pick: Tofo is one of the best places I’ve been solo not just in Africa but in the entire world. Due to a complete lack of information online, I was initially afraid of going to Mozambique by myself but it turned out to be the kind of place that attracts really cool and interesting people who I’m still friends with years later.
Tofo has lots of activities like scuba diving, snorkeling with will sharks, taking an ATV out to the sand dunes, and of course lounging in a hammock (which I did often, tbh). Another unexpected benefit was the cheaper prices for being a single in bungalows. I have never been in a country where I didn’t have to pay the same price for a double as two people. It was always significantly less because I was the only person in the room. It didn’t make sense to me but I’m not asking questions!
Click here for more on how to plan a trip to Mozambique.
Helen’s pick: I absolutely love Jinja, Uganda. Due to its position on the banks of the Nile, it’s the adventure capital of East Africa. Because of this, it attracts a lot of backpackers, volunteers, kayakers and adrenaline junkies. Uganda is a beautiful country too, with friendly people, gorgeous green hills and dark orange soil.
I spent a couple of weeks staying in the small village of Bujagali, just outside Jinja Town. On any given night there was something going on and a steady stream of people passing through.
But it is also a great place to meet the locals. Every afternoon, when it started to get a little cooler, I would play netball with the girls in the village and would often get invited to dinner at their homes.
Lake Kivu, Kibuye, Rwanda
Kristin’s pick: This is such a beautiful spot in Rwanda and I was surprised by how many other travelers I met while staying at home Saint-Jean there. Many of them are volunteers of some sort (which is a trend you’ll see repeating in Africa) though some I met were solo travelers passing through.
The area is gorgeous and one of the best activities is to join a group, which you can find easily in the common area, and make a plan to take a boat trip around the islands.
Helen’s pick: Morocco is a country with a bit of a reputation when it comes to solo female travel. That said, I had no problems in Morocco whatsoever, despite covering quite a bit of the country, including Marrakech, the coast, the Atlas Mountains and the Sahara Desert. However, I know that isn’t the experience for all women who often complain about the aggressive local touts and catcalling.
One place I found to be particularly lovely was the village of Taghazout. I actually stayed just down the road in Tamraght, but would venture to Taghazout for dinner. It’s a Mecca for surfers and as such draws in a nice crowd. There are plenty of surf schools that cater for everyone from beginners to pros. Staying at a surf school also means that you are pretty much guaranteed to make some friends.
Cape Maclear, Malawi
Helen’s pick: Known as ‘The Warm heart of Africa’, Malawi is a great place for a solo traveler.
The hub of the tourist activity tends to lie on Lake Malawi, also known as the ‘Lake of stars’ due to the lights of the fishing boats that sit out in the water in the evenings.
Cape Maclear on the southern part of the lake, is a great spot for solo female travelers. The beachy, laid back vibe tends to attract a lot of cool people including independent overlanders and backpackers, so there’s always something going on and someone to hang out with. It’s also a great place for scuba divers, as Lake Malawi is home to more species of freshwater fish than any other lake in the world.
Helen’s pick: Nairobi is one of those places that seems to terrify a lot of travelers.
I understand why, it’s a big city, dirty in parts and it has a reputation for muggings – it’s even nicknamed ‘Nairobbery’. But it is a major transport hub and as such, a great place to start an African adventure. Kenya is English-speaking too, so it’s a good place to get your bearings.
At any hostel in the city, you will meet other solo travellers, many of whom have just arrived too, looking to book safaris and onward adventures so they may become your travel companions.
Personally, I’ve never had a single problem in Nairobi, but it is sensible to always be vigilant when you travel there.