10 Best Destinations in Africa for Solo Female Travellers

By on February 25, 2019 in Africa, Solo Female, Top 10's with 6 Comments

The 10 Best Destinations in Africa for Solo Female Travellers

They say it’s a brave woman who travels in Africa by herself.

In fact, I don’t think it’s necessarily braver than travelling anywhere else by yourself as a woman, but nevertheless Africa travel seems to carry with it a certain hushed sense of concern for those yet to venture here alone, so if you’re bucking the fear girl good on ya!

Now on my 5th trip to Africa, I can definitely attest to it being safe for solo female travellers (within the limits of common sense of course), in fact I think it’s one of the best continents for solo female travellers because there’s soooo much to do here that you can’t do anywhere else in the world.

I’m probably going to get some stick from this article from those who say the places that are good for solo female travellers are also good for solo male travellers, and there is some truth in that.

But there’s also some truth in the fact that some lady travellers, in my experience, tend to prefer some destinations in this continent compared to male travellers because, well, we all like different things right?

And so, from this one solo female traveller to you, intrepid ladies, here’s my list of the 10 best destinations in Africa for solo female travellers.


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#1 Cape Town, South Africa

South Africa, Cape Town, Lookout View

Coming in at number 1, it’s the big, brilliant, burning bright star of South Africa that is Cape Town.

There’s no doubt this is the most vibrant and cosmopolitan city in Africa I’ve had the pleasure of visiting and I can testify, having just revisited the city after a hiatus of 15 years, that this place is just as dazzling and dramatic as ever!

Honestly if you’re not impressed by the stunning setting of Cape Town – green rugged mountains running down to crystal clear waters ladies, then the cool vibe of this sunny city, its great cafes, cultural scene, historical stories, wildlife and wineries should do it!

There’s some plenty of great hostels where you can easily meet other travellers here too – I love Bohemian Loft Backpackers and Atlantic Point Backpackers – and even a week in Cape Town will only have you begging for more!

LEARN MORE: The Best Things to Do in Cape Town on a Budget

 

#2 Kilifi, Kenya

Kenya, Kilifi, Bofa Beach House

When it comes to Kenya, there’s 2 places I wanted to include on this list of the best destinations in Africa for solo female travellers.

It was hard to choose between them.

No doubt the Masai Mara is one of the best places to safari in Africa – you can read my thoughts about it here – but pipping this to the post is Kilifi, a coastal town on Kenya’s stunning Indian Ocean.

The main reason I suggest heading to Kilifi is for the awesome permaculture, sustainable- inspired backpackers Distant Relatives – read my review here – which really is in a league of its own.

Staying here, will automatically thrust you into contact with a fun crowd and have you making friends in no time.

I also like Kilifi, because it’s quite an unassuming Kenyan town. I like the local and real feel to this place, including at the Saturday market, at the creek and along the beach too.

DISCOVER MORE: The 22 Things You Need to Know About Travel in Kenya

 

#3 Lake Malawi, Malawi

Malawi, Lake Malawi, Hostel View

Well, what can you say about Lake Malawi aside from you gotta see it to believe it!

This huge body of water honestly looks like the sea and if you want to dive, chill, swing in a hammock or get lost for a few days in a book, Lake Malawi provides the perfect, peaceful backdrop ladies.

One of the poorest countries in Africa, there’s no doubt Malawi needs the economic support of tourists too and the friendliness of the people here make this a top Africa destination in my book.

READ MORE: Why I Never Dived Lake Malawi

 

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#4 Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe & Zambia

Zimbabwe, Victoria Falls, National Park

And from one extreme to the other!

If you wanna chill girl head to Lake Malawi, if you wanna get wet and wild head to Vic Falls.

The adventure capital of Southern Africa, this place is all about the extreme sports, so for those of you who love to get the adrenaline pumping, this is definitely one of the best places in Africa for solo female travellers.

Safety records tend to be good here too, which is comforting, and even if you’re not an adrenaline junkie at heart, like me, then coming here to see one of the greatest Natural Wonders in the World has to be on your list right?!

LEARN MORE: 8 Incredible Things to Do in Victoria Falls Guaranteed to Get Your Heart Racing

 

#5 Luxor, Egypt

Egypt, Luxor, Temple Paintings

And if history is your thing ladies, which geekily I have to admit it’s mine, then you can’t really get better in Africa than Luxor.

I had literally wanted to see the temples here since I learnt about them in primary school and finally getting to visit Luxor in Egypt was a dream come true.

I had been warned about the hassle and hustle of travelling in Egypt as a solo female traveller, but honestly did not find this to be a problem.

Once I politely declined any advances, people respectfully got the message.

It’s also worth saying that Egypt is amazingly cheap, a brilliant side-note for those of us with small purse-strings and doing a day tour in Luxor to see all the highlights easily, quickly and safely is completely affordable – plus it’s a great way to meet other travellers.

DISCOVER MORE: The Best Luxor Itinerary on a Budget

 

#6 Lalibela, Ethiopia

Ethiopia, Lalibela, Man Walking

Carrying on with the history theme, and getting to my favourite country in Africa, Lalibela in Ethiopia is a must-see destination for solo female travellers in Africa.

Go on a Sunday, get up early, see the mass, explore the ancient churches, marvel at people’s devotion, stare disbelieving at the lack of tourists and soak it all up.

It ain’t gonna stay like this for long and even if you’re not religious (like me) I dare you to remain unmoved by this incredible UNESCO World Heritage Site and experience.

LEARN MORE: Everything You Need to Know About Visiting Lalibela in Ethiopia

 

#7 Zanzibar, Tanzania

Zanzibar, Paje, Beach Shack

Ok, show me a girl that does love a white sand beach, crystal blue water warm weather and fresh coconut juice?

Anyone?

Didn’t think so!

So get yourself to Zanzibar girls – whether it’s diving, chilling, sunbaking, swimming or kitesurfing you’re into – this is the place.

I loved Paje on the east coast a lot, but don’t miss the UNESCO capital of the island – Stone Town – if you want a contrasting Zanzibar experience too.

Best of both worlds (like history, culture and the beach), Zanzibar really is one of the best destinations in Africa for solo female travellers.

I felt very safe here, but do remember to pack accordingly – you’ll need bikini and sarongs for the coast, as well as, long trousers / skirt, long sleeves and even a headscarf for conservative Stone Town.

DISCOVER MORE: The Ultimate Guide to Paje, Zanzibar

 

#8 Chobe River National Park, Botswana

Botswana, Chobe National Park, Local Man

Couldn’t not put one national park on this list and when it comes to top ones I’ve experienced (and there’s been a lot) no question Chobe River in Botswana is up there!

This is the home of elephants in Southern Africa as far as I can tell and you’re also gonna see hippos, giraffes and buffalo FOR SURE!

Botswana is fairly well developed, meaning it’s quite safe and offers a little bit more luxury for those who don’t like it too rough.

This is a great safari experience for beginners and the park offers the opportunity not only for game drives, but also for sunset river cruises too – double whammy winner!

READ MORE: Chobe River National Park : A Photo Essay

 

#9 Chefchouen, Morocco

Morocco, Chefchouen, Woman Walking

I’ve got to say, Morocco is not on my list of the most friendly countries for solo female travellers (and that’s bearing in mind I’ve travelled through the Middle East and North Africa alone), in fact it’s probably near the bottom, but the exception here is Chefchouen – the incredible blue city in the country’s north.

This tiny town, tucked in the mountains, is a great place to relax for a few days with multiple fresh orange juices to help you soak up the Medina vibes.

You can also hike here out in the Rif Mountains and being nearer to Europe (perhaps that’s why?), I found the atmosphere less conservative, pushy and uncomfortable than the rest of the country.

 

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#10 Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, Uganda

Uganda, Gorilla, Big Mumma

And when it comes to hiking, if you love a good stride out like me, then it probably doesn’t get better than seeing gorillas at the end of it all!

Yup, that’s just what you can experience in Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable Forest!

Definitely worthy of a place on this list of the best destinations in Africa for solo female travellers, this opportunity is epic!

Indeed, there’s not many places you can get to see these incredible animals in the wild and there’s no doubt their human-like characteristics will amaze you!

Trekking with a guide and a group also makes this experience safe and rewarding for solo females, as sharing an opportunity like this with other travellers will certainly bring you together.

LEARN MORE: The Ultimate Guide to Gorilla Trekking in Uganda

 

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So there you have it, my list of the 10 best destinations in Africa for solo female travellers.

When are you heading to Africa and what’s your plan when you get there?

Do tell me all in the comments below…

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About the Author

About the Author: Creator of Big World Small Pockets, Stephanie Parker is a budget travel addict! Originally from Jersey in the Channel Islands, Stephanie backpacks the world collecting tips, advice and stories, to share with a smile .

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There Are 6 Brilliant Comments

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  1. Kris says:

    In general – I can agree , still I want to add few
    comments
    Vic.Falls and Luxor ( Egypt in general ) got too much commertialised but we cann’t not avoid this in these days of overtourism. It was shock for me to see the changes during last 20 years

    # 6 – beware of thieves in Lalibela. What I hated there was to be welcomed as “Hello mini ( =money)”; sometimes Hello Penny. Entrance ticket 50 US$ for visiting churches – I think it is too much. I was there during Timkat so I managed to enter 2 churches following Ethiopian pilgrims.

    • Steph says:

      Hi Kris, thanks for the comments. Agree that Vic Falls and Luxor are probably more commercialised than they were 20 years ago, but difficult to find a destination these days that isn’t. Also commercialisation doesn’t necessarily equal somewhere not being a great destination for solo female travellers.

      Interesting to hear about thieves in Lalibela, I never encountered any such behaviour or name-calling when I was there, nor have I heard other reports of this, but appreciate your comments. Lalibela entrance is an expensive item, but again, this doesn’t necessarily negate it being a good destination for solo female travellers. I loved Lalibela and thought the experience I got there on a Sunday to see the dawn mass service and touring the churches all day was worth $50 USD.

      Thanks Steph 🙂

  2. Caroline Loesgen says:

    You cannot have a list like this without adding Senegal. I have just completed three weeks there, flying by the seat of my pants, i.e. making it up as I went. The only thing is, I wouldn’t recommend it if you don’t speak French. I heard no English at all there. Fluency in French allows you to interact with the locals and makes the trip. Poor, but safe, so friendly, so caring. A little hard going, heat and only local transport but so worth it.

    • Steph says:

      Amazing to hear Caroline! I’m absolutely dying to get to West Africa, and Senegal is top of my list! Scheduled in for Jan 2020.. watch this space!

  3. Cassey says:

    I was wondering why Aswan wasn’t included here. Admittedly, I traveled with a group tour and it was only in Aswan when our security personnel was asked to leave and only came back when we were in Luxor. I also read some of your posts and just like you, Aswan is my favorite city in Egypt myself.

    • Steph says:

      Hi Cassey, it’s a good question because, yes you are right, I did love Aswan and felt very safe there. I suppose Luxor offers more standout, iconic historical attractions with Karnak and the Valley of the Kings, which is why I chose it – it’s more flagship than Aswan and that’s what many travellers to Egypt want. With only 10 spots to pick across Africa, I couldn’t include both cities, but yes both are safe and I loved both!

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