Last month, I went to Zambia for a weekend to see Victoria Falls. Beautiful! I highly recommend visiting Livingstone, especially if you go white water rafting down the Zambezi.
I stayed at the Jolly Boys Hostel. Also highly recommended. They provide a free airport shuttle with your room booking and can book a range of activities at their reception.
In the shuttle from the airport, I met two older American women who were also staying at my hostel. We started chatting and they asked me if I was alone.
“Aren’t you nervous? A woman traveling by yourself?”
“No,” I answered. “It’s amazing how friendly people are and how much they go out of their way to help a young woman on her own.”
“But you’re in Africa! Alone!”
To assuage their fears, I told them, “Maybe I’m brave because I’m a martial artist with a terrible temper.”
They laughed at that and seemed placated.
Honestly, though, you don’t need a jujitsu black belt (or two) to travel on your own. Last summer I went backpacking through Spain alone and was astounded by how easy it was to make friends. I’d never traveled on my own before, but it isn’t near as daunting as I’d imagined it would be.
Like I said, people will go out of their way to help a lone female. Or two females. When my friend and I explored Cape Town and the Garden Route, men were constantly bending over backwards to accommodate us. It was a way better experience than any time I’ve traveled with guys before!
Ladies, don’t be nervous about traveling without male accompaniment. Hostels are the perfect place to meet people! Go out to the bar and let locals buy you drinks!
But always, ALWAYS follow your intuition. If a situation makes you uneasy, extract yourself and don’t let anyone try to convince you that you’re silly for listening to your instincts. Honestly, though, I doubt any bad situations will arise. For the most part, the world is a very friendly place.
Except in Paris.
Go to Africa instead.