Indispensable Tips For Self Drive Travelers in East Africa
When you think about solo traveling, the first things to strike your mind should be adventure experiences. Planning for solo tours to a new tourist site is a bit challenging and yet also rewards visitors with lifetime experiences. If you are planning to visit Uganda or Rwanda this coming holiday, there is need for you to pay keen attention to some of the tips below;
Whereas this may seem very challenging to most solo visitors, there is no need for one to be shy when you come across someone while on African adventure. It is always important that you keep interacting with the rest of locals in the destination; they can be selling fruits in and around the hotel or restaurant. Make as many friends as possible.
Use credit card
While Uganda is largely a cash based country, carrying bulky amount of money at hand may put you at risk of robber, however for emergencies, you can use credit card. This requires you to have the phone contact of the credit card agency just in case the card gets stolen. This can help you cancel the card as soon as possible and also be issued with another card.
Leave a copy of travel plan behind
Being a solo traveler shouldn’t entirely be conducted when you are alone. Make sure that you let one or two of the family members or friends back home about what your travel plan is or send a copy of your itinerary where possible. Given the modern technology, you can check in with a family member while on the road trip at any internet café or by Skype. For most US citizens and nationals, they can sign up for Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) for free to enroll their safaris with the next US Embassy. Do not forget your passport and ID for security purposes.
Safety in numbers
Even if you are hanging out, there is need for you to ensure that you do not behave like a criminal or scam artists to see. For solo travelers, they have the advantage of mixing into crowds and at the same time they do not have confidence. Walking in such crowded areas without anyone’s knowledge that you are a visitor may not be safe for you.
Do not run out of cash
The most challenging part of life is traveling in a new destination and after you run out of cash at end of the day and yet you still have a lot more to spend on while on safari. At least have a reserve of about $100 to cater for extras and emergencies.
While some people may feel shy eating in crowded places, Uganda has several places for one to go and enjoy his or her meal with minimal crowds. Keep interacting with the service providers as they can keep you with some information about the area. In case the area isn’t accommodative to your side, you can request for room service in the hotel of your choice. You may not feel the cost compared to the local restaurant.
Your trip is entirely for you to navigate to most parts of Uganda. And you need to have something that you can easily carry with you. Avoid large suitcases and if all your staff can fit into the backpack then let it be your choice. At least do not come with a rolling suit case for holidays of one or two weeks and given the fact laundry can be done at the hotel.
Avoid over drinking
While on a self drive safari in East Africa, everyone needs to have fun for him or herself. You can take some beer or two provided you remain stable while walking back to the lodge or hotel. Check if you can walk back to the hotel alone when you are in town that you may not know.
Walk along street light
This applies to all travelers. Darker areas may not be safer for you as solo traveler. Walk through streets with better lighting. Preferably, public areas are better as you can be easily sighted.
Trust your instincts
This trip may sound usual but most people do not follow it. You are advised to know the point where you are. In case something seems to go bad leave and go some where else safe for you.
Stay the night
You have been watching almost the rest of your life and while in your safari, you need to explore a lot more new things. Do things depending on your interest especially where need to spend a night. But not every evening you have to go out to tour a city. You may need to recharge a battery or lounge around the room and order something to eat do it with no fear.
Do some planning
Every safari requires planning and for solo travelers, you need to have some guideline to help on this and you will have an organized trip. Block parts of the day for the big sightseeing spots and all of the surrounding sites including those where you are living. Try as much as you can to reach to the destination during daylight time as this can easily help find where you can be and even get what is available outside.
Learn the local language
With solo travel, you will certainly be exploring new destinations altogether while on different self drive safaris in Uganda and beyond. And worse of it is that most locals may not understand English and this requires you to learn some key words to guide when you need to be directed. Take the advantage of your computer or phone to learn some of the local words. Check on Duolinourgo, a free program to use on your phone or PC which can teach you many different languages. You just need basic phrases to help you navigate in new places. Learn how to say no or yes.
In conclusion, with the above tips, we believe that you will have a very memorable vacation in Africa. You may also take keen attention on insurance, make sure that you double your documents and get photos or scan all your travel documents and email to someone else you trust, hire or come along with your own GPS.