Going solo off the beaten track is not for every off-road traveller whether you visit Botswana, Namibia or venture further into Africa past Zambia, going north.  There are pros and cons to it so you need to consider everything.  If you are a social person and like the company of fellow travellers and hate being alone then going solo is definitely not for you.  Groups also provide some security and you can share costs of planned activities.

If you like your own company and have some travel savvy then going solo is for you.  Going solo gives you freedom of choice and total independence to change your travel plans on the spur of the moment if something interests you on the wayside.

Things that you need to consider when planning your next solo African trip are the following.

You will need the ability to navigate.  There are not many countries left on mother earth that is unexplored, thus you will need a basic ability to navigate as there can be hundreds of tracks and footpaths not necessarily indicated on maps.  You must be able to understand and read maps whether it is a paper issue or a digital issue.  Sometimes you need to trust your instinct and basic sense of direction to find your way.

So you own a GPS, but do you know all the functions of your GPS, such as marking waypoints that you can return to later?  This can be of great value when bush camping as you need to mark a nice camping spot early in the afternoon but need to return to it later in the evening after dark when things have quietened down.

A reliable vehicle is not even questionable and some bush mechanics can take you a long, long way as everything is not always available in remote areas.  Even if you can phone somebody on your satellite phone it may take days or weeks for a specific part to arrive.

You will need a willingness to interact with the local people to ask directions or permission to camp or even buy some firewood.  If there is a village around do the decent thing and ask permission from the headman to camp there for the night.  They may even provide some security to you as a sign of respect.

Can you adapt and react to changing situations such as hazardous roads,  political climate, etc or are you set in your ways and love your comfort zone?  If you love your comfort zone you need to reconsider the urge of going solo.

The bottom line, and I think the most important aspect, that you must ask yourself is if you are prepared to rough it at times and skip a shower (or maybe two) to experience the joy that wild camping can offer?

Wanderlust: === the desire and irresistible urge to travel


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