Solo female travel: the Getaway bucket list

Posted by Ondela Mlandu on 18 August 2016

Despite the fact that solo female travel presents its own challenges, it’s one of the most rewarding ways to experience new places. Here are some of the places the women of Getaway would love to travel alone – what are yours?

When I told my mother I was ready to leave the conventional life behind and experience solo travel to Amsterdam, her immediate reactions were “Aren’t you scared?”, “Will it be safe?” and, eventually, “Wow! That is brave!” The decision came straight after I read Elizabeth Gilbert’s novel, Eat Pray Love. From what I gathered in the book, wanderlust is contagious and I knew I had to experience it for myself. In the August issue of Getaway magazine, we asked 12 writers about the travel destinations that they’ve enjoyed the most as solo female travellers: here are the destinations we’re dreaming of doing next.

1. Melanie Van Zyl, Senior Travel Writer and Gear Editor

St Louis, Senegal, Mary Honnet

Fishing from the wooden pirogues provides an income for many inhabitants of St Louis, Senegal. Photo by Mary Honnet.

I’d love to travel the West Coast of Africa and do something crazy like cycle along the coast or travel the circumference of Ghana using only public transport. I dream of photographing the colours of this amazing region, tasting the food and chatting to the people who live on the shores, but feel like adventures of this nature are a little out of reach for a woman travelling alone.


2. Leigh Taylor, Senior Designer

Bauhaus Archive Museum in Berlin. Photo by Dan Matutina

Bauhaus Archive Museum in Berlin. Photo by Dan Matutina

I am a huge fan of Bauhaus design. I would love to go on a tour of some Bauhaus landmarks in Europe starting with the Bauhaus Archive Museum of Design in Berlin. I believe it would be best experienced alone because then I could dawdle as long as I wanted to and also revisit the parts that I liked the best as many times as I wished. A travel companion wouldn’t necessarily enjoy doing this as much as I would. They would probably find it tedious.


3. Ondela Mlandu, Multimedia Journalist


I would love to go see the Great Sphinx of Giza in Egypt. I’ve heard a few rumours about passageways and rooms underneath the Great Sphinx. The fact that this giant statue was built over 4000 years ago amazes me, and I’d love to take my time exploring it before it erodes. Being in a place known for pyramids and ancient civilisation would be an incredible escape from modern day world.


4. Sonya Schoeman, Getaway Editor

The system of walkways and viewpoints in the Fig Tree Forest takes you up to the forest's eye level. Photo by Tyson Jopson.

The system of walkways and viewpoints in the Fig Tree Forest takes you up to the forest’s eye level. Photo by Tyson Jopson.

I would like to go to the Fig Forest Trail in Mkhuze Game Reserve: although you aren’t allowed in alone, I’d love it if the guide walked me to one of the bird hides high up in an age-old, gnarled fig tree so I could listen to the birds in peace.


5. Teagan Cunniffe, Photo Editor

Photo by Teagan Cunniffe.

Photo by Teagan Cunniffe.

I’d like to travel Colorado solo. I once heard a solo trip idea whilst in Cusco, sharing pisco sours with cattle-ranchers from that area: “Our neighbours have free-roaming cattle and once a year they have to go out to them and bring them in for a checkup.” They said all this is an off-hand, oblivious to the frozen look on my face as I imagined the dust and the horses and whirling around to chase errant headstrong cattle, the fires at night and who knows, maybe even a harmonica or two. Maybe is all a fanciful dream, a result of reading too many books as a child, but this idea has stuck in my mind ever since as something I would love to do one day, in some form.


6. Kati Auld, Digital Content Manager

Japan in Autumn by  Kaz Empson.

Japan in Autumn by Kaz Empson.

One of the many benefits of being a lone atom in a new country is being able to sit in a park or train station or other public space and just watch what’s happening around you, without having to worry about someone else’s patience levels.  It’s one of my favourite things to do while travelling, and I think it would be particularly fruitful in Japan. Partly because I suspect there would be a lot to absorb, seeing as it’s so foreign; also because the activity of sitting and watching is revered in Buddhism, and I think I could learn something; and also because, frankly, Japan is top of every single travel list of mine – travel solo, travel by foot, travel with your mom, travel in handcuffs.


On page 82 of the August issue of Getaway, we asked seven women where they went on their own and why they loved it. Get your hands on a copy! Tell us where you would travel to solo and what would be your ideal strategy for the trip would be.

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