Should you choose Mauritius, Zanzibar or Reunion for your first solo adventure?

2019-06-01 06:30 - Marisa Crous
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Travelling alone is not for everyone. 

You either choose it or you don’t, i.e. you actively decide you want to be alone or you just don’t have anyone to go with. Either way, I can highly recommend going it alone. 

The first rule of solo travel is: Don’t put too much pressure on it. 

I truly believe that our wanderlust romance with the book Eat, Pray, Love ruined the idea of solo travel, forever.

You don’t have to ‘find yourself’ or ‘experience something meaningful’ when venturing abroad by yourself.

You must just allow yourself to ‘be’, so to speak. Be lost, be embarrassed sitting alone, be happy, sad or whatever you feel that day. Most importantly, stay open and don't plan everything too meticulously. 

African islands like Mauritius and Zanzibar are usually marketed to groups of friends, couples and families. But why not go explore it alone? 

READ: Solo travelling the Indian Ocean islands

Mauritius

African islands are synonymous with honeymooners and resorts. Mauritius, a quick trip from Jozi, is the ideal island escape for romance, or families and friends seeking a super chilled holiday filled with laughs, swims and fun. 

So, you might not necessarily want to resort yourself to resorting as a solo traveller. 

Forego the all-inclusive life for a guesthouse stay or a self-catering apartment in town. Also keep it budget-friendly and local by using the public transport and dining al fresco, indulging in the street food. Try the Creole cooking, and specifically the traditional Mauritian dish, fish vindaye. 


However, Natalie Roos is an advocate for doing resorts solo, saying: "While travelling solo can sometimes be stressful and exhausting in big cities or new countries, a resort holiday in Mauritius is the exact opposite. Picture long walks on the beach, the chance to read your book uninterrupted, sleep all day with no one needing your attention and work on your tan."

Read, sunbathe (with SPF on!), eat and sleep. Repeat. 

Doesn't sound that bad alone, hey?

Zanzibar

I've done the package holiday thing. And in Zanzibar, it's a pretty sweet deal. Mango flights from Jozi, a 7-night stay in a 3-star resort, all meals and drinks included. Score! Imagine gin and tonics all day and snorkelling excursions by day - it's heavenly. And for a great price. 

READ: What's it really like to go on one of those package deal holidays? 

Yet, with package holidays you usually have to pay per/person sharing, which means you need two people to fill a double room. But Zanzibar has a lot of beach villages like Kendwa, that is ideal for solo beach bums. Here you'll find more budget accommodation and many different excursions and activities you can join. 

TIP: In Zanzibar, it's probably best to hire a car if you really want to explore the island to the fullest. 

Avid solo traveller, Shalini Tewari says: "I love having the freedom to explore a place and stop wherever I’m drawn toward. I decided to rent a car and drove around the island of Zanzibar. When I filled up with petrol or stopped in small towns to buy something, I was always greeted with smiles and friendliness. My phone guided my route and my spirit fuelled my adventure. I visited during rainy season and Ramadan, there were few tourists around and the locals took me in and treated me like family. I’ve always found that I connect more intimately with the people and their culture when travelling solo all over the world." 

Reunion

Adventure island to the MAX! It is known for having everything and anything a nature-lover could want. Ocean. Mountains. Volcanos. And more! 

This is probably the best of the three islands to travel to solo. 

READ: Travelling solo - on dealing with always having a sunburnt back and getting the worst seat in restaurants 

This scenically magical island is not, necessarily, the place where you sip cocktails all day. Rather go explore the 350-thousand-year-old Piton de la Fournaise, with a stop in at the look-out point over the protective rim of the volcano on the eastern side of Reunion. 

The island has so much to offer, you probably won't even have a second to feel lonely as you'll be too busy being tossed over waterfalls or jumping off 11m high cliffs! 

TIP: Rent a car as some villages are only accessible on foot. 


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