We caught up with Winnie Rioba, a Kenyan travel blogger who’s been exploring Africa since 2016. She has been organizing “All Ladies” themed trips in an effort to bring together women that love traveling but are afraid of taking up solo travel independently. This is what she has to say about this upcoming travel trend:
What inspired you to start an “All ladies” Travel group?
It came to my realisation that ladies travel more compared to men. However, these ladies, despite their urge to travel, never get the opportunity. Majority of the time the trips arranged with families or friends never come to pass. In addition, most ladies have no courage to travel solo as individuals. Therefore group solo travel was the best solution. Such an arrangement brings together like-minded women who share a passion for travel.
How many of such trips have taken place?
I only started organising the all-ladies themed trips in late 2018. Since then, I am happy to have had four of such trips take place.
How is the planning process for you?
Since I am not a tour operator, I do not travel with more than 10 women per trip. The logistics differ from one trip to another. When we went to Lamu for example, everyone had to book their own flight while I took care of the accommodation and customized an itinerary that would suit everyone’s needs. I think that’s important for all vacations. You need to organize a trip that would benefit everyone, even if it means looking into renting the entire island of Turtle Island in Fiji, allowing you to do whatever you want, in the comfort of your family and friends. Doing something different always makes for a good vacation, and when you have someone to organize it all, it takes away a lot of the pressure. Our most recent trip to Diani was different since I secured a cheap deal. All the ladies had to do was pay and show up.
What have been the highlights so far of the “All Ladies” trips?
Other than the usual fun that comes with exploring a new destination, meeting and forming lasting friendships is my favourite highlight. Through the women-only trips, we’ve met as strangers and kept in touch afterwards! We have even ended up traveling together again. I am an advocate of solo traveling but sometimes it’s cheaper to travel with someone. The trips have also challenged me to try out new things. For example, I never gave hiking a thought until I met
a lady that encouraged me to give it a try.
Your view about Solo Travel (solo group travel) in Africa?
“If you keep waiting for people to travel with, you will wait forever”. This is what inspired my second solo trip through 5 countries in Southern Africa. Solo travel is rather common in East and Southern Africa although the travellers are
mostly not African. It would be incredible to see more Africans traveling across Africa whether in groups or solo. Compared to other regions like Europe or South East Asia, it’s a fact that traveling in Africa is difficult. Flights are super expensive and traveling with a “weak” passport is another challenge. There is also the perception that African countries are unsafe. This is one of the reasons I started my travel blog; to show other Africans how I travel despite the difficulties
involved with exploring our continent.
5 tips on Solo travel?
- Avoid traveling at night
- Only stay at hostels and hotels with 95% positive ratings
- Treat your phone like your best friend as it has all the apps that will help you navigate. Always
have a power bank
- Ditch the tour operators for a few days if you and immerse yourself in the culture of the
country you are visiting. Eat their food, learn a few words in the local language. While at it,
always respect the culture.
- Learn to bargain. When you are buying something, the person selling (most likely) knows you
are a foreigner and they will overcharge.
In your opinion, what’s the future of Travel in Africa?
Going by the current travel trends, tourism in the continent will continue to rise. Countries like Kenya and South Africa are now cheaper to travel to, thanks to more affordable air travel options. Travellers on tight budgets can still drive or travel by bus since its now safer and roads are in better conditions. With more Africans traveling now more than ever, I can only hope that this expected increase in the number of tourists will include more Africans.
Follow Winnie’s blog: www.justrioba.com