Why is Group Travel so Special?
The debate between independent travel vs group travel is one that has occupied many a topic on travel forums and websites. Of course, both have their positives and are largely a matter of personal preference, however we definitely think that group travel in Africa is an amazing way to travel the continent. Why? Well, here are our top four reasons we love group travel in Africa.
#1: The Friendships
Ask any traveller what their favourite travel memories are, and chances are they will revolve not around landmarks or attractions, but around the people they have met and the moments they have shared with them. It might sound like a cliché, but the friendships and conversations you share while on the road can be truly life changing.
Group travel puts you in the situation where you are living in close quarters with people who are like-minded and share common interests with you – given they have also chosen to go on an adventure to the same place you have! Plus, many groups find further common ground through shared characteristics such as age or language. Therefore, immediately you have an ice breaker, making conversation easy. From there, you will share many amazing moments together which only strengthens the friendships you make along the way.
Of course, although you all have something in common, everybody brings their own life experiences and perspective along to the trip. They say variety is the spice of life, and one of the great things about group travel is you meet people from many different countries and backgrounds to your own. Group travel in Africa is definitely an opportunity to meet people you wouldn’t necessarily meet in everyday life, who could well end up being great friends and broadening your own horizons.
That’s largely because there’s a funny (and wonderful) thing about group travel where over a relatively short period, you become fast friends – largely as the result of shared, memorable experiences. This is a great foundation for lifelong friendships – years can go by after you’ve travelled together, and when meeting again you still immediately have memories and experiences to reminisce over. It’s no wonder that many people meet some of their best friends while travelling as a group.
#2: The Cost Factor
There’s no doubt that travel can attract a lot of expenses, such as transport, food and accommodation. This is especially the case if you are a solo traveler. When one person is shouldering these alone, it can mean that a lot of the budget for a trip is spent on these essentials, especially the dreaded single supplement (which by the way we do not have - instead you get paired with a fabulous travel buddy).
All in all, by travelling in a group you can get discounted rates on activities as well as being able to stay in nicer places because your budget goes further, which means more money in the pot to experience more of the fun things like safaris and wine tours.
#3: Less Time Planning, More Time Enjoying
There’s no doubt that any independent travel involves a pretty hefty amount of planning, and this is particularly true in many African countries. Not only does the infrastructure sometimes leave a fair bit to be desired, but it can take a bit of work to scratch the surface and discover all of those hidden gems and great places that are a little bit off the beaten track and not featured in the pages of Lonely Planet. Africa is filled with these charming places, but finding them and being able to get to them can be a bit of a challenge.
The great thing about group travel is that you’ve got someone who is an expert in the destination at the helm; meaning there’s little to no time lost trying to navigate your way from one place to the next, and no chance of bad experiences in dodgy hotels or restaurants. The group leader (Tour CSO in our case - Chief Sorter Outer) takes care of all of the logistics, meaning that you have to spend less time worrying about planning and logistics, and more time soaking in the amazing sights and experiences that come with group travel in Africa.
Not only does this make for an easier and less stressful travel experience, but it also means that you’re bound to see and find things that you wouldn’t normally. Whether it’s a museum that you wouldn’t normally put on your to-do list but that turns out to be a fascinating experience, or a hole-in-the-wall café that you would have otherwise walked past without noticing, group travel means finding and enjoying things that otherwise may have passed you by.
#4: Mix Alone Time with Company
One of the best things about group travel, wherever you are, is that you are never lonely. Undoubtedly, group travel can lead to some amazing friendships, experiences, and maybe even romances. This can be a great thing if you are a solo traveller, since even the most experienced solo adventurer can occasionally get lonely without a buddy on the road.
On the other hand, it’s certainly a myth that group travel means sticking with the group 24/7. Experienced tour leaders understand that most people crave a little bit of downtime to be on their own, reflect on their amazing adventures, and maybe do some discovering on their lonesome. Therefore, our group travel itineraries in Africa include enough downtime where guests can take a bit of time out to enjoy their own company, if they want to of course!
In this way, group travel in Africa promises the best of both worlds – the chance to enjoy time out on your own when you want, as well as endless opportunities to embrace your social side and join in on memorable group activities and conversation when you feel like it. All in all, group travel is undoubtedly an amazing way to discover Africa, and leave the continent with incredible experiences and – perhaps best of all – a new list of friends, all over the world.