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Trekking solo has a mysterious charm that some adventurous souls dare to discover! It can be a very daunting thought to take on such a challenge, yet hiking alone really is a courageous and unique experience! Why not really put yourself to the test and try these 3 best treks in the world to see what you’re capable of?!
Whether you love to go hiking alone or not, trekking alone is extremely challenging; especially if you’re taking on the big boys! And if you’re a solo female traveller, you may be apprehensive about the locals and culture. I’ve got you covered though. Here are 3 of the best treks in the world every solo female traveler should try, with a bunch of travel tips and ground rules to help you out on your adventure.
Please note: even if you’re trekking independently, please interact with fellow trekkers and locals or find a trekking group. In the event of an emergency (which most tourists are prone to), they are your only hope! Use your head. Be safe. Then you’ll be victorious.
Annapurna, Everest and Kilimanjaro are the most popular trekking destinations in the world. Let’s take a look at them and see which one is the best for you, especially if you’re a woman attempting a lone trek for the first time!
Annapurna Range in Nepal
The Annapurna Base Camp (ABC) and Annapurna Circuit Trek (ACT) are not just safe, but also very hospitable ranges for women. It is easy to find English speakers and people are extremely helpful. Most reports of solo female treks in Annapurna Range are positive and reassuring. In fact, they are often described as rewarding experiences unlike any other!
Annapurna Trek Facts and Travel Tips
Overall Safety Rating: 3.5/5
The biggest danger you’ll face is altitude sickness and natural disasters. There are avalanches, heavy snow and earthquakes. Extensive research about the seasons and routes, and High Altitude Readiness is absolutely necessary! The trekking seasons are March to April and October to November. The locals are safe. Accommodation options are guest houses and homestays.
Locals will express surprise at you trekking alone. Others will seem to pity you. Some other locals may even appear offended! However, this is more likely to happen in the city rather than the mountains. Guides, porters and locals are used to meeting all kinds of tourists in the mountains.
You will find home stays and guesthouses easily while you’re on the Annapurna Range. Don’t hesitate to mingle with fellow trekkers. Even if you’re doing the trek alone, it helps to have the occasional company of fellow trekkers on the way to keep your spirits up and your determination rocketing.
(Oh yeah, and it happens to be the first female ascent too woohoo!)
Everest Base Camp Trek (EBC) in Nepal
Yes! I’m including a second trek in Nepal! Everest Base Camp and the Annapurna treks have a lot in common, since both are in Nepal. In fact, most trekkers end up trekking both while they are in Nepal. Your journey to the starting point of both will begin from Kathmandu if you are flying in, thus your pre-trek experience will be the same.
Out of the two, Annapurna is slightly easier and takes less time, since it is at a lower altitude. However, both are challenging steep treks and are wrought with the possibility of natural disasters.
Everest Base Camp Trek Facts and Travel Tips
Overall Safety Rating: 3/5
There are plenty of homestays and guesthouses on the way and the locals are extremely hospitable. As far as safety is concerned, Everest Base Camp is just like the Annapurna treks. Your greatest challenges will be altitude sickness and natural disasters. Because of this, it is highly advisable to find a trekking group, make new friends at the guest houses or hire a guide from a reputed company. The trekking seasons are March to April and October to November.
Help yourself with these altitude sickness remedies
It is not advisable to be alone at such high altitudes all the time. Even the locals who can manage easily, face occasional problems on the mountain. Unless you are Bear Grills or a seasoned climber, you are more than likely to encounter problems. A guide will add value in acquainting you with the local culture. Your call girl.
Read: My Experience Trekking in Nepal as a Single Female
Mt. Kilimanjaro is very different from the other two on this list. It is the highest free-standing mountain in the world and falls in a remarkably different geological zone. One perk of this free-standing status is that you can find 4 distinct climatic zones, each with its own beauty and challenges.
The summit of Kili, Uhuru Peak, is only slightly higher than Everest Base Camp and Annapurna Circuit Trek, but significantly higher than Annapurna Base Camp. Additionally, extreme natural calamities are much less likely to befall you on Kilimanjaro than on the Himalayan giants. The climatic conditions are less perilous on Kilimanjaro and there are more seasons to climb.
Kilimanjaro Trek Facts and Travel Tips
Overall Safety Rating: 4/5
The people in Tanzania and on Kili are extremely hospitable. You will be received with warm smiles and open arms. There are even fewer reports of women running into trouble with locals on Kilimanjaro and overall, hospitality is not much different from the other two treks. The major difference will be the accommodation. On Kilimanjaro, you’ll be mostly living in canvas tents, as opposed to the guesthouses in the Himalayas. The trekking seasons are January to March and June till October.
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As far as geological hazards are concerned, Kilimanjaro is the safest of the three! However, this doesn’t mean it is a simple climb! Altitude sickness is just as common and dangerous here, as it is in the Himalayas. Thus, a guide or a trekking group is well-advised.
Travel advice for hiking the best treks in the world
Trekking alone means you are your only help. Thus, you must train yourself to deal with foreseeable problems, and also have a certain amount of faith in the unforeseeable. You can do it girl (or with a bunch of amazing women!).
Altitude Readiness: All three treks are high-altitude (4000 to 6000 m) treks, where Altitude Mountain Sickness (AMS) is a very real danger after 2000m. Here’s your golden rule: climb high, sleep low after 2500 to 3000m and only ascend up to 500m per night. I also recommend Altitude Sickness Medicine to keep you on the straight and narrow.
Research: If you want to go as an independent trekker, you need to know everything that you would otherwise leave to a guide or group. This means you need to learn all you can about the weather, ecology, equipment, altitude and local culture that you can. To make things easier, go with a group!
Fitness: Most people don’t think this is important, but trust me, IT IS! Make sure you train for high-altitude endurance for at least a few months if you’re trekking alone.
Finances: It is advisable to carry cash from the most urban part of your trip onwards, as ATMs closer to the mountains are unreliable in all three cases. You’ll need the cash to pay for guesthouses, porters, transport, food and any emergencies, so carry enough!
Safety: A guide and porter are a great way to ensure safety. Hiring from a reputed company will ensure that your guide won’t be a threat to you. You can also hire a female guide, but that is likely to cost more unfortunately. If not, have some emergency strategy before setting off. Check out my other solo female travel tips before you go too!
Faith: For a lonely trekker, as for a group, there is no way to be 100% safe. The cost of maximum security is minimum freedom. If you’re doing this, make your peace with the worst-case scenario and just go for it.
I recommend the guides over at Mojhi
Enjoy your trek. Godspeed!
What’s one of your best treks in the world? Comment below!
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