Exploring little-known places

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iol travel april 22  liezl cw riemvasmaak

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GRAND EXPLORER: Liezel van der Westhuizen just outside Riemvasmaak.

SA TV presenter and radio personality Liezel van der Westhuizen is known for her effervescent personality. She is a tri-athlete and has completed the gruelling Iron Man competition and Dusi canoe race. When she is not on TV or radio or training for her next race, she travels.

She shares some of her experiences.

Where have you been?

I have travelled extensively in SA and done a bit of travelling overseas. I grew up with parents who always made us go on an SA adventure during the school holidays, and try to explore the unknown towns of SA. I have also been to Malaysia, the Seychelles, the UK and Belgium. Within Africa I’ve been to Zambia and Swaziland.

Where was your best overseas holiday?

That would be Belgium about six years ago. I went to a music festival called Pukkelpop with the team from Oppikoppi, the SA music festival. We had backstage passes and got to meet most of the international acts.

iol travel april 22  liezl cw waterfall

CHILLED: What more does a girl need than a fishing rod, a boat and a river?

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Your worst experience on a holiday?

I flew to the Seychelles but couldn’t get a direct flight so went via Doha, and it took 24 hours to get to the Seychelles. My luggage only arrived two days later.

Your funniest experience?

I was on a road trip with my sister to the Kruger Park. We were driving in my 1972 purple VW Beetle and a guy on the highway behind us kept flashing us. We couldn’t understand why so eventually we pulled over at the first petrol station. We were worried he was upset by how slow we were going and that he might have road rage, but he came over with a single question: could he buy my Beetle?

Could he?

No!

What do you avoid during a holiday?

Shopping malls.

Best meal abroad?

My best meal was cooked in Zambia, one I’ve learnt to make myself. I recently went with Jenny Morris to Zambia and she taught us how to cook a local meal along with four chefs at Royal Chundu lodge.

Your favourite place to have sundowners on your travels?

On the banks of the Zambezi River watching the African sunset.

What have you learnt from your travels?

I started travelling right after I left school and it’s taught me to be independent, because you don’t have the people around you that you would normally depend on.

Ideal travelling companion?

I recently travelled with a local celebrity, Thabiso Mokhethi, who plays Samuel in Generations. He is the perfect travelling companion. We explored Mpumalanga, and we tried out canopy tours, sliding from one platform to the next along a series of steel cables set in magnificent natural surroundings. But I’m scared of heights. He was so patient and encouraging and eventually I did it. It was amazing.

Culture vulture or adrenalin junkie?

Adrenalin junkie. I spent the past weekend in Lamberts Bay quad biking and dune boarding in one of the world’s smallest deserts.

Greatest travel luxury?

I love wearing heels, and on a trip to Malaysia I bought a pair of Louboutins.

Holiday reading?

I love reading thrillers. I’m always glued to a book or my sister’s Kindle.

Favourite drive?

Along the West Coast in September. It’s flower season and you’ve never seen so many colours and different types of flowers.

Dream trip?

I would love to go to Mombasa, the second-largest city in Kenya. It looks like the perfect tropical beach holiday within Africa.

Can you share some tips?

Have certified copies made of your passport and travel documents to keep with you before you travel. Check your overseas medical aid coverage. Keep a spare change of clothes and toiletries in your hand luggage in case your luggage doesn’t arrive with you.

Where next?

I’m planning a trip to India later in the year, and locally, I’ll be heading to Agulhas National Park at the end of May. - Weekend Argus

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