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Cape Town - Sivan Raphaely is an actress, singer and songwriter, writer and teacher. Her theatre credits include: Maureen in Rent, Scaramouche in We Will Rock You, Brer Rabbit in Brer Rabbit, Monica Lewinsky and others in Jo’burg Follies 2000, and Hannah Ziggelstein in Modern Orthodox.
She has been nominated for various Naledi and Vita awards including best actress in a musical for both Rent and Jo’burg Follies 2000. She has played roles in TV shows Binnelanders, Rough and Laugh Out Loud.
She is a voice-over artist for various South African brands and can be heard on both radio and TV. She is also working on songs for a new solo music project she plans to launch next year.
How widely have you travelled?
I have travelled for work, for escape and for pleasure.
I went to Seoul, Singapore, Hong Kong and Bangkok for We Will Rock You and through Zimbabwe for Joburg Follies.
I shaved my head and backpacked through northern India; Dharamsala, Rishikesh, Daipur, Jaisalmir and Varanasi.
For pleasure, I have been lucky enough to visit Barcelona, Lisbon, Paris, New York, LA, Arizona, London and Israel.
Where has been your favourite destination abroad?
Hard question. Okay, India, all of it. Actually I loved and hated it equally. Every sense is stimulated – from monsoon rain and floating garbage to incense, and saris and silk to bus hooters and cows and burning bodies in the Ganges River to the grandeur of the Himalayas. It is definitely the place I dream about going back to.
Your worst experience on a holiday?
Probably vomiting from gastro in a field full of cows in a small Indian village four hours from Pushkar, while a handsome young Belgian traveller that I had my eye on held a bucket for me. I then passed out from dehydration, vaguely remembering going to some doctor who gave me an injection (who knows what it was) and then having to ride for four hours in a packed car to our next destination. No fun and I don’t think I left the right impression on my Belgian beau.
Your funniest experience?
There are a lot of funny things that have happened to me but one that stands out is re-enacting our version of Stomp on a rooftop in Rishikesh in the middle of the night, with six Israelis and a French girl. We got so into it that we woke up with massive bruises all over our arms and legs from using our bodies as drums.
I think we went on for about three hours just trying to create beats and teach them to the more unco-ordinated of the group.
What do you avoid during a holiday?
As best I can, the prescribed tourist sightseeing trips. I like to explore a city on my feet and find where the locals go.
Best meal abroad?
Shwarma in Dizingoff Street in Tel Aviv. Need I say more?
Your favourite place for sundowners?
Plettenberg Bay, on a balcony facing Robberg Beach – hands down it’s one of the best places on Earth.
Ideal travelling companion?
I love travelling by myself and meeting new people. I’m not a big fan of travelling in groups; in my experience you waste a lot of time discussing what you want to do instead of actually doing anything. So travelling with one other like-minded person is ideal.
I drove to Cape Town with a childhood friend, Sharon, and we laughed most of the way, especially when we found a stray lamb on the N9 and tried to reunite it with its flock by jumping over a fence and carrying the little thing about a 100 metres to the other sheep. Lambert (the little guy) kept following us back to the road and it took hours to get him to safety.
We are both courageous and enjoy exploring intrepidly... and we are not high maintenance, which is a must for my kind of travel.
I am also looking forward to travelling with my husband, Sean.
Culture vulture or adrenalin junkie?
Culture vulture. One of my favourite things to experience is local music in whatever venue I can find it, from theatres to clubs to street performances. I especially love sitting with people I’ve met and having impromptu sing-a-longs with acoustic guitars. It’s amazing to share music with people. You can learn so much about a person through the music they love.
Greatest travel luxury?
In India I would say hand sanitiser. In Europe my guitar. In Israel an electric hand fan and in general, nice, comfortable shoes for walking through cities.
Facebook! Just kidding... I enjoy a good novel, something like Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie.
In a filthy, packed, humid bus with chickens thrown in for good measure to Dharamsala in the Himalayas on a slippery mountain side with no barriers. I feared for my life.
My other favourite is Joburg to Cape Town on the N9. I love going through Graaf Reinet and Nieu Bethesda and the Karoo.
I watched Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman’s Long Way Down, when they rode their motorbikes from Egypt down to Cape Town. I would like to do something like that, although in a car methinks.
As a seasoned traveller can you share some tips?
Make friends with the locals, they’ll take you to the best restaurants and live entertainment venues and you’ll get to experience the culture more deeply.
My mother was born in Lithuania so we’ve been dreaming about going to Vilnius so she can go down memory lane , and I can see where she grew up. She also spent time in Moscow and St Petersburg so we would love to incorporate those cities in as well. - Weekend Argus