Travelling with Lira

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Soul singer and songwriter Lira was born Lerato Molapo. Her first name is Sotho for “love”.

Over the past few years her career has soared. She is a multi-platinum selling and award- winning Afrosoul singer who refers to her style of music as “a fusion of soul, funk, elements of jazz and African”.

She was shortlisted from a number of African musicians and is to perform at US President Barack Obama’s inauguration ball in Washington DC on Monday, January 21.

Here, she talks about travel...

How widely have you travelled?

I have been all over Europe on tour as well as the United States and the US Virgin Islands. I’ve also been to the UK, Ireland and Australia. I holidayed in the Maldives, Mauritius, Seychelles and Fiji. I’ve visited most of Africa, from Cape to Cairo. The only part of the world I have not explored is Asia.

Where did you have your favourite time abroad?

Mauritius is my favourite holiday destination, but nothing beats the experience I had in the Maldives. It is truly a piece of heaven on Earth.

Your worst experience on a holiday?

Unfortunately my stay in Mombasa, Kenya, goes down as my worst holiday of all time. I had such a terrible time overall that I vowed never to return.

What do you avoid during a holiday?

Doing something that’s very physically demanding at the onset of my holiday. I went river rafting down the Zambezi and it involved hiking up and down a deep and steep gorge. My muscles got so stiff I could not walk for the rest of the holiday.

Best meal abroad?

I had a seven-course dinner at the Blue Penny at Constance Belle Mare Plage in Mauritius. It goes down as one of my best culinary experiences.

Your favourite place to have sundowners?

The Maldives. The islands and their beautiful turquoise waters against the backdrop of a golden sunset and awesome weather are the perfect setting.

What have you learnt from your travels?

I wish I’d travelled more when I was younger. It expands the mind and fosters a global mindset. It gives one a great appreciation of culture and diversity. There is so much to see and so much to learn. I appreciate the opportunities I have had to travel.

Ideal travelling companion?

My husband, Robin Kohl. He’s my best friend and he likes new adventures. He’s always willing to try out new things and often we just let ourselves go and become childlike. I love it.

Greatest travel luxury?

The Maldives trip. We travelled in luxury, stayed in luxurious villas built on stilts on the water and enjoyed the world’s best cuisine. It was absolute bliss.

Culture vulture or adrenalin junkie?

I try to balance the two. I like to do something daring on every holiday but I also like to get a real sense of the people, their history and culture.

Holiday reading?

I can absorb a lot more when I’m relaxed so I take inspirational books and I often feel rejuvenated when the holiday is over.

Favourite drive?

I like to drive to Haartebeespoort Dam (from Johannesburg). It’s close enough, yet far away enough to feel like you’ve escaped into nature.

Dream trip?

The Northern lights. It’s on my bucket list.

As a seasoned traveller and flyer can you share some tips?

Pack only what you need. We ladies tend to overpack. This gives you the opportunity to shop for more stuff at your destination. We end up doing this anyway.

Where next?

The inauguration ball in Washington. I’ll also spend seven days skiing in Canada.


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