Holidaying on an island for her makes a great holiday.
Holidaying on an island for her makes a great holiday.
She loves Cape Town. Seen here is her on top of Lion's Head.
She loves Cape Town. Seen here is her on top of Lion's Head.
Sunrise in Varanasi on the Know India Program 2008.
Sunrise in Varanasi on the Know India Program 2008.
If anyone follows Kajal Bagwandeen, they would know that the beauty loves to post beach selfies or ones of her in front of the sunrise or sunset at beautiful  islands. She herself has admitted to loving island holidays. We chat to her about her travels. 

First holiday memory?

My parents didn’t go on honeymoon until a few years after they married. They went to Mauritius when I was about 2 and of course I went along. I think that was the start of my love affair with islands.

Favourite places in SA?

Durban, Cape Town and Hogsback

Best holiday?

Any kind of island holiday. That’s when I really have a holiday. City breaks or exploration trips I would refer to as adventures rather than a holiday.

What have you learnt from your travels?

Seeing that we have so much information at the tips of our fingers, research is very important. It ensures you have the holiday you want to. I’ve also learned to be a little more experimental and adventurous - embrace different cultures and be in the moment.

Ideal travelling companion?

My husband, my family and my best friend.

Beach bum, culture vulture or adrenalin junkie?

Beach bum, for sure.

Travel essentials?

My smartphone, sunscreen, good sunglasses and lip balm.

Greatest travel luxury?

One day it will be flying in our own jet so we are able to travel with our dogs, but for now it’s a week on an untouched island with exquisite, fresh cuisine and outstanding service.

Holiday reading?

I used to be a lover of fiction on holiday and immerse myself in another world while chilling on the beach, but recently it has been non-fiction. My most recent read is David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell.

Where has seduced you?

A little East African island called Mnemba and Rio in Brazil.

Worst travel experience?

Trying out a resort that has great reviews on TripAdvisor, only to be sorely disappointed. The beach area was “made up” - sand was added to a large grass patch to create a beach because this part of the island didn’t have one.

And then to walk out of my suite in my gown, coffee in hand, only to discover my neighbour out there as well as our balcony was shared! We moved the next day.

My first trip to India was to study dance. We were eight dancers in a small apartment in Juhu and we lived like the locals. We took the train to classes and used the rickshaws to get around.

One of my worst experiences was being pushed off the train in Churchgate, Mumbai - the trains are packed - and having a shoe fall off onto the railway, then coming back from a dance class in 38ºC heat, only to discover there was no water for the next few days,which happened often.

I quickly grew up, overcame the challenges and I couldn’t wait to return. India is certainly incredible.

Best hotel?

Difficult to choose but I am a fan of the Taj Group because their hospitality is second to none. Taj Palace Mumbai, Taj Lake Palace Udaipur and Taj Exotica Spa in the Maldives were all superb.

Favourite walk, swim, ride or drive?

Hiking up Lion’s Head in Cape Town is still a favourite. The view from the top makes the effort worth it.

Among my best swim experiences would have to be watching dolphins in their natural habitat.

As an animal lover, I am against them being in captivity and won’t support paying to watch them perform, which is what aquariums offer.

Being able to witness them free and happy in their natural habitat is one of my best experiences.

Beautiful is an understatement!

And may I combine best drive and ride?

Mine was riding a bicycle through the lush, tranquil island of La Digue in the Seychelles, where the only modes of transport are bicycles and ox-carts.

Best meals abroad?

Vanilla Madagascan lobster at The Oberoi in Mauritius.

Lobster with saffron gnocchi and a cognac sauce on Mnemba Island.

Garlic-encrusted Argentinian beef in Rio.

Butter pepper garlic crab at Mahesh Lunch Home in Juhu, Mumbai.

Where to next?

One of my best friends is currently in Paris - so Paris it is. But on my list are Norway, Japan and Myanmar.

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