First holiday memory?
Where I come from, even visiting your grandparents was such a big deal that we saw it as a proper holiday. I can remember every detail of the first time we visited them in rural Candu, located near the Mbhashe River in Dutywa. It is one of my best memories.
Favourite place in South Africa?
I love the Western Cape. I feel like I know it more that I know the Eastern Cape, which is why I have decided to uncover the Eastern Cape. I need to be the go-to person for the Eastern Cape. Cape Town was the first place I made a road trip to and I go there whenever I feel tired of being in Johannesburg. I visit the Western Cape up to five times a year.
I have fallen in love with the countryside and have started exploring it and its unbeaten tracks.
Last December, after a road trip to Plettenberg Bay, I spent time in Rawsonville at Picardi Place and I plan to go back.
It has to be my very first solo journey to Istanbul, Turkey, that I embarked on in April to celebrate my birthday. The freedom and self-realisation that came with it hit me in the face. My highlight was the walk from the city centre to modern Istanbul, crossing at the Galata Bridge and, later, fishing with the fisherman. My favourite part was taking pictures at the Rainbow Stairs, because that was something I set out to do.
What have you learned from your travels?
Through visiting a lot of places and meeting a lot of people, I have come to realise that the world out there is a beautiful place awaiting your visit.
I have also learned that people in other countries have misconceptions about our country that as travellers as well as citizens we need to rectify. I educate people about South Africa everywhere I go.
Swaziland taught me to be humble, love more and be proud of my beloved province, the Eastern Cape. Swaziland is mostly rural but the people there are so content and grateful to have been born in such a rich country, whereas in South Africa, if you come from a rural area or mainly rural province, people look down on you without even taking the time to find out more about your background.
Ideal travelling companion?
I can never go anywhere without my camera and I love taking pictures.
The best part is at the end of each exploration day. After having a bath, I lie in bed and browse through the pictures I’ve taken.
Beach bum, culture vulture or adrenalin junkie?
I have done it all - bungee-jumped at 216m above the Bloukrans River, the world’s highest and hiked Table Mountain. I thought I was a beach bum, but time has proven otherwise.
Although you’ll still find me sunbathing in Phuket, you’ll also find me getting to know the place better and visiting the local hangout spots.
Greatest travel luxury?
For me, nothing beats a comfortable bed. It’s one reason why I prefer “glamping” over camping. I could be in the middle of the jungle but that trip will only be satisfying if I’m at peace with where I’ll be sleeping later.
I’m not so much of a book reader, but enjoy opinion pieces. I read topics that catch my attention, such as current affairs or those that impact on what I’m working on.
Which place has seduced you?
I’m torn between the Breedekloof Wine Route in the Western Cape - which includes Rawsonville, Goudini, Slanghoek and the Breede River area, as they boast boutique wineries, large cellars and magnificent landscape - and the Wild Coast in the Eastern Cape.
Its beauty is captivating. I can see myself hiking in those rich forests and mountains of Port St Johns and Lusikisiki before heading south to sandy East London.
Worst travel experience?
The only one that comes to mind is the accommodation we booked in Durban with my daughter and two of her friends. We went on a road trip from Johannesburg, via Durban, to Butterworth and had booked accommodation online. The Durban address said Morningside, but when we got there, the place was in the Berea. I was not comfortable leaving the girls there, or coming back from a night out with friends, so we changed hotels the next day and had to forfeit two days’ accommodation.
The Forum Homini Boutique Hotel in Muldersdrift is my all-time favourite. It has five-star accommodation and treatment, while allowing guests to be in touch with nature. The cave-type design is phenomenal and the establishment captivated my soul the minute I set foot in it.
Favourite walk, swim, ride or drive?
Besides the fact that I can’t really swim, I have developed a great love for hiking. However, I live for road trips. I have been road-tripping since even before I could really understand my love for travelling. My most recent one was with my daughter to Bela-Bela and Hartbeespoort.
Best meal abroad?
I had a never-ending feast on Turkish ice cream. I’ve never tasted anything like it; it’s just magical. What I liked most about it was that it was not rich.
Thank goodness, I had to return home after five days. Sans restaurant makes the best seafood dishes in town and the meanest chocolate soufflé, coupled with traditional Turkish delight.
It will always be East London. My love for it goes deeper than deep and a lot of memories and lasting friendships were made there.
It has developed a lot since I left. I like it because it has the best of both worlds and caters for my love of both the beach and nature.
Where to next?
Until August 13, I’ll be “chasing waterfalls” in the Eastern Cape. In my quest to encourage people to travel more, my campaign is centred around making people see that travelling does not need to cost an arm and a leg.
Our country is overflowing with riches that soothe the soul.
My African project for 2018 is a “One Africa” Tour, which will be my biggest yet - an exciting, educational road trip to seven southern African countries in March.
Follow @noxie_blackcasegirl on instagram for more details.