Janez Vermeiren, star of M-Net’s travel show Wingin’ It gets to travel for a living and enjoys exploring different cultures.
Janez Vermeiren, star of M-Net’s travel show Wingin’ It gets to travel for a living and enjoys exploring different cultures.
Janez with his wife, Juliana Vasconcelo.
Janez with his wife, Juliana Vasconcelo.
Janez Vermeiren, star of M-Net’s travel show Wingin’ It talks to Clinton Moodley about some of his favourite ventures. 

First holiday memory?

I remember going to the Adriatic Sea with my grandfather as a 6-year-old boy in the early 1980s before the Croatian War. It was a beautiful experience in the turquoise water, going from island to island.

Favourite place in SA?

I love the West Coast and all the small towns near it.

Best holiday?

A few years ago, before the birth of my two youngest sons, my wife, Juliana Vasconcelos, and the entire family visited Sardinia. She had won a free trip with all expenses paid to a six-star resort.

What have you learnt from your travels?

You need a lot of patience due to the language barriers in particular countries. It has also helped me to travel on a budget, especially since the rand is often not that strong against other currencies.

Ideal travel companion?

Siv Ngesi, my Wingin’ It co-star is an exceptional travel companion. He is well travelled and fun.

Beach bum, culture vulture or adrenalin junkie?

Combination of beach bum and culture vulture.

Greatest travel luxury?

I get to travel with a professional film crew and everything I do is captured in full HD. I also view my smartphone as my travel luxury and urge everyone to invest in one with a great camera as your best pictures are taken with a smartphone.

Holiday reading?

I love reading about the country I am in and getting lost in a book. One of my favourites was Marching Powder by Rusty Young while I was in Bolivia. It is about a small-time English drug smuggler who was arrested in Bolivia and thrown in the notorious San Pedro prison.

Where has seduced you?

Cuba. It is rich in music and dance and the people are full of life. Havana has such a vibe and energy.

Worst travel experience?

Where do I begin? There have been so many, but the one that stands out for me is when a toilet leaked on a flight from Thailand. I was sitting in a seat behind the toilet and fell asleep.

When I got up, I was drenched and later found out that the toilet was blocked and leaked.

I have also been a victim of pickpocketing on two overseas trips, one in Thailand and the other in Cuba.

It’s safe to say I have learnt from those bad experiences.

Best hotel?

Hotel LUX* Saint Gilles on Reunion Island. The views were spectacular and is the ultimate beach hotel. It was something that I did not expect going to Reunion Island, but it’s now one of the best hotels I have visited.

Favourite walk, swim, ride or drive?

Walk - Kilimanjaro, ride -Cape Epic, swim - waters of the Caribbean and drive - the Amalfi coast in Italy.

Best meal abroad?

Wild boar in Baku, Azerbaijan.

Favourite city?

Tokyo. Every time you walk out of your hotel, there is something new to experience.

Where to next?

Marrakesh in Morocco and then Moscow in Russia.