First holiday memory?
Christmas holidays with my family in Port Alfred, in the Eastern Cape.
Favourite place in South Africa?
Still Port Alfred for the massive amount of shared memories I have there with my family and friends over the years.
I’ve been blessed to have many. One of the best was a holiday to France with my French class and legendary French teacher when I was 16. A more recent one was renting a house boat and taking it up the Thames through London and the English countryside.
What have you learnt from your travels?
That the world is very big and seems disturbingly overpopulated. That people’s realities of what they consider to be “life on earth” are vastly different.
That constant travelling is hard to do – it goes against the natural human tendency to nest, but it has forced me to expand my consciousness and sense of “self”. You only realise how much of your sense of self comes from the country, the city, the neighbourhood and the street you live in, when you don’t live anywhere permanently and have to keep travelling.
Ideal travelling companion?
My girl, Tanit Phoenix. She can adapt more quickly to new environments than I can.
Beach bum, a culture vulture or an adrenaline junkie?
A beach bum, but I love rivers. I grew up boating and waterskiing.
Greatest travel luxury?
Occasionally flying in private planes and being escorted quickly through airport security.
Where has seduced you?
Hawaii. It is breathtakingly beautiful: one of the few places I’ve been that actually looks like it does on the postcards in real life. I love the warmth and soul of the local people. There is still a wild, rare energy to various parts of the island that actually reminds me of Africa in a way. It’s also very very relaxed, probably because at least half the people on the island at any one time are on vacation.
Worst travel experience?
One was having to sit in the most expensive restaurant in Tokyo while the chef cooked live prawns in front of us by holding them down on a grill with a spatula until they died. And then trying not to look disgusted when our distinguished host laughed.
I spend an enormous amount of time in hotels so I have several favourites:
The Langham and the Dorchester in London, for their old fashioned English style. So many hotels nowadays are all super modern but The Dorchester especially has that old fashioned wooden panelling on the walls in the suites and all the furniture seems like exquisite antiques.
The Four Seasons in Maui, Hawaii is right on the beach and one of the most beautiful and uniquely designed hotels modern I’ve ever seen.
The Trump International Hotel in New York -–it has a view directly on to Central Park so you get the full New York experience, and the Trump hotels seem to run better than almost any other in terms of service.
Le Bristol in Paris – a great old-fashioned hotel featuring the amazing French style and taste, just off the Champs Elysees.
The Shangri-la in Vancouver – a supermodern Asian-inspired hotel that lives up to its name in that you sort of feel like you’re living in a huge spa.
The Sunset Tower in Hollywood – another classic old style hotel that has been around since the days of John Wayne and has kept that look and feel.
Favourite walk, swim, ride or drive?
Favourite drive in the world is to drive down to Cape Point down the Fish Hoek side, and then back up at sunset on the Chapman’s Peak side.
Best meal abroad?
I’m trying to think of something and nothing stands out more than a steak I recently had at the Delaire Graaf Estate in Cape Town. South African food is really up there!
Cape Town. It is still the most beautiful city in the world in my opinion and there is tons to do that isn’t massively expensive.
Where to next?
London, where I will be shooting my next film.
l Charlto Copley made his name in the acclaimed 2009 movie District 9. If you have not yet seen the South African actor in action, be sure to catch him in the Johannesburg-shot Chappie, out on DVD soon, or look out for clever sci-fi Europa Report, or the scary thriller that was shot in Hungary, Open Grave.