Anna-Mart van der Merwe

Johannesburg - Anna-Mart van der Merwe has a leading role in the new Athol Fugard play, The Painted Rocks At Revolver Creek, which is on the boards in Cape Town, and may be seen on the big screen in Dis Koue Kos, Skat in which she plays a food writer.


First holiday memory?

Watermelons drifting in the ice-cold mountain water while we were swimming. Someone cutting it open in long slices, leaving the kroon (middle section without pips) for the grown-ups. No sense of time or place. Endless bliss.


Favourite place in South Africa?

Franschhoek - the mountains (especially the view of Simonsberg) lift my soul.


Best holiday?

My nephew got married in Thailand a few years ago.

What a joy it was to experience a country for the first time through such a life-affirming celebration. It was a family affair close to Chumphon. One’s whole being relaxes as you step off a plane in Thailand.


What have you learnt from your travels?

Over-prepare, pack less and then go with the flow.


Ideal travelling companion?

My husband. We love exploring a country through its people, food, wine, history, sights and hardware stores.


Beach bum, culture vulture, or an adrenalin junkie?

Culture vulture.


Greatest travel luxury?

Guilt-free access to the mini bar.


Travel reading?

The book that has been waiting for me for more than a year.


What place has really seduced you?

The Douro River Valley in Portugal. The river has such a sensual silence to it.


Worst travel experience?

There is no such thing for me. They create the most powerful memories.


Best hotel?

Astra Villa on Santorini Island, Greece. The helpful and attentive staff, the food, the views.


Favourite activity - walk, swim, ride or drive?

Oh, most definitely to walk. You’re in touch with your surroundings and can be seduced instantly by anything on your route.


Best meal abroad?

In 2007 we had the privilege of having dinner at Ferran Adria’s El Bulli restaurant in Roses, Spain. ‘Theatre of the Palate’, as I call it.


Favourite city?

Paris. It is human.


Where to next?

My dream has been to go back to Lebanon. Loved the country, the people, the food! Hope springs eternal?

Independent Traveller