Johannesburg - Singer/dancer/actress/ businesswoman Khabonina Qubeka - currently on the big screen in Dora’s Peace - travelled extensively as part of African Footprint and the bug has never left.


First holiday memory?

Cape Town, I had just started school and was six or seven. My mom saved up for us to go by train. I remember standing at the window and it was incredible.


Favourite place in South Africa?

I love Amanzimtoti. It’s so like an island, a community of people, intimate and beautiful.

I’ve been to places where I’ve stayed in 5-star hotels and it’s great but, when people find out where you stay, they track you down.

Sometimes you just want to wear flip-flops and a baggy T-shirt. In Toti, I can let my hair down, I don’t need an Isidingo weave. It’s time out, no need for make-up, that’s for work.

I love being carefree, in my bikini without people checking me out. I just want to chill.


Best holiday?

On the beach in Palma, Majorca, Spain. Everyone goes on about Ibiza, Majorca is just so alive.

It’s beautiful and I love the people. The women are different body types.

I loved the beach. It took me about seven days to get nude. By Day 6, I was still in my bikini, but by Day 7 I took it off and the experience was incredible. When people looked at me, they said: “Oh, you have nice skin.” Even the grandmas were naked. The people love life and I found that incredible.

I found a place which taught dance and learnt some paso doble. And in return gave them Afrofusion dance sessions. In Spain, it was incredible to see the passion they put into dance.


What have you learnt from your travels?

It has made me more confident. When I started dancing, I was made to feel not good enough, that my body-type was wrong.

When I started acting, my agent told me I didn’t have the right look, I wouldn’t make it.

Then I lived in Germany and Switzerland for years.

When I started travelling and started seeing women with different body types doing what they loved - the different women who were dancing, who were acting - it made me more confident and more fearless.

It made me appreciate myself and my country more.

If I hadn’t travelled I wouldn’t be the person I am today.


Ideal travelling companion?

My mother. I do like travelling with friends, but my mom is funny.

We laugh every day. And in terms of travelling she’s fun because she isn't judgmental.

When I say I want to do something, even if she doesn’t want to, she says “let’s go, I’ll take your picture”.

I think my mom, being an artist, understands me. We’re in love with the world, having lunch with strangers - we just connect with people.


Beach bum, culture vulture or an adrenalin junkie?

What do you mean “or”? There are moments when you want to do nothing and then there are the moments when you plan an extreme day and go white water rafting in Zimbabwe.

I remember this art fair in Clapham North in south London. People enjoying the sun. That was great.

From there a friend took me to Madame Tussauds and I thoroughly enjoyed exploring it.

I can’t separate the three.


Greatest travel luxury?

I’m not that girl - I don’t need luxury, but if there is something I can’t do without, it’s international roaming. I can’t be out of contact. So, I suppose my SIM card.


Travel reading?

I always read the inflight magazine while flying because it usually gives you good information about where you are travelling to. But, I always take along a book.

My latest, while I was off to Austria to ski, was Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code.

It was fantastic to read a chapter of Conversations with God by Neale Donald Walsch as the sun rose during my travels.

The last time I went to England I read A Purpose Driven Life (Rick Warren).

I also love reading Andre Brink. The last I read was Other Lives: A Novel in Three Parts. He died on a plane. Isn’t that weird?


What place has really seduced you?

Majorca, Spain. I need to go back. There’s more to explore. I was learning a bit of Spanish, I could say: Cafe con leche. I need to go back and learn more.


Worst travel experience?

It think it was when they messed up our flights when we were returning from Germany and I had to stay an extra day, but they didn’t arrange any accommodation.

I think they took advantage because I was young and didn’t know better. There was a language barrier and I just didn’t understand.

It was a mess.

I sat on the hard chairs in the airport and that was not nice. There were other people lying around and it was hectic.


Best hotel?

I’m still a fan of The Palace Hotel, Sun City. I’ve enjoyed many other hotels, but for me this is the one I want to go back to. I can’t get over it. It’s beautiful. The treatment is lovely.


Favourite activity - to walk, swim, ride or drive?

I love to run, to explore the place. For me, when you run you get to know the place and meet the locals. Then you become a regular. There’s a community of runners in the world. We recognise each other’s pain.


Best food?

Paella. When in Spain, paella did it for me. I don’t know how many times I ate it. Every restaurant does it differently.


Favourite city?

I can’t run away from how beautiful Cape Town is. Only this year, I visited Stellenbosch for the first time - I took a drive at sunset to Chapman’s Peak. The rocks, the sea, wow!

That was the first time I'd seen it and I was nearly in tears.


Where to next?

I want to go to Moscow. I’ve always liked the image - maybe because of the movies. I’ve been to so many different places, but I’ve not been to Russia. I want to go to Moscow because of the colours, the coldness. The people look so forbidding. I want to see for myself. There is a flipside because in every country there is a warmth and a beauty and I want to experience that.

But I want to go to New York to experience some naked yoga first.

There are some beautiful spots to do yoga - it has become a global movement. I want to go to yoga retreats in different countries.

That would be an enthralling experience.

Independent Traveller