world traveller: Actor Craig Urbani

Cape Town - Craig Urbani is an award-winning television and stage actor.


First holiday memory?

Ballito, Natal, with my family. I love the beach and the sea, so I remember it fondly. We arrived at the apartment and I went for a walk on the beach with my Walkman and pretended I was in the 80s band Duran Duran and shooting a music video. Sad, I know.


Favourite place in SA?

The beach.


Best holiday?

I was travelling with a show that wasn’t too demanding which meant that I didn’t need a huge amount of rest. In the space of three weeks, I had visited Sydney in Australia, Auckland in New Zealand and Singapore before flying back to London! I felt like I was on a world tour.


What have you learnt from your travels?

The world is a beautiful and wonderful place with so many diverse cultures, principles and beliefs. It helps put things in perspective. Our little lives become all consuming, but when you see how many people there are in the world and how many different nationalities there are all with their own problems, wonders and hardships, it helps you to breathe easier and be thankful. It’s a great leveller.


Ideal travelling companion?

My lip ice, dry lips make me crazy.


Greatest travel luxury?

I did a tour of Denmark in the late 90s. We were put up in the most remarkably beautiful hotel, all 5-star and treated like royalty. It was somewhat unsettling but very luxurious.


Holiday reading?

I spent way too much time as a youngster travelling to stunning places and seeing little more than my hotel and the food and drink spots within a mile radius. So now my favourite reading is as much as I can find on the destination. I like to learn about the history and visit as many spots in the country as possible, from temples and churches and museums to nightspots and clubs.


Where has seduced you?

Mauritius. Need I say more?


Worst travel experience?

I was forced to leave London to return to South Africa because of a work permit problem, so I was escorted on to the plane by two military policemen. The passengers thought I was some kind of criminal being forced to leave the UK. In their eyes, I guess I was.


Best hotel?

The Dhara Dhevi in Chiang Mai. They have achieved the perfect balance of plush, yet homely. The service was amazing. It’s situated in the heart of all the activity but offers complete tranquillity and isolation with its triple-glazed windows which help you drift into a bubble of perfect isolation.


Favourite walk, swim, ride or drive?

Bondi Beach in Sydney along the winding seafront. Favourite swim was at the Mariner Beach, South Coast of KwaZulu-Natal. It was overcast and drizzling. The sea was about 22ºC. Beautiful. What can beat horseback riding in the Drakensberg? It felt like The Man from Snowy River. I nearly died a few times but had fun. My favourite drive is along the Cape Town Coast for obvious scenic reasons.


Best meal abroad?

In Mauritius they sell these pineapples on the side of the road which they shake up in a plastic bag with an extremely spicy, but sweet sauce. It is the most delicious thing in the world. I’ve tried to get the combination right on many occasions, but with no joy. Other than that, sushi is always a winner.


Favourite city?

Hong Kong, because you just feel like you’re in a movie.


Where next?

Disney in Florida. I have a daughter who is turning nine and has never forgotten a promise I made.

Weekend Argus