Enjoying the Maldives.

Actress and Mela SABC3 presenter Carishma Basday is a travel junkie of note. She shares some of her memories with us.

First holiday memory?

Growing up my parents were obsessed with Umhlanga Rocks. An easy hour and a half drive from where we lived on the South Coast it was the perfect getaway spot. Umhlanga had an incredible tranquility about it, an almost European style village vibe with not a lot to do beside lounge by the pool with a book or frolic in the waves all day taking intermittent breaks to build sandcastles and eat ice cream.  

Enjoying the Maldives.

Favourite place in SA?

I love so many places in SA! I love the Transkei for its raw untouched beauty. The Cederberg, something about the mountains and the rocks and the amazing stars out there. The cherry on the cake is that my husband proposed to me there. I also adore Hogsback.

Best holiday?

How can I possibly choose. I would have to say traveling through India for a month with my man. It was after I had spent a month in Goa doing my 200 hour yoga teacher training, he joined me a few days before it ended and we embarked on an epic trip to some of my favourite places in India. It was jam packed with adventure, train rides, crazy interactions with travellers and locals, walking miles and miles to find specific landmarks, getting lost in the desert close to the Pakistani border, magical rooftop dinners in Jaisalmer, getting unbelievably sick in Varanasi, finding ourselves in the midst of the biggest Buddhist conference in Bodhgaya, hiking to secret waterfalls, finding the most magical off the beaten path places to eat and then meeting up with my parents and brother in Mumbai and the end for a few days of luxury and indulgence before we headed home.

What have you learnt from your travels?

Travel really is the only thing you can buy that will make you richer. Travelling has taught me so much about myself. Its taught me what I really want from life and more importantly to own that and be ok with it. It’s freed me from the need to fit in and encouraged me to stand out and be uniquely me. It’s taught me that curiosity will lead you to magic. Most of all it has taught me to be grateful.  

At Myrthos Beach in Greece.

Ideal travelling companion?

My husband for sure. We have the best time together. He knows me really well, knows when he can push me to step out of my comfort zone and when I just need time to rest and rejuvenate. We have incredible conversations and just really enjoy each other company.

Beach bum, culture vulture or adrenaline junkie?

I have to say all three in equal amounts!

Greatest travel luxury?

Well I’m a huge foodie so I think our biggest luxury is really good food which isn’t always cheap abroad. We don’t hold back when it comes to trying food and often splurge on dinners and treats.

In Montmartre.

Holiday reading?

I always end up loading a bunch of books on my e-reader but I’m such a busy body when travelling that I never really end up doing that much reading. But I do enjoy reading fiction and nonfiction about the place that we are in. I often start reading about the place weeks before we get there.

Where has seduced you?

Paris. I never in a million years thought I would love Paris as I hate conventional things and always opt for off the beaten path instead. But then I married a Frenchman. Before we got married we spent a month in France and I absolutely fell in love with Paris. I have been back 4 times and I just keep falling deeper and deeper. We always stay in an apartment in my favourite arrondissement, Montmartre.

Best hotel?

We don’t usually do hotels, as we prefer living like the locals in apartments. But the Lux Diva resort in the Maldives was just dreamlike, the Taj in Mumbai is top notch for service and elegance, and the Kumarakom Lake Resort in Kerala is just beautiful.

Favourite walk, swim, ride or drive?

Walk – hiking up 3,740 m to the top of Mount Niyragongo to sleep next to the largest lava lake in the world and hiking in the dense jungle in the DRC to spend time with the gorillas.

Swim – with whale sharks in the Maldives, free diving in Bali, and in the Mediterranean Sea around Greece.

Ride – Travelling across India by train.  

Drive – De Vaal drive in Cape Town at night, Garden route, driving from LA to San Francisco.

On the rooftops of Jaisalmer.

Best meal abroad?

Everything we ate in Italy! We literally ate our way through the country for 3 weeks and it was glorious. The best was a cooking class that we randomly came across one night as we were walking home in Florence. I booked a course for the next day, which started at the main food market in town, after we gathered and learnt about or ingredients we were off to the kitchen to cook up a storm, which included three types of pasta and tiramisu, accompanied by copious amounts of good Italian wine.

Favourite city?

Cape Town is my favourite city and I’m lucky enough to call it home. Other than that it would be Paris, Mumbai, Rishikesh, Chicago.

Where to next?

Part of my 30th birthday present from my husband was a trip to the Philippines. We have just been so busy that we haven’t found the time to get way yet but I think it's on the cards for September and I cannot wait.