Throwback

Honestly speaking 2020 did not go according to plan at all, I started the year making travel plans and even plotting/planning all the great content I planned to post on here. Cut to a few months into friggin 2020 and the world is struck by a pandemic which brings the world to a standstill leaving little old me to have to cancel my travel plans and I’m left spending the following few weeks chasing refunds for plane tickets, concert tickets and accommodation. I’ve since  found solace in pictures from past travels they remind me of happier times. Here is a throwback post of my feature in glamafrica.com a couple of years ago.

 

Sidebar: I really can’t wait till outside opens up again.

Guluvaz Travel

Welcome to another edition of black girls’ travel brought to you by the lockdown. Meet Thenjiwe Mabope another insta find.

Introduce yourself, who are you and what do you do?

Hi! I’m Thenji. I have a travel insta page turned YouTube called Guluvaz Travel and I’m a 30 year old marketing exec from Johannesburg

Is your blog name inspired by Gulliver’s travels with a kasi twist?
The name as you can tell is a play on Gulliver’s Travels which I was enthralled with as a child. Anything that had the promise of adventure and new and faraway lands was always my jam. 
Tell us where you’ve been around the world?
I have been fortunate enough to have gone to 24 countries so far.
What was your favourite destination?
So far with my favourites being probably Italy, Ghana, Mozambique and Holland. It’s always difficult to choose just one destination as a favourite because every place is so different and has a context on how I was feeling or what I connected to at the time. I love Mozambique because of the food and peacefulness, I love Italy because I’m an epicurean and loved the cheese and wine in Tuscany; I love Ghana because the men there are so fine and ambitious; I love Holland because it’s vibrant cool kid epicentre. Every new place I go to has the potential to be the new favourite!
When did the travel bug bite?
 
I fell in love with travel before I ever saw the inside of the airport or even knew how it would be possible to get to faraway places. I used to watch Top Billing as a little girl and imagined myself as Ursula walking the streets of Paris. I used to jump over tables and pretend I was Sydney Fox on adventures in Relic Hunter. Relic Hunter was a show about an explorer who solved mysteries around the world. Or imagine myself as Lemuel Gulliver himself. I travelled through these characters using it to escape deep into my imagination where I’d create weird and wonderful worlds where anything was possible. Then that manifested into becoming this woman who is curious about the world around her and spends all her money travel. It’s become my passion, some women like bags and clothes or painting or beauty, mine is getting on a plane to find new and interesting experiences.
Which do you prefer travel agents or to do it yourself?
 
Booking your own travel can be daunting especially if you have never done it before so I always suggest first timers lean on travel agencies. I always suggest using travel agencies that allow you to pay through lay-bys and give discounts for people under 30 like STATravel, Flight Centre etc. to get value for money deals then once you feel comfortable with travelling you can start looking into booking your own travel. The trick also when making your own bookings is to ask tons questions, ask people how have gone to the destination before you, cross reference on travel sites and compare prices and read reviews. It’s lots of effort but it’s worth it because you get to know exactly what you’re paying for and what to expect when you get there. 
What are your favourite travel apps?
My go-to travel apps are Skyscanner so I can find the cheapest flights. Google Maps because it gives you local mode of transport and walking directions whichever country I’m in. Agoda so I can compare accommodation types and prices on one platform. And also  good old Excel because this is what I use to plan my trips so I know what I can afford and what I can’t before hand. 
We love your travel on a budget tips, what inspired this?
I have a few of tips on how to travel on a budget decided to share on YouTube. Go to my page to get tips for either first time travel or hacks and you might learn something new that will get you a step closer to that trip you’ve always wanted to take. Often because of a lack of exposure people believe travel is unattainable because we’re constantly bombarded by the nouveau riche social media glitzy influencers who only seem to show business class boarding passes and champagne glasses, that’s not all that travel is about. I have travelled more than most with the means that I have because I go out of my way to find the most affordable way of getting to where I want to be and I want others to know that they can too. Travel is for everyone and if I can share tips on how to do it within your budget then I’ve done a something good for the day. 
What do you never travel without?
I never travel without my earphones and face masks. I am a solo traveller meaning there can be a lot of time to kill on the plane or waiting on layovers so my earphones ensure I always have music to keep my company. The face masks a life line because flying is brutally dehydrating for my skin so I make sure that I put on hydrating masks to replenish the hours of air-con so I at least still look cute when I land. 
Money is no object, where in the world would you go?
 
Money is no object you would find me in the Caribbean Island hopping making my way from Trinidad through Dominica all the way to Jamaica through all the islands in that channel by boat.
Where can people find you on social media?
You can find me on Instagram: @Guluvaz_travels, Youtube: Guluvaz Travels. Email: Guluvaztravels@gmail.com

Introducing : Zulu Nomad

I would like to introduce you to Phaka Hlazo founder of Zulu Nomad which is a travel service I used in 2017 to go explore Mozambique. Without further ado here is more in her own words.

Please introduce yourself to our readers

My name is Phakamile uMaDludla Hlazo, I am the founder of Zulu Nomad, a wife and mom, and a consultant in the tourism industry.

What is Zulu Nomad and how did it come about?

Zulu Nomad started off as my own Instagram page, I was a few months into my life in Shanghai and was having such a great time I figured I would stay there for 3 years, then move to South America somewhere and thereafter move to West Africa. Altogether I’d be away from home for 9 years, I was going to be “the zulu nomad”, I then started the Instagram page to document my travels. As life would have it, I never made it to South America, after 3 years in China I wanted to come home and reconnect. I had still kept the Instagram page and for my 30th birthday I took a month-long Euro-trip (I did Athens, Santorini, Warsaw, Madrid, Barcelona, and Ibiza, mostly on my own and meeting up with friends here and there) that gained a lot of attention from people wanting to know how I had planned the trip, how I afforded to travel so much etc. I had an amazing time on that trip, but I also realised how many people had never considered that they could have the types of experiences I was sharing, right at home, or in our neighbouring countries. In 2009, 4 of us decided to drive from Johannesburg to Malawi, via Zimbabwe and Mozambique, that experience absolutely changed my life and I wanted other young South Africans to know that they don’t have to go to Europe to “travel”.

Today, Zulu Nomad is a digital tourism services startup whose solutions are underpinned by over 3 years of operational experience as an overland and domestic tour operator. Covid-19 impacted our business as we were due to launch our experiences marketplace, connecting travellers to providers of authentic, immersive experiences in South Africa at the Berlin Travel Festival in March. We recovered quickly and turned our focus to how we could best support the most vulnerable entrepreneurs in tourism (tour guides, fellow tour operators, and hosts in various communities) to best use this time during lockdown to get the 2.0 versions of their businesses ready for when leisure travel is allowed again. We have developed the Digitial Skills and 4IR Masterclass, practical business training,developed  specifically for this target group, and available conveniently online.

How long has Zulu Nomad been around?

 

 

Zulu Nomad was registered in January 2016 and we hosted our first group experience to Xai-Xai in Mozambique in March that year.

Do you have a target market? If so who is your target market?

 

We develop digital solutions for challenges faced by stakeholders throughout the tourism value chain – Destination Management Companies (DMCs), tour operators, tour guides, retail and cultural experiences providers as well as travelers themselves.

Below responses are in relation to the Zulu Nomad Marketplace :

Can people outside of South Africa use your services?

Yes, domestic, regional as well as international travelers will be able to book experiences on the platform.

Where are your trip destinations?

In line with our expectations of Covid-19 on the tourism industry, we will focus on domestic experiences on the platform with additional destinations outside of South Africa to be introduced in due course.

What packages do you offer?

Travelers will be able to book wellness, adventure, food and cultural experiences on the Zulu Nomad marketplace.

 

 

How do people get hold of you?

They can email us on hello@zulunomad.com or follow us on Instagram and facebook @zulu_nomad

 

 

 

Travel Spotlight: Rethabile Ramaphakela

Since COVID19 has put a halt on my travel plans for a bit I thought I should put a spotlight on some of my favourite travel content creators, starting with Rethabile Ramaphakela.

Tell us who you are and what you do?

I’m Rethabile Ramaphakela. Best known as @Retini on the social medias. I’m a producer, writer and director who was a former kids presenter and one of the Ventertainment voice artists

We love your travel content, tell us the places you’ve been around the world

Travelling is like my side hustle. I try to do at least two trips a year with the major trip being in April – my birthday month. I also have started visiting places that are a bit ‘off the traveling grid’. I tend to hate doing first world countries because they seem to lack something when it comes to interacting with locals, for me, travelling is also about the locals. I’m interested in how other people live so meeting people plays a huge role in making a place memorable. I have been to the “usual” places like France, USA (New York, Miami and LA), UK, Hungary (not so usual), Netherlands, Switzerland and Germany.

But I have absolutely loved being in Tanzania, Mauritius, Jamaica, Cuba, Mexico, Maldives, Indonesia, Iceland, Morocco, Namibia, Croatia and Sri Lanka

What was your favourite destination?

This is so hard to answer, because every place holds a very special place in my heart but if I absolutely had to choose, I would say Bali. I have been there twice. Once in a big group and then on my own and even after these travels, I would still go there again. There is still so much I haven’t seen. It has a bit of everything and is really the epitome of holiday destination. (I know everyone goes there now but it’s really that good.

 

Do you use travel agents or are you a DIY traveller using apps?

I love putting an itinerary together, it’s literally one of my absolute favourite things to do.

What are your go-to travel apps?

Mostly Skyscanner (for flights) and Airbnb and Booking.com. I don’t like to stay in hotels when traveling. I like the idea of coming back to your own home where you can cook and drink.

When did the travel bug bite?

The first time I went overseas was in 2007 and it was for work. The producer on the trip actually said, “after this, all you will want to do was travel.” During that trip I went to New York City and I absolutely fell in love. The bug got me so bad, I went to live in New York for about 3 months in 2010.

Do you have any hints and tips for solo travellers or first time travellers?

Solo travelling can seem daunting but you just have to do it. I did my first solo travel because a lot of my friends couldn’t make the trip for various reasons. I had two options, either wait or go anyway. I decided to go because ultimately you can’t wait for people when you want to do what you want.

But obviously make sure you make sure you have things planned that force you to interact with people. So when solo travelling I always book a hotel instead of an Airbnb, because the hotel staff became your allies and are very helpful (and they are great for taking pictures). The best is that Airbnb now has experiences that you can do, this is a great way to interact with people whilst experiencing the new place. I highly recommend Airbnb Experiences.

Trust yourself. The world is not as scary as we think it is. I had many preconceived ideas about Morocco before I went and my solo trip there is probably one of my most memorable trips.

What do you never travel without?

I’m not precious about anything but one thing I always ask myself is, “do I have my wallet and do I have my passport?” The rest will sort itself out.

Money is no object, where in the world would you go?

Bora Bora. I love me a good ol’ island destination. I want to visit all of the beaches

To see more of Rethabile’s travel follow her on all her social media as @Retini and her hashtag #RetiniTravels

French 40 : What we got up to in Paris

I’m posting twice in one week because well I haven’t posted anything in a while, my bad. Anyway as the title says my sister turned 40 and here’s what we got up to in Paris, you know touristy things for me and shopping for everyone else. Amongst the touristy antics we got up to; we trekked up and down all 284 stairs of the Arc de Triomphe so I could get my perfect shot of Paris.

   Trust I took a break walking up these stairs

     My perfect shot of Paris from the Arc de Triomphe(I finally got it. YAY!!!)

I didn’t take many pictures of the crew shopping so instead I will gladly share more happy-clappy- touristy shots.

Eiffel Tour

 

Louvre

 

Crepe break

 

Arc de Triomphe

Jardins du Château de Versailles AKA Garden of Versailles

FRENCH 40

So my sister turned 40 this year and she choose to spend it in my favourite place in the world…..Grand PARIS. So you know I was down. My first time in Paris was a solo trip so I was super excited to going back with some of my faves you know the Fam-bam.

Paris weather was a bit stank this time around but don’t get it twisted the magic is there regardless.

Processed with VSCO with nc preset  By now ya’ll know I hate flying so I try to be as comfortable as possible (which I never am) *sidebar my brother said I looked like an anime character

IMG-20190926-WA0001                                              Touchdown in Paris

So once again we waited and waited and waited for the shuttle to the hotel so here’s a quick tip just take a cab or maybe try another shuttle company because Paris Shuttle was No Bueno.

Anyway back to the regular programming celebrating 40 in Paris, we checked in to our hotel, showered and hit the Champs-Elysees for supper and touristy things like navigating our metro line. The next day was my sister’s birthday so we explored the neighbourhood, lunch at Ralph’s in Paris and then we hit up BadaBoum to go check out Muzi perform.Processed with VSCO with kk1 preset

Looking fabulous at 40 and strutting her stuff on the streets of Paris

Muzi on stage at BadaBoum

Mombasa the Rundown

Since posting about my Mombasa trip I’ve been getting a bunch of questions from people so I figure I should use this post to address their queries.

Can you fly directly to Mombasa from SA? At the moment no airlines fly directly to Mombasa, I had to connect from Nairobi.

Where did you stay? We stayed at the Behari beach hotel which was quite pleasant and had friendly staff.

What can we do there? Ours was a short trip but here are some of the things you can do while you are there.

1. Also my favourite lay in the sun

2.Go on boat rides and swim in the ocean

3. Go shopping at the markets

4. For the adventurous types windsurfing and kite surfing

 

5. Go site seeing

6. Or enjoying some cocktails by the water

Would I recommend this trip to other people? YES over and over and over again, Mombasa is beautiful and the people are friendly.

 

 

5 Days Of Summer: Part 4

We also checked out the local markets, or the Markiti as it is called. The first market day was really just us looking around and getting our bearings (yes we shopped obviously). The second market day was us trying to find the Masai market which was kinda sabotaged by the rain , the vendors couldn’t set up their stalls properly. Then we checked out the spice market which is more of a food market as it has more than just spices.

Pick a ride

Hitting the town

 

The markiti was definitely bustling

 

 

Market day 2 Masai market and the spice market

Processed with VSCO with a5 preset      Our choice of transport came with an umbrella-ella-ella eh

The rain wouldn’t let the Masai market be great as you can see, but Jabu’s dress did add the pretty to the shots.

So we headed to the spice market

 

5 Days Of Summer: Part 3

Lets take it back to the beach

What is a holiday at the coast without spending time at the beach. Let me just say Bahari beach is a beautiful and eventful beach. You have everything from vendors selling fabric, paintings and wood carvings, then you have people offering camel rides. Everyone is trying to make a buck I was offered a massage and one dude tried to charge us for a tour of the beach he was like ” There are people selling paintings there, the water is over there…” people are such chancers.

      The tide is high in the morning so you see no sand for while so the morning started up here and we worked our way down the stairs to explore some more.

Checking on the tide

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Chillin’ like a villian

Tide’s low lets go

Camel rides at the beach

SAM_2002

Local bar

Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset

It started to rain on our walk back to the hotel

It started to rain as we walked back to our hotel, and it stopped when we reached the pool so we chilled some more.SAM_1977

I honestly could get used to life at the beach.

5 Days of Summer: Mombasa Part 2

Day 2 was a more traditional tourist day and we checked out Fort Jesus, walked through Old Town and saw the Mombasa Tusks.

Fort Jesus is one of Mombasa’s tourist attractions. It was built by the Portuguese in 1593 to protect their sailing route back to Portugal. The Portuguese regarded themselves as representatives of christianity hence the name Fort Jesus. There is a constant stream of people coming in to see Fort Jesus both international tourists and locals (the cover charge is cheaper for Kenyans).

Walking through Old Town the buildings are beautiful but hella neglected, the different textures make for great backdrops though for our selfies and cheesy tourist shots, so we obliged.

Because it was a Sunday the street was not busy I managed to get the shot of the Mombasa Tusks uninterrupted.