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

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