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

Recap of this past decade

As we approach a new decade I felt I should do a bit of a recap of my past 10years.  So much growth happened and I also got bit by the travel bug. I started this decade as an agency producer then became an animation producer and I’m ending it as an artist manager and founder of Ofentse Management (shameless plug) but yes I have grown in leaps and bounds. I did a bit of  self-searching (not sure if that’s a real phrase) over the years and I have to say travel was actually a huge part of me finding myself. I’m happiest traveling to be honest and I hope the next decade is filled with even more travel (preferably in business class universe *nudge, nudge , wink ,wink).

Ladies and gentlemen I present to you my travels through the years:

2010 London- UK

 

2011 New York – USA

 

2012: Dubai- Dubai

 

2013 New York, Miami, LA- USA

 

 

 

 

2014- 2015 Were clearly a dark time in my life as there was no travel during those two years LOL. Seriously though those were my transition years when I left the 9to5 grind and that’s when the soul searching began. These proved to be very crucial years for me and I’m grateful for the experience and I haven’t looked back since.

2016: Vienna, Graz- Austria

 

 

2017 Inhambane- Mozambique :

2017 Paris – France

 

2018 Mombasa – Kenya

 

And this year I returned to my favourite place in the world to celebrate my sister’s 40th birthday: 2019 PARIS once again

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

SAM_1752

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.

I made it to Mombasa

2000px-Flag_of_Kenya.svg

This past week I took a well deserved break to Mombasa Kenya and here’s how it went. I  didn’t jump at the idea to go initially because you know adulting tends to be a nay-sayer of note; but Johannesburg’s cold winter convinced me to go where it was nice and warm. After I bought my plane ticket I thought that was all the preparation I needed to do because I mean you don’t need a visa to travel to other African countries right.  Kids take note ignorance is not bliss, I was so lax  with my research and I cut it pretty close with vaccinations and medications. Kenya is a yellow fever region therefore you need to get a vaccine and it is advised that this vaccination be done at least 10 days before you leave, but being the *daredevil that I am I got mine 6 days before my trip. *Sidebar I would like to let you know that Google is your friend. After being informed about the need for a vaccination on Saturday night I headed straight to Google to find travel clinics that were open on a Sunday. Lo and behold there was one 2 minutes away from where I live and it was open on Sundays so needless to say I went to bed with a smug “I got this” grin on my face. Woke up the next morning took a walk to the travel clinic and I was told they are out of the yellow fever vaccine and they’d probably get stock sometime during the week *Shock!Horror!Gasp!* I went back to Google and called the other listed clinics with no luck, so I stop calling because I was over hearing no, so I ended up driving to a clinic that Google said is open without even calling ahead. At this point I’m talking to God, the universe and my ancestors simultaneously on some “help a sister out”. I am happy to report that they heard me and I got vaccinated and got my malaria tablets, I was officially clear for take off.

Then things started looking up, the Gautrain station in Sandton let me park my car there for free and on the flight to Nairobi I had a whole row to myself I was literally on cloud nine. When we landed however there was a mess up with my booking and I missed my flight to Mombasa. The airline put me on the next flight( which was 2hours later) with no charge. I was lucky, hella cranky but lucky nonetheless. When I landed at the airport in Mombasa and the first thing I saw was a board with my name on it I knew God,the universe and my ancestors were all looking out for me. It was smooth sailing from then on.

 

 

 

I Love Paris

Ever since I could remember I have been drawn to Paris, but to be honest as time went by I fell in love with the idea of it more than anything else. I avoided going there over the years in fear that it would not live up to the dream, the idea I had created in my head. But since I am in the year of yes I figured oh well Ofentse its time to take Nike’s advice and JUST DO IT and boy am I glad I did.

What I did may have seemed crazy to some… going to a foreign country where you don’t speak the language all by myself. Crazy or not I did it and loved every second of it.I would like to say for the record Paris lived up to my imagination, it was whimsical quirky and cool in other words the city version of me.

I went full blown tourist out there guys as you can see from my happy snaps:

thumb_SAM_1463_1024
Processed with VSCO with hb2 preset                                                      Le Palais Royal

 

Processed with VSCO with hb2 preset                                                                Paris Opera

thumb_SAM_1478_1024                                                                Louvre Museum

 

thumb_SAM_1485_1024thumb_SAM_1487_1024                                                      Tuileries Garden

thumb_SAM_1597_1024                                                            Arc de triomphe

And I fell madly in love with the Eiffel Tower day and night.

thumb_SAM_1564_1024thumb_SAM_1565_1024                                                           Sacré-Cœur

thumb_SAM_1533_1024           The stairs leading to the Sacré-Cœur

Montmartre was a workout for sure with all the stairs and everything being uphill but I did enjoy how busy and vibrant it was.

The streets were lined with artists sketching cheesy tourists like myself.

thumb_SAM_1538_1024thumb_SAM_1540_102420170923_144712

Thank you Paris I will be back again that is for sure.20170924_135956

<a href=”https://www.bloglovin.com/blog/19143175/?claim=p6wm5dapr5x”>Follow my blog with Bloglovin</a>

Through my lens

When I was in varsity this one dude asked me “how are you going to enjoy seeing the world with a camera stuck to your face?” that question always confused me. I love taking pictures everywhere I go, its like freezing a single moment and when you look back at that picture you have that same feeling  over again. I’m happiest when I’m traveling and the pictures remind me of those happy moments and I honestly cannot wait to capture more happy moments. So I hope this answers old boy’s question.

Here are a few of my immortalized memories:

                                                                     DUBAI

NEW YORK

                                                               MIAMI

                                                                         LA

                                                                    VIENNA

                                                                       GRAZ                                           

 

And here’s to many more memories 😉

Mozambique pt4

We spent our last night in Xai Xai which is a few hours away from Tofo (yes another long drive). The drive was both interesting and lovely though, we stopped to take roadside pics outside Inhambane.

Not sure what the occasion here was. (The streets of Inhambane)

20170325_125812Processed with VSCO with kk2 preset                                                           Roadside shots

When we got to Xai-Xai however the weather was not so great it rained 😦 . The weather did not stop the shoppers though we still hit the Xai-Xai market for fabric (this market was less intrusive than Tofo market) . We then checked into the Xai-Xai Eco Estate which is literally on the beach, and spent our last day indoors. These pics were taken the next morning before heading home.

Processed with VSCO with c1 presetProcessed with VSCO with kk2 preset                                            Xai-Xai Eco EstateProcessed with VSCO with kk2 preset                                  The view from the balcony

We stopped for Breakfast in Maputo where the girls did more shopping (yeah this lot can shop ya’ll).

Processed with VSCO with kk2 preset                                                   Cafe Sol in Maputo

All in all the trip was so much fun thanks to Omphe,Bathabile,Zandi,Ntokozo,Siviwe,Kefilwe, Prudence,Phaka and Singatha. I highly recommend the Zulu Nomad crew guy but be prepared for the long drives, you have been warned.

Processed with VSCO with kk1 preset                         No idea what Omphe and I were saying in this shot

Processed with VSCO with kk2 preset                                      Singatha and the girls