It’s all I’ve been thinking about, escaping my reality one last time before something gets in my way once again. I’m pretty certain that things will gradually ease back to how they used to be pre-COVID, but perhaps slightly different in the same breath. However, I see this as an opportunity for me to explore some areas I have never touched, especially locally. Throughout the years I have been seeing posts from shot’ left or Tourism South Africa, and I’ve been internally telling myself that South Africa is so damn beautiful and there is so much to explore. Apart from all my life’s limitations in the past like school, then work, friends who want to travel but don’t make it a priority, my pocket with a beyond shocking poor budget, I’ve always had a mindset for adventurous escapades. Exploring and good old fun times without that involvement of too much technology are the kinds of experiences I’m always after.
I’ve always sought to be a person or traveler that could be able to share with the rest of the world about how beautiful, versatile, and amazing South Africa is. But funny enough, as soon as an opportunity arises to travel, we all almost instantly aim to venture abroad and see what the world has in store for us, actually never thought about the fact that we barely even know our own continent never mind our own country all that too well. Hence, I thought the post COVID experience may produce an opportunity to explore more local places as regulations to travel abroad slowly ease, and I am secure about the fact that I will be safe from the coronavirus.
So here are some ideas that I think are worth considering once we reach level 1 and we are free and safe to travel across the country and to neighbouring states.
- Support Local
Road tripping with your girls is a definite hit and is at the top of our list. A slow and long 3 to 4-day road trip to these following places is a total must:
• Tsitsikama National Park
• Apartheid Museum
• Cradle of Humankind
• Kruger National Park
• Sun City
• Blyde River Canyon
• Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens
• Lion’s Head
• Table Mountain
• The Garden Route
• Isimangaliso Wetland
• The Big Hole
• Gold Reef City
• Robben Island
South Africa is also home for one of the world’s greatest Game Reserves. These are best to visit while the economy is slow and international travel is still prohibited. Prices, which usually are set to accommodate international travelers, are likely to be cheaper to accommodate South Africans before the tourism industry soars again.
- Visit Neighbouring countries, these include Lesotho, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Namibia, and Swaziland.
There is so much to experience, explore, and engage within these countries that are also friendly on the pocket. The rand is the stronger currency except for the Pula in Botswana, so expect cheaper expenses and a lot more to do!
• Lesotho – for the culture, the Afriski Mountain Resort, Maletsunyane Falls, the mountain hikes. Possibly even skiing.
• Namibia – for driving of the sand dunes, exploring and learning about the Himba people and exploring the Kalahari Desert.
• Zimbabwe – for the Victoria Falls, the Devils Pool, the Hwange National Park, and Great Zimbabwe.
• Botswana – the Okavango Delta, Nxai Pan National Park, and the Tsodilo Hills.
• Swaziland – Sibebe Rock, Cultural Village, Swazi Reed Dance, Maganu Festival, Bushfire Festival, Ngwenya Glass Factory.
3. Going International. There are several economies across the globe that are heavily dependent on their travel industry. The idea here is spotting these economies and using the pandemic as an advantage for taking advantage of the fact there are a few of these economies who have stated that they will be giving discount travel costs once the travel regulations have been eased for international visitors. Some of these economies will be the first to drop their prices for flight costs, accommodation, and monumental and historical sites. Some tourist-friendly destinations that are looking forward to this include:
There is still so much more to look forward to once the coronavirus pandemic has lessened in the number of new infections globally and most economies become safe tourist destinations. In the meantime, one can work on their travel savings and bringing together a group of committed individuals to join in on the affordable fun times that await!
The days of waiting for all your girls to jump on board and planning a girl’s trip somewhere are not necessarily long gone, but they are not the only alternative for you to book your flight ticket and bounce somewhere. If you are not like how some people are, who specifically enjoy traveling solo, you might find this rather difficult to do. Because let’s admit it, sharing your memories with someone else just makes the traveling expedition even that much more meaningful. I’ve always been a solo traveler, not necessarily out of choice, but because of circumstances. But I never did let that hold me back from exploring a world filled with adventures. Sure, I’d make friends along the line, and sure I would create life-altering memories, right?
Right. But venturing into a world that is immeasurable and vast with people from all walks of life can be scary, like not a tad bit scary, more like terrifying. The media does not assist this perception in any way, if anything it exaggerates and plays on one’s fear to an extent that you might just find comfort within your own borders. It’s much safer that way I’m sure.
But in case you find yourself in a position to rise above all of your fears and you are up in arms ready for the world to reveal itself to you, and you have a destination in mind, this article is for you. It aims to give you some insightful tips on traveling the world on your own, no matter the location. It’s to ensure that you take all the right precautions and that you have one hell of a good time!
Some tips when traveling solo:
- Find a well-trusted traveling agency: my particular favorite is Flight Centre. They have amazing packages that are filled with insightful information and the prices are not too bad. Of course, if you are a first-time traveler, you may want to look into a group traveling. Most of the people you will meet will probably be other solo travelers or couples or friends. This is a safe option to take as you will meet people and you will feel secure knowing that you have a tour guide and other fellow travelers on the same mission as you are. If perhaps the destination you want to travel to does not have group travel packages, it is no train smash. Just make sure to book yourself in as many tours as possible.
Your travel agency may make or break your trip. Be well informed about the packages that they include and what they exclude and build your itinerary from there.
- Sort out all of your necessary paperwork: Be sure to handle the VISA from as soonest as possible. This can be a headache; a lot of back and forth. So the sooner you deal with it the better. Check out the consulate and the required documents to travel to your destination, prepare all of that, and make an appointment. Most consulates deal with appointments online. This is a hassle-free approach. Be on time. It’s imperative. Print all of your tickets and have another copy on your phone. Tickets of tours and travel documents.
- Download some map apps: there are several known GPS apps that you can download apart from Google Maps. These apps are awesome in the sense that you can use them even if you are offline. My favorites are maps.me and citymapper. Some cities even have entire apps dedicated for offline maps and guides. Just ensure to download your next map before you head there, especially if you will be out and about most of the time.
- Keep to the time: Now I have a proven track record of never keeping to time, I’m trying to work on this, but it keeps catching up to me. The first time I traveled to Europe I was also solo traveling. My tour would begin in London and we would immediately head to Paris. The meeting place was London, however, I arrived a few days before. On the last night of my stay there, I went out to watch the Lion King performance; which was stupendous by the way. Heading out on my way to catch the train back to my hotel, I thought to myself that I had been there for a couple of days and haven’t necessarily mingled or met any new people except for Jimbo, some old man who was probably in his mid-70s at some local pub close to my hotel. But I wanted to dance or have an interesting conversation just to hear that famous British accent one last time. So I caught the bus instead and asked the driver to drop me off at a place where there were numerous black people. Needless to say, I got to my hotel the next morning pretty sure that our meeting time to head to Paris was at lunchtime. It turned out to be at 10 am rather and I was just about to close my eyes. Of course, they left me, and I missed the ferry ride to Paris. Apparently, the tour guide was like he has been to South Africa before and actually understands what the term “now now’ means… now but not now but now. However, it turned out that it worked out for the best and I actually got to travel in the ocean, which was beyond amazing. But the moral of the story is to look at the time, study your meeting and traveling times, understand the different time zones, and stick to the time. Otherwise, it is a rather costly expense.
- Acquaint yourself with people: yes, having your girls or your partner with you may be simpler in the sense that the is already someone on the trip who has your back and who could take amazing solo pictures of you, but since that is not the case the next best option is making friends on your trip. There will be many like you waiting to meet people like yourself. So don’t shy away. This could save you a lot and could change your entire experience. I mean what greater way is there to make friends from across the globe. Till today I can say I’ve made friends in most parts of the world including Australia, Mexico, Russia, Mexico, India, Nigeria, New Zealand USA, Austria, etc. you can never know enough people, and how amazing is it to have connection all over.
- Lastly, don’t be afraid to explore: you may have a set itinerary but it doesn’t mean that you can’t explore further beyond that. Pretend as if you were a local, visit the local markets, head to the mall, eat alone sometimes, take tours that were not part of your program, if your pocket allows. Walk the streets if you need to. Become one with the place, and you’ll have so much more knowledge and experience to share with people when you safely return home.
Follow this 6-step guide and you will be all set for a solo traveling adventure that you will never forget!
Since the lockdown is taking place that doesn’t mean you can’t plan your next holiday destination. Plus, the great thing about this destination is, its local. We don’t know how the economy will look after this shutdown, therefore, it’s important to support local tourism …why not do a tour hunt by travelling to one of the most beautiful, peaceful yet adventurous places inside South Africa without even worrying about your budget.
Speaking about 2020, I am pretty much sure that one of your new year resolution as a Girlboss was to most probably spend the money you work hard for wisely, so investing in travelling happens to be as good as investing in yourself. In my opinion… it’s not really about how ‘’top class’’ or as they say nowadays ‘’boujee’’ the place is, it’s about the wanderlust, curiosity BUT most importantly, the experience and memories that we create on that journey.
LOCAL IS LEKKER
Yea, yea, ‘’there is no place like home’’, well that is true but what if we actually thought of living life like someone left the gate opened? Living without the boundaries that fear has put around us and just living life with an inquisitive and open mind.
Gates happen to be a boundary between what ‘’could’’ be on the other side and therefore doesn’t only keep others locked out, but us locked in. Changing and opening our hearts when it comes to discovering new points of life is also living life to the fullest. To new experiences, adventures AND memories to be a startup as we enter this new decade.
As people, we are different and most definitely have different opinions when I comes to certain things like holiday destinations
BUT I would suggest that you put visiting the place where the sun rises, Mpumalanga in your bucket list. The reason I say this is because Mpumalanga happens to be one of those ‘’Undercover’’ provinces that most people relate to because they have’’ heard’’ about it but don’t know much when it comes to its beautiful and fresh breeze of nature that surrounds it. Situated in the Drakensburg escarpment in Mpumalanga is God’s window. With breath taking views, rock formations and waterfalls, Gods window happens to be a place worth travelling to. Just more reasons besides the hospitality of its people why Mpumalanga happens to be our paradise province.
Just in case you were worried about capturing the moments’ for the gram’, just keep in mind that the fact that the view from Gods window has galvanized and inspired a lot of painters and photographers from around the world, says a lot about the place and its views and should give you a little bit more excitement when it comes to visiting the nature reserve. Apart from this holiday destination being as exotic and wonderful as I have mentioned, one can LITERALLY see and observe the mountains and forests as far as they eye can see, basically it’s like looking at an infinity landscape, I know right. Their website also provides information about how viewing sites are provided along the length of the spectacular Blyde River Canyon including God’s window but for the best information about bookings, costs and other stuff, I do suggest you get your surfboard ready to surf on the Trip advisor internet website as they have the best information that would be suitable with the planning of your trip. There are also other fun activities you can try out such as hiking, taking walks, mountain and bike trails. For the best experience on an adventure trip as you are visiting God’s window, always try to do as the quotes always advise us, ‘’Get lost in the right direction in order to find yourself’’. What I’m trying to say is that when you are at a place like this, always make it a point to hike up into the clouds and the misty rainforest in order to have the most wonderful moment in your life. Just don’t get lost.
THINGS TO DO IN BLYDE RIVER CANYON
Other Blyde River Canyon activities include angling, boating, tours and trails. Blyde River Canyon activities on the Panorama Route include hiking, horse riding, white water rafting and kloofing. Visitors can also enjoy hot-air ballooning, fly-fishing, biking, tours and boat trips on the Blyde Dam.
Baby girl are you saving right? Are you able to travel every once in a while? Are you able to enjoy December with no stress? Are you able to send your family that large sum of cash when they ask for your financial assistance? If you were financially comfortable in 2019, big ups to you and keep up the good work. However, if 2019 wasn’t your best year when it came to saving, it’s okay, we are in a new year and a new decade. There are plenty of opportunities and ways to get it right. But this obviously means that it’s time to try something different. Here are a few tips on how to save and stay out of debt. We all have our strengths and weaknesses, and saving is not a common strength among people, especially when we are in our youth and prime and constantly in a state of desire to live our best lives. But, nothing great comes without compromising, and this is rather a great challenge towards obtaining financial freedom, breaking a few negatives in our lives. So, let’s do this together!
It is imperative that we get rid of old debt and stay away from creating new ones. So inevitably, it would be required of you to plan on how you’ll be settling that clothing account, fees account, cellphone bill, furniture account etc. The unfortunate thing about these accounts is the interest, that is forever mounting up, making it seem almost impossible to settle. Some companies charge an interest fee of up to 20.50%, imagine how crazy that sounds, but this is the reality that some people are currently facing. So, depending on your salary you can start slow by paying as little as R100, every small amount makes a difference, however, if you have a great salary, make it your mission to pay off as much as you can e.g. R500 or R1000. No amount of debt, no matter how little it may be, will result in a stress-free life. By settling your debt, at least you will be able to concentrate on more important things.
How you can save
- Get your coins sis!!! Yes, literally, save every single coin you have in your wallet or lying around. All those R1s, R2s and R5s can make the greatest difference. A suggestion is purchasing a large jar or an empty 2l Cold drink bottle and cut out a slot. You’ll slowly start depositing that into the jar. Do that the whole year. But be disciplined enough never to take out from that jar, no matter the circumstance.
- You can also save by doing the ‘52-Week Challenge’. Yes, we are approaching February already; however, you can cover up for January by adding an extra R100. You’ll see the table below which gives you a breakdown on how it’s done. By the end of the year, it you are consistent’ you could’ve saved up to R13 880, that sounds like a trip to Zanzibar.
- Another way of saving is to come up with a set plan. Say for example, you can set a certain amount for every month and commit to putting that money into a savings or a 32-Day Notice account – depending on which bank you bank with. This will require discipline for that day when you don’t have money or when you are craving Mc Donald’s, girl don’t do it, please don’t hurt yourself, the reward is far greater. Slipping up may result in the worst ripple effect. Rather opt for the 32-day notice account, this type of account is basically a ‘safe’ and if you need to take out ‘emergency cash’ you will need to pay a penalty.
Cut down on unnecessary groceries and expenses e.g. buying tons and tons of snacks and going out often can be very expensive. Junk food and eating out should only be bought when one has extra cash that has been budgeted for. It will be wise to concentrate on necessities. The small changes will make a huge difference in the long run.
On the 8thof January I was presented with the opportunity to travel to Ponta Do Ouro, Mozambique. I have travelled quite extensively across Europe and in some Arab nations but not so much within the African borders. I won’t count Swaziland simply because that is considered my second home, and is where my parents grew up, so whenever I’m there it’s never really considered a holiday. So travelling to Mozambique was the first and has always been a dream of mine. Already, I’m crazy about the Portuguese language but I’m a sucker for beach vibes and adventures. This was a young girl’s trip, which was necessary for the start of the year. We were actually celebrating my mother’s birthday and it just turned to be one of my best excursions by far. The trip commenced from the 8thof January, which was a Wednesday, to the 13th, a Monday. These were just the perfect amount of days to get into the feel of things and to explore and learn about the culture and the people of Ponta.
These are the 5 things I recommend to any traveller to Ponta, but this is dependent on the type of traveller one might be. For example, I consider myself a comfort and adventure traveller, where as you find people who are specifically interested in leisure or in history etc. So:
- Accommodation: There are various forms of accommodation to select from when travelling to Ponta; there are Airbnbs, Resorts, Guest Houses/Lodges, Self-catering Cabins and Camping Sites. It would obviously depend on the type of traveller you are, but as a self-acclaimed comfort traveller, a self-catering resort in a cabin was perfect fit. I long for comfortable beds, air conditioner (because it is extremely hot) mosquito nets and clean toilets. However, the best part of it was that it was a 2minutes walk from the beach, which is honestly my main attraction. However, you need to opt for the accommodation-type that will suite your needs the most.
- Explore: Okay, so it’s mostly gravel roads; or sandy beachy road. The roads can be quite dense, especially if it hasn’t rained for a while. But that should not stop you from exploring the Ponta markets and villages. Using a 4×4 would be the most convenient, however you could still travel by foot (things are not that far apart) but it’s extremely hot, you probably would not make it very far. Unless if you’re a leisure traveller, I seriously recommend making your way out to interact with local or other travellers. The most popular places to visit for a great time out are the following:
- Charlie’s Bar
- Melting Pot
- Coco Rico
However, there are random almost at every corner. A favorite of ours was called Sky’s Bar, this place was only found by the market though and is not a common place to find other visitors. But it was awesome meeting and interacting with locals in their own environment and setting, it got to show us the true nature of the people of that place.
- The Market: The best way, if you are a curious traveller, to go about getting into the core and deep-rooted culture of people is to find them under their most comfortable setting and vibe. So, I would truly recommend exploring THE MARKET, here you would probably have the best local dishes that they enjoy, and dance to the music that they produce and enjoy themselves. This is any enriching experiencing that is worth participating it.
- Adventures: adventures are so fulfilling and Ponta is one of the best places to take on as many adventures as possible simply because it’s affordable. They offer a range of activities such a snorkelling or techobanine snorkelling, scuba diving, dolphin swimming, ocean safaris and quad biking. The one that stood out the most was the booze cruise quad biking, which is worth more than the value, that experience is just out of this world and it is a cheap price to pay for exploring almost all of Ponta and its bars and restaurants. You could honestly create the most awesomest of memories from these adventures.
- Support Local: try and purchase local things, from local beer and food (the sea food is mouth-watering), to clothing and sarongs, to artefacts to painting all at very affordable prices. Perhaps the food is the priciest necessity, but there was no item purchased that cost over R500. Everything seems almost to be at a bargain. Ponta is the place to be for the cost savvy traveller. Also, if you’re South African travelling to Ponta you’d be happy to know that the locals can speak to you in Zulu, when English decides to retire.
You’ll honestly love Ponta and this list is just some of the top things to be done when in Ponta Do Oura. All I can recommend is that you get out there and live your best life, because Ponta is genuinely a mini paradise that has to be experienced.