As part of the next instalment in my Guests’ Corner, a new travel interview segment on Tamlyn Amber Wanderlust, I chatted to SA lifestyle blogger, Kathryn Rossiter.
Kathryn Rossiter is a passionate South African blogger and dedicated mom of two. On her blog, Becoming you, she covers a range of topics, and offers daily information, encouragement and inspiration to women. Her blog is a combination of all the best parts of her passions for writing, photography, travel, fashion and beauty – and of course, family!
Kathryn has enjoyed some pretty amazing travel experiences, everything from sunset scootering around the Greek island of Kithnos to walking among cheetahs in the Karoo and more. When she’s not travelling, Kathryn lives a good life in Cape Town, indulging in food and wine every weekend!
1) Who or what inspired you to go into travel blogging?
I started blogging way back in 2004 when I was living and working in London. It was a way of documenting our travels to share them with our family back home. Fast forward a few years and my blogging came to an end when we moved back home.
But then, in 2011, I started a new blog, Becoming you. This was my attempt at creating an online “magazine-style” space where I would share my stories. I didn’t start it as a travel blog as such, rather a platform filled with things I love… and it evolved to feature a lot of my travels because I love to travel!
Initially my travel posts were just features of our weekends spent as a family enjoying Cape Town. I still feature these sorts of posts in my Weekend Wanderings series… but now the travel content has evolved to feature family-friendly travel across southern Africa, as well as a few of our adventures abroad.
2) What kind of traveller are you: thrill seeker, culture vulture, adrenaline junkie, nature lover or something of everything?
I’m a little bit of everything when it comes to travel… I love the cultural side of travel, where I experience some of the local cuisine and culture.
I enjoy trying adventurous activities, such as zip-lining or walking with Komodo dragons, just as much as I appreciate museums and meandering side-streets. I love taking my kids travelling, and seeing them experience new things gives me just as much of a thrill as doing the things myself!
3) What was your most memorable travel experience in SA?
When I started my blog, I’d always said I’d love to experience flying in a helicopter over Cape Town… and I’ve now done that twice!
Just recently I ticked off two of the things I’ve had on my Bucket List for years in one weekend! I call it my #BucketListWeekend and it involved floating above the earth in a hot air balloon near the Cradle of Humankind, and then taking a trip aboard the most luxurious train in the world, Rovos Rail, from Pretoria to Cape Town. Both were incredible!
4) What was your most humbling or eye-opening local travel experience and why?
I know township tours are rather controversial but I’ve always really enjoyed my experiences of visiting a township or taking a cultural tour. I think it’s NB to do your research before embarking on this sort of experience and choose one that really does give back to the community – but it is so enriching meeting fellow South Africans from different backgrounds and spending time connecting with them and hearing their stories.
5) Worst local travel experience (and if you are comfortable enough to, please explain why)?
I didn’t love the Wild Coast as much as I thought I would. I think our trip was too short and rushed. We spent two nights in Cintsa and two nights at Coffee Bay.
The weather wasn’t great during Sep so maybe it’s advisable to go during summer when it’s warmer – and the sea was rather wild (as the name suggests) which meant we didn’t really swim.
We stopped off at the birthplace of Nelson Mandela expecting a special museum and were bitterly disappointed at the run-down state of the facilities and lack of information. It felt forgotten and rather sad.
Also, the drive from East London to Coffee Bay is much longer than we anticipated and the other drivers on the road were taking so many risks that we arrived feeling shattered and stressed (not to mention the potholes and animals that made the journey rather treacherous). I still feel it’s an area of South Africa worth exploring but maybe we aren’t adventurous enough?
6) Your top three travel destinations (or road trips) in SA are?
As a family, we love heading down the Garden Route and try to visit at least once a year. It’s so full of exciting adventures for every age, plus, is astoundingly beautiful. Whether you love the forests or the beach, there’s something for you!
We’re also a family of safari lovers and jump at every chance we get to go to the bush. Living in Cape Town, it’s not always easy to get up to the Kruger – but I really feel it’s one of the places everyone should try to see in their lifetime. Nothing beats the adrenaline rush of looking a lion in the eye!
7) Any useful travel sites/blogs, either local or international, you can recommend for following?
Local travel bloggers I enjoy following include: The Incidental Tourist and The Travel Manuel – both have a way with words. IndiKate and Tails of a Mermaid are also fun to follow and they take gorgeous photos too. Internationally, my faves are The Midnight Blue Elephant, The Blonde Abroad & The Pin the Map Project. I love the travel videos from Kick The Grind and Mike Dewey.
8) If you could travel anywhere in South Africa – or the world in general – right now, where would it be?
Next on my list of South African destinations to explore is a part of the country I’ve never been to in my 37 years. Aside from Durban, I’ve never seen much of KZN. Next year I’m keen to plan a road trip to explore the Midlands, the Drakensberg, iSimangaliso, Hluhluwe, the North Coast and the South Coast. I doubt we’ll get to do it all but I’m going to at least try!
Obviously I want to see everywhere in the world (and take my kids too)… Unfortunately, travelling the world as a family of four is pretty tough when you’re on the Rand, so I’m open to any international destination should someone be keen to invite us.
9) Do you have any handy tips for planning a trip/day out in your city, Cape Town?
Cape Town is an overwhelming city for most visitors. There’s so much to do here and it can be difficult to know where to start. My advice is to come for at least a week. I’ve met so many tourists who are coming to Cape Town for just three days and I want to cry for them. There’s no way you can do Cape Town in 3 days!
What I suggest for visitors to Cape Town is to do all the Cape Town-centric things, but to also plan to spend some time a little bit further afield exploring the Winelands – Stellenbosch, Paarl, Wellington, Franschhoek and Somerset West. There’s so much to do out in the Winelands that it’s almost a destination on its own and deserves at least three days. So maybe make your trip to this part of the world ten days!
10) Best travel advice for locals and tourists?
Charge your phone, pack your camera (and an extra battery), fill up your tank and drive…. There doesn’t always have to be a plan. Just go out and discover something amazing.
And, if you have little kids, take some snacks and wet wipes. Plus, an electronic device with some downloaded games or movies will save your sanity for long stretches of travel.
To read about all of Kathryn’s amazing travel stories and adventures, you can visit her blog. Or follow her Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
Thank you very much, Kathryn, for appearing in this guest travel segment. Until the next one… happy writing and reading, everyone!
Author: Tamlyn Amber Ryan
Content writer by day and blogger by night, Tamlyn Ryan passionately runs her own travel blog, called Tamlyn Amber Wanderlust, from her home base of Cape Town, South Africa. And, despite a national diploma in Journalism, in her free time, Tamlyn’s preferred niche remains travel writing.
Tamlyn is a hopeless wanderer, equipped with an endless passion for road trips, carefully planned, holiday itineraries and, above all else, an innate love for the great outdoors.