As part of the next instalment in my Guests’ Corner, a new travel interview segment on Tamlyn Amber Wanderlust, I chatted to fellow SA travel blogger, Chandré Botha.
Chandré of City Chronicles is a former small town girl turned performer and writer. In between work, she’s also a dedicated wife and ‘mother’ to two Boston Terrier puppies. She loves seeing as much of the world as she can – and through her blog, she hopes to inspire people to see the world or try something new, as she gives advice on topics valuable her readers.
On City Chronicles, Chandre will provide you with tips for life in Johannesburg (and for life in general…), as she travels about with her adrenaline junkie husband.
1) Who or what inspired you to go into travel blogging?
I had started blogging about my career as a performer a few years ago. At that stage, I was writing to give voice to what I was going through as a young performer and to help process all those different emotions. So blogging was already a platform I was comfortable with.
I was lucky enough to do a lot of travelling for various different reasons. As a child, travelling in South Africa was a priority for my parents. My husband and I got the opportunity to travel abroad a few times, and we grabbed it every time. At heart, I am a true researcher so I would always read up about where we were going to make the most of our trip.
At one point, I felt like I had a voice that I wanted to share too. Things that I had learnt, but hadn’t read anywhere and advice for people who might find themselves in the same space. So I started writing about what I learned where I went.
2) What kind of traveller are you: thrill seeker, culture vulture, adrenaline junkie, nature lover or something of everything?
Definitely a combination of many things. My husband is the avid adrenaline junkie, so there will always be some kind of adventure planned – whether it is skiing, or jumping off something or attaining great speeds. Generally, I hold onto my hat and pray we make it to the other end.
I’m the art and culture admirer, which means there will be an art museum stop and browse around a local market too.
I think the best way to describe us is as DIY travellers. We plan where we want to go, decide which are the must-see, must-do stops – and then we see where the road takes us.
3) What was your most memorable travel experience in SA?
There are so many! Each memorable for different reasons. Whether it was the beautiful views, or the amazing people and food, or what we did. I strongly believe that how good or bad your trip is depends a lot on your own mindset (and your company)… So, if you have the mindset to make it work, a few things going unexpectedly won’t matter so much.
4) What was your most humbling or eye-opening local travel experience and why?
You don’t have to travel in South Africa, or abroad, to know that there is great need not only here, but the world over. I am often reminded of the amazing opportunities I had growing up when I see the lives of others.
What really hit me was seeing the terrible drought in South Africa when road tripping from Cape Town to Johannesburg in January 2016. Seeing how farms and pastures had turned to dust while the animals were starving struck a chord with me. In the same breath, I was amazed by how people were sending water and feed to the farmers to help them.
5) Worst local travel experience (and if you are comfortable enough to, please explain why)?
I’ve had some close calls, but no really terrible travel experiences. We have stayed in places that weren’t particularly as advertised, or something went awry – but when you are travelling with a sense of humour, it doesn’t have to all be bad.
I will say that I will not return to the coasts of Kwa-Zulu Natal over the December period due to all the Matric holiday makers. They tend to cause trouble and make for a less pleasant holiday.
6) Your top three travel destinations (or road trips) in SA are?
I grew up in Mpumalanga (which means I saw a lot of game reserves in my childhood), so I would definitely recommend it.
But, for myself, I love Cape Town and the Drakensberg. I would also recommend taking the ‘Route 62’ road trip. Not only are the views breathtaking, but there are great stops along the way.
7) Any useful travel sites/blogs, either local or international, you can recommend for following?
TripaAvisor and Travelstart are our staples for the practicalities of actually planning and booking a trip.
The blogs I read depend on where I’m planning or dreaming of going next. I will be off to the Drakensberg soon, so now I’m reading anything and everything about the Drakensberg.
As I haven’t been living in Johannesburg for very long, I love reading blogs and posts about what’s happening in and around Johannesburg, or what to explore next in the city.
8) If you could travel anywhere in South Africa – or the world in general – right now, where would it be?
I have a love affair with Cape Town that will never end. Internationally, I would love to go back to Bali. My husband and I went on honeymoon to Bali and I’ve been dreaming of returning ever since.
9) Do you have any handy tips for planning a trip/day out in your city/province?
I live in Johannesburg. So planning a day out depends on the season and what you enjoy because we do have a variety of things to do here. You can browse through wonderful areas like, Maboneng, Linden or Greenside for interesting shopping.
Or, you can go hiking and biking in some of parks and nature reserves, which are all around and inside the city. If you want to get all the cultural stops in, you can take a Red Bus Tour and hop on and off without having to navigate the streets of Joburg yourself.
10) Best travel advice for locals and tourists?
Do your research before a trip somewhere new, especially if it’s far away. You want to be safe and feel comfortable during your trip. And, in the same breath, be open for spontaneity. My most magical travel moments have always been when we took the unexpected road presented to us.
To read about all of Chandré’s amazing travel stories and adventures, you can visit her blog. Or follow her Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
Thank you very much, Chandré, for appearing in this guest travel segment. Until the next one… happy writing and reading, everyone!
Author: Tamlyn Amber Ryan
Tamlyn Ryan is a writer and blogger, who runs her own travel blog, called Tamlyn Amber Wanderlust. Despite a national diploma in Journalism, her preferred niche remains travel writing. She is a hopeless wanderer, equipped with an endless passion for road trips, carefully planned, holiday itineraries and above all else, the great outdoors.
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