Guests’ Corner: Gaynor van Rooyen, Tulips & Phoenixes

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, Gaynor van Rooyen.

Hidden gem discoverer and passionate travel blogger of Tulips & Phoenixes, Gaynor van Rooyen is a half city dweller, half road trip explorer – and full-time supporter of local travel! She has been blogging for some three years now, but last September, Gaynor decided to focus on travel blogging… and she’s not looked back since!

1) Who or what inspired you to go into travel blogging?

I’ve been blogging for three years but only changed my niche to South African travel last year September.  A variety of things prompted that change – and I actually spoke about it in this post.

2) What kind of traveller are you: thrill seeker, culture vulture, adrenaline junkie, nature lover or something of everything?

Definitely a nature lover. I’d choose an escape to the mountains over and over again. Although I have done the odd adventure activity, such as ziplining through the Tsitsikamma Forest and Hottentots Holland Mountains!

3) What was your most memorable travel experience in SA?

A full-board getaway to Madi-Madi Safari Lodge in the Karoo opened my eyes to just how beautiful South Africa is, and how much there is of it to explore.

We did a tranquil early morning river cruise, an exciting game drive, ate authentic South African food (prepared by the chef) and had a picnic overlooking the Kamanassi river, with horses grazing in the forefront… Bliss!

4) What was your most humbling or eye-opening local travel experience and why?

I am always humbled and reminded of how great Mother Nature is when I visit the Northern Cape. We take a drive down to Namaqualand at least once a year and I’m always in awe of the vast open spaces and down-to-earth nature of the locals.

5) Worst local travel experience (and if you are comfortable enough to, please explain why)?

A weekend camping trip to Beaverlac in Porterville. It’s an absolutely stunning place – but let’s just say they need stricter pet rules.

6) Your top three travel destinations (or road trips) in SA are?

1. The Garden Route all the way to Tsitsikamma – we did an activity packed weekend trip to Storms River in July and it was amazing!

2. Route 62 via the R318 to Montagu is one I’ve just discovered thanks to my husband.

3. The dirt road leading to the rural town of Leliefontein and (Klein) Nourivier in the Northern Cape.

7) Any useful travel sites/blogs, either local or international, you can recommend for following?

I check in with Anje Rautenbach’s blog, Going Somewhere Slowly regularly because she’s always on a great South African adventure! I also enjoy reading the Getaway blog and watching Vrydag 4 Uur and Weg! Agterpaaie on VIA for more local travel inspiration.

8) If you could travel anywhere in South Africa – or the world in general – right now, where would it be?

I’m all about 100% local travel, so if I could pack my little family’s bags right now, we’d be off to Mpumalanga to explore the Panorama Route.

9) Do you have any handy tips for planning a trip/day out in your city/province?

I’m based in the beautiful Western Cape so it’s easy to be overwhelmed by all the attractions. I usually plan our trips by doing a Google search of top places to see, combined with asking tourism offices for recommendations on social media to make sure we don’t miss out on anything.

I also make sure I read reviews beforehand on Facebook and TripAdvisor to avoid crappy experiences!

10) Best travel advice for locals and tourists?

Locals should just get out there and starting exploring our stunning country. Tourists should check out South African travel blogs for hidden gems and great, off-the-beaten-track routes.

To read about all of Gaynor’s amazing travel stories and adventures, you can visit her blogOr follow her Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

Thank you very much, Gaynor, 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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