As part of the next instalment in Guests’ Corner, a local and international travel interview segment on Tamlyn Amber Wanderlust, I chatted to Monique van der Walt, a social media tourism promoter and traveller of note.
Monique van der Walt’s passion runs deep and in a most inspirational manner, she has applied it to devoting herself to a life of social media tourism, PR and photography, three empowering aspects, which not only show the beautiful side of South Africa – but that also allow her to follow the only mentor she wants to guide her in this life: God.
Over the years, Monique has spread her life between Hout Bay, Cape Town and KZN (where she resided for a decade before returning to the Mother City for a time, back in 2006) – but now at last, she seems to have found the place that makes her soul truly happy: Bulwer, South Drakensberg.
Today, Monique uses her endless passion for KZN to grow and promote responsible tourism (which she does a mighty fine of job at!)… She is also a host on the weekly Twitter chat #TravelChatSA.
In between managing her beautiful site, excellent destination marketing and travel/tourism influencing, Monique relishes exploring the countryside to appreciate life’s simpler things… Plastic gumboots, colourful tractors, roaming cows and wild flowers – things which most of us sadly overlook in our busy daily lives!
So, if you are looking for some KZN travel inspiration and responsible tourism tips, be sure to follow Monique on social media… and check out her amazing site while you’re at it!
1) Who or what inspired you to go into travel blogging?
Social media tourism is better definition of what I do.
Working a great, corporate PR job, I realised that I will never get to where I needed and wanted to be while working for someone else… If not now, then when?
So the short answer is: God – no boss could ever have a plan for me as big as His plan, and I chose to step out to find that plan.
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 but top three would be: local, rural and nature.
3) What was your most memorable travel experience in SA?
Definitely my snow-trip up Sani Pass in May 2017.
4) What was your most humbling or eye-opening local travel experience and why?
Since leaving corporate and moving relatively off-the-grid to Bulwer, Kwa Zulu Natal (KZN), I am constantly humbled by:
- Quiet perfection of country sunrises.
- Vast and powerful Southern Drakensberg mountains and landscapes.
- People that are deeply happy, despite having little… The beauty of life you find if you seek it.
5) Worst local travel experience (and if you are comfortable enough to, please explain why)?
Cape Town traffic…
6) Your top three travel destinations (or road trips) in SA are?
1. Southern Drakensberg
2. Midlands Meander
3. Mkomazi Wilderness uKhahlamba (Zulu for Drakensberg) National Park and UNESCO World Heritage Site
7) Any useful travel sites/blogs, either local or international, you can recommend for following?
8) If you could travel anywhere in South Africa – or the world in general – right now, where would it be?
Northern KwaZulu-Natal: iSimangaliso Wetland Park, which is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
9) Do you have any handy tips for planning a trip/day out in your city (and please state which city it is)?
My nearest town (and retail chain store) is Underberg, 35 km from Bulwer… Nearest city is Pietermaritzberg, 93 km in the opposite direction.
For either trip, watch out for domestic animals on the road, specifically cows… After passing a hoofed obstruction, locals flash their car’s bright lights to warn other travellers of the danger ahead of them.
10) Best travel advice for locals and tourists?
Travelling doesn’t have to be far away. The majority of my travel is a maximum of 175 km from my home.
There is so much right in front of us – the grass is only greener where it is watered…
To see all of Monique’s travel stories and experiences, you can visit her amazing blog. Or follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Google+.
Thank you very much, Monique, for appearing in this South African guest travel segment. Until the next one… happy writing and reading, everyone!
Author: Tamlyn 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.