By Olebogeng Lephoi
“The B-Side Throwback Travel” is a weekly feature on The B-Side with Bridget Masinga wherein Bridget engages Afropolitans on the most favourite travel memories. Recently, the featured traveller was mountain enthusiast Olebogeng Lephoi. Here she shares her travel story. Tag us on your travel snap with #TheBSideThrowBack Travel and you could be featured on our Instagram page.
The travel bug bit when I was still in Primary when every school holidays we would travel from the then Bophuthatswana to the city of gold with my father to visit my granny who was a domestic worker by then. Those were the best times, I used to look forward to that. I am a flexible traveller I don’t mind joining a group of strangers or go solo, the joy of being free-spirited. I enjoy visiting recreational centres, heritage sites, indulging in local delicacies.
I build relations easy and none of my travels gets to be lonely nor boring. After a trip, I leave families and friends behind in that destination. Last year I hosted a friend that I met in Ghana and till this day he can’t stop talking about South Africa, the development blew him off.
I love connecting with nature that’s one place where I get to be at peace,recharge and connect. The teachings in nature are incredible. That is why when I travel in most cases I get to include hiking in my plans. I have summited Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Kenya; Mount Mulanje in Malawi I didn’t get to summit since the weather at summit day was not favourable, Moshoeshoe walk in Lesotho, dessert walk in Botswana, Fish River Canyon in Namibia, Amatola the toughest hike in Southern Africa and the crazy one that I will never repeat even if I get promised all the riches is the Drakensberg Grand Travers we spent 14 days trekking from the North to the South of the Berg covering more that 250km. My joy and pleasure is training and supporting those that want to summit high peaks, from a Novus to Uhuru. The full details will be covered in my book.
I have been to all the nine provinces; our country is beautiful and there is still a lot more to explore in all the provinces. I still hold Limpopo (Venda and Giyani) as my favourite around the festive season. The number of fruits that one gets to indulge in, yummy! The advantage of having a family in Limpopo I suppose.
The other destination that I have been to twice already is Ghana the people there are very friendly they associate South Africans with the late President Ntate Mandela. You get treated like royalty. I’ve also been to Malawi twice, Malawians are warm too, no wonder it’s called the warm heart of Africa.
When you travel out of South Africa you will get to appreciate what we have. The traffic in Ghana, Bangkok and Kenya will make you realise that the bumper to bumper that we complain about is nothing compared to those places. I remember when I was in Nairobi, I lost track of time at the Masai market and later on I realise that I was late for the airport my friend called the taxi and when I mentioned that we are going to the airport he said we won’t make it since I am late already as I was supposed to be at the airport already, I knew I didn’t want to spend another day in Nairobi and the traffic was bad, their driving is nothing as compared to the Noord taxi drivers. Several times I saw my life flashing in front of me and I begged him to slow down, he didn’t listen.
Next year I am planning on doing more Shot’ Left as there are lots of beautiful hidden places in the country. Masai Mara , Serengeti National Park, Rwanda, Senegal and Africa’s fourth highest mountain Mount Stanley are all in plans for 2020. Before we bid farewell to 2019 i will go on a solo trip back to Tanzania and summit Mount Meru then spend few days in Dar es salaam then take my family for the sand dunes in Namibia.
Travelling tips from Olebogeng Lephoi
- Be kind and welcoming to locals
- Travel insurance is important
- Pack your medicine with from your allegex to painkillers.
- When travelling solo, always keep your family/friends up to date with your itinerary. Share location with them if you need to.
- The service can be very slow in most African countries, learn to be patient, adjust and adapt.
- When using local taxis don’t be Miss Daisy, you can learn a lot from those drives.
- Don’t walk around like a tourist opening up maps on the street, walk with confidence.
- Look after your possessions crime is everywhere
Olebogeng Lephoi is an IT Risk and Security Analyst and the founder of Furaha Travel and Adventure and Furaha Foundation.
Kaya Voices reflects the opinions of the writers featured not Kaya 959.