Here is me having a go at helping you with your South Africa travel itinerary. I’ve met some interesting people on my travels so far and the one thing that comes up, without doubt, is WOW South Africa, I really wanna go!
I give this speech over and over, so here it is 😉
I am going to start this blog off on a bit of a negative note unfortunately but this is South Africa we’re talking about and these tips will keep you safe. What you see on the news probably isn’t too accurate but here are my tips as a Saffa.
Watch your pockets. Pick-pocketing is real. It took me about 5months to shake the “2-minute pocket check”. This kinda ties in with snatching handbags.
Be streetwise. If you’re walking around at night, don’t be alone. Try and walk in busy areas and with some friends. Often I have been walking home, after 17000 tequilas, and had to constantly cross the road. If you see someone, anyone, walking on the same side of the road as you, don’t hesitate to cross over to the opposite side of the road. This shows that person that you are one step ahead of them. If ANYONE asks you about your shoes in Cape Town, don’t engage, they’re sucking you into their plot to steal.
Not that is out of the way, here is your itinerary:
Johannesburg > Durban > Sani Pass > Midlands Meander > Transkei > Coffee Bay > Knysna > Plettenberg Bay > Cape Town
Some Important things to know:
Visit in Summer or between October and April. With that said, Durban has the best winter(May, June, July) in the WORLD!
Almost everywhere accepts cards and there are ATM’s everywhere. Uber/Taxify is the way to get around. If you want to you can catch the local taxis(hi-ace), they’re dirt cheap but don’t ask me about the routes because I have NO CLUE! Sim cards, MTN, Vodacom, Cell C. All have great coverage Vodacom being the most expensive but arguably the best coverage.
Fly directly into Joburg(Johannesburg).
Go to Soweto and book a Mandela tour through the townships. You really need to get to Vilikazi Street. Not far from here is, Chaf Pozi, where you can bungee off the two massive Silos and enjoy a Tshisa Nyama(burn the meat/bbq) Soweto is BOOMING on a Sunday so that’s the day to go!
Maboneng for some markets and some awesome street art. You could spend an entire Saturday in Maboneng!
From here you will want to get on an aeroplane and fly through to Durban, KZN. Your best airline options are Mango, SafAir or Kulula. Just jump onto Skyscanner and you will find something pretty cheap.
Staying in Durban for 3 nights?
This is my hometown and I love it so i’ll try give you the best options. If you want to meet the most stoked Durbanite in the world, his name is Matt Suth! Follow him on Instagram to see some golden shots of our home city!
Your best bet for accommodation would be the eThekwini backpackers on Florida road. Florida road is the main street in Durban with clubs restaurants bars and more. Morningside is the area you’re in. Give booking.com a go too 😉
If you want to go on safari head up to Phinda Game Reserve. There are loads of places to go around the whole of South Africa so it’s really up to you!
Beachfront! Head down to uShaka, it’s the tourist hub of Durban. From here you should take a taxi or a tour bus through Durban town, the colonial architecture is quite something. Durban has the second most number of Art Deco buildings per capita, second to Miami. The city centre sort of looks like its stuck in the 70/80s which brings a very chilled vibe! Be self aware when walking through town, the pickpocketing is there, so just be on alert.
Head out on Florida Road that evening after roasting in the sun including in some cocktails on the pier. Drop Kick Murphys is a GREAT restaurant with some incredible pizza and pasta.
Head out to Umhlanga, maybe visit YogaRocks out there and plenty to do. Go to the beach, walk the promenade. If you want a shopping mall, Gateway is the place to go. When built, it was the second biggest in the Southern Hemisphere. The Umhlanga Village is the place to go. Basically a bunch of restaurants and pubs. Not my scene but it’s great to get a sense of the night vibe.
Today you will be exploring the Drakensberg area. This can get a bit cooler than the coast, especially in winter. Hire a car and drive through to get the best out of your trip.
I would definitely recommend going up Sani Pass. This is in Lesotho which is the tiny country inside South Africa so take your passport. At the top of this pass is the highest pub in Africa. Stay one night up there and then come back down. You can hike this too, it’s about a 10km hike to the top, it’s not one for the faint-hearted though. The air is thin! Maybe because the air is SO thick in Durban.
If you take anything out of this blog post, let it be this!
Get yourself to Port St.Johns
Book your hike with Wild Coast Hikes 60km over 4 nights. You can have someone carry your bags for a cost or you can carry them yourselves but I am warning you, the first hill is called heartbreak hill… nuff said. Our bags were about 7kgs each so we managed with them. This is probably the best thing I have done in South Africa by a long way. You will sleep in Xhosa huts with the locals!
This hike ends in coffee Bay and let’s just say that Coffee Bay is the most hippie town you will visit in South Africa. Enjoy the shrooms if you may. Just around the corner is “Hole in the Wall”
The Garden Route. Stop along as you wish! Take it all in!
Natures Valley – wild spirit backpackers there is lekker!
Knysna – I haven’t done too much in these places but when I have it has been beautiful and relaxing.
Head to Plettenberg Bay, this is your first taste of icy waters and white sands. This is a very similar place to Cape Town, only without the city.
There is FAR too much to do in CT so here is a list of a few things to do:
- Wine Farms
- UpYours – hip-hop on the roof on Sundays
- Table Mountain
- First Thursdays on Bree Street
- Camps Bay
- Clifton Beach
- Llandudno Beach
- Bakhoven Beach (shhhhhhhh keep this one quite)
- Mzolis (Township party, so go with at least a group of 10)
- Lions Head hike – about an hour to the top
- Chapmans peak drive
There we have it for your South Africa travel itinerary. Comments are WELCOME. Questions are WELCOME. There is way more than what I’ve mentioned but this is just a start.
LASTLY, if you want great vegan food – OUT TO LUNCH does incredible stuff! They’re in Umhlanga at Healthy Umhlanga
FOLLOW ME on Insta @wokshots_photography
Time to get busy
The time had come to dust off the cobwebs from the fashion photography brain and get to it. Amanda from Tropic Bliss contacted me to see what kind of collab we could get on with. So here it is; Amanda had also contacted Alison, a serious fashion blogger and she was one of the two gorgeous models for the day.
Models: Alison from styingmylife.com & Vaitea Cowan
Clothing: TropicBliss.com – you can get all of her items through her Amazon Store
Tropic bliss is a fair trade company operating out of Chiang Mai, Thailand. You can find out more about her story on her website.
Don’t really have much more to say in this post so just go buy her shit 😉
With Christmas around the corner and some serious travel plans too, I have decided to get myself a backpack. NOT as easy to choose as you may think. In February 2017, I will be embarking on a trip to Nepal to go and check out them Himalayas and maybe find Karmar-Taj to find my magic powers. From Nepal, I will head to India to start my yoga learning journey.
What size can you fly with?
I’d love to be only talking about carry-on luggage. I have done a bit of research on this and (22 cm x 35 cm x 56 cm) seems to be standard. And it usually needs to be 7kg or less… That’s nowhere near enough space/weight for a long trip, especially with my camera gear.
I’ve see too many confusing and detailed posts so here’s a really honest and to the point breakdown of the 5 backpacks that I looked at.
1. The Mardingtop 50L Backpack
This backback boasts just the right amount of storage space for me. It looks comfortable and neat. I’ve had a few backbacks with terrible loose straps. Loose straps are enough to drive you mad when you’re trekking through the hot South African Drakensburg mountains. It claims to be ideal for a 3-day hike and in all fairness, I’d be handwashing shit after 3 days.
Purchase it here!
2. TETON Sports Summit 1500 Backpack
You can clearly see that this is your typical backpack for hiking or at least it’s what I have in mind when thinking of trekking through mountains with a tent. I’d buy this one if it came in black. Yes, colour matters, remember, this thing is your new best friend and you wouldn’t want a pack that you don’t 100% love. I do like the reinforced spine and waist support on this bag. What turned me off is that it’s ideal for a day hike. This generally means that the comfort level comes second to the internal makeup and structure.
Purchase the TETON Here
3. The NOMATIC Travel Bag
I saw this bag on Facebook. Yup, good old Facebook ads, which I will probably be seeing more of now that I’ve written this post. FML. Although this is not really a bag for trekking or hiking, it is a very well thought out everyday backpack for essentials. Go have a look at their video on Indiegogo and let it blow your mind!
4. Local Lion Outdoor 35L Backpack
Another clean bag just like the Mardington. I really am attracted to the simple bags with less straps. For the last year, I have been getting rid of clutter so maybe that’s why. Maybe it’s because this complex product appearing so simple, means that a lot of work has been put into stylizing the bag. I didn’t opt for this bag simply because of the back support. It’s a soft back with not much breathing space which would probably only be good for a day or two. My current camera back is similar and my back is sopping after an hour in Thailand’s sweaty weather.
Purchase the Local Lion Backpack 35L here
5. Makino Outdoor Hiking Waterproof 60L
So this is a strong contender. It looks a little more complex, but that’s just the fabric detailing. It has just the right amount of straps to carry a yoga mat down the back, water bottles on the side and something else on the underside. It even has a laptop compartment. I am still deciding between this one and the Mardington and it’s a tricky one. The laptop compartment is a big sway but the look is letting me down.
Makino Outdoor Hiking Waterproof 60L
Like most things in life, the end decision is yours and it will always be yours. So, you do you and choose whichever bag you like!
Bring on Nepal!
Buying Instagram Followers
We all know about buying followers and how that’s NEVER a good idea. Buying followers only boosts that top line number, you can spot these accounts from a mile away – 20k followers with 50likes on each post – I call bullshit.
If you have an Instagram “business” then this is for you!
We all know about affiliate marketing programs, maybe not all of us but have you ever wondered how those “Instagram Models” can live those lavish lifestyles? They run affiliate programs with all sorts of businesses.
Brands want to talk to specific people and what better way than to align themselves with endorsers and early adopters.
I’ve added Archie to my Instagram account to see how it works. The free trial is 3 days. Click the link and sign up and test it yourself: https://www.archie.co/sign-up/
How it works:
Define your customers/users that you want to engage with. What do these people talk about, what trends to they follow? You add all the keywords/hashtags that make up your niche as well as include similar accounts. Archie then follows those trends and engages audiences.
I think the most beneficial part, is selecting the relevant “similar accounts”. This is only available in the premium option but you get access in the free trial. Find that account that does what you do, and start “copying” them. As far as I am aware, Archie then engages with those accounts followers.
I’m up 350 followers in two weeks and these are active followers. Archie says 249 but I started with them at 1050 and now I’m up to 1400. This is more of an experiment for me… until I am offered a weekends stay somewhere in Indonesia…
There is much more in the dashboard but this is just an example of what kind of metrics you’ll recieve.
Give it a bash and it may be worth investing in for your business. At the end of the day, Archie helps you gain, engaging followers who are in line with your niche.
Wok – Wokshots Blog
So it is time to buy your first lens for your Canon 1200D or 750D, depending on which you went with from my previous post. Here she is and it’s a pleasure! The only heads up I have for you is to get ready to move around with your camera, find the right angles and the perfect crop, you don’t get the chance to be lazy with zoom here!
Canon’s Nifty fifty or 50mm f1.8 STM lens is THE best option as a first buy and here’s why:
1. It’s cheap
Literally! Although the price has gone up by $25 from it’s predecessor… BUT for that extra little cash, you will get a more rugged – made of metal! Your value for money with this lens is like no other.
You want the blurry backgrounds right? That is what bokeh is. Bokeh is the quality of the out-of-focus part of a photograph, made by a specific lens. A little camera knowledge for you. When you start shooting, hit the Av mode and dial is right down to f1.8 and PLAY!
One of my very first shots I added to portfolio. Shot with my nifty fifty
On my Canon EOS 5D mkii this lens looks tiny. It is super light and easy to slip into your bag even though you may never want to take it off your camera. This lens coupled with the Canon EOS 100D literally feels like you’re holding a Tamagotchi – moment of silence please!
4. STM for filming
Smooth Transition Motion. This is a silent motor that is a MASSIVE improvement from the last fifty. Anyone that knows the previous plastic fifty would know the sound that the auto-focus makes. It is enough to think a transformer is coming for you.
5. Eyesight or a normal Lens
When I say normal, I don’t mean it in the way you’re thinking. Normal, refers to the lens’ view – being the closest to how we humans see(some of you are aliens). No distortion or “fish eye” impact. What you see is what it captures.
6. It is real fast
No, it’s not running away! What makes a lens fast? Having an aperture of f1.8 allows this lens to shoot at faster shutter speeds to get the correct exposure. In other words, your images won’t be as blurry with this lens in low light as opposed to a standard f3.5-5.6(standard 18-55mm) kit lens.
You can shoot street, portrait even macro with this lens. A friend of mine, Carl Jones, showed me some reverse lens tricks too. If you reverse the lens and hold it over the camera backwards, you can get a SUPER macro. Pretty pointless and perfect way to get your sensor dirty but hey I am all for experimenting.
So go on, get yours and show me some of the results! Any questions you have, just let me know in the comments below!