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Introducing MzansiGirl

Introducing MzansiGirl

MzansiGirl, otherwise known as Meruschka Govender,  is one of South Africa’s most sought after travel influencers. She truly is the queen of travel content, sharing her passion for Africa around the topics of food, African travel, culture and budget travel. Her case of wanderlust started in 2003 when she embarked on a journey backpacking from Joburg to Malawi. She resigned from her day job in 2013, to pursue her travel dreams. Since then she has been on the road, in the air, planning her next trip or sharing her findings and travel tips online.

Stumbling across such a culture rich, travel and adventurous blog, is a blessing for anyone in need of more adventure in their life. She showcases Africa as a top travel destination and paints the picture that one does not need to seek adventure internationally as Africa just has so much to offer. Local travel is not showcased enough and many of the experiences and treasure troves out there are unknown to many. However, MzansiGirl is doing a brilliant job of leading us to some of  Africa’s most mesmerizing and wondrous spots.

She sums herself up pretty well in the following words. “I’m an Afrophile at heart – I love African travel, music and festivals. I love the energy of African cities, her amazing people, the sounds of the bush, the fabulous sunsets, diverse cultures and beauty everywhere. I’ve spent 8 years working in the tourism sector in all aspects from running a backpacker hostel, to working for South Africa’s only tourism NGO and eventually working in tourism policy in national government. ‘’ Says MzansiGirl.

MzansiGirl doesn’t just have a passion for all things travel, she has a love and a passion for people. She has involved herself in several volunteering programs, with MySchool and other NGO’s across South Africa. Her love for her country and devotion towards people and the greater good make her a true African leader. This powerhouse of a woman is everywhere. If you follow her social feeds you will be taken through the hills and African horizons, exposed to culture rich destinations, tantalized by her discovery of divine foods and get the low down on whats hip and happening in Joburg.  Her passion and authentic voice are what makes her blog and social media feeds stand out from the rest.  Mzansigirl’s feeds are not the typical airbrushed Bali girl type content,  instead she gives real insight into the authentic adventures and experiences Africa has to offer. She adds her own unique flavor and energy to her writings, missions and in all she does.

With an appetite for adventure and her love for people, MzansiGirl is flying over hurdles and making every day count. We love local travel and if you do to, she is bringing all the secrets and travel tips you need to turn your travel dreams into a reality.#localiszappa #localtravel

Check her out on her blog and social media channels:

www.mzansigirl.com

Instagram: @Mzansigirl

Twitter: @Mzansigirl

Facebook: Mzansigirl

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Introducing MzansiGirl

Mzansi Girl otherwise known as Meruschka Govender is one of South Africa’s most sought after travel influencers. She truly is the queen of content sharing her passion for Africa around the topics of food, African travel, culture and budget travel.

Read More »
Latest

20 Questions with Mzanzi Girl

With an appetite for adventure and her love for people, Mzansi Girl is flying over hurdles and making every day count. We love local travel and if you do to, she is bringing all the secrets and travel tips you need to turn your travel dreams into a reality. #localiszappa #localtravel

Read More »

Are you a travel blogger and want to be a part of LocalIsZappa?

Complete the form below and we will contact you to discuss

Be Featured

Upload your pictures to your instagram with the hashtag #LocalisZappa and your images could be featured on this site.

Top budget travel destinations in South Africa

Top budget travel destinations in South Africa

Travel makes me happy. It inspires me everyday and puts the #FireYourSoul. I eat, breathe and sleep travel!  I love exploring my country – there are so many destinations you can visit that don’t won’t break the budget.

Most people head to Cape Town, The Garden Route or Durban for their local holidays. If you get off the beaten path a little (and travel outside peak season) you can travel for a lot less. 

Here are some of my favorite budget travel destinations in Mzansi to #FireYourSoul

The Wild Coast

The Eastern Cape’s Wild Coast is perhaps my favorite local destination. As a kid we spent many a family holiday in Port St Johns, Coffee Bay and various spots on the former Transkei Coast.  I love the rugged beauty of this area. Stay at one of the local backpackers and save some serious moola. You don’t have to share a room, book a private room or a cottage.

Coffee Bay has become a backpacker hotspot.  Stay at the super fun Coffee Shack Backpackers for the party vibe and the cheapest surf lessons in SA. Take a day hike to Hole in the Wall or cliff jump the Mapuzi cliffs – a sure way to fire your soul!

Chinsta, an hour from East London, is another one of my favorite spots on the Wild Coast. I always stay at Buccaneers Backpackers located on the Chintsa lagoon. They have cozy log cabins and a great campsite and backpacker’s hostels too.  It’s like a backpacker resort, complete with kayaks, volleyball court and a big swimming pool.

KZN South Coast

While the Kwazulu- Natal North Coast is more popular these days, the South Coast offers better value. I love the South Coast, its super chilled vibes and golden beaches.

Rent out a holiday apartment with your mates and explore the hidden beaches of the area.  Most people stay in Margate, but I prefer the quieter towns like Port Edward and Southbroom. Off season, you can get a holiday house super cheap. Visit the Oribi Gorge, go fishing or just park off at the beach.  Beach holidays are great on the budget – all you need is a swimming cossie and a beach ball – fun for days!

The Karoo

The wide open spaces of the Karoo keep bringing me back there.  The big skies with a zillion stars will certainly fire your soul. On a clear night, you’re certain to see the Milky Way. This is road trip country with dozens of quirky small towns to be explored. In Nieu Bethesda, visit the Owl House, the home of artist Helen Martins which is now a museum. Visit Prince Albert feast on local produce, fabulous olives and Karoo lamb, and the gorgeous viewpoints from the Swartberg pass.

Magoebaskloof

This area of Limpopo is lush and green with great forest hikes, birding and adventure activities. The Magoebaskloof Canopy Tour through the forest is a must do when you’re in the area! Stay in log cabins at Kurisa Moya Lodge and go bird-watching with a local guide. Explore the village of Haenertsberg for fabulous farm food and go berry picking in season.  The area is also famous for its fresh produce, so stock up of fresh fruit.

What are your favorite South African travel destinations that fire your soul??

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Zappa, but all views and opinions expressed are my own.

#FireYourSoul 

#LocalisZappa

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Budget travel in South Africa

Budget travel in South Africa

Travelling in South Africa inspires my soul – our magnificent landscapes, diverse cultures, fabulous food and amazing people are just magic!  I’m lucky that the nature of my work allows me to travel Mzansi a lot. I’ve been to a lot of places, but everywhere is on my list .Travel isn’t cheap though. It’s something that needs to be budgeted for. Your holiday budget can go a long way if you’re smart about it. Here are my top tips for travelling locally on a budget:

Plan, plan, plan

Planning is key for travelling on a budget. Low cost airlines such as Mango, Kulula and Fly SafAir often have flash sales valid for a few hours or a day where you can pick up super cheap airfares. Sign up for airline newsletters to get the low down on the latest deals and flash sales.   If you can’t plan in advance look out for cheap last minute fares.

Consider packages

Packages deals can be a great money saver. Our local low cost airlines have some super affordable packages that include car rental, airfare and accommodation that end up being cheaper than booking individually.  Fire your soul with a local weekend getaway!

Travel off season

Travelling in school holidays and long weekends will always cost you more. If you can afford to travel outside peak season, you can take advantage of lower rates and have more to spend on the fun stuff like activities.

Self-cater

Eating out all the time will take its toll on your budget. Self-catering apartments, holiday homes, or backpackers with a kitchen will allow you to cook your own chow and save moola. Save your money for a nice restaurant rather than eating crappy takeaways.

Getting around

Road trips are my favorite way to travel and they are easy on the pocket.  The freedom of the open road fires my soul.  I love exploring country roads and stopping spontaneously when at a cool padstal or a stunning look out point. Besides being an affordable way to travel, road trips allow you to explore more budget friendly off the beaten track destinations.  

Where to stay

One of the biggest costs when you travel is accommodation.  I prefer spending less on accommodation so that I have more to spend on food, drinks and activities.

Backpacker Hostels

South African’s haven’t really caught on to the hostel trend. Backpacker travel is not just for gap year students from Europe & the US, South Africans should take advantage of the budget options available. We have so many excellent backpacker hostels in SA from city poshtels (more like boutique hotels) to local community backpackers in rural villages. You don’t have to share a dorm room, most hostels have private rooms with en suite facilities. 

Backpacker hostels offer a social vibe, perfect for youthful and solo travellers. You get to make friends, stay within your budget and get to spend your money on the fun stuff like adventure activities

AirBnb and Vacation Rentals

AirBnb not only offers a local experience, you can really save a lot by using their service, especially if you’re travelling in a group and sharing a house.  They are so much cheaper than hotels, and they provide some interesting options. I’ve even stayed on an Airbnb catamaran in Durban!

National and Provincial parks

SA has an amazing diversity of national and provincial parks, many of which have budget accommodation options. SANParks offers a variety of accommodation options – from hotels to self-catering cottages and huts to camping. In KZN, check out KZN Emvelo Wildlife and Cape Nature. You have to book early during school holidays but you can often find last minute options off-season.  Doing a guided game drive at a national park is super affordable too.

Camping

I’m a happy camper! The initial outlays for camping can be a little pricey but it works out much cheaper in the long run. Camping is easy on the budget, and you get to experiences some really wild places.  There’s nothing like camping on a beach campsite with the sound of waves lulling you to sleep

Here’s to more South African travel to #FireYourSoul.

#LocalisZappa

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Zappa, but all views and opinions expressed are my own. #FireYourSoul

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Read More »
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20 Questions with Mzanzi Girl

20 Questions with Mzanzi Girl

  1. How do you make an income while you are traveling? I try to have multiple income sources – freelance writing, blogging, social media consulting, and influencer marketing campaigns with travel and lifestyle brands.
  2. What do you do to stay healthy when you travel?  This is not easy for me! I try to eat healthy when I can but it’s not always easy when you’re travelling. I also try and do outdoor activities like hiking. When I’m home I enjoy sweating in a spin class at my gym.
  3. How can you learn about a culture and meet locals without speaking their language?  You need to get out of your comfort zone and connect with people. I Try and learn a few words of the local language, read up on the history and culture and visit local museums. A good local guide can really help you get a nuanced understanding of a place. Walking tours are my favorite way to explore a city. I also like learning about local music.
  4. How do you calculate the money you can spend daily during your trip? My strength isn’t budgeting, but keeping receipts helps and making a tally of expenses at the end of the day.  There are also apps you can use.
  5. How do you get around staying in a country longer than a tourist visa allows? I wouldn’t recommend this unless you can get a visa extension. Don’t overstay your visa! Another option is to do a border run – visit a neighboring country for a little while and try to enter on a new visa – this doesn’t always work though – border authorities are getting pretty smart!
  6. What songs/type of music do you listen to whilst traveling or that which inspires you to travel? My music taste is eclectic to say the least. I listen to a range of music from rock, hip hop, jazz & world music to reggae, funk, soul, indie and electronic music.  When I travel I try to listen to local music – especially local classics. It helps to get music recommendations from locals or just turn on the local radio station.
  7. After all your years of travel, what still scares you on the road? I think I’m most scared of bugs and tropical diseases! I would hate to get malaria or some other strange parasite.
  8. As our Mzansi girl, where exactly in Mzansi is your favourite place and why? I’m so lucky to live in the most beautiful country! I travel Mzansi a lot, but still get surprised every day. I have a soft spot for the off the beaten track destinations like the Eastern Cape. I love the rugged landscapes of the Wild Coasts, its rich culture and wild beaches.
  9. What is the biggest sacrifice you’ve made to live the travelling lifestyle? My bank account! I still don’t earn as well as I did when I worked in a traditional job, but my lifestyle is super fun!
  10. What are the first few things you always do when arriving in a new place? I try to learn a few words of the local language – just the basics like hello, thank you, and how much. I buy a local SIM card to keep connected.
  11. What is the most valuable or profound lesson you’ve learned on the road? Trust your instincts. Travel is the best teacher!
  12. What advice do you have for people who want to travel but feel financially stuck? Travel doesn’t have to be expensive. I don’t recommend travelling on debt, but you can definitely travel on a small budget.  Try to cut down on other discretionary spend in order to save to travel. It might mean driving a smaller car, not upgrading to the latest phone, flat-sharing, eating out less, or only shopping for essentials. You’d be surprised how much you can save if you prioritize travel. Taking local weekend trips or visiting neighboring countries are a great way to travel on a budget.
  13. What is your favorite thing about traveling?  Meeting people! And discovering new foods!  
  14. What culture did you find the most interesting? This is a difficult one. I think that all cultures have interesting aspects, however I’m particularly drawn to cultures as that have a connection to nature and spirituality.
  15. In all your travels what’s the one memory that stands out for you and why?  Sjoe, this is super difficult but I guess it would have to be my first independent travel solo trip. It was in Malawi and I paddled out from the shore of Lake Malawi a few hundred meters on a lilo with 2 friends. It was beautiful watching the sunset from the middle of the lake, mountains on one side, beach on the other. I felt so happy and free!
  16. Random question, what’s your favorite ice cream flavor? Pistachio
  17. Do you have any pets? No. I used to have dogs but I gave them up to my ex as my lifestyle didn’t allow for it.
  18. Do you ever feel home sick because of your travelling around Mzansi? The first time I got home sick was on my first long trip overseas which was to Australia.  I spent 6 months on that trip which is the longest I’d been away from home. I realized then that I was homesick for Mzansi. I’ve never felt homesick on my Mzansi travels, South Africa is home and I’m never on a local trip for more than a few weeks.
  19. Whiles you were travelling, what cultural food did you enjoy the most that you discovered? I loved the food in Italy.  Food is different in each region, not too complicated with only the freshest local ingredients used. Good cheese, olive oil and cured meats, yum! My ex was Italian to we spent a lot of time with his friends and family having home cooked meals, which were all exceptional!
  20. If you weren’t Mzansi girl who travels, what would you be doing right now? I’d work in another part of the tourism industry – either in tourism marketing and strategy or tourism policy and development (this is the area I worked in previously).

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Read More »
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When it comes to travelling across South Africa, I am definitely a veteran, which I regard as an incredible honour. Although I was born in Namibia, I have lived in the Rainbow Nation my entire life. It is my home, I love it here and I want to see as much as possible. This drive to explore my country makes me reflect on an important matter though. The age of content creation has brought a new dimension on what travel means to us, especially via platforms such as Instagram, YouTube and Facebook.

Read More »
Latest

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Within reasonable bounds, I have always been a big advocate for embracing the fact that mistakes happen and that they are a necessity to life that you need to learn how to turn into a positive. Through the last couple of years I have also learnt how to apply this ethic to my travels. Many mistakes were made on my part, which is why I am super excited to share a few tips and hacks so that you don’t have to make them.

Read More »
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Every creator has a few local spots that they love more than any other; I am no different. Before I share my top picks with you, allow me to divulge some wisdom – if you can call it that: A location is only as good as your eagerness to be unique and drive to be creative. Regardless of how ordinary or spectacular, you want to get as much out of it as possible, and I say this from both a creative and traveller’s perspective. I definitely urge you not to be limited by location. With the right mentality, anywhere can become magical.

Read More »
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Read More »
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Read More »

Are you a travel blogger and want to be a part of LocalIsZappa?

Complete the form below and we will contact you to discuss

Be Featured

Upload your pictures to your instagram with the hashtag #LocalisZappa and your images could be featured on this site.

Winter Whip champions

Winter Whip champions

Ultimate Ears Winter Whip Crowns 2018 Snowboard and Ski Slopestyle Champions

The Ultimate Ears Winter Whip Snowboard and Ski Festival celebrated its 5th edition with an incredible weekend at the Afriski Mountain Resort in Lesotho.

The four day event (2-5 August 2018), which is organised annually by LW Mag, saw a host of local and international Snowboarders and Skiers participate in the Slopestyle competition. Luke Dutton and Mawa Jekot took top honours in the Pro Mens and Ladies divisions respectively.

This year’s Slopestyle course was designed by the resort’s Kapoko Park crew and included more features than ever before. A mix of rail, stair and box features were included in the top half of the course moving into the final two big kicker platforms. The course provided fun and technical options for the competitors, allowing for progressive runs throughout the jam style contest.

The Pro Mens division did not disappoint with an array of technical riding and big air tricks being thrown down by the top competitors. Errol Krauss made his return to South Africa from the UK to compete, and it paid off with runs including a Toe 180 to Switch 50-50 to Switch Back 180 out and Hardway 270 Switch Frontboard on the rail garden sections, a Backflip, Back 540 Indy, and Cab 180 on the kickers saw him claim the 3rd step of the podium.

Kaylib Louw, who finished in 8th last year, upped his game immensely with a Back Tailslide on the square rail, a Front Lip Noseslide on the handrail and a Frontboard on the rainbow rail before landing a big Frontflip, a Back 540 and back-to-back 540’s on the kickers to take 2nd place.

Luke Dutton always finds himself in the mix for the top step and this year he finally nailed it. Dutton’s trick list of a 50-50 to Switch Back 180 out, Front Lipslide and Front 360 in the rail gardens, and a Front 360 Double Shifty, Superman Frontflip and Back 360 Grab over the kickers edged out the rest of the field to take the win.
The win also sees Dutton take the Club Med prize consisting of a snow holiday for two to a Club Med resort in the French Alps.

In the Ladies division it was Mawa Jekot who put in a solid performance to claim yet another Winter Whip victory. Jekot’s dominant victory came from her Switch 180 on 180 out on the flat box, Switch Boardslide on the down box, Noseslide over the rainbow rail before throwing a Cab 180 Indy, Switch 360s and stylish Methods over the kickers.

Vanessa Phillips rode well all weekend long seeing her take a well deserved 2nd place. In the Rail garden sections Phillips stuck a Front 50-50 and Boardslides moving onto a Cab 180 and Tailgrabs over the kickers.
14 year old Anja Gluch rounded off the podium with her progressive runs featuring 50-50’s through the top sections of the park and Straight Airs over the Bonk and kickers.

Ultimate Ears treated the athletes and resort guests to activations and giveaways throughout the weekend, while Club Med setup an exclusive lounge offering hot chocolate and gluhwein. Zappa Sambuca kicked off the apres ski party on the snow and celebrations went on late into the night with live performances from Lawless Gentlemen and Sutherland, and DJs Black Sparrow and Half n Half.

to read more about the event, visit LWMAG online

#UltimateEarsWinterWhip

2018 Ultimate Ears Winter

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Latest

Local Bucket List

In honour of all our adventurers, here are a few region specific suggestions to ensure you don’t fall into a boredom hole!

Read More »
Latest

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South Africa is rich in ghost stories and haunted places. For those who can’t resist the urge to have their skin crawling and hairs standing, check out these Top 10 Haunted Places in South Africa and feed your horror curiosity this halloween. Perhaps even pay a visit… if you dare

Read More »
Latest

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When it comes to travelling across South Africa, I am definitely a veteran, which I regard as an incredible honour. Although I was born in Namibia, I have lived in the Rainbow Nation my entire life. It is my home, I love it here and I want to see as much as possible. This drive to explore my country makes me reflect on an important matter though. The age of content creation has brought a new dimension on what travel means to us, especially via platforms such as Instagram, YouTube and Facebook.

Read More »
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Within reasonable bounds, I have always been a big advocate for embracing the fact that mistakes happen and that they are a necessity to life that you need to learn how to turn into a positive. Through the last couple of years I have also learnt how to apply this ethic to my travels. Many mistakes were made on my part, which is why I am super excited to share a few tips and hacks so that you don’t have to make them.

Read More »
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Read More »
Latest

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Are you a travel blogger and want to be a part of LocalIsZappa?

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