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Around the world with… Lynette Botha

The first in a new series, focussing on travel insiders’ favourite places, travel tips, secret spots and more (all answered in twenty questions), starts with, well, me…

  1. I travel because… I started travelling late. I went overseas for the first time in my twenties. There is so much to see and do and learn and taste and photograph. There’s so much to explore and so much yet undiscovered. The thought of travel – not even the act itself – gets me giddy with excitement, makes my eyes light up, makes me feel alive… that in itself tells me I need to do more of it. It awakens something in me that nothing else does.
  1. I write about it to… remember, to inspire, to inform, to show, to guide, to share. And because I love to write.
  1. The last place I visited for the first time was… Australia. Only Melbourne and Sydney, but they reminded me a lot of South Africa. A speedier, shinier, newer version. Maybe SA in a few decades time. Melbourne in particular felt like a mix of Cape Town and Jo’burg to me. The highlight was seeing my bestie in Sydney and eating at George Calombaris’ (from Masterchef Australia) restaurant, Gazi. Oh, and Country Road on every corner.
Gazi Melbourne

Gazi Restaurant, Melbourne

Shangri La Sydney

View of Sydney harbour from the Shangri-La

Sydney

Sydney sunset

  1. The place I’ll return to again and again is… well now that I live in the Seychelles, Cape Town is most definitely the place I’ll return to again and again. If I’d been asked this question a year ago, the destinations would be reversed.
Sunset in Hout Bay, Cape Town

Sunset in Hout Bay, Cape Town

  1. The most luxurious place I have ever stayed at was… this would be a toss-up between the Four Seasons Hotel George V in Paris and the Four Seasons Resort Seychelles – both extremely luxurious but in different ways. In the former, dryers to speed-dry your swimming costume in the gym and complimentary Bulgari toiletries, for starters. In the latter, people who walk down the beach with a chamois to clean your sunglasses while you lie on a sun lounger on the beach and the most exquisite sunken baths in the villas, with 180 degree sea views…
Glass of champagne at the Four Seasons George V in Paris

Glass of champagne at the Four Seasons George V in Paris

Best swing in the world?

Best swing in the world?

The location of the Four Seasons Seychelles

The location of the Four Seasons Seychelles

  1. The dodgiest place I ever went to was… a backpacker in Kuta, Bali. Bed bugs, dodgy bathrooms and just pretty damn revolting. The first and last time I allow the other half to take charge of accommodation bookings. I can do adventure, I can do ‘budget’, but I can’t do dirty.
  1. If you’re on a budget travel to… Lambert’s Bay and stay on Muisbosskerm Farm. Muisbosskerm is an open-air seafood restaurant in the middle of the dirt road between Eland’s Bay and Lambert’s Bay that serves up the freshest, most delicious seafood, buffet style, under the stars. Save space, as just before all the seafood has been devoured, the farm lamb ribbetjies are brought out, followed by the koeksisters en koffie. But I digress; the owners’ farm is opposite the restaurant and has a two-man cottage, with understated but modern furnishings, a little balcony, indoor and outdoor braai and a great bath. No TV, but you won’t need it. Well-behaved dogs allowed by prior arrangement.
Muisbosskerm Farm Cottage

Muisbosskerm Farm Cottage

Muisbosskerm Farm Cottage

Muisbosskerm Farm Cottage

  1. My favourite hideaway close to home is… Fisherhaven, near Hermanus. My mother-in-law owns a wooden cabin right on the estuary, where wild horses walk in front of the garden in the morning (and evening). It’s like a little lost corner of the world, where nature is in abundance and it feels untouched by the outside world. The sunsets are outstanding. I also adore Greyton – everything about it.
Fisherhaven

Fisherhaven

Cottage at Fisherhaven

Cottage at Fisherhaven

Greyton nature

Greyton nature

  1. The top five places I’ve travelled to are… I loved everything about Bali, even though I only explored a small part of it – the nature, the culture, the people, without a doubt my best holiday ever. Duma Manzi Eco Lodge & Spa in KwaZulu Natal – where wild animals roam freely in between your luxury chalets. Tintswalo Atlantic at the foot of Chapman’s Peak – possibly one of the most outstanding locations for a proposal. And a meal. And a sunset. The One&Only Le Saint Geran in Mauritius – the height of luxury and the massage in the middle of a tropical garden is still one of my best spa memories. Paris; how could I forget. The cafés, the people, the style, the cobblestones, the beauty, the bread, wine with lunch being the norm…
    Ceramic Bhuddas at a store in Canggu, Bali

    Ceramic Bhuddas at a store in Canggu, Bali

    Journalling at a sidewalk cafe in Paris

    Journalling at a sidewalk cafe in Paris

    The gardens of the One&Only Le Saint Geran

    The gardens of the One&Only Le Saint Geran

    Sunset from Tintswalo Atlantic

    Sunset from Tintswalo Atlantic

    Duma Manzi Eco Lodge & Spa

    Duma Manzi Eco Lodge & Spa

  2. Places I hope to visit this year… seeing as I’ve just moved to an island and started a new job, I’m not sure how much travel time I’ll have. I’ll most certainly be exploring the other islands of the Seychelles though – Denis, Praslin, Silhouette, Fregate, Cousine, Bird, maybe even Desroches. Other than that, a trip home to Cape Town would be heaven, and possibly a sneaky mid-year trip to Ireland. Who knows? I’m letting the universe decide on my behalf.

    Paradise found

    Paradise found

  3. One of the best-kept secrets is… Welgelegen Hotel; as the website claims, an urban sanctuary in the heart of Cape Town – and that is truly what it is. Located at the end of a quiet, leafy cul-de-sac, you’d never guess that you are a five-minute walk from bustling Kloof Street, in the centre of town. And the breakfasts are something to behold. The owner is extremely hands-on – and it shows. Even if you live in Cape Town, it’s so worth a sleepover.

    Welgelegen Hotel

    Welgelegen Hotel

  4. Best meal I’ve ever had was… this question has baffled me the most. I adore food. It’s what I think of morning, noon and night. And in between. I have eaten many amazing meals in many diverse places. I’m not sure I can answer this. Although I’d give an arm and a leg for my mom’s roast chicken and roast potatoes – so maybe that’s it?
  5. Best bar I’ve ever been to was in… Syndey, on the roof of the Shangri-La Hotel. And while we’re in Aus, the bar alongside The Sydney Opera House, (Opera Bar) is pretty outstanding too.
  6. I’ll never return to… never say never, but I wasn’t all that taken with Kuta.
  7. Five things I can’t travel without… laptop, phone, camera, sun cream, happy heart.
  8. What I miss most when I travel… I have made it my mission to generally get my family to travel with me whenever possible – so if I’m not missing them, it’s only the pets that I’m sad to leave behind.

    Family on Hout Bay beach

    Family on Hout Bay beach

  9. My best travel moment ever was… at Oazia Spa Villas in Canggu, Bali. In this instance, the “moment” in question was the entire two-day stay. From being upgraded to a two bedroom villa on arrival; a couple’s massage in the dark; a pool surrounded by candles and a private chef whipping up a seafood barbeque for us in our villa on Mr’s birthday, to the exquisite furnishings, views out over rice paddies and the most welcoming service and attention to detail from the hosts and owners, this is possibly one of the best places I have ever stayed. I would return in a heartbeat. (I wish I could).
    Understated luxury at Oazia Spa Villas

    Understated luxury at Oazia Spa Villas

    The entrance to the villa

    The entrance to the villa

    Private villa pool and indoor / outdoor living area

    Private villa pool and indoor / outdoor living area

    View of rice paddies from the villa balcony

    View of rice paddies from the villa balcony

  10. Advice for those who’d like to do what you do… well, I’m a writer first and a traveller second, I guess. Start where you are; start writing about places in your neighbourhood and surrounds; or write about past travel experiences. Read travel blogs and travel writing – see what sets good writers apart from mediocre ones. Be in it for the right reasons – not for free travel and upgrades, but for a love of travel and sharing experiences.
  11. My favourite travel writer / blogger is… I love the style in which Susan Ward Davies writes about travel and experiences. Twitter: @ELLETravelEd
  12. My top travel tip is… trust your instincts.Twitter: @Ms_LynetteB / Instagram: @LynetteB_

    #JustGo

    #JustGo

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