Our guest nomad for today is Farirai, an Engineer who loves to explore. She runs a blog where she documents her travel experiences. For a long time, we have been following her page on instagram and we love the beautiful page. A few weeks ago, we asked if she could share some travel information with our readers in an interview and she agreed!
In this interview, Farirai shares some of her travel experiences, advice and tips with our readers and we enjoyed reading. We hope you enjoy and pick one or two things from her.
CAN YOU TELL US BRIEFLY ABOUT YOURSELF?
My name is Farirai which means “be happy” in Shona. I was born in Zimbabwe raised in South Africa and currently work and live in South Africa. I studied chemical engineering at the University of Cape Town. When I graduated, I took a trip to Mauritius to celebrate. That was the start of my passion for travel and I have been traveling ever since. I then started my travel blog, Gophari, which I absolutely enjoy running. I love to travel, write, capture travel moments in photos and videos and connect with people on social media. In my free time after work, I manage my blog and on weekends as I have been working as a chemical engineer for almost 5 years now.
WHEN TRAVELLING, WHAT ARE THE THINGS YOU CANT’T DO WITHOUT?
I can’t do without my phone because I love to capture photos and videos of experiences and I love to share them across my social media channels. I also use a lot of apps as references and guides when I travel and I need my phone to access them.
WHAT DETERMINES YOUR DESTINATION OF CHOICE?
Affordability is a major factor! Some places are more expensive than others so I definitely choose the destinations that are easier on the pocket.
I am bias towards African countries. I really would love to travel more in Africa.
YOU ARE AN ENGINEER AND A TRAVELER. HOW DO YOU BALANCE THESE 2?
Since I am working full time as an engineer, I only travel on weekends and when I am on leave. I really have to be disciplined with my leave days in order to maximise my traveling. So I usually only take leave when I am traveling or if I really need to for any different reason. I also make the most of weekends. I travel a lot in South Africa over weekends and long weekends. For example, this year so far, I have only travelled over weekends and have been to Durban, Tsitsikamma, Mpumalanga and Pilanesberg.
AS AN AFRICAN TRAVELLER, DO YOU EXPLORE JUST AFRICAN COUNTRIES?
I call myself an African traveller because I am African and I explore countries across all of the continents though I haven’t been to every continent yet. Distinguishing that I am African to inspire other Africans with travel goals is what I love. I realised that there is power in seeing someone like you doing what you want to do.
PLANNING A TRIP CAN BE VERY STRESSFUL. DO YOU EVER HAVE DIFFICULTY PLANNING A TRIP?
I find it difficult to plan trips when I can’t find good information online. I usually use blogs and people I know to plan a trip to get the most reliable information. When I don’t know anyone in that country or anyone that has been to that country, then it becomes tricky.
HOW MANY COUNTRIES HAVE YOU BEEN TO AND HOW MANY OF THEM ARE AFRICAN?
I have been to 14 countries so far and 8 of them are African countries.
A FEW MONTHS AGO THERE WAS A DISCUSSION ON AFRICAN TRAVEL BEING EXPENSIVE. WHAT CAN YOU SAY ABOUT THIS?
It is unfortunately true. It’s cheaper to travel to some countries in Asia than it is to travel in Africa. I still have a lot more traveling to do in Africa to be able to answer this question well.
ANY HACKS FOR TRAVELING CHEAP IN AFRICA?
The best way to travel cheap is to connect with a local – always! These days that is even easier because of social media. DM a travel blogger from that country and ask for advice. Be specific with your questions.
HAVE YOU EVER BEEN T NIGERIA? IF YES, WHEN AND HOW WAS YOUR EXPERIENCE? IF NO, DO YOU PLAN TO VISIT SOMEDAY AND WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO?
I have never travelled to Nigeria before but I would absolutely LOVE to visit Nigeria one day. I am especially looking forward to eating in Nigeria – the food looks so enticing! Also I am looking forward to the beaches, I really enjoy.
WHICH OF THE COUNTRIES YOU HAVE VISITED IS YOUR FAVOURITE?
Zanzibar is my favourite destination. It is the most beautiful place I have ever seen and naturally beautiful. That’s my favourite type of destination.
WHAT IS THE MOST MEMORABLE THING YOU HAVE DONE ON YOUR TRIP?
I will never forget the first time I went snorkelling. It was during my first trip to Mauritius. I couldn’t believe how beautiful it was under there. It was a moment of amazement and of appreciation of the beauty of the ocean.
THERE ARE TIME THINGS JUST GO THE WRONG WAY. HAVE YOU EVER HAD ANY BAD EXPERIENCE WHEN TRAVELING?
That is so true. I organise group trips for women to African countries. On my first group trip to Mauritius, one of my client’s suitcase was taken from the airport when we landed. This was a horrible start to the trip especially because it was her first time traveling out of her country. Fortunately we were able to retrieve her bag within a few fours with the help of the airport staff. Things do go wrong so it’s just best to be calm and focus on resolving the problem.
WE WATCHED YOUR SKYDIVING VIDEO AND IT REMINDED US OF OUR EXPERIENCE IN NAMIBIA. HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE THE EXPERIENCE?
Skydiving was unreal! I have always been terrified of falling and had always said that I would never sky dive so it was a proud moment overcoming that fear. It doesn’t feel like you are falling. It feels like you are floating. I think that’s because you are so far from the ground that you don’t feel like you are in danger. After doing it once, I would definitely do it again.
TOP 5 DESTINATIONS TO RECOMMEND FOR FEMALE TRAVELLERS?
SOLO OR GROUP TRIP?
HOTELS OR HOSTELS?
UBER OR PUBLIC TRANSPORT?
FINE DINE OR STREET FOOD?
HEAVY TRAVELER OR LIGHT TRAVELLER?
AVID TRAVELLERS HAVE BUCKET LIST. WHAT DO YOU HAVE IN YOURS?
- Gorilla trekking in Uganda
- Surfing at Jefferys Bay, South Africa
- Swimming to breakfast at Bora Bora
- Walking the streets of New York.
- Swimming in Devils Pool in Zambia.
WHERE IS THAT ONE DESTINATION YOU REALLY WANT TO VISIT?
WHATS’S YOUR FAVOURITE TRAVEL QUOTE?
WHAT IMPACT DOES RAVELING HAVE IN SOMEONE’S LIFE?
De-stressing and bringing joy and excitement into your life.
TRAVELLING IS ALL ABOUT LEARNING. WHAT IS THE GREATEST LESSON HAVE YOU LEARNED FROM TRAVELLING?
The greatest lesson travel has taught me is that things aren’t as you think they are. Every time I travel somewhere I have an expectation and a perception of the place based on what I have seen or heard about it. Every single time, my perception is corrected by my experience. And it goes both ways, sometimes a tourist attraction looks quiet and spacious on Instagram only to find that it is crowded and cramped in reality. There are times when a destination gets a negative review only to find that that view was exaggerated or completely untrue.
TRAVEL ADVICE, TIPS OR TRICKS FOR OUR READERS?
For accommodation, use referral links to earn discounts. Airbnb and Booking.com both have referral programs that you can use to earn discounts. You create an account and send your unique link to others. When they book accommodation, they get a discount and you earn credit that you can use to book accommodation. It’s a win for everyone.
For flights, use flight comparison sites such as skyscanner to find the best rates. Skyscanner has an awesome feature that allows you to track the price of a specific flight. They email you when the price goes up or goes down.