Hello fam, today on the blog we have a foremost traveller and entrepreneur who believes in seizing the moment. You will love the travel insights from this post so relax and enjoy as we light up your travel imagination.
Hello there, welcome to the Journeyman side of life? Kindly introduce yourself.
My name is Adefunke Gbogboade (Funkeeeeee). My friends call me Gbogbo Swagger (Yes, I have that swaggerlicious aura around me). I run a digital agency called Corona Concepts Intl and I LOVE to TRAVEL! That is definitely why I am here.
So tell us about your latest travel experience?
Woooah, where do I start from? I always love to stop and exhale every year, it helps refresh me and prepare me for the next phase or project. I love South Africa, the people, the culture & their heritage. The news reports tend to focus on the negative aspects but in reality, SA is therapeutic and heavenly. I have visited the country before and I stayed in Johannesburg and Durban but I knew that I wasn’t done yet because there are so many provinces to be seen.
SA also has a lot of places that are high on my travel interest; history, arts & culture, nature, country ambience etc, so I mapped out my vacation and the places I would visit and the things that I will be doing during my stay. Trust me, when I arrived the airport, I knew I was gonna have a swell time and I did. Before travelling, I decided that on this trip I was going to stretch myself and do things I wouldn’t normally do and get rid of all “phobias” and I did just that. My SA experience this time took me to the cities of Johannesburg (again), Pretoria and SunCity.
In Johannesburg, I visited the emperor’s place which was such a beauty to behold. It is a fusion of a casino, theatre, gaming arena, restaurants and entertainment with a “touch of Greece” to it. Inside the palace is a fountain of the sculpted world famous David statue created by Michaelangelo in 1501 & recreated by Angus Taylor. Other sites I got to visit were The Cradle of Humankind; Sterkfontein Caves and Maropeng where I got to see the evolution of man & it was an amazing experience.
I took the boat ride in Maropeng where you get to feel fire, air and water all at the same time. It was so scary that I thought my heart stopped at a point but it was mega amazing. Maropeng shows you endangered species & fossils from some animals that have gone extinct and the evolution of humankind.
Sterkfontein caves was another great experience, I felt like an archaeologist and engineer. I went into the belly of mother earth and I saw amazing things that God created. It was really beautiful underground. I saw the fossils of Mrs Ples and Little foot (Google it!).
I visited the Fourways farmers market which is laid out on open water and you get to try different cuisines, drinks and listen to good music. It has a picnic feel and set-up. You get to meet different people from all over the world, network, be yourself and represent your country. I wore Danshiki (local Nigerian fabric) to the farmers market & it is safe to say that I was the star of the day (Everybody be like, can I feel your clothes?…and I am like, yeah! Touch the helm of my garment fellas).
At the end of the day, I was stuffed! I tried new food (Jamaican, soul food etc), drinks and I had some amazing cakes. At the Croc City Crocodile and Reptile Park, I learnt a lot about crocodiles and reptiles. This is where I got to carry a Nile Croc, a Dumerals Boa and a Mexican Red-Kneed Tarantula Spider. Sounds scary yea? But it was a mind-blowing experience that I won’t forget anytime soon.
I visited the Carlton centre located on the 50th floor which gives you a breath-taking view of the whole of Gauteng from the north, south, east and west.
I visited the Joburg theatre & I was privileged to watch the famous King Kong – Legend of a boxer musicals by the creative Fugard theatre. It was quite an experience as the plot, stage management, cast, music, props, costumes, lighting & ambience all complemented to provide a theatre performance to remember. I visited Maboneng where I got to see the city at night & that will definitely make a story for another day.
In Suncity, I stayed at Kingdom resort & I had a whole load of activities to do at the resort. I got to do my pre-birthday photoshoot (a little vanity is allowed please) & the ambience was one in town. I went to the famous SunCity, visited the hall of treasures, the monkey fortune & the lost city where I navigated the famous maze. Frustration almost got the better part of me but the Lord opened my eyes and I saw a light at the end of the tunnel (the end of the maze). It was the most amazing experience ever and I was super proud of myself. Naturally, I am super scared of heights but I faced my fears and went on the swing bridge, to and fro the lost maze. I did so many activities in SunCity….And it is truly the city that never sleeps (but I slept).
In Pretoria, I went to the famous union buildings, the flea market and Sammy Marks museum where I was privileged to take some pictures in his Victorian kitchen.
I crowned my vacation with shopping, shopping, shopping (no way I was missing out on that). Oh, did I add that I went to Melrose Arch? It is packed with high-end fashion stores and a vibrant cafe culture.
How was the planning process? Getting your visa, tickets, hotels etc?
I had a valid visa, so I didn’t have to reapply to get a visa. I got a mind-blowing discounted ticket from @SehembzTravels. They were very professional and helped with all my travel plans from start to finish. I also booked all my accommodation in Joburg, Suncity and Pretoria through them and I received reminders before, during and after my trip and all I had to do was swipe my card and look pretty for the gram. I decided to stay with people because staying in the hotel can get so lonely at times, so I decided to try Airbnb for my Joburg and Pretoria stays. They picked out the family/houses, checked all the reviews/logistics and I ended up making new friends. It was truly home away from home. I recommend them any day, any time!
Wow! Airbnb! That was a bold one because you were travelling alone. Did you have any fears of sharing a house with strangers (who would later become friends I presume)?
My Airbnb hosts in Joburg & Pretoria were amazing. I stayed with a family in Joburg who were very warm, friendly and wonderful. They had a very friendly dog and despite the fact that I hate dogs, I found theirs to be an exceptionally pleasant one. I was always looking forward to its welcome when I got back every day. At first, I was sceptical about staying with strangers but I wanted the human touch other than staying in a hotel all by myself. I reviewed all the options the team from @SehembzTravels sent to me and I prayerful chose the ones I went with and I was glad I did (Prayer is key oh…You can never be too careful).
I also stayed with an amazing host in Pretoria. She had another stay in guest & we immediately hit it off like we have known each other for years. We gisted, had dinner + healthy conversations, watched movies and built a great friendship that is still budding. I hate cats (me & domesticated animals…smh) but her cat was very fluffy, kind and sweet, unlike the wicked cats we see in movies which are attributed to witches et al (Too much African Magic). All in all, my Airbnb hosts provided me with fantastic accommodation and a homely space in serene & secure neighbourhoods.
Earlier, you mentioned that you spoke about how you explored Sun City for 2 days. Can you shed more light on that experience seeing as it is currently a top destination for most Nigerians?
Hmm, Suncity was off the hook! I need to go back and spend 2 weeks to fully explore the place more. My resort had so many activities & I got to meet a couple that is touring 24 African countries and I was like woooow! That is major. You really can’t tell the time in Suncity because you are in a world of your own & if you are not prudent, you can spend all your life savings in that place. The architecture of the place got swags fit for Gbogbo Swagger alone. The food in Suncity is so tasty and yummy and the place literally screams class and class is all you get. After the maze, you get to have a beer tasting with nuts. It’s a reward system but you have to ensure you keep your voucher from the gate if not, you won’t get the reward. There was also a penthouse where you can oversee the maze, chill, gist and network. The music from the hall of treasures was very soothing & it reminded me of Mr Bones. At night, Suncity is simply amazing!!! (You will know when you get there).
I think “fun” is an understatement to describe the time you had in SA. What valuable tips can you share with other travellers who will be exploring SA soon?
Ensure you book your flights early & map out your itinerary. Know how many days you want to spend in each location (if visiting multiple locations), how much you want to spend & the places you want to visit based on your interest (Google Trips is your best friend). Get your accommodation sorted before you travel as booking when you arrive (the Nigerian syndrome) can cost you a lot. You can definitely try Airbnb as it is convenient, affordable and you get to meet new people and make new friends. Just make sure to read reviews & do your due diligence. You get to enjoy good deals and discounts when you plan early. A list of places to visit and how long you want to stay will help you cover more ground and add to the fun. If you have to apply for a visa, ensure you get all your supporting documents and fill your forms correctly. Visas are not as hard to get as some people make them be.
This has been a very insightful experience into your travel adventures in SA. One last word for our readers eh?
A popular quote by Lukas Jonkman says “Fight your fears and you will be in battle forever. Face your fears and you will be free forever.” Trust me life is fun & do your best to enjoy every bit of it.
Whao! I feel like I have been struck by a lightening SA blot! It was such a delightful experience having you on the blog to live your SA travels. I don’t think I will be carrying any Demeral Boa(s) when I get to SA tho…Thank you so much Gbogbo Swagger for sharing your experience on the blog. Definitely can’t wait to hear about your future travel adventures. You can follow @gbogbo_swagger on IG for more pictures from her SA adventure.
If you’ve got an interesting travel story you want to be featured on the blog, kindly email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will definitely be glad to share your story with the world! Baie Dankie!