2016 was a really busy year for me, and certainly not all fun and games. In between personal commitments and a bit of travelling, I started doing a lot of freelance writing as well.
January was my birthday month so I was spoilt with a stay at the luxurious Four Seasons Hotel The Westcliff. It was especially welcome after my exhilarating but exhausting December 2015 holiday in London, UK and Orlando, USA.
In February, I was too busy with family commitments to go anywhere. I did however give away a Hot Air Balloon Experience For Two which was my most popular competition ever. I also launched my Travellers’ Tales section where travellers from around the world share their fascinating travel tales. Thus far, I have featured over 30 travellers.
I compensated in March by spending an amazing week in Mpumalanga, one of South Africa’s most beautiful provinces. Here I relaxed at the Sabi River Sun, then went on a luxury safari to the exclusive Sabi Sabi Bush Lodge in the Sabi Sands Reserve. I also visited Sabi Sabi's other lodges and wrote about it for A Luxury Travel Blog. I ended my stay with two nights in the mountains at Crystal Springs Mountain Lodge . My article on Venice was published in Travel Ideas magazine.
Over April and May, I was busy with family commitments again. Two of my cousins got married, I attended a Mother's Day High Tea, and a concert and re-visited the Johannesburg Zoo. I also started studying again and did courses on “Blogging and Content Marketing” and “Social Media Marketing” with Shaw Academy. I also adopted a penguin along with a group of other travel bloggers, thanks to the lovely Anje Rautenbach, although I haven't met my baba yet.
In June, I had a local break at Sandton Sun.
July was another busy month. I was pleased to be shortlisted in the SA Travel Blog Awards in the Best Photographic category and was awarded a nifty TomTom Bandit camera. American Tourister gifted me with two beautiful BonAir suitcases and became my main luggage brand for my travels. Then it was school holidays again and this time, I revisited South Africa's KZN coast after 3.5 years. We covered the bush and coast, and visited Tala Game Reserve and Gwahumbe Game and Spa in the Camperdown area, and Selborne Golf Estate and Margate on the South Coast. I also visited the Beaver Creek Coffee Estate in Port Edward to see how coffee is made, and the Mandela Capture Site in Howick, to reminisce about Madiba.
In August, a simple write-up about a new online passport application process - that I wrote in a jiffy - while applying for my kids passports, became one of my most popular articles ever. I also reviewed Cilantros, a trendy new eatery in Nelson Mandela Square, Sandton. I wrote another article for A Luxury Travel Blog On 6 Unique Things To Do In Mpumalanga.
In September, I stayed in Pilanesberg Game Reserve for the first time, at Kwa-Maritane Bush Lodge. I ended the month in the glorious Madikwe Game Reserve, experiencing the Starbeds at Jacis Safari Lodge and Madikwe Safari Lodge.
In October, I had a brief sojourn in Cape Town where I stayed at the Taj Hotel. I did part of the return journey on the prestigious Blue Train .
In November, I was swamped with work and the kids were writing exams so I didn't get to travel. Emirates invited us to a family event and Huffington Post SA invited me to their South African launch, where I got to mingle with celebrities. I drew up my bucket list and my reverse bucket list.
In December, I got to tick Amazing Thailand off my bucket list and visited Bangkok and Phuket. Although I came back with a tummy bug, I've got tons to write about this beautiful country. Be sure to subscribe to the weekly mailing list and get an email with updates once a week.
Other popular features I wrote this year were:
Disclosure: Although some of my travels have been sponsored, all opinions are my own.
Things you must do in South Africa