By CityLife Arts Writer
From swimming with dolphins in Sodwana Bay to dancing to the Jerusalema challenge in Makhanda, the 5Drive team have had an exceptional time during the annual, month-long Heritage Tour In September. The tour took the team on an authentic South African experience, from the Augrabies Falls and The Big Hole in Kimberley in the Northern Cape, to an early morning game drive in the Pilanesberg, finding hidden gems in Johannesburg, Gauteng, and sampling traditional boerekos in Parys in the Free State.
They share their highlights with CITYLIFE/ARTS.
CITYLIFE/ARTS: Tell us about some of the highlights of the places you’ve been to?
Bibi: My highlights are definitely the visit to Giyani and learning more about the Xitsonga culture. Snorkelling in Sodwana Bay was incredibly beautiful, especially seeing so many dolphins!
Nadia: I have so many highlights, it’s tough to choose! I love animals and really enjoyed all of our animal encounters. We have been extremely lucky with what we have seen. For example, seeing a leopard, lions and hyenas during our night game drive in the Kruger Park, visiting a rhino rehabilitation centre and learning about conservation, and having dolphins swim under us while we were snorkelling in Sodwana Bay.
Nick: Everyday brought with it a new adventure. My favourite experiences were doing a night drive in the Kruger, snorkelling in Sodwana and visiting Giyani, to learn about the Xitsonga culture.
Jude: One of my highlights of the tour so far has been swimming in the Indian Ocean and encountering Dolphins in Sodwana Bay. It was a very humble moment of realisation that we all share earth with such beautiful creatures. I was nervous jumping into open water but watching the dolphins brought me the calm that I needed. Sodwana Bay itself is such a beautiful place and a must visit for any South African. Another highlight of mine, because I’m somewhat an adrenaline junkie, was the Graskop Swing. I got to swing in a gorge with a little bit of a free fall, with the most amazing view.
CITYLIFE/ARTS. What have you learnt about SA that you didn’t know before?
Bibi: That each province in South Africa has something beautiful to offer and there’s truly so much to learn & explore in our beautiful country.
Nadia: Just when you think you have seen it all, South Africa always has something more to offer! Also, you can tell if a giraffe is male or female just by looking at its head. If the horns are fluffy, it’s female, if they aren’t, it’s male.
Nick: The tour has been an incredible reminder of the beauty of our diversity. Between the people, places and hidden gems, we live in one of the greatest countries on earth! We should never take that for granted.
Jude: I’ve really learned how beautiful our country is. I’ve never explored the country as I have with the team this month. There are so many things to see and experience. There are also so many things to learn from people you wouldn’t necessarily bump into in the big city. We live in a beautiful country, yo!
CITYLIFE/ARTS. What have your learnt about each other – because this was basically like a month-long team-building exercise.
Bibi: I work with most incredible, kind smart team! Finally getting to broadcast in the same place has been the best! And I honestly enjoyed this tour with everyone and learning more about what sort of adventures the team likes!
Nadia: Jude and I are very similar! Especially when it comes to our eating habits.
And it’s been great to spend quality time with the team, despite being stuck together for a long period of a time, we discovered that we all get along very well.
Nick: I learnt that we made the right choice in putting this team together. Everyone has something different they bring to the party. This is only the beginning of our journey together. We have countless exciting adventures ahead and I can’t wait to share them on the radio with South Africa.
Jude: I’ve learnt that myself and Nadia have similar eating habits. And I learnt that Bibi is not a fan of the Lion King and Disney movies as a whole. I also learnt that I don’t know everything about each member of the team, and it’s been such a treat learning new things about them.
CITYLIFE/ARTS: Tell about your experience travelling during the pandemic and how has tourism adapted to ensure everyone is safe?
Nadia: Traveling during a pandemic has been strange, but also surprisingly easy to adjust to. We’ve stayed in a lot of different places and the travel industry has made a real effort to maintain health and safety standards during this time. I have been very impressed with mask wearing, sanitizing, and cleanliness of venues. We have had our temperatures taken at every venue, numerous times, and sanitiser has been readily available. I’ve felt safe and comfortable.
Nick: I have been really impressed with the safety measures people have in place. Wearing masks and sanitizing is a part of everyday life. South Africa needs the tourism industry and I would encourage South Africans to safely explore the country. It’s so important to invest in what we have right now.
Jude: I have felt safe everywhere we went – we also did our part of wearing masks. Also, on a lighter note, the beauty about traveling with a mask, is that if you fall asleep in the car with your mask on, nobody can take a picture of you with your mouth open – haha!