Africa Travel Week

Let the journey unfold

Meet Mandisa Magwaxaza 
whose name means to bring growth and joy; Mandisa does this by articulating the essence of how people connect with places.  

As Eastern Cape Chapter Chairperson at SATSA as well as the owner of a business offering writing and digital marketing expertise, Mandisa is a busy lady, especially being a mom of two. If you didn’t think this was enough to fill her schedule, Mandisa teaches Xhosa in group classes in her spare time. Her favourite self-care ritual is making DIY face masks using things from the pantry.

Where did your love for travel start? 

There was a time in my life when my grandmother was the best-travelled person I knew. Being a few years old, I thought the various towns and farms she visited across the Eastern Cape were the breadth and length of the universe. I soaked up her stories about the lives she encountered, the food that impressed her, and the gatherings in which she seemed to find new belonging. My grandmother’s stories etched an itch under my feet until my very first bus trip to Oudtshoorn. A place of earthy wonder that I still love today. 

Why do you enjoy working in the industry?  

The travel and tourism industry is one of my great loves because it grants access. It has granted me access to lives and lifestyles outside of my comfort zone, just as it does for everyone who travels and works in travel. 

What is your favourite destination/place to visit and why?  

My favourite destination is Tsitsikamma, simply to lose myself in the beauty of the forest.  

Tell us about one of your most memorable travel experiences and why it stands out.  

Bumping and bouncing up the Sani Pass to emerge above the clouds shoulder-to-shoulder with arid rock faces of steep cliffs. Staring teary-eyed at stark fields dotted with muddy sheep; eyes wet from the cold wind and contemplating the anomalous mingy sheep. The frozen breeze stung my cheeks and numbed my lips shut. There wasn’t a word I could have uttered anyways; the beauty of being on top of Africa took my breath away. That night my friend and I drank sherry next to a fire in the highest pub in Africa.  

Give us a travel tip you don’t think anyone else gives.. or that isn’t given enough. 

Planning is overrated, just go and let the journey unfold. 

Based on the five senses and thinking about travelling what do you… 

  • Like to see: The Great Rift Valley 
  • Like to taste: Kelewele from the streets of Accra 
  • Like to feel: My arms around a giant Baobab 
  • Like to hear: Paddles slurping across Lake Kivu 
  • Like to smell: The Long Rains kissing the grass in the Serengeti 

Suggestions on resources for other travel and tourism stakeholders. Any websites, publications, podcasts, thought leaders you can recommend or newsletters we should sign up to? – This marketplace is amazing for booking African experiences.  

Tell us something about yourself that no one else knows. 

I love spending time with myself, letting my mind wander or put it to work absorbing new information.  

Lastly, what do you love about Africa Travel Week (WTM Africa) and what you are your sentiments on the evolution of trade shows being part virtual? 

ATW places a spotlight on Africa in an authentic way that gives space for innovation around African travel – I love that! Trade shows have always been a costly partaking, making them exclusive and inaccessible to SMMEs. I believe that this is one of the reasons we have seen a slow pace of inclusion of many SMMEs in the main value chain. I hope that this virtual evolution gives access to many tourism business owners who would have otherwise not been able to make the trips. 

Africa Travel Week

Africa Travel Week (ATW) focuses on inbound and outbound markets for general leisure tourism, luxury travel, LGBTQ+ travel and the MICE/business travel sector as well as travel technology. Shows include: ILTM Africa, WTM Africa, EQUAL Africa, ibtm AFRICA, Travel Forward, Sports & Events Tourism Exchange and African Tourism Investment Summit.