David Fleminger is a travel writer, director and photographer working in various aspects of the media industry for the last 25 years. He has published 9 books on Southern Africa that mix historical narratives and practical travel information in a humorous and accessible package. Despite being a born-and-bred Joburger, David acknowledges that his beloved hometown is an excellent place from which to take a holiday.
How did you fall in love with travelling? My passion for travel began as a child when my family would pile into a motorhome and drive around South Africa for our December holidays. There is just no better way to see a country and these journeys really ignited my love of nature, landscape, local culture, big skies, and the open road.
What kind of traveller are you? I’m a big fan of extended road trips and have been known to turn a 2-hour drive into an 8-hour epic (sometimes to the great annoyance of his passengers). I also like to know something about the history of the region I’m exploring and enjoy visiting the real locations of historical events so I can see for myself what happened where and why.
What’s your travel philosophy? Take your time. Don’t just race to your final destination. Every small town or roadside attraction offers something of value, so slow down and explore as you go. Also, do some research – even if it’s just asking locals for their recommendations. A featureless town or road can really come alive if you have a bit of inside info.
What are your top travel essentials? I never leave home without my DSLR camera, hiking boots, a kikoy (sarong) or two, and my ‘squashy hat’ from Australia. A backgammon board and emergency supply of teabags are also good to have. For car-snacks, I enjoy munching on chicken biltong and raw almonds.
Where was your most memorable trip? There are so many incredible destinations in southern Africa: the Cape, the Swartberg, Kosi Bay, Lesotho, Namibia. But my most memorable trip was driving along the Icefields Parkway through the Canadian Rockies. The postcard-worthy vistas literally made me gasp and the walking trails are among the best in the world. Just a sublime experience.
How has travelling changed your life? Travel has made me aware that there are people living everywhere – each with their own reality and backstory. So, it reminds me that there is a whole world outside my small suburban window and this, combined with a historical grounding, helps me maintain a balanced and flexible perspective.
When the world starts to return to ‘a new normal’ what’s your first travel destination on your list? The Drakensberg is my happy place (I prefer mountains over the beach or bush, if I had to choose). So, as soon as we are able to move around again, I’m heading straight to Injisuthi rest camp, deep in the Central Berg, for a good long walk! Internationally speaking, it’s a tie between New Zealand and Peru.
Best travel advice you can share? Slow down. Ask around. Respect the locals. Have a positive attitude. Be open-minded and enjoy the moment you’re in.