Get some Mojo in your life

 

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If you are living in Cape Town, like me, you will know that we are spoilt for choice when it comes to places to eat, sleep and party. From fine dining eateries, outdoor activities and the winelands…we are lucky to have so much on offer within our reach. I enjoy travelling overseas just as much as I enjoy exploring and discovering hidden gems in South Africa in general as well as Cape Town. Over the years, I have learnt that one does not need bags of money or months of hectic planning to get that much needed break. A weekend away or an overnight stay somewhere close will do you so much good.

I was recently invited to spend a night at the Mojo Hotel in Sea Point. I have driven past the establishment on the main road a couple of times without giving it a second glance. From the outside, it’s just a massive building painted white with blue and white lettering announcing the name of the hotel. I didn’t expect much but I was dying to sleep somewhere with ocean and mountain views.

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The beautiful view was impressive and so was the entire experience. As soon as I stepped into the hotel lobby, I was taken back by the quirky colourful art and decor…this cheered up immediately. I love colour, art and beautiful spaces and Mojo Hotel quickly ticked off the right boxes.

I spent the night at the three stories executive crash pad. Yes, you read right, three stories complete with a chic winding staircase. The view from the third floor is breathtaking, there is the Lion’s Head mountain in one side and the season the other.

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The location is ideal as well. You have a choice of relaxing in their rooftop area while enjoying the views, chilling indoors watching TV, there is a flat screen TV on every floor. They also have bicycles on offer (first hour free, rental thereafter)for  exploring the area, or like me you can take a walk to a nearby restaurant for a meal. There is quite a variety along the strip offering affordable and good food.

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The Double crash pad (Sleeps 2)

The room was clean and super comfortable…the bed is beautifully put together that I didn’t want to ruin it. I had a good night after having three cups of the complimentary tea. Also a bonus is their high-speed wifi…now you know how important that is;-) deluxe-studio-sea-view

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The hotel was recently featured in Plascon Spaces – https://www.plasconspaces.co.za/colour/a-look-inside-sea-points-funky-mojo-hotel/

Quick info: Mojo Hotel is a new hotel situated between Beach Road and Regent Road in Sea Point. They offer a mix of spacious hotel accommodation and compact pod hotel rooms at affordable prices, in a central location with a sea and mountain views.

In addition to 25 hotel rooms and studios, their 22 crash pads introduce Cape Town to the global concept of pod or capsule hotels where small compact designer rooms are offered at low prices.

 

On Offer:

·         10 Single crash pads (Sleeps 1)

·         12 Double crash pads (Sleeps 2)

·         3 Double Terrace (Sleeps 2)

·         9 Deluxe Studios (Full and Partial Sea View) (Sleeps 4 or 6)

·         5 Studios (Sleeps 3)

·         6 Family Rooms (Sleeps 4 or 6)

·         2 Standard Studio (Sleeps 3) wheelchair friendly

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Visit their website and book your stayMojo Hotel

+27 (0)87 940 7474
E marketing@themojohotel.com
W www.themojohotel.com
A 30 Regent Road, Sea Point
Cape Town, South Africa

The pictures were supplied by the Mojo Hotel.

Connect with me: Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat: @Nontando58 

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Celebrating Tourism Month

Archery in Parys

Trying my hand in Archiery at the Real adventures place in Parys, Free State province. Picture:Paballo Thekiso

My first road trip was with three of myvfriends. We planned the trip from Durban to Cape
Town in three months. We were young and carefree. We divided the trip into two parts with an overnight stay in Knysna.

For dinner we ate sushi for the first time, in a restaurant by the harbour. This was followed by a late night of drinking at the bar at the backpackers’ where we were staying before stumbling to our four-bunk bedroom in the early hours.

The next morning on the road was rough, we were tired, hungover and excited at the same time about reaching Cape Town. We arrived just before sunset at the Green Elephant backpackers in Observatory, our home for four nights.

The staff welcomed us with open arms and we formed friendships that are still alive today. We spent the days sightseeing in the CBD, shopping at the V&A Waterfront, sipping cocktails in Camps Bay and driving up Signal Hill.

2. Quad Biking in ParysPicture:Paballo Thekiso

The nights were spent playing pool in Lower Main Road Observatory and club-hopping in Long Street. Without realising it until the last night, we had spent most of our petrol money. Our parents came to our rescue, but not before scolding us for our irresponsible
behaviour. Memories from that trip remain fresh in my mind.

What made the trip extra special was we managed to save the little money we had at the time for an adventure that would see the four of us bonding… we learnt a lot about each other during the long drive in a small Corsa.

“I would like to think this trip ignited a lust for travel in each of us”

Since then, the four of us have travelled extensively in South Africa, as well as in Europe and the US. Contrary to what some might believe, one does not require a fat bank balanceto be able to travel, be it local or international. However, some saving and smart planning is key.

Common sense goes a long way. For example, buying a plane ticket a few months before you travel will be cheaper than booking the flight the day before you are due to travel.

In the past, I have taken the Greyhound bus to Durban to visit my family and overland trucks to Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe and Namibia for holidays. The experiences are priceless.

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Queening with the BaSotho women dressed in their traditional wear called Thebetha

“Venturing out of your comfort zone and learning about other people and cultures will teach you things about yourself and the world you won’t find in a textbook”

 

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Enjoying a sunset cruise on the Vaal River. Picture by Paballo Thekiso.

One of my favourite Sho’t Left (domestic travels) trip include a visit to Joburg where I caught up with friends and family. On a recent trip there I spent a weekend in Soweto, which is home to some of South Africa’s world famous names, such as Nelson Mandela, and is known for history changing moments such as the 1976 Soweto student uprising.

During my stay there I visited the Mandela house in Vilakazi Street, a buzzing street lined with restaurants and cafés… a not so common sight for a township. There is an electrifying energy that hangs in the air that when I left, I felt empty .

Recently I paid a visit to my home town, but opted to stay at a hotel in the city centre instead of home as they were busy renovating. I saw Durban through the eyes of a tourist for the first time and I became one.

I visited art galleries, museums, took long leisurely walks on the beachfront promenade and discovered cafés where I spent hours watching people. I returned with a new-found appreciation for the city where people have no whims about striking up conversations with strangers. I realised how much I missed this simple act of ubuntu (human kindness) that is still alive there.

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Last week I spent a week in the Free State visiting several towns. It was my first time there and I experienced a number of firsts. I learnt about towns I never knew existed, such as Vredefort near Parys.

I quad biked, I tried my hand at archery and went river rafting on the Vaal River. All these sporting activities were never on my to-do-list of fun things while on a holiday before this trip.

1. L-R Liam Joyce and Nontando Mposo river rafting in the Vaal RiverLiam and I slaying. Picture:Paballo Thekiso

September is tourism month, an annual celebration focusing on the importance of tourism for the economy. The theme for this year is Tourism For All: Promoting Universal Accessibility.

It aims to encourage everyone to explore and rediscover our country. So, round up a group of friends or family for a Sho’t Left somewhere.

Visit:www@shotleft.co.za for more travel inspiration. 

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Connect with me and follow my adventures on Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat @Nontando58. 

This feature was first published in the Cape Argus on September 2016. 

 

Wide-eyed in New York City, the city that never sleeps

The view of the city from the Brooklyn Bridge

The view of the city from the Brooklyn Bridge

Hunger pangs at 3am in New York City? No problem

IT’S 3AM in New York City and we are on a mission to find a halaal food truck. For some reason, as it is not a dietary requirement, my brother-inlaw is insisting on halaal food. Leaving Webster Hall, one of the city’s biggest nightclubs, in a taxi, we stop at the first food cart we come across on 11th Street. It happens to be halaal. The food truck has a variety of food on offer, from chicken and basmati rice to hot dogs. We settle on lamb biryani and lamb pita. As we make our way to Brooklyn, our home for the duration of our vacation in New York City, our driver, a Jamaican, tells us halaal food trucks that sell cheap and authentic food are a city staple.

During the 15-minute drive, he explains how he and his younger brother came to the Big Apple with dreams of making it big in the city. His job is not the best but it pays the bills and has supported his family back home over the years, he says. During our stay we meet more people like him, who left their home countries in pursuit of the American Dream. Some arrived with just a few dollars in their pockets, others are working more than one job to survive.

View from the Brooklyn Bridge

View from the Brooklyn Bridge

NYC’s diversity is impressive; it’s a melting pot of nationalities from all corners of the globe. During a short subway ride you could hear myriad different languages spoken.

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Everyone walks with a purpose and you can feel the super-charged energy in the air. They walk faster, dashing from one subway to the next. The streets are busy and the subway is packed, day and night. This is why NYC is referred to as “the city that never sleeps”.

$1 pizza at Times Square

$1 pizza at Times Square

When the sun dips low in the sky, the streets get busier. Grocery stores that are open for business 24 hours a day are on every corner and most of the nightclubs are open until sunrise every day of the week. From Harlem to Manhattan, there is always something to do.

We spent three days exploring this beautiful city, navigating our way using
the subway and on foot. Most New Yorkers don’t drive as traffic and parking are a nightmare. The subway is affordable, reliable and runs 24 hours a day.
Our subway rides were made more pleasant by impromptu “subway acrobats” – breakdancers and beatboxers performing daring dance moves by spinning, flipping and pole-dancing among us passengers for a quick buck. Although the police are clamping down on subway acrobats, the culture is still very much alive.

Subway dancer

What to do
1. Sample as much of the street food as you can: the food trucks and carts are dotted all over the pavements. They offer anything from Mexican falafels, pretzel dogs to duck shwarmas and pizza. The portions are big and tasty at a cost of around $5 (R60) per meal, including a soda (cooldrink).

$1 pizza Times Square

2. Visit the breathtaking Brooklyn Bridge: connecting the boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn, the 486.3m-long bridge over the East River is an impressive sight. The views of the city from the bridge are amazing too, and the Statue of Liberty can be seen in the distance. It’s also a hot spot for pedestrians and cyclists.1

3. Visit Times Square: this is the busiest square in NYC, known for its flashing electronic billboards, Broadway theatres and cinemas. The square is a one-stop hub for shopping, dining and entertainment, and you will be able to grab a bite to eat at the $1 pizza slice place or at one of the world’s biggest McDonald’s, three-storeys high.

Times Square

Times Square

Times Square

4. Escape the city noise by visiting Central Park in the middle of Manhattan. Spend a peaceful day roaming the Towers. Spend time in Manhattan; there are impressive skyscrapers and architecture to admire in the area.

skyscrapers borough of Manhattan

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6. Head to Chinatown, Manhattan, for some bargain shopping and good eateries. Located next to Little Italy, here you will find restaurants representing the provinces of mainland Hong Kong and China. Be prepared to bargain for everything, from designer bags to watches – which can be knock-offs.

Little Italy

Little Italy

*Visit Central park and spend the day grounds, gazing at the fountains and
admiring the flowers.

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5. Visit the 9/11 memorial and museum located at the site of the former Twin Towers.

9 11 memorial

Food trucks Food Truck New Image 13 New Image 11 New Image 2 New Image Manhattan

This feature was first published in the Cape Argus on May 26 2015