#MeetSouthAfrica with Kash Bhattacharya
Kash Bhattacharya is the kind of guy you would like to have sitting next to you on a long-haul flight.
Chatty, friendly and with a wealth of travel experience, he's a real citizen of the world, an impression that is enhanced by the fact that he has a hint of a Scottish accent (where he spent some time growing up), Indian roots and currently lives on the island of Madeira.
With four years of travelling under his belt, Kash reaches out to other travellers through his blog, BudgetTraveller, which promises to help followers see the world on a shoestring. And his audience is not just 20-something backpackers. With the Great Recession still lingering, he says there are plenty of mature travellers out there looking for a bargain.
Most recently, Kash visited South Africa as part of the #MeetSouthAfrica campaign, which saw 14 bloggers criss-cross the country to a variety of destinations.
For starters, this is how Kash experienced Jozi in 40 pictures and 20 songs.
Tell us a bit about your blog
I set up the BudgetTraveller three years ago to show people how to travel in style on a budget.
On the blog you can find a mix of practical advice and inspiration. As well a guide to luxury hostels across Europe, there is also a cheap-eats guide, plus a newly launched series of 48-hour guides to various German cities and the Budget Travellers’ Bible, a section devoted to money-saving tips such as where to find free concerts, the best deals on foreign currency and pre-paid internet packages.
If you could sum up your trip to South Africa in a sentence, what would it be?
It is pretty difficult to sum up South Africa in a sentence! First things that pop into my head when someone mentions South Africa are: natural beauty and breathtaking scenery; friendly people; excellent gastronomy; and, of course, Madiba.
What was the highlight?
I loved my trip to the Orange River in Northern Cape's Richtersveld, one of the least-visited but most beautiful parts of the country in terms of landscape and scenery.
My personal highlight was the rafting excursion down the Orange River courtesy of Umkulu Safari & Canoe Trails. This was a particularly memorable experience since I do not know how to swim.
Luckily the stretch of the Orange River we were on was in most parts quite calm – so, perfect for beginners who don’t know how to raft. I had the added insurance of a lifejacket and also reassurance from the guides, Jan and Sass. Once I got over the initial fear of water around me, it was actually a lot of fun.
Anything that struck you that South Africa should do better?
Internet connectivity! It was a bit of a struggle in most places we visited. I think this is one area that hopefully South Africa will improve on in the years to come with better bandwidth.
What was your favourite image of the trip?
Hot-air ballooning at sunrise over the beautiful Magalies River valley, drifting above abandoned gold mines and antelope (see below). It was an amazing, once-in-a-lifetime experience.