Meet and Greet with Taryn of African Travel Bird

I’ve met a lot of different people involved in the travel industry and one of my favorite peeps to hang out with is Taryn Cross (she is amazingly funny, though usually at my expense). Not only does she work in the travel industry, but she has just launched her own travel blog called “African Travel Bird“; it’s brand-spanking new but knowing Taryn’s passion for travel, it’s not gonna be long until she’s cranking out quality posts.

Taryn’s new blog is one I have included in my “must read’s” and so I thought I should invite her over and introduce her to everyone here on Durban Day Tours and learn about what makes her reach out for distant horizons and what we can expect from her in the future.

Getting Started

I’ve always said that I live to eat and not eat to live – so my first question to you is, what are your 3 favorite places to get breakfast?

You’re sounding a bit Hannibal Lecter so I’m going to steer away from places that are densely populated with humans. I would have liked to include Farmers Daughter in Howick here but sadly, their doors have closed but just a hop and a skip from there is The Treatery. I favour the outside seating area as the views are amazing! Second, more local, is Cafe Mayfair in Westville Junction Mall, convenient as well as some seriously good grub. Third, and this is a tough one as you’re now limiting me…! I would have to say… Bike and Bean. Yes, the menu is limited but, it’s more for the atmosphere and getting to feel the Durban beat. This place has it in bucket loads.

Your blog site, “African Travel Bird” is really new. What inspired you to start the blog site?

I work very closely with many in tourism and this has opened doors and presented countless opportunities to explore our beautiful country. If you call me on a Friday, I’m generally on the road heading somewhere. I know how fortunate I am and count my blessings every day. It has been a dream to share more on the places I get to visit, and for myself, keep a record in a way for when I’m past the adventuring age. I can look back and say “you’ve been and seen places”. I had bought the domain some time ago (like a very, very long time ago) so the idea has been there for a while but I suppose one could say that Covid gave me a bit of a push. Here I was able to explore and I wanted others to be able to explore with me…share in what our beautiful country has to offer even if they were not able to do so at the time.

I recently chatted to Carmen from “Meandering.co.za”, she’s mad about the Midlands area. How about you? What’s your best day out in the Midlands?

Heck, that’s a hard one to answer as one cannot fully appreciate the Midlands in ONE DAY only! If I had to do a short itinerary I would say first would be a visit to Steam Punk for some coffee (note, one must bring one’s own coffee mug – love this saving the planet attitude), then off to the Nelson Mandela Capture Site obviously. This is not something to be missed. Picnic essentials purchased from The Pantry at Piggly Wiggly, wine from Abingdon as I do like a sip or two of wine and then off to  Craigie Burn Nature Reserve for some downtime and fishing. Do I get to stay the night?  If so, Old Halliwell Country Inn and… there is talk of a ghost that haunts there. I loooove a good ghost story and had my own funny encounter there once when I thought one of the residents was a ghost. That’s a story for another day.

I know your hubby Robby is quite a fan of Landies. What’s it like to be constantly stuck along the side of the road in a Land Rover?

Bwahaha. Aaah, it gives us troubles (just had the carbs rebuilt and now it is in for Pistons and something else there in the engine thingy). So much money gets thrown into the Landy but now having driven it and experienced the joys of road trips, cannot imagine not having the Landy. So every cent is money well spent. When you pass fellow Landy drivers there is hooting, waving, the flashing of lights and perhaps this is a way to say, hey, if you break down, we’ve got your back but personally, I think it’s a strong sense of community who appreciate driving these powerful and iconic vehicles. I have never met a person who does not love the old Landrover.

I remember ages ago when you and I, Liz and Bean hiked the hills of Gwahumbe. Any other hiking or walking sites you can recommend in KwaZulu-Natal?

Palmiet Nature Reserve has great walking trails, it is rich with Flaura, Fauna and the birdlife is next level but, I do advise taking the hike with a guide as you are given a more in-depth look at what a unique ecosystem it is. We have joined Nick Evans on one of his night hikes as well as Suncana Bradley on all things small and crawly. Cannot wait to get back as you learn something new every time.

I’ve often thought that tourism is one of the easiest industries to be in, 99% of our clients are generally in a good mood since they’re on holiday. Do you think this will be the case going forward post-covid?

What did you do to piss the other 1% off? Huh? Must have been something you did as how can you not enjoy what tourism offers here in South Africa?! In fairness, you do sometimes just get that unhappy traveler and not much one can do but, I do think we will be welcoming back travellers who are more weary considering at present we are sitting at number 5 with most infections in the world but on the other hand, I think we are going to be inviting back guests who are going to be grateful to have the chance to experience South Africa as many have had to cancel their plans and many don’t know if it will even be possible to return one day. I have had countless messages from those in the retirement bracket saying this was something they had been planning and saving for, for years, and now… poof.

Let’s say you have a 3 day mid-week break coming up, where are you and the family going to go and why?

Hluhluwe Imfolozi for sure! I never tire of visiting this place. Being so close to the oldest reserve… how lucky am I?! Every visit is different. Like Forest Gump said… “you never know what you’re gonna get”. I like that. The unpredictability of the bush and nature.

You live in the leafy suburb of Westville (used to be known as the jewel of Natal); have you visited the Bergthiel museum?

I have indeed visited Bergthiel and wish more would do so. It is a small museum that gives great insight on how and why there is even a Westville suburb and the people who made it so. Plus, I like the Vintage clothes displayed.  Girls do love Vintage!

Craft markets I think are going to be more popular then ever in the future. Everyone has their favorite market, what’s yours and why?

It would have to be Shongweni Farmers Market. There is something for the whole family, vegans, gluten free eaters, coffee addicts, kids, beer drinkers…the list is long. An entire day could be spent here and, when the season is just right,  the cascading waterfall as you enter the parking is a site for sore eyes.

All Good Things Must End

As normal, I had a million more questions that I could have asked Taryn but then she would get quite annoyed with me, so I’ll have to save the rest for when she comes along as my guests on my upcoming podcast series. If in the meantime you want to know more about Taryn or follow her as she adventures around KZN, then follow her on any of the mediums below.

(Note from Taryn – Hey, you never asked me my best traveling tip?! I am a wealth of knowledge and feel affronted! Readers… set your camping equipment up first before opening the beers/wine!)

Know Any Intrepid Adventurers in KZN

I’m all about sharing the love. If you have a favorite adventurer or explorer that is based in Durban, or heck, even KZN, let me know below in the comments and I’ll get in touch with them. Who knows, you may read about them hear or be able to listen to them in my upcoming podcast series!

About Shelldon

Hi, my name is Shelldon and I'm a tour guide based in the city of Durban, South Africa. For years I've been taking visitors from around the world on trips throughout South Africa. I write about the places I've visited and things I've done.

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