I’VE BEEN INTERESTED IN BACKPACKING FOR AS LONG AS I CAN REMEMBER
AVID backpacker Trevor Chomumwe is one of the few people who have been touring South Africa in the middle of a pandemic, trying to learn how Covid-19 has affected tourism and hospitality businesses.
“I have been interested in backpacking for as long as I can remember. There’s nothing like carrying everything you need to be self-sufficient on your back while absorbing picturesque views and immersing yourself in a completely new place. While some skills are needed to keep yourself safe, you don’t have to tackle something out of your first outing. That’s the thing about backpacking, it can be as strenuous or as leisurely as you make it,” he said.
As a person who spends most of his time travelling, Chomumwe is adamant about teaching people how to travel safely and cheap. He said people should do away with the misconceptions that hostels were dirty.
“As long as you clean after yourself and respect other people’s property, hostels are the best thing ever,” he said.
For first time backpackers, he suggests starting in your city because it's “cheaper”. However, before you make that decision, make sure you research the place you plan on visiting and work on a budget.
“I plan trips around how accessible the public transport is, to the accommodation, attractions and other things I want to try in the destination. I try to utilise the local visitor centres to get information as well as asking people on the street. Also, Google doesn’t know everything so ask people on the ground,” Chomumwe recommended.
For him, the best locations in South Africa to plan a backpacking trip are Cape Town, anywhere on the Eastern Cape Wild Coast, Alexander Bay and Magoebaskloof.
Urban Hive Backpackers on Long Street is among the best places he stayed at.
He plans to explore the coastal villages of Noxova, Lwandile, Tsweleni to learn how rural tourism had been affected by the pandemic. He also intends to document and share things to see and do, places to stay, and so much more.
Chomumwe’s top five tips for a successful backpacking trip:
• Be flexible. Things will not always go as planned.
• An extra mask will save your life.
• Cheaper doesn’t always mean better. There are hostels for every price range.
• Download the area you are exploring on your Google Maps app. The mobile connection will disappoint you when you need Google Maps. offline for when you.
• Pack light. You don’t need all those towels.
Chomumwe’s top five items he never leaves out when packing