Best Travel Camera

The Canon EOS M50 is a versatile, capable and compact, mirrorless camera with 24.1 Megapixel CMOS sensor and DIGIC 8 image processor. Feature rich with a solid feel polycarbonate body construction.


Mirrorless Cameras

Let’s put it in perspective by comparing the new mirrorless technology with existing, tried and tested DSLR (digital Single Lens Reflex) technology.

A DSLR camera uses a series of mirrors to get the image to the optical viewfinder, through which you look when you take the photo. The mirror is lifted, light is allowed to hit the sensor and the photo is taken.

Mirrorless cameras don’t have these mirrors, making them inherently more compact and lighter. Instead of the optical view finder, a digital preview of the photo is shown on the rear screen or electronic view finder (EVF).

Canon and Mirrorless Technology

Canon, being the last among the big names to release a mirrorless camera with interchangeable lenses has substantially advanced the complete package of their mirrorless cameras since the release of their first (EOS-M) in July 2012.

The EOS M50 was released in March 2018, almost 6 years later. The available lenses for Canon mirrorless cameras are limited but this is overcome by the EF-M to EF lense mount adapter without adding much bulk and without losing any functionality.

The M50

Shooting Modes

The M50 has a plethora of shooting modes. The 6 most notable are, Scene Intelligent Auto, Shutter priority AE (Automatic Exposure), Aperture priority AE, and Manual exposure. 

Scene Intelligent Auto mode turns it into a brilliant point and shoot that quickly and effectively adjusts settings to suit most scenes, allowing a complete novice to take great photos while Manual allows you full control.

Electronic View Finder and Back Screen

For the more advanced users, the M50 EVF has multiple overlay options, including a liveview image with full info or a histogram. It is a 0.39-type OLED Electronic Viewfinder with 2,360,000 dots. The back screen is a vari-angle, 7.5 cm (3.0”) Touchscreen LCD (TFT) with 3:2 aspect ratio and 1,040,000 dots.

In my opinion, the EVF and back screen images are good representations of your final photo. I would have missed the convenience of the EFV in low light situations when you don’t want the back screen light-on.

The back screen is a fully articulated, vari-angle type, meaning it can be hidden (turned in), face the front of the camera or any position in between. This allows a user to see the image if they are shooting themselves or have the screen positioned comfortably for interesting shots.

Crop Factor

Something to note is that with crop sensors such as the M50, you have a crop factor of 1.6x. Crop factor is there so we can figure out the actual field of view of a lens based on an equivalent focal length when using a sensor smaller than 35mm (which is the baseline for lenses).

This effectively gives you a telefocal effect on a lense – for example, changing a 50mm to a 75mm. If you will be doing a lot of wide angle photography, perhaps with landscapes, crop factor is definitely worth exploring further.

From my experience with shooting scenery/landscapes and wildlife, this didn’t affect me negatively, in fact, it improved my zoom capabilities. You can easily hold the M50 at arms length with the 15 – 45 mm Canon kit lense and take a group photo.

Video Shooting Mode

One of the major pro’s is the M50’s capability of shooting continuous 4k video at 24fps, Full HD at 60 fps and HD video at 120 fps – giving users the ability to add high speed or UHD footage to projects. If you are of the vlogger persuasion, this, along with the 3.5 mm microphone jack, would appeal to you.

The crop factor does play a role here as the video crop factor is 2.56x. Holding the camera at arms length with the kit lense, filming yourself can crop the edges of your face. This is a definite con because it means to vlog UHD/4k, you will need another lense (some kits do come with a wide angle lense) or you need to switch to Full HD or HD, which reduces the crop to a manageable level.

Not forgetting the usage limitation of the improved Dual Pixel CMOS AF to Full HD and below, 4k having contrast-detection AF, which is not bad on the M50.


The M50 has wireless LAN with dynamic NFC support as well as Bluetooth 4.1 connectivity. Paired with the mobile app you can remotely adjust camera parameters (ISO, aperture, focus points and more), activate camera and download images and videos to your mobile device. I’ve used this feature to take group photos from around 10m away and it worked brilliantly.

There are three connecting ports; HDMI, micro-USB and a 3.5mm microphone jack. Although the micro-USB cannot be used for charging.

Continuous 4k video shooting at 24fps4k video only has contrast-detection AF
Lightweight Adapter required to use many/3rd party lenses (Mirrorless camera tech is new)
Very good image qualityHigh crop factor when shooting 4k video
Adaptable – Hot shoe, 3.5 mm microphone jack, wireless connectivity, HDMI.

When comparing it to some of its competitors among the other big names as well as other Canon cameras, it is extremely competitive among the crop sensor cameras available, it is definitely one of the best. 

Canon M50Canon M100Canon M5Sony a6300Fujifilm X-T20Nikon D5600
Body with basic kit lenseR8,695.00R5,795.00R9,995.00R16,795.00R14,995.00R12,195.00
StabilizationLens IS + digitalLens ISLens ISLens ISLens ISLens IS
EVF2.36M-dotNoNo2.36M-dot2.36M-dotOptical viewfinder
AF system (live view)Dual Pixel w/121 pointsDual Pixel w/49 pointsDual Pixel w/49 pointsHybrid AF w/425 PDAF pointsHybrid AF w/91 PDAF pointsHybrid AF w/39-point PD AF points
LCD3″ fully-articulating3″ tilting3″ tilting3″ tilting3″ tilting3.2″ fully-articulating
Number of control dials113222
Burst speed (with AF)7.4 fps4 fps7 fps11 fps8 fps5 fps
Video4K/24p & 1080/60p1080/60p1080/60p4K/30p4K/30p1080/60p
WirelessWi-Fi + NFC + BTWi-Fi + NFC + BTWi-Fi + NFC + BTWi-Fi + NFCWi-FiWi-Fi + NFC + BT
Battery life235 shots295 shots295 shots400 shots350 shots970 shots
Dimensions (mm)116x88x59108x67x35112x68x45120x67x49118x83x41124 x 97 x 70
Weight387 g (black)302 g390 g404 g383 g465 g

Final Thoughts

This is a versatile, well priced camera that outperforms the more expensive flagship Canon EOS M5. It feels solid and is a serious competitor. Even though it is 4k/UHD capable, it has some, manageable, limitations, resulting from crop factor.


AE – Automatic Exposure
EOS – Electro-Optical System
M – Mobility
AF – Auto Focus

The Phnom Penh Disaster

Out of the 12 cities/towns/villages I’ve permanently lived in while traveling, Phnom Penh was by a million miles the worst – and here is why…

Earlier this year I decided to experience Cambodia while living in Phnom Penh. We started our journey by staying in Onederz Hostel. The hostel was quaint and fairly priced. It’s located next to the Tonle Sap River and there are many attractions nearby.

I was excited to wander around the city and to discover what it was all about. Like many Asian cities, there were massage parlors, street food carts, and motorbikes scattered all around.

We started out slow by walking down Sisowath Quay Road. When you’re a traveler you have to be extremely adaptable – of course, duh. For many reasons, I’ll list below, I couldn’t find myself living or adapting in Phnom Penh. Needless to say, I only stayed for 2.5 months and then I was outta there.

It’s at this point that I have to remind you that Phnom Penh is still recovering from a tragic genocide. The aftermath of the destruction is still evident in its streets.

Homeless cats (with chopped off tails) are roaming around restaurants and bars. Thieves, prostitutes, and drug dealers are active during the day and multiply by night. The infrastructure of the city makes it difficult to walk next to the street (almost no zebra crossings, non-existing sidewalks). To top it all off there’s a constant smell of ‘dead rat’ in the air.

Read my article on the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum to find out more.

Disclosure: This review is only about Phnom Penh and isn’t applicable to other attractions outside of the city or in the country.


You can easily apply for a Visa upon arrival. You will stand in a disorganized bundle and a few officials sitting behind desks are quick to take your money and staple your new visa into your passport – no questions asked.

There are 2 kinds of visas upon entering Cambodia:

Tourist (T) Visa – $30
Valid for a single-entry 30-day stay
Ordinary (E) Visa – $35
Valid for a single-entry 30-day stay with the exception that it can be extended.

Don’t be a dumb fool like me – upon arrival get an ordinary visa – it can be extended to a multiple-entry 1/3/6/12-month visa for an additional $35-$360.

You can’t obtain a work visa with a Tourist visa – ONLY with an E-visa. You’re welcome!

If you enter the country with a Tourist visa (like loose-goose me) you will have to do a visa run. There are cheap $11-$25 bus rides from Phnom Penh to Vietnam/Thailand.

Right before the visa run, we were informed, by expats already living in the city, that doing an overnight run across the border will be suspicious. Officials might turn your request down if they see you going in and out of the country within a day. If you have time to do a 3-day visa run to save some travel costs – do it. If time isn’t on your side opt for a budget flight with Asia Air – $80-$110 return.

If you enter Cambodia on land here are the border crossings:

– Border crossings with Thailand: Poipet, Cham Yeam (Koh Kong), O’Smach
– Border crossings with Vietnam: Bavet, Kha Orm Sam Nor
– Border crossing with Laos: Dom Kralor


After our stay at the pleasant Onederz hostel we wanted to discover another part of the city (since the riverside area was extremely touristy) and booked a week at the Blue Corner Hotel . It would be during this time that we search for an apartment and get settled.

Best Area To Live In for Expats in Phnom Penh

Asking around we discovered that the best expat areas are:

Boeung Keng Kang/BKK1,
Tonle Bassac, and
Toul Tom Poung

Room rental signs will be put outside buildings with vacant accommodation.

Most rental companies will advertise properties to expats that are close to ‘Russian Market’ – apparently this is where it’s at. Because my friend got a job at a school in Tuol Kok we ended up renting a flat there. Tuol Kok is a more residential area and being a stay-at-home writer I would enjoy the quiet atmosphere.


What will you get for $80-$150 p/month? – basically a sh*thole. No Wi-Fi, No working toilet, No TV, bad conditions, No working A.C., extremely small room, and shared space with other renters.

What will you get for $200-$350 p/month? – A small bachelor style service apartment. If you’re lucky you can find pretty decent ones in areas close to attractions.

What will you get for $400-$550 p/month? – A western-style 1-bedroom service apartment with decent furniture and amenities. Perhaps an in-house swimming pool and gym. Working AC, fridge, TV, and balcony.

What will you get for $600-$800 p/month? – A western-style 2-bedroom service apartment in a good area. Rooftop swimming pool and gym area. Working AC, and other amenities.

Do bear in mind that most monthly rental prices exclude electricity, gas, Wi-Fi, and other apartment building services.

In order to rent you need to pay 1-2 month’s rent as a deposit + 1 month’s rent.

Real estate companies – IPS and

Facebook group where private and agents advertise.


Listen up! Phnom Penh is a breading spot for petty theft and scammers. Being used to China’s low crime rate I did, unfortunately, have my guard down and boy did it cost me – $900 to be exact.

I don’t like leaving cash unattended in a hostel or hotel room – not even in a safe lock (I was born in South Africa and know that if a thief wants your money they’ll break through anything to get to it).

Even though I’m extremely embarrassed to share this story – I want to, it might help someone else. Go ahead and read How Someone Stole $900 in 10 Minutes.

Petty theft happens all the time in Phnom Penh. Whether it’s a gang of 4 pre-teens attacking you on the street or motorcyclists grabbing your bag from the Tuk-Tuk – robberies are pretty common.

Take normal precautions and NEVER leave your valuables unattended.


Cambodia’s currency is the riel or KHR. 4,000 KHR equals $1. In most cases you’ll pay in dollars. Bear in mind that when you pay with a $20/$50/$100 smaller vendors won’t have any change available.


No doubt that Phnom Penh is a great place to tickle your taste buds. There are a huge variety of restaurants available scattered around the city. From low budget to high-end, from American to Indian to Thai cuisine, you’ll find it all.

Chat to locals to find the best deals on Pork & Rice. You can pay as little as $1 for a decent bowl of Pork & Rice. Indian cuisine can cost you anything between $4.50-$8.00 per dish. A Thai soup or dish between $3-$8. An all-you-can-eat buffet with seafood and steak between $20-$30. A decent hamburger and chips between $5-$10.

Depending on where you drink you can pay as little as $0.75 for a draft beer or as much as $10. Cocktails, which is usually a Gin fizz, Daiquiri, or something fruity varies between $5-$12.

Recommended restaurants:
Kabbas Restaurant for affordable and delicious Thai cuisine.
Full Moon Steakhouse for delicious all-you-can eat Brazilian meat buffet.
Sonoma Oyster bar for delicious (but pricey) fresh oysters.
Namaste Indian Restaurant for eye watering hot Indian cuisine.


These Grocery prices in Phnom Penh are based on shopping at Aeon Supermarket, corner convenience stores, and Makro wholesale.

Milk (1L) – $2.40
Coca-Cola/Soda (350 ml) – $0.70
(2L) – $2.00
Bottle of Beer – $0.75
Bottle of Wine – $10.00
Bottle of Water (500ml) – $0.50
Chicken Breast (1kg) – $4.00
Cheese – $12.50
Loaf of bread – $1.50
French Baguette – $0.60
Ham – $3
Apples (1kg) – $3.50
Bananas (1kg) – $1.50
Cigarettes pack of 20 – $1.50
Gasoline (1L) – $1
Pack of crisps – $1-$1.50
Candy/Chocolate – $1.50-$3
Extra classes/activities – $10-$30

Go onto for extra specials and promo codes.


Phnom Penh’s weather is first of all extremely humid, stuffy, and hot. A true tropical climate with warm temperatures throughout the year.

The city has 2 seasons: Northeast monsoon season (December to April) and Southwest monsoon season. (May-November)

Expect sunny and dry weather during the Northeast monsoon season, and sudden bursts of rain between the months of May-November (these rainstorms are welcomed as they cool down the warm earth from the day’s heat).

No matter what you’ll be sweaty, sticky and uncomfortably hot throughout your visit.

Salary & Employment

It seems like Phnom Penh is a few steps behind when it comes to employment and how the rest of the world goes about it. Instead of scouting for work online you have to print out your CV and take to the streets. Walking around from business to business you will see that some shops, schools, and restaurants advertise vacancies on big banners on their outside walls.

Employment options in Phnom Penh:

Barlady/Barman – $200-$400
Child care-taker – $500
Teaching English – $900-$1400
University Lecturer – $1,400-$1,800
Higher Teaching Position (principal, HOD) – $2,000-$3,000
IT/Tech/Software developer – $500-$1,000
Project Manager – $1,000-$1,500


The streets are noisy and busy

By downloading the GRAB app you will be able to zip around the city in a Tuk-Tuk. This is by far the most convenient thing in and around Phnom Penh. Look out for promotional codes that you can enter to get a few extra KHR off of your trip. Promotional codes are usually: cheap.

A round trip can cost you between $2-$6.

You can rent your own motorcycle for less than $55 per month. Given you have a safe place to park it at night and a very secure lock.


The Phnom Penh locals are extremely friendly. They are always willing to help, share a story or have a chat. Even though some locals do try to scam tourists, the majority of citizens are extremely pleasant.


I’ve come across Expats who absolutely adore the city of Phnom Penh. Even though I’m extremely adaptable, to me, it was a different experience and it became one city I wouldn’t want to visit again.

Two friends in the desert

What is it Like to Live as An Expat? A Full List of Pros and Cons

Are you considering Expat life? You know, the fantasy of letting go of everything you once knew and embarking on a life-changing adventure by living and working in another country. We all have a friend who has actually done this – I’m that friend.

Chengdu – Wenjiang Park

Naturally, I would be the best person to ask about my experience as an Expat living abroad.

Before I continue, please note – there’s a HUGE difference in traveling to different countries and actually living and working in them. I’ve traveled to more than 15 countries, but I’ve actually only lived and worked in 3.

If you are considering selling everything you own or leaving your job to live the life of an Expat – here is a list of pros and cons.



This would be the main reason why you are considering Expat life in the first place. Because you want to see the world. Being an Expat on a completely different continent will give you the opportunity to visit places you’ve only dreamt of.

Chances are, you’ll meet adventure-seeking individuals, like yourself, and before you know it you’ll be traveling in groups to the seven wonders of the world.


Expats, especially ones with University degrees and special skills, have the benefit of signing contracts with international corporations that pay megabucks.

English teachers are in high demand at the moment. The best persuasion for any foreigner to move to a non-native country is an insane increase in salary.

Example: South Africa’s basic salary for a beginner teacher can be R9,000-R15,000 per month ($620-$1,000). If you were to pack up your teaching degree and head over to a non-English speaking country you can get up to R60,000 per month ($4,000).

Follow my special TEFL certification link to find out more.


You can’t buy experience. Working in another country will not only give you relevant professional experience, but it will also give you the opportunity to grow as an individual.

In the end; experience abroad (no matter if it isn’t in your chosen profession) will give you an upper hand in many future endeavors.

Woman in evening dress on stage with microphone.
Presenting a Motivational Speech at i2 International Institute of Education in China
Cultural Awareness

My most favorite part is encountering different cultures. Experiencing the way other cultures go about their daily routine can be fascinating and frustrating at the same time.

Although you are going to have to adapt to a different way of life, you don’t have to let go of your roots. It’s all about sharing experiences. Have a chicken fromage frais at a French friend’s house and invite them the following week for an Italian dish.

When you are willing to learn and share you will get the most out of your Expat life. Always bear in mind that it’s okay to have a different way of doing things – it’s what keeps life interesting.


There is no shortage of opportunities when living abroad. You will meet amazing entrepreneurs who started doing odd jobs and ended up with a few Airbnbs or restaurants. If you don’t want to own a business you can pick a company where there is room for promotions or transfers.


Family & Friends

The worst moment will be saying goodbye to family and friends at the airport. There’s just no euphemism for the heart-wrenching shatter you feel when you know you won’t be able to see loved ones (in the flesh) for a very long time. You do get used to the feeling.

I have to sneak in a PRO over here – when you do come home for a visit you’ll most certainly cherish time with them even more. Quantity time becomes quality time. With all the social media networking apps available you’ll be able to stay in touch extremely easy.

Traveler's sneakers on floor next to book, travel pillow and backpack.
Goodbye, guys!

Never Ever Ever lie to yourself by thinking you’ll be able to adjust in another country without a dime to your name. Having a decent nest egg available for when you embark on your Expat life is immensely important.

You might have worked out an excellent budget, you might as well throw it out of the airplane on your way. There will always be unexpected expenses waiting for you on the other side. Here is only one reason why…

Unexpected Change of Events

Some countries change their policies as much as I change housing. Which can be quite a lot. You can never be too prepared for a big change in your company’s set up, the country’s visa requirements, or even your living arrangements.

In your own country, you will be used to the government’s way of running things. You’ve learned to adapt quite quickly to your home country’s demands and changes. In another country, things are done differently and it will take some time to get used to.


I can’t think of a week that has gone by, living as an Expat, without someone bringing up the issue of a visa. Yes, working visa, travel visa, resident visa, passport stamps, visa run etc. will all bring you loads of paperwork and migraines.

Not Forever

Even if you decide to become an Expat – it will probably not be a permanent plan. You will see many other Expats come and go. You’ll make friends and you’ll have to say goodbye more times than you will be able to remember.

Putting some thought into why you are doing this and where you want it to lead will be a good idea. Perhaps you fall in love with the country and you stay there forever. Perhaps you’ll travel around to a bunch of different countries until you find one where you’d like to stick.


Yes, this one is on both the Pros and Cons list.

If I had a dollar for every time I heard someone ask me, “Do you even work? It looks like you’re constantly having fun!” Social media is amazing – I won’t post photos of myself typing like a steam engine all the time, no, you will see me splashing in clear Phuket waters or riding on the back of a Dubai desert Camel. And yes, I do work actually. 🙂

You see, chances are that you’ll get the same amount of holiday days as you do now. Traveling will still be affected by when you have some time off and whether you can afford it.

An antique wooden bus, Chengdu, China
Commute to Work in a Wooden Bus, Chengdu

My best friend always said you have to weigh risk and reward. Leaving a career mid-way through, saying goodbye to family, and completely jumping out of your comfort zone – can be nerve-wracking. It can either reward you in ways you’ve never even imagined or it can go completely haywire and you can end up homeless without food and a job (LoL – did I just trigger your anxiety?) There’s actually no way that this new adventure can go awry.

“A life changing experience is never fun in the moment. Only when you look back at what you’ve gone through do you see the value it held. “


If you want to make a drastic change in your life, but aren’t really sure where you should run to – check out to join a 2 week-1 month self-discovery retreat OR contact me, Mel, I might be able to give you some guidance.

How Someone Stole $900 in 10 Minutes

The Happy Ending Massage Parlor That Left Me Feeling Not-So-Happy

During my first week in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, we stayed in the quaint Onederz hostel. My main aim of the visit was to settle in for a year and enjoy Cambodia while working remotely. The hostel was located right next to the riverside and many touristy attractions.

With a heart full of hope, expectation and anticipation we decided to explore all the city has to offer within the first few days. AND then, like an unexpected hernia, it very quickly became one of the worst cities I ever consider living in.

The Discovery

After a full day of exploration, we realized at 11pm that all our $50 notes were exchanged for fake $50 notes. Our cash was securely kept in a Supreme bum bag (AKA fanny pack/belt bag/moon bag), our money was stashed in a velcro compartment, within a zip, within a brown envelope, tied with an elastic.

We needed to take out a $50 note because this specific bar, in Street 130, charged $5 a bottle of beer (we had 4 each). Right next door, at Cheers sports bar, it was $0.75 for a draft. I know – WTF! Apparently beers are more expensive in a bar where there are Cambodian girls thirstily waiting for a rich foreigner to pick them as a mistress for the night.

The older bar lady started yelling ‘not good – not good!’ And so we realized – our crisp $50 bills were stolen and replaced with fake ones – tied with an elastic, in a brown envelope, within a zipped bag, within a velcro compartment.

Finding the Suspects

After a mild (OK, severe) panic attack and a local friend paying our bill we went through our day trying to figure out where our money got switched.

I couldn’t remember one moment where we left our belt bag unattended or not attached to our bodies. Except for when we went for a shower at our hostel. (Yes, I left it on the bed under my pillow – I know!)

We stormed into the hostel and interrogated the hostel staff. We went through all camera footage – conveniently enough all cameras were facing in a direction where you couldn’t see our hostel room door. We assumed that it was a staff member as no one was staying with us in the 4-bed mixed dorm that day/night.

There was no proof that it was any of the staff members so we finally went to bed.

Sleep didn’t come easily and I was shocked at what happened. Considering that an average monthly salary in Phnom Penh is $150 – this was a lot of money. It would cover our first month’s rent, deposit and hopefully a few trips to museums and recommended restaurants.

The reason why we had so much cash on our person was because the exchange rate between the South African Rand and US Dollar were increasing quickly (Politics – topic for another day). We decided to exchange some of our money to dollars while still in SA.

In my mind I was going through our whole day, where we walked, what we did, who we talked to. . .I Googled like a maniac with no result. . . and then two days later a friend sent me this screenshot.


A Massage Parlor with A Sting

Ding-Ding-Ding! Oh, there was a brief 10 minutes of insanity when we wanted to try out a $5 massage parlor on Street 172 – ANGEL SPA. The two ladies, who did quite a lousy job at rubbing us with cheap smelly oils, were acting very strange.

At one point while laying on the bed without shirts on, my friend asked, “Where’s our bag?” I nonchalantly answered, “Don’t worry it’s on the table next to the bed.”

The two ladies were talking and giggling, there were a violent fan blowing noisily on us – it was evident that they had no formal training in giving massages (for the back muscles, at least). Oh, we realized that we were in the hands of two ladies who are experienced in a different kind of massage. This wasn’t something I was interested in – especially not after seeing tailless cats and huge rats running outside the establishment.

After the 8-minute kindergarten back rub we got up. The ladies were standing in the room staring at us, the one started plucking on my clothes while I was getting fully dressed and they were making a lot of noise. Giggling, saying phrases that didn’t make sense, staring and just being overall confusing.

As we exited the facility there was a moment where we just stood there – looking at each other. My friend said, “WTF did we just do?” we laughed and made a point of researching massage parlors who actually give massages and not so-called ‘rubs and tugs’. (GOOD NEWS: we did find an amazing one on the riverside – U & Me Spa).

The devil is loose in Angel Spa

What did I expect? Phnom Penh is filled to the brim with prostitutes and thieves.

The Confrontation

The deed was done. We jumped in a Tuk-Tuk and went straight to the parlor – which was closed! Probably having a jolly good ol’ vacation! We contacted police, but they requested we went to the station. Upon arrival police officers were sleeping and couldn’t really care less.

We asked owners of hostels nearby if this has happened to anyone else, “OH, yes, this is a very common occurrence!” How did we miss this information on expat forms and online?

We took matters into our own hands and waited for the spa to open. We confronted the two ladies but they pretended to be dumb, deaf, and blind. Sick of the whole debacle, we counted our losses and continued on a very disappointing 2.5 month journey of Phnom Penh.

I would regard myself as an experienced traveler. This, rather traumatizing event, has taught me that no matter how experienced you are and how much you research a country before hand, you will never truly be prepared until you are in the location itself.

“As an expat you are never a local in another man’s country – you are always a visitor.”

Wise words from Melonthegogo

Expensive Lesson learned!

Featured Image

Amadeus die Reisiger

Amadeus is an explorer who enjoys jumping into his self-made PlaneShip and exploring the world. The first book of the series follows Amadeus and his best friend Mouse on a journey to Table Mountain.

While flying through rough winds they encounter suspicious seagulls and a red-haired freckled boy named Brett. A few other friendly animals make their appearance. One question remains – will Amadeus ever make it onto Table Mountain?

Amadeus The Explorer is an adventure book aimed towards children aged 6-9. Perfect for young readers and imagination building.

AVAILABLE in Afrikaans Ebook for R40.
English translation is in progress.

Cape Point, Western Cape

A Dad, Two Sisters, and a Baby Stroller

Once you visit Cape Point your life will be changed forever. It’s at this point where life in its pure form (no diddle-daddles) are put back into perspective. Gazing upon the gorgeous mountain range and fauna&flora I realized, yet again, how small I was in comparison.

We started our journey from Paarl, Western Cape. There are three routes you can follow, but we decided on the more scenic route – a gorgeous drive next to the coastline past Muizenberg, Kalk Bay, and Simonstown.

The entrance to Cape Point is marked clearly and if you are reliant on technology like I am, your GPS will take you to the entrance directly.

Entrance to Cape Point


Locals – R76 (with ID)
International Visitors – R303

We struck some luck as for some reason our entrance was FREE – these on-and-off specials only apply to locals. (Great to know my green South African passport gave me some freebies).

You’ll be given a map at the entrance. Routes are pretty easy to follow and there’s no chance of getting lost. The popular stops are Cape of Good Hope and Cape Point Lighthouses.

Look out for:
– Dias Cross
– Da Gama Cross
– Wild Vegetation and Greeneries
– Eagle Eye View of Dias Beach
– Overnight Huts
– Birds
– Shipwrecks
– Whales in Nearby Waters
– Boulders and Pebbles
– Hikers
– Small Animals That Might Be Crossing The Road

Our First Stop – Cape of Good Hope

It’s here that you’ll find The Most-South-Western Point of the African Continent AKA Cape of Good Hope (not to be confused with Cape Agulhas which is further East and marks the most Southern Tip of Africa and where the Indian and Atlantic oceans meet).

This area is surrounded by stones and boulders. A stunning view of the ocean, crashing waves, washed-up seaweeds, and rocks. If you’re lucky you’ll spot seagulls nesting and rock balancing art.

Roam around the area to take gorgeous photos of the grungy cliff and bright blue ocean waters. To the left side of the cliff is stairs and a short hiking path that will lead you to Cape Point.

If you’re like us, you’ll have a baby in a stroller and won’t be able to commute over mountains and rocky surfaces. No worries, we took to the road. A short drive to Cape Point and we were ready to rumble, literally, it’s a steep way up.

Next Stop: Cape Point

Getting to the lighthouse can be easy or difficult. Either you take a comfortable funicular (AKA Tram) ride up or you walk. We decided to walk/hike 238m above sea level.

Adult Return: R70/R80
Adult One-Way: R55/R65
Child Return: R35
Child One-Way: R25

The path up consists of a steep concrete slab path and stairs. About 500 meters into the walk passersby were noticing my sister pushing a stroller. A woman said nervously, “How is she going to get up the stairs?” (My thoughts exactly.)

If there’s one thing I know, it’s that no one in my family is scared of a challenge (in fact, we like seeking discomfort to prove a point that we can master absolutely anything). My sister was literally the only one with a baby in a stroller that day – and boy, was he carried and pushed like a prince all the way to the top.

My sister and the stroller could only go as far as where the funicular arrived. It’s here where the kiosk and curious shop are placed. This spot has a superb view of the Cape Peninsula and ocean. It would be about a hundred steps further to reach the Dias Lighthouse.

This made me realize how unaccessible certain points in the world are for wheelchair-bound individuals. I’ve experienced this greatly through my travels in Asia, too.

Reaching the small platform on Da Gama Peak where the Cape Point lighthouse was built back in 1859 was amazing.

A Little History

The first lighthouse built in 1859, 238 meters above sea level, on the Da Gama Peak didn’t really serve its purpose. Almost always covered in mist and clouds it couldn’t be seen by ships approaching the cliffs. After the Portuguese liner, Lusitania met its fate on the rocks in April 1911. A new lighthouse was built 700 meters South from the first lighthouse at only 87 meters above sea level. And the first lighthouse was shut down.

This would mark my second time embarking on the journey to the Da Gama Lighthouse and I was just as stunned as the first time.

While walking around the first lighthouse you can spot small creatures like lizards, bird species and Dassies.

An older man from England said to his wife, “Look, Honey, it’s a Wombat!” I couldn’t help myself and almost yelled, “DASSIE!” The guy looked at me as if I was doing an indigenous dance. We started up a conversation and I told him that we called the Wombat-looking creature a Dassie.

The South African English name is a Hyrax, if you didn’t know.

The panoramic views of Cape Point are awe-inspiring. The blue sky melts into the blue ocean. Sharp white foam bursts from the water once it hits the rocks down below.


At times weather can be scorching hot with open skies, to cloudy, rainy and windy. Check the weather forecast to be prepared.


Depending on which routes you’d like to go on (walking, hiking, funicular ride) you can spend at least a half-day roaming around the area.


– Sunglasses
– Water and Snacks
– Rainproof Jacket
– Camera, and Binoculars
– Cash
– Comfortable Walking Shoes (and socks)
– Energy
– Walking sticks
– For Wheelchair Users – Assistance (it will be a bit of a hassle, but with some strong friends you can get to the top)

I Had an Epiphany

It’s wonderful to experience a spectacular natural wonder with your family in your own home country. Travelers are usually drawn to jump on a plane and visit different countries and panorama.

I’ve once again discovered that South Africa, regardless of all the politics, is a beautiful country. Our most prized areas are well preserved and maintained.

Locals and tourists can enjoy the beauty that is Cape Point.

If you want to find out more about Amadeus (the cute baby boy in the stroller) – I’ve written an adventure book titled Amadeus the Explorer – Table Mountain that captures his curious and adventurous personality.

Greater Than A Tourist Travel Tips

Western Cape

Are you excited about planning your next trip?  Do you want to try something new?  Would you like some guidance from a local?  If you answered yes to any of these questions, then this Greater Than a Tourist book is for you.  Greater Than a Tourist- Western Cape, South Africa by Melanie du Toit offers a local’s insight to the stunning landscapes, diverse culture, and unique experiences offered by the Western Cape. 

In this guide, you will find exclusive details about different adventures and activities as well as how to locate hidden gems while emerging yourself in the Western Cape culture. Most travel books tell you how to travel like a tourist.  Although there is nothing wrong with that, as part of the Greater Than a Tourist series, this book will give you travel tips from someone who has lived at your next travel destination.

In these pages, you will discover advice that will help you throughout your stay.  This book will not tell you exact addresses or store hours but instead will give you excitement and knowledge from a local that you may not find in other smaller print travel books.

Travel like a local. Slow down, stay in one place, and get to know the people and culture. By the time you finish this book, you will be eager and prepared to travel to your next destination. Get local travel guides for other cities from Greater Than A Tourist.

Get It NOW!


Art Lane Wall Mural

I Painted a Mermaid In Malaysia…

While roaming around George Town, Penang, I spotted a colorful alleyway. My head was twitching while whispering, “You don’t know this place, you might get mugged.” BUT my inner artist was twirling while screaming, “You go in there, guurl, you might get thrown with acrylic paint and glitter.”

I am not going to turn down the chance of getting thrown in the face with glitter, so I entered.

Blue background with the words Art Lane painted on it
Art Lane Entrance. 199 Lebuh Victoria, George Town, Pulau Penang, Malaysia.

I was absolutely amazed by the fantastic works of art that were nestled together on the walls of a 120-meter lane. There were origami birds and wire faces hanging from the ceiling. A wide variety of themes painted in different styles and sizes. Artists from all over the world are featured on these walls.

What Is Art Lane?

It’s basically a community project started by China House – situated around the corner – which has the most delicious cakes you’ll ever stuff your face with, ever!

Collage of murals and artworks featured in Art Lane
Picture by: Rojak Daily

When it first started, Art Lane was open to the public and China House provided them with paints and brushes. After some time the creators decided that they wanted to have some quality control and public access to paints and brushes were halted.

Tourists and locals can view the beautiful works of art during the hours of 9am-7pm. Art Lane is closed at night to avoid scallywags painting over murals.

How Can I Feature On Art Lane’s Wall?

Step 1.1: Dig deep within your soul for an interesting concept
Step 1.2: Sketch an idea

Step 2: Email a proposal to China House (
Step 3: Get their approval and win their trust
Step 4: Meet the manager at their restaurant where she’ll give you some
brushes and paints
Step 5: Find a spot on the wall

Negative space on a wall
Found my spot (had to introduce some color onto this part of the wall)

Step 6: Start painting (and if you’re like me, you would probably forget any form of hydration, and you’ll sweat your toosh off in the hot Malaysian heat)
Step 7: Finish off and eat cake

Rules of Art Lane, Penang: No Profanity. No Politics. Nothing Sexual.

Yes, I know… the end product doesn’t really look like the initial sketch. But, what can I say? My mood took over and I painted with the rhythm of the wall.

Why the green body?” you may ask. Tourists and locals are continually passing by and while I was chatting with a lot of different travelers from all over the world (also painting, also dying of heat, also trying to look somewhat approachable) – I kinda got this idea that I didn’t want to paint a peachy-flesh-colored mermaid. I decided on ‘green’ to try and incorporate individuals from all ethnic background. It also reminded me of a fantasy creature. So, yeah, green!

The whole idea of this 5-hour wall mural was not to reach perfection. It’s a messy mermaid tail with loads of imperfections (Scales, Curvy Hips, Green Flabby Tummy, and Random Color Spots – Perhaps Algae).

Just because: “No one said you had to be a size ‘0’ to be a Mermaid!” We are all beautifully fantastic creatures and we shine in our own magical ways.