Content creator’s new travel show inspires viewers to explore Mzansi

Thobi Rose explores South Africa’s hidden gems with friends. Picture: Instagram

Thobi Rose explores South Africa’s hidden gems with friends. Picture: Instagram

Published Apr 10, 2024


Born in Newcastle, KwaZulu-Natal, Thobeka Mthembu was destined to travel and explore. The full-time travel content creator revealed that her love for travel stems from her parents who made it their goal to travel with their children from a young age.

“I’ve explored South Africa from a young age and when I finally could afford to do it with my own money, I did it. From taking a bus to Cape Town with friends, travelling with my sister and more, the need to travel and share it began,” said Mthembu.

Reminiscing, the wanderlust traveller said it began on Facebook when her sister bought her her first camera and they used it to create content for Instagram and YouTube.

“I knew that there weren't many people who looked like me who were sharing travel, especially within our continent and I wanted to fill that gap. It’s now been 6 years since I left a career in production as a senior content producer to educate, inspire and share my love for travel with the rest of my country and the world,” said Mthembu.

Thobi Rose the host of ‘Sweet Escapes’ on YouTube. Picture: Instagram

How did you get into travel or when did you decide that you want to travel full time?

I’ve always had the travel bug, I have vague memories of my first road trip to Mpumalanga with my family who were in my eyes “creatives”.

Whether it was my uncle with his video recorder asking us questions about animals we saw or my grandmother who always had a camera around her neck when we would have family gatherings, I’ve always been a very talkative and creative child.

Travelling was an escape and we always looked forward to my dad telling us where we were going and what activities we could do.

Looking back, I’ve always been who I currently am. When I knew I could incorporate the lifestyle elements and earn from travelling, my goal was to do it full time and I’ve done that for six years now.

What are some of the challenges as a digital content creator?

The biggest challenge is to be paid what we know we deserve. Brands in South Africa are lagging in understanding what the digital landscape can actually do to grow your brand.

We also face challenges such as receiving briefs late and not knowing enough about the business of content – whether it’s about taxes, how to create an invoice, among others.

These are things I had to learn as I grew in the industry and it’s definitely not something you will know immediately. The growing pains are needed but can sometimes make you feel lost and alone in this industry.

Can you tell us about the show? Who’s producing it and how did the concept come about?

The show was created and produced by South African Tourism, in partnership with Activ8 Agency. The concept came about as we wanted to focus on short, affordable getaways in South Africa that revealed the hidden gems, small towns and dorpies that offer a taste of our culture, warm hospitality and live up to the fact that there’s so much to do, see and experience on our shores.

South Africa truly has something to offer every kind of traveller and this series is a way to share that, in new ways.

Digital content creator Thobi Rose and Gugu Mahlangu-Kanana smile for the camera as they explore Velddrift & Langabaan. Picture: Instagram

Why should people watch?

The show is your gateway into unbelievable experiences in South Africa — a way to inspire your wanderlust and show you just how much beauty, possibility and wonder this country holds and help you plan your next vacation.

It especially focuses on short trips that you can do throughout the year, that fit into your budget and still provide an incredible experience — whether you’re seeking rest in nature, a beach-side getaway or a wander through the Winelands.

Who’s the target audience for the show?

The show is aimed at exploring South Africa with our fellow Africans, especially from our neighbouring countries — and features some incredible creators from Zimbabwe, Kenya, Lesotho and beyond.

It’s our way of extending a warm welcome that we hope will resonate across the continent.

What do you hope that people get out of the show?

I truly hope it opens people's eyes to showcase the beauty and diversity of what South Africa has to offer. We also want people from around Africa to consider that holiday or weekend away to gems that are in South Africa.

Being able to show that many of these places are doable and that they are not all incredibly expensive is also something we wanted to showcase.

Where can we watch?

You can watch “Sweet Escapes” on the Visit South Africa YouTube page. New episodes drop every Wednesday with the trailer dropping weekly as well.