Our “Master Traveler” list is curated by the editors of this blog.  We profile some of the most engaging and unique black travelers on the web. 

Today’s traveler is  Tanya Weekes.  Tanya is a wedding photographer who lives in England. Follow along on her travels via her Instagram 


 Can you tell us a little about yourself.

I am a portrait and wedding photographer living in Manchester, England. I love sunny days, eating (both in and out), dancing (at the minute, the Angolan dance, kizomba), trying new things, exploring new places and collecting different experiences. I LOVE Instagram and use it for inspiration and to share my own travel adventures and photography work.

  1. Comfy warm clothes – usually I’m really hot in the airport and then either really hot or really cold on the plane, so I have to make sure I have layers and warm socks, equally I have to be comfortable so I avoid wearing tight jeans and prefer legging or a dress.
  2. Water – the plane air makes your really dehydrated.
  3. Sleep mask – for those times when you want to sleep but your neighbor has the reading light on next to you.

I have visited 38 different countries so far.  I have yet to explore South America or East Africa so would love to visit some of the countries there one day.  Next year, I plan to go to Italy, Dubai and St. Kitts. I would also would also love to go to Cuba, Brazil, Ethiopia and Iceland.

Egypt_1TanyaWeekes

Do you travel hack? 

I am usually fairly last minute when it comes to travelling. I am flexible about where I travel to if the price is low. I like to use Skyscanner.com for my flights and have just discovered a new app called Lucky Trip which allows you to plan a trip based on your budget to include flights, accommodation and something to do.

VeniceItalyTanyaWeekes

Must See Travel destination:

Every person of color should definitely go to West Africa. When it comes to travel, it’s easy to go to the usual “right-of-passage” type places such as Thailand, which I agree is amazing, but I think it’s good to go to countries in Africa too and not just North Africa. Places like Senegal, The Gambia, Sierra Leone are a good start. It was such an eye opener for me to spend time in those countries and learn about the history and how everyday life is there. Goree Island in Senegal is a must see. By visiting these countries yourself, you get rid of the preconceived thoughts that you may have gathered from what you may have seen or heard in the mass media.

Must See Festivals:
I haven’t been to many festivals, but one that I have been to a few times is the Gnaoua World Music Festival in Essaouira, Morocco. It usually happens around June. It is a free festival that is centered around the beautiful traditional music of Gnaoua musicians with a mix of jazz, blues, reggae, and hip-hop. The setting is perfect because Essaouira has a nice relaxed vibe. It has market stalls like in Marrakesh but it is a lot less chaotic and there is a cute fishing port and beach which is popular with kite surfers.

GoreeIsland_Senegal_TanyaWeekes-1

Do you have a favorite hotel?

I’ve stayed in some amazing places in Morocco but they weren’t actually hotels, they were either riads or guesthouses. One of them was in Essaouira. I stayed there during the Gnaoua world music festival. I arrived with four friends and was introduced to the lady who owned the house by a taxi driver who happened to be hanging around when we arrived on the bus from Marrakesh. The lady kindly agreed for us to rent her house for a few days. It was a three floor house with lots of beautiful Moroccan tiles and stairs that led up to the the rooftop where you could eat and lie in the sun.. the location was also perfect as it was within the Medina walls and walking distance from the beach, market stalls and the festival.

Where’s the best beach?

There are so many great beaches I’ve been to in the Caribbean, Thailand, Malaysia, the Greek Islands.. but the beaches in Sierra Leone surprised me the most because it wasn’t somewhere I would naturally associate with going to as a beach destination, it really was stunning. The picture is from River Number 2 Beach.

RiverNo2SierraLeone_TanyaWeekes-17

Nevis during the Culturama festival was great. J’Ouvert morning (the party before the main carnival parade) starts from 5am and everyone parties to soca and dance hall through the streets all day and night long – the atmosphere is amazing.

Nevis_TanyaWeekes

Ok, we’re wrapping up, but what’s your dream destination?

Somewhere I haven’t been too before that has beautiful blue skies and a warm climate.. I would love to check out Réunion Island off the east coast of Madagascar that’s definitely on my list.

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