Dion Van Aardt- The Travelpreneur who tells his travel stories with pictures.

This month on the traveler, I spoke to Dion Van Aardt. Dion is an avid traveler with stunning travel pictures that ignites the wanderlust bug in all of us. He shared his travel experiences, how it all started and his travel goals.

Who is Dion?

I am a thirty six year old Kenyan,but was born in Zimbabwe. My family fled from Europe in the 1700’s for Southern Africa in search of a better life and we are all still here!

 

What inspired you to start traveling?

My family has always been quite nomadic and in fact my great grandparents came to settle in Eldoret,Kenya during the great trek from South Africa.It took them 3 years to get here. So I think it is in my blood to always have an itchy foot!

Again,my parents used to take us on lots of camping trips and mountain hiking adventures in Zimbabwe and encouraged us to make life exciting.

Are you a solo traveler?

I prefer to travel with a few friends because it is more fun.Moreover, it helps with cost sharing making the trip cheaper!

Do you travel full time or part time?

I travel part time

Are you a photographer as well? You have nice travel photos in your social media pages!

I started taking photos the time Kenya suffered security issues both in Lamu and Nairobi – my intention was to shift focus from the problem at hand and just showcase Kenya as the stunning place it is.Then three years ago I decided to take up photography as a hobby.I have since practiced taking photos.As of last year I had already taken slightly more than 38,000 photos. From those, I always get a few nice ones that I use on my social media pages. I am getting better at it and I hope one day I will call myself a photographer. As at now, it is  a hobby because I still have so much to learn.

I love Instagram because I have learnt a lot from other people, while having a platform to showcase the photos of the different places I have been to.

How old were you when you went for your first solo international travel? 

I was nineteen. I went to the UK to work and become rich and famous. However,I ended up living in a tent in Henley on Thames waiting on tables for 6 months!I moved around UK working and living in all sorts of places from the lake district to Suffolk where I worked as a tractor driver.

How many countries have you been to

Twenty four.

What is the longest time you’ve been away from home during travel?

Three months – I had traveled to the USA.

How do you finance your travels?

When I was younger I did odd jobs in the UK to save money to go away over the weekends.Then I moved to Kenya where I ran Kizingo;a small lodge on Lamu island. When it closed because of the rains for 3 months, I spent all the money I had saved from the trade on the island to go abroad.Now I am older and I prefer traveling around Kenya and Zimbabwe because we have so much to see and do so close to home.

What is your favorite extreme sport?

I love Rock climbing!

What has been your lowest moment during travel?

I had driven from Harare to Johannesburg when my car got stolen with all my luggage and passport in it!

What do you like most about travel?

I love getting a tiny taste of what it feels to belong to another place that is not familiar to me. I also like tough hikes and adventures that takes one off the beaten track and from the comfort zone. Such experiences makes that glass of wine and hot shower feel so much better when you get home!

Which of the countries you have visited so far that in your opinion has the warmest people?

I am a biased man so I will say Kenya and Zimbabwe but other than these places,I have to say the other friendly place I have ever been to is the USA. It is  the best country as far as I am concerned for solo travelers. People invite you to stay in their homes after just meeting you.

Are you luxury or budget traveler? 

Budget! Always.

Would you consider yourself a tourist or a traveler?

I like to think of myself as a traveler but when I start taking pictures I probably look very much like an annoying tourist!

What is in your bucket list?

I really want to climb the Ruwenzoris, explore the Mathews mountains in Northern Kenya and see the Gorillas in Congo. I would also like to Visit and hike in Northern Greece.

Can you share with us some of your travelutions for this coming  year?

I plan to hike the Ruwenzori’s, do a walk from Mount Ololokwe to the Mathews mountains, then Cherang’any Hills and visit Eldoret where my granddad and my parents were all born. I am also keeping an open mind for other adventures. Any suggestions are always welcome!

Best travel moments in the past year?

I did a wonderful five day hike in the Eastern highlands of Zimbabwe called the Turaco Trail. I enjoyed hiking to the top of the Mount Ololokwe recently well as.My latest Trip was a visit to Isaqbini in Garissa County to find the Hirola Antelope!

Best life lessons you’ve picked from travel? 

Try to always keep an open mind and everywhere has something to offer even if it is just to provoke you to think differently. Adventure is a mindset.

You don’t need to travel to the other end of the world to have a great adventure.

If you are not traveling what else do you do?

I have to sadly work!I run Kizingo lodge in Lamu part time and as a project manager in Ruiru.

Have you checked out Dion’s photos on Instagram? If not, check here.

Do you any questions you’d like Dion to answer about travel? Hit him up on the comment section below.

Who else do you want to talk about their travels, let me know on the comments section as well!

Happy reading!

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  • Great traveler to follow and indeed shows that travel can be cheap (budget traveller) and a challenge to Kenyan travellers who believe traveling us expensive not knowing they are just blinded by their comfort zones

    • I agree with you fully! If you plan early and consider early bird deals as well as budget options, you can visit anywhere you want to.

  • Great write up and interview

  • An inspiring read.

  • Myra

    Intrigued!

    • That was the whole idea ??

  • That’s awesome and enjoyed travelling with you. Great and a very informative interview

    • Thanks Rosebell. We should plan and go somewhere again! I glad you likes the interview.

  • Great interview and amazing pictures! Nice to read about his African adventures as I’m just traveling on the continent 🙂

    • Fantastic, try and check out Kenya as well. You will thank me later.

  • Such a great interview! Thank you for sharing it with us! Keep up with a good work 🙂

    • Thank you Dragana. I am happy you likes it!

  • The pictures tell a lot! The first one is my favourite.
    Which camera do you usually use? I’m also kind of a photographer, it’s very hard to combine light and good equipment, especially during the wild trips, isn’t it?

    • Dion van Aardt

      I use a cannon g3x thanks!

  • What a nice story! The guy is a genuine traveller and the photos are amazing. One can just see how passionate he is about the scenery he shoots, it’s so inspiring. All the luck for the future travels! 🙂

    • I second you. He awakens the wanderlust bug in everyone.

  • I love all your photos they’re so captivating!

    • Thanks much! Dion has fantastic photos.

  • “I love getting a tiny taste of what it feels to belong to another place that is not familiar to me” –> I like what Dion said here and can really relate to this. It’s always a great feeling to venture outside our comfort zone to see what the world has to offer. Sometimes you will find “home” is not a static concept. I believe for some travellers, the world is home. With an open mind, you can make anywhere home 🙂

    • Hey Fiona, that makes the three of us. Home is where you derive happiness from. You need to go out there and check what this world has to offer!

  • Amazing pictures and really interesting story. Great questions to ask too!

  • I love these photos! What kind of camera do you use? love the blog x

    • Dion van Aardt

      Hi – i use a cannon g3x it’s very versatile and though it’s far from the best it is robust and does the job!

  • These photos are awesome! Especially that dolphin one it looks unreal! Africa is somewhere I can’t wait to go.

    • Africa is the mother of everything adventures! Diving,hiving, game safaris,camping, etc… I hope you have Kenya is in your Bucketlist. ?

  • Nice interview, I enjoyed your questions and Dion’s answers to get sneak peek into his life and travels. I think how he saved money for his trips is great! Jobs where you can work while you save and then travel when you can’t work are the best. Makes me wish I could be a teacher to always travel during the summer 🙂

    • I completely agree with what you are saying. There is nothing as fresh as traveling to places you’ve never been when you are not working and you have enough time to explore.

  • This was a super interesting read! I loved the questions and felt like the answers were honest and real! Those photographs are incredible to, makes me want to go to Africa right now!

    • Thanks Becca. We will be happy to have you here ??

  • I really enjoy reading tales from fellow travelers. I especially liked the story about itchy feet being in his blood. But I have to say as an American that I would never invite a stranger in my home!

    • Hahaha a few American friends also said the same. Why wouldn’t you invite a stranger though? Security issues?

  • I really love the mindset that every place has something to offer even if it’s just to make you think! And I love how photography of Kenya started during troubling times to show there is an alternative and beauty there. That’s why I love travel and seeing travellers photos in current times!

    • You are absolutely right. Photography has always been alive and vibrant but most guys use the beauty of Kenya during tough political times to remind the world that we have so Much more to offer.

  • His story is such a travel inspiration. I like reading experiences of people with same interest in travel. 🙂

    • I am happy you enjoyed.

  • Sly achie

    Wow!! Really nice..pictures are on point..

    • I am glad you fund his photos fascinating as well!

  • Nice- it’s interesting how he notes USA as one of the friendliest – things have been changing lately here and experiences and sentiment towards foreigners are likely to change – especially if you’re darker skinned. I enjoyed the photos. I’m intrigued about Zimbabwe now – still have yet to travel there.

    • It is true that so much has changed with respect to foreigners and especially if one has a different skin colour from you. It has always been my wish that through l travel and raceless humans can help to break these unnecessary barriers.

  • Such lovely photos you have here! Ever since I was in primary school I have also loved photography, took some film and photography classes as well. Your photos tell such wonderful stories 😀

    • I was so impressed by his photos that I couldn’t keep quiet about them the moment I saw them! ?

  • I love all your photos they’re so captivating! The photo with the dolphins is incredible

    • Thanks on his behalf ?

  • Love the photographs. Some real artistry and creativity there.

    So many people never leave their comfort zone. Even overseas, they cling to their tour guide. Here is a man, sometimes alone, sometimes with a small group, expanding his world.

    And his mind. Isn’t it so often the case that in discovering something new, some quirk of exotic culture, some alien land, you also discover something new inside yourself?

    • Well put. You read my mind and put it into words. There is always something new to discover about yourself and the world around every time you travel. ???Thanks for stopping by!

  • KC

    Thanks for putting Dion on the spot, I really laughed at him about this. Well done interview and an interesting read.

    • Thanks KC… It was about time someone put him on the spot. I have always been his secret fan all thru! And you as well ???

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