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#MangoSurprise – Celebrating 11 years with Mango!
December 19, 2017

When the folks at  Mango Airlines  asked me if I’d like to celebrate their 11th birthday by inviting a first-time flyer on a surprise trip, I couldn’t say no! The first time I flew I was as a toddler, and I’ve taken so many flights that it’s lost its novelty. What a cool idea, to experience flying for the first time again through the eyes of a first-time flyer…


I put out a call on social media asking people for nominations for first-time flyers to experience a trip with me. I really  wasn’t prepared for the hundreds of people who flooded my timeline.

At OR Tambo international with Sisa, a first time flyer!

The lucky person, was Sisa Sodlala, a 26 year old who was nominated by my friends at Iwasshot in JoburgIwasshot in Joburg works with the Twilight Shelter training youth in photography and creative skills. Sisa used to live at Twilight Shelter and now works at Iwasshot in Joburg training other youth and manning the Iwasshot photo booths at events.

Pre- take off selfies! Sisa was so excited!

Sisa was super excited when I told him we’d be having a surprise trip with Mango.  We met at OR Tambo International airport early and were treated to Krispy Kreme donuts at the Mango check in counter to celebrate Mango’s 11th birthday. Sisa was stoked and I was so excited for him!


Views of Durban from the aeroplane. Photo: Sisa Sodlala

We boarded the plane and Sisa proceeded to take heaps of photos with his camera, as well as the mandatory selfies. Sisa was a bit nervous during take off and landing but handled it like a champ! I just loved watching the look his face as he looked out the window over the clouds!

Hola Durban!

We arrived in rainy Durban to warm “Sawubona” welcomes.  We were a little sad that the weather wasn’t playing up – the plan was to head to breakfast at the iconic Oyster Box hotel and then take a walk on the beach and Umhlanga beach.

King Shaka International

Tempest Car Hire was nice enough to sponsor us a car for the day and we headed to Umhlanga, Durban’s playground!

Just doing my thang! (Photo: Sisa Sodlala)

Birthday breakfast at the Oyster Box

The Oyster Box is known as the Grand Dame of Umhlanga and with a history of over 60 years, the hotel is an iconic feature of the Umhlanga promenade.Their breakfast buffet must be on my top 3 breakfast experiences ever!  Where else can one have fresh oysters for breakfast daily? Breakfast is enjoyed on the terrace overlooking the pool and the iconic Umlangha lighthouse.


Not quite beach weather, but the views were still lovely!

Besides a massive continental buffet (way too many choices!!), there’s a pancake and waffle station, and an a la carte hot breakfast menu with everything you can think of!

Have you ever seen oysters on a breakfast buffet?

Not only did we enjoy fresh oysters and champagne, I also had an Oyster Mornay a special Oyster Box breakfast treat. Basically it’s a toasted English muffin, spinach, steamed oysters, poached eggs, topped with a cheesy sauce mornay… decadently delish, especially when washed down with bubbly.

A birthday breakfast – oysters and bubbles for the win!

After a long and lazy breakfast, we were taken on a tour of the hotel property and ended off with birthday cake and some more bubbles to celebrate the day!

Happy birthday Mango!


The #MangoSurprise crew! (Photo: Sisa Sodlala)


Sisa’s first time flying

Check out this little video interview I did with Sisa about his first flight! Thanks Mango for a super dope birthday celebration!


PS. if you’re looking for some locally made Christmas gifts with a Joburg flavour, please support Iwasshot in Joburg, a local social enterprise. Check out their online store at They have everything from t-shirts and journals to cushions and home decor/

About author

Meruschka Govender

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