An award-winning freelance travel writer, editor, author and photographer, Melissa Shales now lives in England, but grew up in Zimbabwe and has travelled widely across Africa throughout her life. She has been in and out of South Africa since the age of four, falling ever further in love with the country and its people as she has explored the country as an adult to write guidebooks and articles.
Melissa studied at Exeter University in the UK, gaining an Honours BA degree in History and Archaeology, before beginning her career as a travel writer. She has written over 30 guidebooks, including six on various parts of Africa, and edited many more, as well as writing for a wide range of magazines, newspapers and websites. Currently finishing her second term as Chairman of the British Guild of Travel Writers, the professional association for travel writers in the UK, Melissa is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and a member of the Society of Authors.
She was recently awarded a Winston Churchill Travelling Fellowship which has allowed her to travel across Africa by train Cairo to Cape Town by train, researching for a book on the history of the railways in Africa, which she is currently writing.
Melissa was named Best Online Writer 2010 by the British Guild of Travel Writers
South Africa is possibly the perfect travel destination – it has a wonderful climate, fabulous scenery, magnificent wildlife, superb hotels, an extraordinarily diverse cultural and historical heritage, stunning food and wine, amazing opportunities for adventure sports, and smiling, friendly people. I could go on, but I won’t – I’ll let the pages of the South Africa Travel site speak for themselves instead.
South Africa doesn’t have a simple soul. It’s multi-layered, multi-cultural, and battle-scarred by history. Yet it’s all the more satisfying if you are prepared to look beyond the supermodel glamour of the exterior and find the real heart of the country. The joy of a site such as About.com is that I have room to explore to my heart’s content. I hope you’ll join me.