• Howdy!
  • Howdy!

    I’m Vanessa Haywood-Sandes. People have asked me exactly what it is that I'm doing now… To define myself. To give myself a title. But it’s not that easy, because I have a passion for so many things and can't be put into a box!
    In short, I’m an entertainer, a blogger/writer and a businesswoman, with a great love for sport. Welcome to a little piece of my world…

Blogger

Blogger

I've been writing for as long as I can remember. It started with poetry as a teenager,...
MC & Voice Artist

MC & Voice Artist

Speaking on stage also started many, many years ago, firstly as "Best Speakers" at...
Sport & Wellness

Sport & Wellness

I've been active for as long as I can remember! Sport and wellbeing are a huge part...
Film & TV

Film & TV

My biggest passion in life...being in front of the camera either being myself as...
Model

Model

My modelling career started as a teenager when my mum enrolled me at a finishing/modelling...
Businesswoman

Businesswoman

After high school I studied marketing and business management before getting into...
  • Blogger
  • MC & Voice Artist
  • Sport & Wellness
  • Film & TV
  • Model
  • Businesswoman
  • Blogger

    I've been writing for as long as I can remember. It started with poetry as a teenager, then articles for various magazines and most recently blogging which I love! I'm also an influencer on Webfluential - check them out on www.webfluential.com
  • MC & Voice Artist

    Speaking on stage also started many, many years ago, firstly as "Best Speakers" at school and then eventually more formally at corporate & sporting events. I've been a voice artist for both television and radio and it's also something I enjoy immensely!
  • Sport & Wellness

    I've been active for as long as I can remember! Sport and wellbeing are a huge part of my life and if I can influence people to lead healthier lives, then I'm happy! Being married to a professional sportsman is a huge daily motivational factor for me!
  • Film & TV

    My biggest passion in life...being in front of the camera either being myself as a presenter or playing some character who's nothing like me! I also really enjoy presenting in corporate/business videos.
  • Model

    My modelling career started as a teenager when my mum enrolled me at a finishing/modelling school. Not long after becoming a Miss South Africa finalist, I was signed by an awesome agency (Ice Models) and started travelling the world. I was a professional model for many years before studying drama and pursuing my career as an actress and TV presenter.
  • Businesswoman

    After high school I studied marketing and business management before getting into modelling & film. I co-owned my own marketing and events company for a number of years and more recently help out at my husband's company, Peak Sport Management - a sports marketing, brand and project management company.
  • Blogger
  • MC & Voice Artist
  • Sport & Wellness
  • Film & TV
  • Model
  • Businesswoman
  • darglogo

    DARG

    DARG is a pro-life, non-profit organisation that rescues, cares for and re-homes abused, neglected and abandoned cats and dogs. It is our vision to be a leading example of animal sheltering in South Africa. How DARG came about. When DARG was founded in 1995 by Cicely Blumberg, Leslie McClaghlan and a group of caring volunteers, it was initially a shelterless rescue network. DARG eventually rented, at a very nominal fee, 28 dog kennels from a Mrs Harrop who ran a boarding kennel. For three years more and more dogs found their way to DARG, and almost 3000 dogs were homed. Tragedy struck with the passing of Mrs Harrop, and the property was put up for sale. A search was on to find a donor who would buy the property and let DARG continue renting the kennels. It seemed impossible, but after much wishing, hoping and prayer the miracle occurred. Early 2000, Mr Antonio Giovanini with his wife Joy, who was at that time one of the DARG directors, bought the kennels and land. This was put into a trust and can only be used for no-kill animal shelters.

  • laureus_blue

    Laureus Sport for Good Foundation

    Laureus passionately believes in sport's ability to help change the world for the better. And by supporting Laureus, you can be sure that you are helping a charity that really can make a difference to people's lives through sport. This is because the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation is able to support sports-based projects in a range of valuable ways. From the funding of equipment and other costs of running a programme to offering training opportunities to the next generation of young leaders, the Foundation is uniquely placed to help bring sport to young people around the world. The active involvement of our Laureus World Sports Academy Members also means we can inspire long-term change. Change in the way governments and other organisations perceive sport and its ability to address social issues. Change in the way kids lead their lives both on and off the pitch. But it isn’t enough for Laureus to make only short-term changes. The real goal is to see changes being made, and for them to keep being made, well into the future. This is why the support you can give won't just help today, but will go on helping well into tomorrow.

aboutme1 

vanessa haywood blogger profile

Vanessa Haywood

Vanessa has been an entertainer from a very early age, appearing in her first theatre production at the age of 4. The budding actress appeared on stage throughout her childhood and as a teenager, dancing and acting.

 

In 2000, she was a Miss South Africa finalist where she was spotted by one of the most sought after modeling agencies in South Africa. Her modeling career took her to various exotic destinations all over the world and she lived between London, Hamburg and Cape Town. She has appeared on countless magazine covers such as Elle, Shape, Woman & Home, Bicycling, and Living & Loving, and has been the face of a number of successful campaigns.

Vanessa’s love of entertainment lead her to study drama to further her acting career in film and television, but not before gaining diplomas in both marketing and business management. She recently completed a course in Digital Marketing through the Red & Yellow School.

Her vivacious and friendly stage presence coupled with years of stage experience, has her MC-ing and guest speaking at many functions.

Her successful television career started well before her film career did, having presented for Groen (Kyknet), Top Billing (SABC 3), AgriTV (SABC 1), Superdance (ETV) and Wildlife Video Cast (Asia). She also hosted her own entertainment slot on 2 Oceans Vibe Radio, and is an avid free-lance writer and voice artist.

Her biggest career success came in 2009 when she was cast as the leading lady for District 9 directed by Neill Blomkamp and produced by Peter Jackson (Lord of the Rings) which sat at number 1 at the Box Office for 3 weeks, taking in more than $200 000 million. It was nominated for 4 Oscars. She also had small roles in The Sweet Shop, Blood Diamond and Hey Boy.

Vanessa competed in MNET’s “Survivor Maldives – Celebs vs Plebs” in 2011, which she describes as a phenomenal life changing experience. It’s this adventurous spirit, which forms the foundation of her great love for sport. She is a keen trail runner, cyclist and plays the odd game of golf too. She is also a water sports enthusiast who enjoys scuba diving and water skiing.

Being married to one of South Africa’s most successful sportsmen, Ryan Sandes, only fortified her love for sport even more. At the end of 2012 she started taking her cycling seriously and raced competitively for a number of years. Vanessa is a respected endurance athlete having completed two ABSA Cape Epic’s, the Leadville 100 miler (Colorado, USA), the Otter Trail Run and many other races.

Although still active within the entertainment industry, MC-ing, recording voice-overs, and filming corporate videos and TV commercials, Vanessa is a keen businesswoman and “influencer” involved in marketing and digital media management.

Vanessa says that the greatest accomplishment of her life yet, is becoming a mother - she recently became a mum to Max, and her little boy keeps her on her toes!

She enjoys inspiring men, woman and children to live positive, healthier, and more active lifestyles. Her love for the outdoors and people creates the foundation of the environmental and social messages she shares with her followers. She considers the charity work she’s involved with as a very important part of her life and works with organisations such as such The Pink Drive, Lettie Love Fund, the Laureus Foundation, SPCA and DARG (Domestic Animal Rescue Group).

.

Heaven is indeed a place on earth...

Heaven is indeed a place on earth...

I haven’t spent too much time in the Cederberg but on the few occasions I’ve found myself there, I felt a great sense of peace and tranquility. I’m not sure if it’s because of its vast, arid beauty or the majestic mountain range or strange rock formations, or perhaps its because of its rich history going back thousands of years. The original people of the Cederberg were the San or Bushmen people (hunter-gatherers) and then later the Khoikhoi people (pastoralists). Their ancient rock art can be found all over the Cederberg and I have a feeling that its this prehistoric presence that makes one feel so connected when you visit the area. 

                                  Aerial pic 3       1 DSC4120 copy 

Not so long ago, the name Cederberg Ridge Wilderness Lodge, popped up onto my screen. I wasn’t searching places to stay or even the Cederberg area but what initially caught my attention was that it’s one of my husband’s favourite places on earth, especially to run. After doing some research, I knew it was the perfect retreat for our family – hubby could disappear into the mountains, and my son Max and I could enjoy the comforts and beauty of the lodge. 

Covid threw a bit of a spanner in the works and it took us some time to make it all happen, but last week, our Sandes Clan, accompanied by great friends Craig and Vush (and their son Koby), arrived at the luxurious wilderness lodge. 

                              DSC4341 copy       CKK4664 copy       DSC4067 copy.1

I like to consider myself somewhat of a wanderlast traveller, having had the priviledge to explore many wonderful places and at the same time, appreciate the cultures that add so much flair and life to every country I’ve visited. My husband, Ryan and I have stayed at some of the best and worst accommodation available, but what we experienced last week is hard to come by. What caught our attention from the get-go was the phenomenal service. It’s just not something you “see” any more – yes, many luxurious hotels have fantastic service, but there is almost always an invisable wall between you and the staff, and often it all seems rather forced. It was different here. The staff were warm, inviting and friendly but always professional and this was from the ground staff to the restaurant waiters. It felt like home, except that it was an “away-from-it-all”, very stylish home, with no toys lying on the floor that could cause grevious bodily harm should you step on one.

                                      DSC4498 copy        DSC4493 copy

The beautifully decorated suites are spacious and the views from you own private patio overlook the raw and rugged Cederberg mountains. The comfortable king size beds are enveloped in sumptuous linen and personal bar/ tea and coffee station bursts with the most delightful selection of surprises! In winter you can snuggle up in front of your own en-suite private fireplace. On hot summer days, like we had, lying next to the salt-water pool, sipping ice-cold cocktails, is the best place to be. 

There’s also a restaurant, sitting room, bar and library (with TV) all housed in the main lodge building which is decorated in warm earthy tones with a delighful mix of textures which gives you that welcoming yet chic feel as to walk in. The food is sublime! I had to ask where the chef had trained as he is THAT good, and the waiters are some of the best I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. 

                                DSC4478 copy.1      DSC4812 copy 

I was lucky enough to be spoilt by Vush and Craig, who treated me to a divine treatment at the lodge’s spa. My therapist, Carole, has magical hands and I left the room feeling light and carefree.

Adjacent to the pool terrace and indigenous gardens,  lies a firepit and there’s a large lawn for croquet! The main building’s large wrap-around veranda is the perfect spot to sip your G n T whilst watching the sun set.

If you’re not in the mood to stay put throughout your entire stay (and trust me, its hard to leave this place!), there are various guided or self-guided walking and mountain bike trails, as well as a wide range of activities & excursions. We were really interested in the rock art which the area is quite famous for, and we were not disappointed. Our field guide, David, shared his vast archealogical knowledge on our walk “back in time” and the pride with which he shared his expertise left us smiling inside and out. 

                            CKK4705 copy     DSC3920 copy    cederberg

My short article doesn’t do this magical place enough justice and so the only thing left to do is to encourage you to visit them and experience it for yourself. They are running a fantastic special at the moment so go to www.cederbergridge.co.za

A massive thank you to Thabiso from African Inspiration, and Craig, Leisha and their whole lodge team for allowing us to experience a piece of heaven. 

Photos: Craig Kolesky

Help yourself!

Help yourself!

Carter is the new “Tinder” for buying a car!

Carter is the new “Tinder” for buying a car!

After driving my trusty Toyota around for years and years, it was time to buy a new car a few months ago. I distinctly remember being incredibly overwhelmed by the choices out there! Buying a car is a complicated process, involves parting with a significant sum of your hard-earned money and lets face it, your life depends on the safety of whichever car you choose! I honestly had NO idea where to begin and scoured the internet for hours but there really was no one go-to site or app where I could make quick comparisons based on a number of factors!

Webfluential Creator
Biomedical Emporium
Oakley
Salomon
Webfluential Media2