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AALIGEO GUEST HOUSE:
Aligeo Guest House is nestled in the picturesque Sterkspruit in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa. The small rural town is surrounded by the majestic Drakensburg Mountains, which provide a spectacular and breathtaking scenic background. Independently owned and operated by retired school teacher Nondumiso Matooane and her three children, this venue is a home away from home, designed to give visitors a wholesome and unique experience of the countryside.
Aligeo Guest House first opened its doors in 2006. It is a haven for nature lovers, those seeking rest, relaxation and adventure. Matooane and her team of professionals make sure each visitor is treated to a warm African welcome. They also encourage guests to explore Sterkspruit’s untapped natural surroundings, open spaces, and sample its plethora of unique cultures. The discovery in 2018, of the bones of a sauropod in Sterkspruit, which is a type of dinosaur, has added to the area’s already rich cultural and historical tapestry. This is the very same town where some of South Africa’s earliest missionary stations were set up.
Aligeo Guest House has 10 en-suite standard and executive rooms, plus an in-house restaurant and bar. The venue also offers a variety of options from conferencing facilities to peaceful getaways. Whether you are seeking rest and relaxation or adventure, Aligeo Guest House has tailor made options that include horse riding, local tours and traditional African entertainment. There are plenty of local hiking trails to choose from, while the Holo Hlahatsi Dam is the perfect attraction for fly fishing and boat riding.
Celebrating nearly ten years in the hospitality business, Aligeo Guest House has also boosted the local job and tourism sectors. Matooane is passionate about putting Sterkspruit on the global map. A trailblazer and trendsetter, the former school teacher is paving the way for the next generation of tourism entrepreneurs to emerge.
ROTWE TRAVEL AND TOURS
From housekeeper to tour operator, that is the story of the man behind Rotwe Travel and Tours. Pule Pulenyane runs his tour operating business from South Africa’s North West Province. The company specialises in transport services designed to suit each customer’s unique needs, especially tourists and visitors yearning for a wildlife experience, and the surrounds of the grasslands, forests and rocky hills.
Pulenyane grew up in a village near the world renowned Madikwe Game Reserve. He knows the valleys intimately, understands the local culture and is a walking reference of the folklore of the flora, fauna and the big five, that are native to the area. Rotwe Travel and Tours thus offers services throughout the North West Tourism Belt, which stretches all the way to neighbouring Botswana.
Pulenyane’s foray into the tourism sector began in 1991 when he worked as a housekeeper at Madikwe Game Reserve. He rose through the ranks, until he qualified as a tour guide. He bought his first vehicle in 2012, started operating under the banner of Rotwe Travel and Tours, and has not looked back since. With decades of experience in the hospitality industry, and the extensive knowledge of the North West Tourism Belt, he has built a name for himself as the Go-to local tour operator.
As part of its services, the company organises tours to local villages, where visitors experience the layered and rich local culture and cuisine. Rotwe Travel and Tours also offers cross border tours and shuttle services to guest lodges, hotels and other facilities around Madikwe Game Reserve, Pilanesburg and the world renowned Sun City resort. Its mission is to make sure visitors get to fully experience their destination, anything from a great African Safari experience, to being one with the locals, Pulenyane and his team have it covered.
CULLINAN MINE TOURS
The town of Cullinan in South Africa’s Gauteng province is best known for the discovery in 1905, of the world’s biggest diamond, the 3106-carat Cullinan diamond. Situated about 45 kilometres from the capital, Pretoria, it is a special gem and the home of Grace Masango, the owner of Cullinan Mine Tours.
Masango has been in the tourism industry for well over 25 years. The story of how she established Cullinan Mine Tours in 1997, is a modern day fairytale of tenacity, hope and courage. She began her career, working as a guide for another local tour operator. Then one day, her world came crashing down when she was retrenched. She and her former partner, however, came together and started their tour operator to rival their previous employer.
For the past 22 years, the company has been operating guided tours of the mine, and growing from strength to strength. For about two hours, guests are transported to the world of diamond mining. The journey starts with an educational video, followed by a walkabout in a specially designed display room. In this room, visitors get transported through the history of diamond mining in the area. Visitors also get to see replicas of some of the well and lesser known diamonds to have come out of Cullinan.
Visitors are then taken to a simulated underground tunnel. This is where they are shown how diamond mining takes place. The guide is always on hand to explain everything from the excavation to extraction of diamonds from the belly of the earth. The tour is not complete, however, before visitors are brought to the mine shaft, which is followed by a visit to Cullinan’s very own big hole. For those who want to take home some souvenirs, there is a showroom where diamonds are displayed and sold.
MONTAGU COUNTRY HOTEL
The original Montagu Country Hotel was built in 1875. Over the years, it has morphed into a four-star oasis, perfectly situated along Route 62, which connects the countryside between Cape Town and the Garden Route. As the only Art Deco Hotel in South Africa, it boasts a rich history, generously displayed as soon as you walk through the lobby. Everything from the decor to the furniture, and the ambience, offers a nostalgic glimpse into a classic era.
The 32 en-suite rooms are beautifully furnished, maintaining the Art Deco theme throughout the hotel. The traditional restaurant on the premises is a foodie’s haven that infuses local flavours, while maintaining the international standards expected of a four-star hotel. Conferencing facilities are also available, making it the ideal venue for team-building events and meetings.
The Montagu Country Hotel is perfect for the city slicker in pursuit of rest and relaxation. The in-house spa and has a bouquet of self-pampering services to accompany the scenic surroundings of the Western Cape platteland. For the fitness fundi, there is a wellness centre onsite, while the adventure seekers are not left behind, with the variety of scenic routes available for hiking, cycling and mountain biking.
The Montagu Country Hotel is also the perfect Garden Route road trip stopover. In 2017, Route 62 topped CNN’s top ten list of International Road Trip Routes, cementing the area’s growing popularity with visitors looking for something different. The hotel organises specialised tours of the wine growing areas. To make the tours memorable, visitors are transported in classic vintage cars, adding flair to the experience of sampling local vineyards and villages.
For the international visitors, the Montagu Country Hotel offers a unique experience of the picturesque South African countryside. The weather is friendly, with warm winter days, sunny summers peppered with the seasonal downpours.
TRAVEL REPUBLIC AFRICA
Katerina Lechtman of Travel Republic Africa specialises in selling South Africa to the world. With over 20 years’ experience as a tour operator, she sees herself as an ambassador of the local tourism sector. The daily running of the business is a family affair, with the Russian-born Lechtman as the head of the tour operator, supported by her husband and children. The passionate team at Travel Republic Africa wants every trip to be the greatest ever experience for each visitor.
The specially designed tours can be anything from quiet and relaxing, to riveting and adventurous experiences in the wilderness. The hotels, lodges and guest houses are carefully handpicked in breathtaking surroundings, where visitors are treated to local customs such as braais, traditional dancing, right under the African sky. The dedicated and professional team at Travel Republic Africa will design any tour for you, whether you are a local or international tourist. Whether you are seeking the Big 5 safari experience, historic city tours or scenic countryside getaways, there is something for everyone.
South Africa is the perfect tourism destination, with plenty of sights, sounds, colours and culture. Travel Republic Africa ensures that seasoned travellers and first time visitors experience the country’s warm hospitality and ubuntu, through tailor-made private and group tour packages for fun seekers and curious wanderers. The company works closely with seasoned service providers to ensure a comfortable, safe and exciting travelling experience.
Lechtman and her team are constantly finding new and exciting locations for visitors who are seeking a different experience of the country. They expose them to remote small towns and lesser known areas, thus boosting the local economies in those communities. There is a vast choice for everyone seeking either relaxation or adventure.
SOLO TRAVEL TOURS
Solomon Gumede identified gaps and saw opportunities in KwaZulu-Natal, to provide transport and tour operating services. He started Solo Travel Tours and Car Hire in 2009, while he was employed full-time as a logistics supervisor. In the early days, he used his personal car to offer transport services on weekends and during the holidays, in his hometown of Richards Bay.
With every trip, word spread of his good work ethic, reliability and professional demeanour. In no time, Solo Travel Tours and Car Hire was operating in other parts of the province. Gumede also actively sought mentors in the industry and connected with local networks for ideas on how to go from a side hustle to a fully-fledged operation.
When business started picking up, he quit his job and focused on growing Solo Travel Tours and Car Hire. Ten years later, he has increased his fleet of vehicles and he is able to offer a wider range of services such as hotel transfers, shuttle services, car hire and tour operations.
The tourism industry is a competitive space that thrives on solid networks, impeccable service and a good reputation. Gumede did his homework, making sure to sell his services to local hotels, guest lodges, game reserves and other tourism entities. Solo Travel Tours and Car Hire is growing steadily; it has even expanded its services to beyond KwaZulu-Natal. The next chapter for the company is to further grow its fleet and acquire vehicles that can accommodate bigger tourism groups.
Visitors to KwaZulu-Natal want to experience the majestic and sandy warm waters of the Indian Ocean. They require reliable service providers, who are familiar with the landscape to take them around and make their holidays memorable. Solo Travel Tours and Car is on hand to offer those services, while it becomes a bigger force in the industry.
UBIZO EVENTS AND TOURS
For over one ten years, Ubizo Events and Tours has made it possible for thousands of visitors to immerse themselves in the vibrant Cape Town Township cultural experience. The man behind the tour operating company, Siyabulela Siyaka and his passionate and professional team, design bespoke tours that allow visitors to fully explore and experience township life. The tours cover Langa and Gugulethu, the oldest township in the Mother City, allowing visitors to engage local communities, while giving them the wholesome Cape Town experience.
Everyone from backpackers to corporates, gets to explore the many unique township cultures and rich heritage. Ubizo Events and Tours understands that some visitors want to do what locals do, and allows for them to fully experience what the surroundings offer. Siyaka works with handpicked and experienced service providers to ensure that visitors are treated with Ubuntu and well looked after. Everyone from the drivers to the restaurant owners, takes pride in showing off the best of Langa and Gugulethu, and making visitors feel at home.
Guided tours of the historical sites and popular spots form part of the tour packages. There is the option of travelling in a taxi, and exploring the landscape using the public transport system synonymous with the South African township experience. Those visitors keen on visiting the local sangoma or traditional healer for a reading on what the future holds, get an opportunity to do so. The township tours would not be truly African and authentic without music and dance. Dance groups, a marimba band and singers entertain the guests, getting them to partake in the local culture. Visitors get to indulge in the finest local cuisine and sample the many delicacies and drinks.
The township experience through Ubizo Events and Tours is one of a kind. It is the gateway to a vibrant and trendy world of colour, adventure and rich heritage.
Adventure tourism is growing in popularity along the Western Cape’s Garden Route. The area is a thrill seeker’s paradise, abundant with spectacular ocean and mountain views. Thousand Sensations is a local tour operator, specialising in tailor made adventure holiday packages. Since its inception in 2016, it has been harnessing the opportunities provided by nature to design and facilitate adventure tour packages along this scenic coastline.
Owner Alewyn Dippenaar and other local business partners saw an opportunity in the tourism market, to spice up local tours with outdoor adventures, and allowing visitors to be closer to nature. The team at Thousand Sensations helps visitors design holiday packages according to their interests and appetite for adventure. The itinerary from the time of arrival to departure is loaded with daily fun activities. There are also social activities and cultural festivals for the discerning visitor. The tours and holiday experiences are centred around fully exploring the rugged cliffs, mountains and hills on a mountain bike or through hiking. This way, visitors become one with the platteland, in all its sprawling splendor and breathtaking views.
The pristine seashores dotted along the coastline are perfectly suited for water sports, angling, deep sea fishing, swimming, whale watching and snorkelling. The waves summon surfers to delight in nature’s offering. The lakes and rivers are ideal for fly fishing, and for simply connecting with the wonders of nature. There are plenty of breathtaking gorges, forests and lagoons to choose from, all rich with endless possibilities for adventure.
The Garden Route stretches for 300 kilometres from Mossel Bay in the Western Cape to the Eastern Cape. Each and every quaint small town and village from Heidelberg to the great Tsitsikamma, offers a unique glimpse into the countryside. The Garden Route tours are not a one size fits all.
AFRICA SAFARI CONNEXION
Experience South Africa’s breathtaking landscapes on a wildlife safari in the Kruger National Park. At nightfall, the stars brighten up the African skies, displaying exquisite tapestries against the darkness of the bushveld. Being up close with the Big Five is the epitome of any wildlife Safari experience. From graceful gazelles, to brave buffalos, they are all part of the wonder and magic of the wilderness.
Africa Safari Connexion promises to give each and every one of their guests, a glimpse into the South African landscape. Jan Bester has been operating tours for over ten years, and he leads the team at Africa Safari Connexion. They promise to take visitors on a journey through sunny and beautiful South Africa, treat them to some good food and wine, and introduce them to the warm hearted and friendly people across the length and breadth of the land.
The Addo Elephant Park in the Eastern Cape is a delightful way of closely interacting with the majestic animals. The nearby citrus farms are a treat for visitors keen on a sweet exploration.
The small towns of Graaff-Reinet and Grahamstown are brimming with stories of the area’s rich history. St Francis Bay and Jeffreys Bay are great for a seaside stopover. Their legendary waves are always a hit with surfers from these shores and abroad.
In the Springtime, Namaqualand, Kirstenbosch and other parts of the Western Cape become a collage of wild flowers. The team at Africa Safari Connexion make it possible to be one with one nature and fully immerse in the beauty of it all.
The fynbos and crisp beaches in Hermanus and Grabouw show off the exquisite Overberg. The great Breede River, which runs through the area, is ideal for fly fishing. The Africa Safari Connexion experience is not just about showing the country a holiday destination.
FAMBA FAMBA TOUR DESIGN SPECIALISTS
People travelling to South Africa want to fully experience its endless and bountiful beauty. From the raw and unrefined wilderness of the Kruger National Park, right down to the picturesque Cape of Good Hope, it is a traveller’s paradise. Valentino Meirotti, the owner of Famba Famba Tour Design Specialists, helps visitors create unforgettable moments. His Johannesburg-based company has been offering a wide range of services to curious visitors for over seven years. Meirotti understands that each traveller is unique, and when he designs packages, he is mindful of each one of their interests and needs.
Famba Famba Tour Design Specialists have a wide range of options on offer for the day traveller who is curious about sampling different spaces in a limited time period, to bespoke tour packages. Each is uniquely designed to offer visitors the authentic South African experience, with all the colour and fanfare. The Day Tours explore the world renowned township of Soweto, making various stops along the way to sample the culture, cuisine and tap into the vibe.
Further north, is Pretoria, better known for the purple splendour of its jacaranda trees. The nation’s capital is also steeped in history and offers interesting nuggets for the visitor who wants to delve into South African heritage. For the Safari experience, there are Day Tours to Dinokeng Private Game Reserve, Pilanesburg, the Lion Park or Zebula for a day in the company of the majestic African elephants.
Famba Famba’s Flagship Tours are designed for visitors who are spreading their stay in South Africa over a few days. The 14 Day South African Tour promises to show visitors the world in one country. Some of the tours extend as far as the Western Cape and neighbouring Botswana and Zambia. Visitors with specific needs opt for The Bespoke Tours - this allows them to pick and choose the exact locations they want to visit, leaving Meirotti and his team to do the rest.