Wow, can you believe it, this year is already half way gone!? Winter is here, but the bookings are looking good. I would just like to thank all my agents, backpackers, language schools and volunteer organizations for the continued support, especially BIG backpackers, STA, African Budget Safaris, and Detour Africa for your recent Garden Route tour bookings. Hopefully we can have another massive year.
2013 Certificate of Excellence
I’m proud to say that TripAdvisor recently recognized Earthstompers’ Garden Route Tours with a 2013 Certificate of Excellence, meaning that we are among the top-performing 10% of all businesses worldwide. This is our third year in a row to receive this award, and we couldn’t be prouder of the great TripAdvisor reviews.
Stellenbosch College Tour for 63 students
We recently had the opportunity take the tourism students from Stellenbosch College on a 3-Day Garden Route Adventure Tour. What made this tour really special for me is this is exactly where I studied tourism eleven years ago, and my former teacher was the one who approached me to put a package together! While I was studying there, we had to do a business plan as a project in tourism management, and my business plan was a Garden Route adventure tour company! It was really special sharing all of this with the future of the tourism industry in South Africa. We’ve also launched a competition where the most promising performer in the college during the first term will win an educational 6-Day Garden Route and Addo Adventure.
This month we attended a third successful Tourism Indaba in Durban. We joined the SAYTC (South African Youth Travel Confederation) stand again, always one of the busiest in the hall. We had great fun, ate plenty of curries, danced the night away to reggae tunes at our yearly SAYTC party @ Happy Hippo Backpackers, had fun at the BAZ Bus Tekweni Party, swam in the warm ocean, did some really good business and plenty of “networking”.
After many months of waiting on stock, we finally bought a brand new Toyota Quantum, so now we can take even more of your guests to see the stunning Garden Route. The Quantum takes 14 passengers including the driver, but for comfort’s sake we have decided that we will take a maximum of 12 clients on a tour. This vehicle is also for rent for special events or customized tours. We’ve got an operating license for the whole of South Africa.
We believe that guides make a tour! Earthstompers does not just send a driver out with our guests, but employs well-trained, experienced, knowledgeable, fun, and adventurous guides. We believe that a guide rather than just a driver is very important, and has a positive impact on the guests’ experience.
Nicole Van Heerden has been helping me do tours for the last two years, and is really a star. My TripAdvisor is more about her these days than me! Nicole has been doing Garden Route tours since 2007, and always goes out of her way to give our clients a personal and special experience.
More recently Stephanie Harris also joined the Earthstompers team as a freelance guide. After three training trips with us, she did her first Earthstompers 6-day Garden Route tour with 11 clients from all over the world and made a big success out of it. Just like me, Stephanie is also Garden Route born and bred and comes from my hometown of Mossel Bay. She started her guiding career in the overland industry and is also a registered field guide and Fauna and Flora expert.
I’m sure by now most of you are aware of Chrissy Wolfersberger!? Chrissy moved from the US to South Africa in December 2012 after she fell in love with SA and ME! J She’s taken over a big part of the administration, website, marketing, accounting, bookings and social media for Earthstompers. I can now really concentrate more on the tours, marketing and my golf game! J She is a BIG asset for Earthstompers as she is really well organized and great at getting e-mails back to clients as soon as they come in. She’s even got me to work on spreadsheets instead of the old handwritten diary for bookings. HOW DID I MANAGE EARTHSTOMPERS ON MY OWN ALL THESE YEARS!!!???
That’s all for now – thanks again for your support.