I love my work, mostly because I get to meet new and interesting people often. I give an annual talk to Grade 11 Tourism learners and one of them asked this year what it is that makes me love my job. My answer was immediate, ‘the people’.
Today I made a new friend, we met for coffee after being team members on an online training course. Tingo Mtambalika grabbed my attention during the course for his bright and positive disposition and this while we were in the early stages of lockdown and our tourism sector in the doldrums.
We chatted about various aspects of our work and Tingo told me how he started his business Santacruise Tours. About 14 years ago he used to take family and friends on Sunday drives to explore the beauty of Cape Town. Sunday Drives became so popular that friends used to call Tingo and say that they had heard of a specific area and suggested this destination for the next Sunday Drive.
At this time Tingo’s brother was working at a local hotel, he had noticed that a honeymoon couple from Tanzania spent every day at the hotel without leaving to explore the city. When he asked about this their response was that they had heard Cape Town is unsafe and were too afraid to leave the hotel. Well this was not an option for Tingo’s brother who immediately called for a mid-week Sunday Drive.
Tingo’s natural enthusiasm and love of people shone through as he drove the honeymooners to Cape Point narrating with interesting facts and pointing out places of interest. Needless to say Tinga’s desire to impress the couple with the beauty of the city was so spot on that they went home and told their friends. A second call came tfrom the hotel with a request for Tingo to take a Brazilian couple on a ‘Sunday Drive”, despite language challenges they too were so thrilled with their private tour that they insisted Tingo take payment despite his protestations saying it was so much fun showing the beauty of Cape Town and besides they had bought him lunch, no need to pay.
Word soon spread at the hotel and abroad and the calls started coming in. Each tailor-made tour is put together with love, consideration and careful investigation. Santacruise Tours offers a selection of tours including a township tour incorporating a visit to Emasithandane Orphanage in Nyanga. Tingo was thrilled to share that six young girls are currently being sponsored by past guests.
Tingo and his family chose Cape Town as home because of the scenic beauty, abundance of activities, history and culture.
Santacruise Tours operates with 6 vehicles in Cape Town and one in Johannesburg. Most itineraries are Cape Town and Garden Route focused. Before lockdown clients originated from USA, UK, Brazil, Tanzania. These days Tingo works mostly with locals, sharing with them the same passion and joie de vie as always.
Tingo’s plan is to grow a one stop shop for tours into many African destinations, being from Malawi his first outbound tour to his home country takes place early next year. He believes that the Covid19 crisis will pass and we will recover. ‘This too shall pass’, he says. ‘Do not lose hope, love what you do and do what you love’.
Santacruise Tours contact details: firstname.lastname@example.org or 073 808 0411