As a culture/nature tourist guide, I do not simply present facts/figures/ attractions to my tourists – I tell a story and try to bring South African culture and nature alive to them! I was honoured to be named the Lilizela Awards 2016 Culture Guide of the Year for KwaZulu-Natal Province and was the first runner-up for the Lilizela Awards 2016 Culture Guide of the Year for South Africa. In addition to my day tours in Durban and the KwaZulu-Natal Province, I am also very willing to undertake overnight stays to any national South African tourist destination, including Swaziland, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Lesotho. I am able to handle difficult situations, remain calm under pressure and can manage any group size, nationality and age.
My passion for tourism was ignited from an early age, when as a young boy I would often accompany my father (also a tourist guide) on his many travels throughout South Africa. This passion has evolved over the past 25 years, as I have worked in the industry on a more professional level as a national English-speaking tourist guide/coach driver, tour manager and route planner for Springbok Atlas (handling their national tours for SAGA, Travel-sphere, Globus, Cosmos Archers and Titan). While employed with Springbok Atlas, I was in charge of the transport for the Springbok rugby team when the World Cup was hosted in South Africa in 1995. During such employment, I was also in charge of the transport for international celebrities and public figures such as Chris de Burgh, UB40, Erasure, Roxette, Cliff Richard, the late Whitney Houston, Morgan Freeman and the late Nelson Mandela. I also work annually with the Gandhi family for their “In the Footsteps of Mahatma Gandhi” tour throughout South Africa, and was also part of the team that assisted renowned explorer, Kingsley Holgate, and the late Dr Ian Player during the Rhino Youth Summit held in the Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Game Reserve.
I am the owner of Ricksha Tours & Travel Services (RTTS) and the part that I love most about my job is that, very often, I get to work with my husband…….he as the tourist guide and I as the tour manager! We share a mutual love of travel and enjoy showing off the beautiful attractions that South Africa and our neighbouring countries have to offer to people from all countries and cultures. With a sea captain for father, my childhood years were spent traveling the world and my mixed ethnic background (British/Italian) has afforded me a flair for languages and an appreciation of various cultures.
I started my career in the language industry, qualifying as a sworn translator /interpreter with the High Court of South Africa, enabling me to experience many situations of the human condition. I then also decided to enter the tourism industry (marketing/operations), where I not only discovered another passion – but met the love of my life. Who says that work and play can’t co-exist! Barry and I serve on various tourism committees, frequently attend industry workshops to keep up to date with trends/changes and at one stage also ran our local Community Tourism Office. My linguistic background has also allowed me to perform as an Italian/English escort interpreter for Barry and other major tour operators on tours with foreign groups. We are also very involved with the foreign cruise liners docking at Durban and Richard Bay Harbours during the cruise seasons. My tourism travels have allowed me to visit many parts of South Africa, Swaziland, Lesotho, Namibia, Botswana, Mozambique and Zimbabwe with our fabulous tourists and visiting executives – and I can’t think of anything else that I would rather be doing!