If you’re for an incredible experience in the Cape, or looking to partner with a new travel operator in 2020, look no further than SouthernXplorer.
We recently caught up with the owner, Khotso Micha, who has a strong passion for adventure, and sharing the wonders of the Western Cape with all those who visit.
What is your business called and how long have you been working within the travel industry?
My business is called SouthernXplorer Tours and I have been operational since the end of 2018. Prior to launching SouthernXplorer, I had been freelancing as a guide for two years and I have also been actively working in hospitality and tourism for the past decade.
Tell us about your background, where were you born what was it that made you want to work in this industry?
I grew up in Grahamstown and Gugulethu, and so fortunately my past has been quite diverse when it comes to the topic of my upbringing.
I was exceptionally fortunate enough to gain a sense of independence from an early age, and the “street smarts” one hopes to gain from growing up in the township allowed me to manoeuvre myself out of many obstacles and challenges. I was also fortunate enough to attend a good school (and one of the oldest in South Africa) on a bursary but it always felt like I was experiencing two completely different worlds growing up.
My story, which I know many others in a similar situation can relate to, is one that I love to tell. I feel like it encapsulates the diversity of this country and it was something I felt I had to share with the world. This is where I think the seed was planted to start working in travel, but I also love a good road trip and I am always up for an adventure. After working in the backpacking (youth travel sector) I defined my goal to start my own company so I could share my story as well as all of those positive South African experiences.
What are some of the challenges you have faced running and growing your tour company?
My main challenges are lack of resources. Whilst the access to internet and information is helpful, one can not simply grow a tourism business without adequate resources. Knowing what to look for is difficult, so one needs to be able to learn as they go.
Access to funding has also been extremely difficult. Many funds exist out there, but if I’m honest, accessing those funds is a major pain point. It has been quite a challenge for me to compile evidence of the need for funding, and it shouldn’t be.
In my experience, most businesses don’t take a tour operator seriously if they don’t have their own vehicle. I have been renting and that helps, but ultimately, running an effective and respectable tour operator requires vehicles and so there is still a lot of hard work and persistence needed for the road ahead.
Do you have any advice for smaller operators looking to start a business in travel?
Do your research. The industry requires to be on top of your game and for that you need to know the ins and outs of this industry.
Make sure there is enough of a market share before venturing into that specific trade or niche and be sure to affiliate yourself with reputable industry associations. These can prove to be extremely useful for networking purposes. This industry is difficult to crack without being part of these organisations.
Then lastly, expect a lot of hard work but never be too tough on yourself. I’m often guilty of this. Develop yourself personally along with the development of your business. As it grows, you should too.
What are the most popular tours visitors can experience with SouthernXplorer?
Our !khwa ttu Overnight Adventure is quite popular, along with our West Coast Day Trip. They both offer a unique combination of adventure, culture and history, as do all of our tours.
The other newly released tour is the Urban Xplorer. This tour will include a Woodstock art tour in the morning followed by a Khayelitsha bicycle tour. After lunch, it follows into an exploration of Muizenberg and Chapman’s Peak in the afternoon. The tour should be available to book from the 10th of December 2019.
So Khotso tell us what is the absolute best part about running your own company?
There are no limits and I have an opportunity to fully express my creativity and what I feel through my work. It also doesn’t hurt not to have to report to anyone!
How can travellers book tours with you?
Look for us on all the major social media channels as SouthernXplorer Tours.
Check our website here: www.southernxplorer.co.za
Give us a buzz here: 081 001 3840