The Western Cape boasts some of the best treks on the continent, and you’ll also find some of the best guides here, too.
We were lucky to catch up with one of them, Ian Naidoo, a qualified Adventure Site Guide guide who runs Walk Hike Climb. With his strong passion for exploration and nature, he’ll help you spend a good few hours putting your walking boots to the test during your next hiking holiday in the Cape.
How long have you been working for yourself?
I qualified as an Adventure Site Guide on the 18th of July 2017, and started my own business, Walk Hike Climb, almost immediately after.
Tell us about your background. Where were you born & what made you decide to work in travel?
I was born in the leafy suburb of Wynberg in Cape Town and did my first hike on Table Mountain at the tender age of 11. Due to my passion for the mountains, at the age of 13, I gathered a group of my friends and lead my very first hike along the Contour Path on Table Mountain which runs from Kloof Nek to Constantia Nek.
Ever since then I have been drawn to the mountain and find that the peace and tranquillity of this environment deeply appeals to me. On my 21st birthday I completed an 11-day wilderness hike along the Wild Coast, starting in Port St. Johns and ending in Port Edward.
I have hiked through most of the mountain ranges in South Africa such as Boland, Lamietberg, Grootwinterhoek, Arangieskop, Matroosberg, Bloupunt, and Montague, to name a few. I have also tackled the Fish River Canyon in Namibia, and the Drakensburg Mini Traverse in Kwa-Zulu Natal and Jebel Toubkal in Morocco.
Taking all of the above into account, in 2016 I decided to leave my job in the formal sector and follow my passion of being in the great outdoors, and this is how Walk Hike Climb was born.
What is the main challenge you have faced while running your company in South Africa?
One of the main challenges I have experienced as a small operator is accessing the larger international source markets. In my experience, South Africans in general tend to hike and adventure on their own and don’t often see the value of a professional guiding service in their own country.
Do you have any advice for other South African guides looking to start travel business?
The one thing I would like to say is that you should definitely look at joining local networking groups within the travel sphere and if possible, look at joining organisations like Cape Town Tourism, SATSA, FEDHASA, SAVRALA and those associated with The Tourism Business Council of South Africa (TBCSA).
Can you list some of the most popular attractions visitors can experience with you?
There is a wide bouquet of different routes around Table Mountain including an overnight sleep over in a rustic hut which I have access to. Others more popular attractions that I can accompany travellers to include:
- The famous Robben Island.
- The Seville Rock Art in the Cederberg.
- The Cape Nature Reserve in Agulhas, where the two oceans meet.
- The Southernmost tip of Africa.
Tell us the best part about running your own company…
I get to spend a lot of time in what I call my ‘second office’ — nature and I get to showing tourists the pure beauty of my country. There is nothing better than that!
Lastly, how can travellers book tours with you?
Via website: www.walk-hike-climb.business.site
Via email: email@example.com
Via cell: 081 376 8978