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Guide Boot Camp Week 1

Guide Boot Camp Week 1

The chilly winter weather in Cape Town did not dampen the spirits of the tour guides who started their Boot Camp at the Earthstompers head-office based in Somerset West this week.


The first day included an introduction to the Earthstompers team who are facilitating the course in association with Tourism Boot Camp. We are grateful for the input and ongoing support that owners Hendrik and Chrissy Human have given to this worthwhile initiative that upskills tourism graduates with job ready skills. Thank you to Cindy Schalkwyk, Nicolene Vermeulen and Nicole Van Heerden for their contribution to the Destination Orientation and Service, ethics and diversity training.

During the first week of theory the candidates were given an overview of their Garden Route and Addo Tours covering : What they do, where they go, accommodation options, activity options, timing on tour, pre-departure documents: tour sheet, indemnity, tour briefing, pre tour vehicle check, post tour documents: feedback, post tour vehicle check and cash up.

Hendrick also covered the all important topic of Safety management: Guide insurance, vehicle insurance, passenger liability insurance, public liability insurance, operating licence, tour safety briefing, indemnity forms, emergency contact list, emergency management procedure, incident report form, pre tour vehicle check, post tour vehicle check, safety equipment in tour vehicles – where to find and how to use.

The candidates were coached How to present yourself as a guide, guide ethics, how to handle difficult situations, how to handle difficult questions, sensitive subjects: cultures, religion, politics, and race. How to approach conflict situations amongst colleagues and remain professional.

Dumisani Tazibona, one of the candidates commented after the first day that the course is excellent and very inspiring. He is fortunate enough to be joining the Garden Route Roadtrip on 17 June 2019. We look forward to receiving his feedback and photos of the practical week for our next blog.


We don’t just Pee anywhere…

We don’t just Pee anywhere…

When Hendrik told me this story, I knew I had to share it. Hendrik Human and his wife Chrissy run an amazing Cape Town based touring company called Earthstompers Adventures. They run a happy, healthy and growing business doing adventure trips up the Garden Route for environmentally conscious and youthful travelers. They are what you call “an employer of choice” – they only hire the best and people don’t leave.

I am always in awe of Hendrik’s attention to detail – whether it is staff training and motivation, ops around vehicle maintenance and safety issues, guest communications and all the little extras. Over time his policies and procedures framework and onboarding protocols for both staff and guests have become world class – I give Chrissy a lot of credit for this. My friend married well.

I digress. The coffee shop conversation took some interesting turns, but I was particularly tickled by the fact that Earthstompers guides are quite particular about where they – and their guests – relieve themselves. At Earthstompers, even the toilets are carefully selected.

It seems like a no-brainer, but when you have 500km+ driving days one needs to pay careful attention to your upfront planning. Especially when the company you work for have a few very specific values, two of which are:

1. Never fill up for gas with guests in the car
2. Never pee at gas stations

Rule 2 would happen if you didn’t follow rule 1. Either way, they take this so seriously that the guide group use their whatsapp group in an interesting way: Swopping info with each other on cool new places to take a leak. Where most of us get excited about a hot new restaurant, the Earthstompers crew get excited about a great new loo at a funky coffee shop. There is nothing wrong with gas station restrooms – its just that there are better places. And they will find them. Now THAT is commitment.

It is a small thing – but it does speak to the Earthstompers ethos. EVERYTHING they do is with maximum guest experience in mind. Not one moment is wasted on stuff like filling up gas – that gets done while the guests are on an activity or sleeping. We love working with these guys.

Which is why I asked Hendrik to be a trustee on Tourism Boot Camp. Chrissy has already generously given of her time in 2018 to help train our various Boot Campers in Excel, and now the Earthstompers team is going one step further.

This winter, we are launching a new Boot Camp module. Where before we focused on workplace readiness with recent tourism graduates, we will in June and August of this year run a comprehensive upskilling program for qualified tour guides on Cape Town and Garden Route touring protocol (the “Earthstompers” way). This forms part of the ongoing commitment from the PG TOPS group and Earthstompers Adventures to upskilling and enabling South Africans into the tourism industry. You can’t get a job without experience, you can’t get experience without a job. Garden Route Boot Camp will help inexperienced guides go to the next level of employability. Running these kinds of trips is the next step up in guiding skill – we will help bridge that gap!

As before, the training will be completely free to the selected candidates. However, there will be quite a rigorous topgrading process starting with a one day adventure race early in May. Please apply though the Contact Us Page to come into consideration. Minimum requirements are a PDP, WC and Garden Route guiding qualification.

The training will take the form of about 3 days intense office training, and three weeks of on-the-road mentorship and training on Earthstompers tours. Click the link below for full info:

Guide Bootcamp – June 2019v2

Boot Campers making us proud

Boot Campers making us proud

As we plan our 2019 curriculum, I wanted to do some excerpts from feedback received from some of our 2018’s Boot Camps. This makes it all worthwhile…

Zintle Mtsi, BootCamp 1.0:

“Dear Pieter,

I trust that you have entered into the New Year doing very well.
I haven’t checked-in in a bit so I thought that it would be most fitting to do so in the beginning of this new year just to mention a few highlights from my year at Wesgro, all thanks to the Tourism Boot Camp.
Firstly I’d like to start with mentioning how much the Boot Camp ignited a greater interest and passion in me for tourism, and it is for this reason that I have now visited all Cape Town Big 6 tourism experiences, Robben Island, Waterfront, Table Mountain, Cape Point, Kirstenbosch Gardens, and the Cape Town City Sightseeing red bus. A year ago I could not say this. Since being at the Boot Camp I have also invested in a MyCiti bus card and every other weekend I visit all the other attractions in Cape Town that we covered during the programme, such as the Mojo Market, and the Neighbourgoods Market which I visited for the first time after Tourism Boot Camp.
The second thing I’d like to share is the amount of amazing exposure and experiences that I have had since working at Wesgro. Some of the highlights was being able to host a group of Dutch travel agents in Cape West Coast for 3 days, on my own! Another was when I had my first yacht experience on The Mirage yacht at V&A Waterfront during an official signing of a loan agreement between City of Cape Town and a German bank, and the German president was there as well and the rest of the German delegation. And as for connections I’ve made I can now say I have direct contacts to those Big 6 experiences and other tourism experiences, of which I now have a good working relationship with. Not to mention the fact that I have bumped into so many of the people who taught us during the Tourism Boot Camp, including Zile from Marine Dynamics, and Chrissy from Earthstompers, and I’ve even bumped into the other Boot Campers I had training with, and even those that came after me because they recognized me from my time at Boot Camp.
Finally, saving the best news for last. When I was first hired at Wesgro thanks to Tourism Boot Camp my initial internship contract was for 6 months, which they then extended to another 6 months, and now I have the pleasure of sharing with you that effective as of 1 January 2019, I am a permanent employee of Wesgro, taking up the position as Western Cape Product & Experiential Specialist, which means I will be going out into the rest of the Western Cape a lot looking for new attractions, experiences and products to promote, as part of Wesgro’s mandate to market the Western Cape as a tourism destination. This would be my first official permanent job, since I graduated from University. I welcome any advice from you on how I could make the most of this great opportunity 🙂 .
I would really like to thank both yourself and Leanne for your hard efforts, time and money that you invested in Tourism Boot Campers. This programme really works. Even if I never got the job at Wesgro, the training I received from the Boot Camp was enough to motivate me to go out there and see what’s there for me in tourism, not to mention the very vital and useful exposure and information I received.
Thanking you again, I hope we keep in touch.
Kind regards,
Fazlin Samaai, Bootcamp 3.0:

“Dear Pieter Geldenhuys;

I just wanted to thank you for giving me the opportunity to be part of the tourism boot camp program. In the 4 weeks we trained with you I learned so much in such a short amount of time. What you are giving to people that are unemployed is a chance in life to actually be great at what they do. I thank you for your time and your patience. You have so much knowledge and I’m greatful that you shared some of it with us. I also want to thank all the PG Tops staff for being there when we had questions, you ladies are trully amazing. I’m really enjoying working at earthstompers, im learning something new everyday and everyone in the office is super helpful.Thank you once again for everything I really appreciate it.
Fazlin Samaai”
Nadine Abrahams, Bootcamp 3.0:
“Hi Pieter,

I trust you are doing well.

First of all I want to wish you a blessed Birth Day & Many more blessed years to come and may all your wishes & desires in life be granted to you.

I Love it here at Gilt-edge, I’m learning so much and I just want to Thank You for giving me the opportunity, for training & teaching me.

Gilt-edge has offered me a 6 month contract as an administrative consultant so I’ll be staying for a while and hopefully they will offer me something permanent.

I am working extremely hard and to the best of my ability.

Thank you so much for everything, I truly appreciate it and I apologize for only getting back to you now due to e-mail setting up procedures.

Happy Birthday and I hope you have an awesome day.

Kind Regards,



Tourism Boot Campers rocking Technical week – now for some internships!

Tourism Boot Campers rocking Technical week – now for some internships!

Tourism Boot Camp 4.0 has seen one of the strongest groups yet. We are very pleased with the progress shown as we refine the industry readiness program.

It has been a busy few weeks at the PG TOPS group, but we kinda made it work. Imagine the following obstacles in our way these last three weeks:

  1. The lack of a dedicated project manager to the Boot Camp, with Lauren-Lee Isaacs ably stepping in to help while also fulfilling her normal duties. PG handled most of the week 1 logistics training, with Zile de Kock, as always, helping out on Sharks and Whale Watching training. We love you Marine Dynamics.
  2. PG off at the SATSA conference on front-of-house week 2, shaking hands and kissing babies (which is important), but back at Boot Camp the hard yards were fulfilled by Lauren, ace Boot Camp alumni Khunji and visiting industry exec from Tsogo Sun Yolande West.
  3. Then we hit week 3 – technical. Chrissy Human managed to shepherd the interns along with limited resources (we moved offices that week and had to shove Boot Camp into the garage). Luckily, Chrissy found a clever solution, and took the crowd on a wine tour on day 3 to Morgenster instead and completed the training at the Earthstompers office
  4. Since we are super busy next week and have run out of vehicles to take the interns on much needed practical tour exposure, we shifted the Peninsula and winelands excursions to this week. Nicole van Heerden has again volunteered to take them out to experience first hand what our guests expect, including visits to Jordan, Spice Route, the Cape of Good Hope and of course the Penguins.

The cream rises to the surface. We are quite proud that this group will go places, and we are looking for intern placements for them starting 7 August 2018. Please contact Lauren-Lee at if you would like to get involved with this amazing project!



TOURISM BOOT CAMP 4.0 kicks off 16 July!  We have a strong field of applicants ready and raring to go about getting their launchpad in the South African tourism industry. It’s a tough course, there will be plenty of tests and a few will drop out, but there will also be plenty of fun, some exciting new experiences and, most importantly, plenty of vital practical up-skilling that will set them on the path to success. Lauren-Lee Isaacs is relishing her new role as project coordinator, and we are excited to go on this journey again. So, without further ado, here’s the new crew:

Dipakeng Phelane:

Dipakeng resides in Summer Greens and has previously studied tourism at Ekurhuleni East College for FET as well as hospitality at the Hospitality Academy.
She has previous training on Microsoft office and her work experience includes being an intern at Lapen Village Guest House, banqueting at The Lakes Hotel & Conference Centre and passenger handling at Swiss Port SA O.R Tambo Airport.
Very determined to make a success of her life and is always up for a challenge.


Erica Petersen

Erica Petersen:

Erica lives in Mannenberg, is divorced and has one child. She studied at PC Training and Business College and has a cultural guide certificate and badge as well as level 1 first aid training.
Her employment history includes Two Oceans Aquarium as a visitor assistant, Table Mountain Aerial Cable Way as a ticket officer and the Castle of Good Hope as a site guide.
Loves interacting with people from all walks of life. Her motto is; Determination and hard work are the key elements of making a success of yourself.

Phelokazi Ntola:

Phelokazi lives in Woodstock and has a National Diploma in Tourism which she completed at Cape Peninsula University of Technology.
Her work experience includes working at the front desk of the World Travel Market with Reed Travel Exhibition.
She has a lovely nature and an open presence about her. Her hobbies include soccer and netball and she also loves reading in her spare time.


Hayley Hendriks

Hayley Hendriks:

Halyley stays in Belhar and is currently finishing off her studies at Northlink College. She is now required to do an 18-month internship to complete her tourism course to be eligible to graduate.
She hasn’t had any previous work experience in the industry, but she has the theory behind her and did well on the technical assessment.
Hayley feels like TBC would give her the push she needs into the industry and would also accept a non-paying internship, if given the opportunity. She has a lovely open nature.

Siphosethu Makozi:

Siphosethu stays in Khayelitsha and completed his National Diploma in Tourism level 1 and 2 at Cape Peninsula University of Technology.
He has previous work experience but not in the tourism industry.
Siphosethu has good written skills, loves coming up with new ideas and would like to become an entrepreneur. Young and presentable, he just needs a chance.


Justine Sampson

Justine Sampson:

Justine lives in Retreat. Fun Fact: She is a dancer and her dance company was recently featured on Expresso!
She obtained her N5 tourism certificate at False Bay College which she just completed, so requires an internship to gain access into the industry.
Very fresh faced and has a professional nature about her. She wants to be a flight attendant but is still too young. She is well spoken, well written and is looking for an opportunity to shine.

Sisanda Deppa:

Sisanda is originally from Port Elizabeth but relocated to Cape Town and now stays in Strand, Cape Town.
She completed her Tourism Studies at Port Elizabeth College last year but is still required to do an 18-month internship to be eligible for graduation. She also completed an Aviation Course at Cranfield Aviation Training.
Sisanda is shy and quiet and needs a chance to show what she’s got.


Zeenat Meniers

Zeenat Meniers:

Zeenat lives in Belhar and has a Bachelor of Arts in Tourism and History which she obtained at the University of the Western Cape in 2016.
Her work experience includes being a mark checker at the Education Department as well as a freelance writer for Livingstone Research. She has good written communication and good Excel skills. Presentable and very professional.
She wants to own her own business one day.


Ziyanda Nani:

Originally from Eastern Cape, Ziyanda now lives with a friend in Kuilsriver, Cape Town.  She completed her certificate in Tourism in 2016 at South Cape TVET College in Oudtshoorn. She was introduced to us by Tourism Boot Camp graduate, Khunji Sebeta.
Ziyanda’s work experience includes being a sales assistance at Agri Land SSK and an information officer at the Oudtshoorn Tourism Office.
Ziyanda is very well spoken and has a bubbly energy about her which is why we think she is well suited to the industry.




Tourism Boot Camp 3.0 Concludes

Tourism Boot Camp 3.0 Concludes

Now in the final week of Boot Camp 3.0 the successful candidates are undertaking their 2-week practical job shadowing at our Industry Partners.

Salty Crax has placed Nosie Nyeka in a reception position at their Backpackers. She messaged to let us know that everything is going very well and that she is even helping out in the finance department with the invoices. She says the best part of her experience so far has been the opportunity to live-in at the premises which affords her the opportunity to experience all aspects of the establishment and make new friends from all over the world.

Two Oceans Aquarium  kindly offered Una Jackson a 2-week job shadowing opportunity to learn all the front of house aspects of this popular attraction. She will get the opportunity to experience what happens in various areas and gain valuable information and knowledge from their friendly team. They sometimes throw me in the deepend( no pun intended) she commented.

Baxolise is learning the ropes at Once In Cape Town, where she is being trained by one of the Tourism Boot Camp 2.0 candidates , Kamva Delvine. She has been exposed to back office reservation duties as well as front of house and customer facing duties. ” It is really fun here” Lise commeted earlier this week.


Applications are open for the next Tourism Boot Camp which kicks off on 16 July 2018. Apply now to fast track your career in the Tourism Industry.


Final Week: Tourism Boot Camp 3.0

Final Week: Tourism Boot Camp 3.0

An exciting final week of educationals and oral presentations resulted in three candidates graduating from Tourism Boot Camp last week.

Congratulations to Baxolise Marhasha, Nosiphelo Nyeka and Una Jackson who start their two week practical orientation at Industry partners this week. Do us proud!

Thank you to Nicole Van Heerden who generously gave of her time to guide the Boot Campers around the Cape Wonelands and the Cape Peninsula Educationals.

During the Winelands trip they visited the picturesque towns of Stellenbosch, Franschoek and Paarl. They enjoyed  sampling the wines at Jordan Wines, Fairview and Tokara as well as a delicious pizza lunch at La Grapperia

The Cape Peninsula tour started off at Boulders Beach Penguin Colony before heading past Cape Point. The next stop was Imhoff Farm where they had an informative session with Johan Ratcliff, Dirty Boots  who inspired them with the oportunities that existwithin the Adventure Tourism Industry. Thank you  Johan for sharing your passion with the candidates.

The scenic drive along Chapmans Peak took them to their lunch stop at Mariners Warf at Hout Bay Harbour. En-route back they enjoyed the splendour of Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, the highlight being the walk along the Boomslang.

Thursday was their final assesment where they were tasked to summarise all their educational experiences into a 2minute and 30 second video presentation.

Well done girls ,we are very proud of you and we wish you success in your future Tourism careers.

Week 3&4 progress update

Week 3&4 progress update

A busy few weeks under the belt for the Tourism Boot Campers . They completed their technical training in week 3 at the state of the art HBS e-Learning hub, kindly hosted by the V&A Waterfront . Thank you to Chrissy from Earthstompers Adventures for giving of her time to train the candidates on excel costing, budgeting and email formulation. This training is invaluable and so pivotal for their future roles in the Tourism Industry.

Week 4, by far the most fun section of the course, sees them gaining first had experience on what is on offer at the Cape Town Attractions. We would like to express our gradidute to our Industry partners that support this initiative by waivering entrances fees and sharing their inspirational stories of their career jounery.

Danchwa Cloete, Learning and development Coordinator from Table Mountain Aerial Cableway Company entertained them with his quirky sense of humour and stories about the strange habits of their visitors. He encouraged them to apply for positions via their anual seasonal recrutiment drive.

Fikile Sizwenya, Visitor Services at the Two Oceans Aquarium guided the excited candidates around their exhibts sharing his vast knowledge of marine life. He inspired them with his success story of starting off as a security guard and working his way up the ranks to become a full time Visitors Services employer.

Yolande West , Sales Manager, Tsogo Sun shared insights and opportunities within the Hotel Industry and guided the Boot Campers around their establishments in the city centre. The candidates now understand and are able to differentiate between the different star grading and room types of the different hotels. Yolande mentioned that one can only succeed if one is prepared to work hard, go the extra mile and always put the guest first.

The rest of the week sees them enjoying the splendour of the Cape Winelands and Cape Peninsula, guided by freelance Tour Guide, Nicole Van Heerden. The final assesment will be an oral presenetation of all their educational experiences which we aim to post on next week’s blog. Watch this space to see who made it through….


Week Two Progress Update

Week Two Progress Update

The focus for Week Two was to consult on more complex Cape Town itineraries and to upskill the candidates with front of house, oral presentation skills, attentive listening and critical thinking skills. We would once again like to thank our Industry Partners who gave of their time this week to lecture in their area of expertise.

Clive from Cape Town Tour Guide delivered a presentation on customising tour options in and around the Western Cape. From archaeological tours of the West Coast Fossil Park to private photography tours of the Cape Peninsula.  He gave an overview of what type of specialised tours they may have to deal with in their future positions as reservations reservations consultants.

Mpumelelo Sefalane, the Community Organiser from Airbnb South Africa shared some inspiration for the more entrepreneurial minded candidates. He explained the co-hosting upliftment program which they have undertaken in the communities and encouraged the candidates to attend the meet-up which is taking place at Bandwidth Barn in Khayelitsha on Wednesday 28th April.

On Wednesday 21 March, Human rights day the candidates headed out on a self discovery tour of the Cape Town City Centre and the V&A Waterfront. The candidates were tasked to visit and enquire on entrance fees and opening times of various attractions and restaurants in and around the CBD. Their presentation skills were put to the test when they were requested to verbally present their feedback and experience of their city tour.

The week ended with an oral assessment moderated by Quintin from Bikes’n Wines and Pieter Geldenhuys, PG Tops and Travel. The candidates needed to confidently model a physical client interaction consultation for a customised three day itinerary in Cape Town including additional activities and restaurant bookings.

Congratulations to Baxolise, Nosiphelo, Thandokazi and Una and  who have progressed to Week 3 of Tourism Boot Camp 3.0. We wish them all the best with the technical training where they will sharpen up their computer and excel skills.

Tourism Boot Camp 3.0

Tourism Boot Camp 3.0

The third Tourism Boot Camp commenced on Monday 12 March at PG Tops and Travel office’s with six eager candidates ready to take up the challenge of learning practical skills to better prepare them for their careers in the Tourism Industry.

The candidates who hail from Khayelitsha, Namibia, Observatory, Kraaifontein and Bellville South unanimously agreed that the main reason they applied to Tourism Boot Camp is to help them get jobs in the Tourism Industry as most of them do not have any work experience in the Industry.

Baxolise Mahasha, who is originally from Gauteng has returned for her second attempt even more determined to succeed this time around. She says she is more confident and more geared up in terms of what is expected of her this time around. She aspires to pursue a career as a Reservations Consultant.

The first week’s course curriculum covered Cape Town Tours and Logistics training by Pieter Geldenhuys, Monade van Eeden and Lauren-Lee Isaacs from PG Tops and Travel. In depth training of the Cape Town highlights included : Cape Peninsula tour, Cape Town City Center tour, Langa Township, Robben Island Tour , Aquilla Safari and the Cape Winelands.

Zile’ de Kock from Marine Dynamics orientated the candidates on the Shark cage diving and Whale watching tours offered in Gansbaai and Hermanus. Thank you once again for your time, Zile the girls found your session very informative and are very excited about the possibility of doing an educational in the not too distant future.

The candidates were taught the the core principles of consulting which they readily applied to their timelines and consults as part of their Friday assessment. The good news is that all six candidates have made it through to week two where they will be trained on Front of House, Oral Presentation skills, Attentive Listening and Critical Thinking Skills. They will also be addressed by AirBNB, and their week 2 assessment will be done in conjunction with Bikes n Wines.