So as you all know I love to support local and started a segment where we could share, learn and inspire! It is so important to support local and share your findings with others.
During lock down, we are going to do a whole lot of these to highlight these businesses – many of which are taking HUGE strain during this time – and shed some awareness and love to all.
So this is a very special share today as I was super excited to find this gem of a business and I know you will all enjoy it too! African Soul Safaris is a travel company that offers small group tours around South Africa for women! How divine is that? I love the concept. And so lovely to feel safe, with a group of ladies who share your love for travel.
We chatted to the lovely Anje De Klerk, founder of African Soul Safaris and she had this to say to us!
Tell us a little bit about your business.
African Soul Safaris is a travel company that offers women with a wanderlust heart and an African dream the opportunity to travel safely in South Africa in the comfort of a small group. A Soul Safari is carefully crafted to showcase particularly beautiful and ecologically significant parts of South Africa like the Garden Route, the Karoo and The Kruger Park.
These soulful journeys include incredible accommodation, delicious food and life enriching experiences. For example, instead of just a passive game drive we will join a cheetah research team or go on a walking safari in a Big Five reserve. While we especially include unique and immersive activities to get you out of your comfort zone, we also want you to relax and depart feeling rejuvenated. So there is plenty of ”me time” as well to reflect, read or just relax. Best of all – you don’t need a travel buddy – you can travel solo but not be alone. We do all the planning (no stress for you to deal with) so all you need to do is pack your bags!
What are the top 3 learnings you have had to find out the hard way since starting your own business?
This business is an amalgamation of my love for nature, travel and a deep desire to share life enriching experiences with other women. I am a scientist with no prior business experience. So while I had passion, I didn’t actually know how to even start a business. All of a sudden I had to learn everything – from building a website to pricing tours correctly. Initially when you don’t have the capital to outsource, you have to invest lots of time into learning how to do everything yourself. There are many great free courses to get you started but there are many half-hearted ones too. It’s quite a process to sift through them to find a mentor/teacher/coach who is worthy of your time and money.
How to deal with copy-cats…I was devastated the first time I found an exact replica of one of my tours (literally word for word) online. But I realised that they wouldn’t have the secret sauce…me! So even though the tour might be the same, the experience definitely wouldn’t be.
Time management. There’s a time to work and there’s a time for family. I asked my son to help me with something one day and he looked up at me from an empty egg box and said ”Mommy, I just want to send this email quick!”. That was a wake-up call! I am much better at switching off my computer and putting down my phone now.
Where do you see your business in 5 years?
My goal is two-fold: Firstly to host unique, soul-enriching experiences that make women fall in love with Africa and, secondly, to create employment opportunities for local women who are passionate about their country to host these tours with me. So in 10 years, I see a couple of awesome ladies in my team helping me host at least 10 tours a year making travel dreams come true.
What is your advice to individuals out there wanting to start their own businesses but are too scared?
Count to five and then just start! Most of the time, we know what to do or what has to be done, we just don’t necessarily know HOW though. So start by writing down what you know has to be done and then figure out how.
Tell us 2 things that are the BEST part about owning your own business and make it all worth while?
I love that my office can be anywhere – sometimes it’s in the bush or at the beach or in a coffee shop. I also enjoy the flexibility with regards to time. I can plan my day according to my requirements and not somebody else’s.
How has lock down affected you and your business?
Well, we weren’t able to run any of our tours earlier in the year which was obviously very disappointing. To keep busy though I launched a ”Soul Safari in a Box” – a collection of my favourite travel goodies in a gift box that will give you a taste of a Soul Safari experience. Hopefully now that we are on Level 1, we’ll be able to host our Karoo Midlands Getaway later in October which is very exciting!