Sertorio Mmshothola took a leap of faith in 2000 by launching Ntwanano Safaris and Tours, moving from his job as an educator and consultant to start something different in a crowded market. The small business offers yoga and architecture safaris to differentiate itself from the mainstream tourism packages to the Kruger National Park.
“Tourism is very competitive, as everybody knows. There are a lot of players trying to offer the same kind of thing. The challenge is how to stand out. Every tourist wants to go to the Kruger park. How do you make that different,” Mmshothola says.
He considered the natural environment around Nelspruit and realised the waterfalls and mountains are conducive to hosting yoga and reflective retreats. So the people he hosts spend most of their seven-day tour walking in the bush, absorbing nature, while eating, wholesome and healthy food, and only go to the Kruger park and see the wildlife on the sixth day. The yoga safari package costs R12 000 all-inclusive and has proven popular with a mix of international, regional and local travellers.
The art and architecture safaris expose people to the art galleries in the Nelspruit and White River area and are concluded in the architecturally diverse Maputo, Mozambique’s capital.
The various styles reflect colonial influences such as art deco and those of Portugal and Italy.
Mmshothola counts keeping his vehicles up to standard and having the correct insurance packages in place as some of the challenges he has faced in running his small business. He says it is also important to be available 24/7 for bookings and inquiries because of different times zones around the world.
He plans to hand over the reins to his daughter Khensani in the next few years, who has hands-on experience and is involved in the daily operations of Ntwanano Safaris and Tours.
Mmshothola says the business is already well known for its diverse and unique safari packages, and Khensani will be able to direct her energy and passion to the technological and marketing challenges of the fast-paced digital world.