The Tshwane Tour: From Tour Guides to Tourists

On the 5th and 6th October 2017 our Long March To Freedom site guides were invited to a Tshwane Familiarization Tour hosted by the Gauteng Tourism Authority. During this two-day tour our site guides learnt about what the city of Tshwane had to offer and had new insights into their own work as site guides.

The first day of the tour was jam-packed with outings to various historical sites. The tour started at the Kgosi Mampuru Correctional Services prison. Here the site guides were able to get a deeper understanding of prison life. They were guided by one of the inmates who shared their prison experiences and their knowledge of the daily routines of the prisoners.

The next destination was a tour of the well-known heritage site Freedom Park. Freedom Park which is situated on Salvokop in Pretoria, includes a memorial with a list of the names of those killed in the South African Wars, World War I, World War II as well as during the apartheid era. It was after this tour that the site guides were taken to the Gautrain Station where they experienced the day-to-day running of the Gautrain. The day ended off with an exciting township tour, where the site guides explored both Solomon Mahlangu Square and the popular Jack Buddha tavern.

The next day was a highlight for many of the site guides as they were given a tour of the Cullinan Diamond Mine and the Kwalata Camp site where they did a game drive and ended off their two-day tour. For the site guides it was here that they thought about ways to improve their tours at the Long March To Freedom.

Site guide Mario had this to say:

The second day for me was very interesting as we learned that first impressions are very important. On our arrival to the Kwalata Camp the cultural dancer made me feel more than welcome. (Mario. NHM Siteguide)

Site guide Tumo shared this experience:

 I learned that it is always critical to maintain a professional attitude at all times. I now feel like being a tour guide is almost similar to being a waiter. This is because when we were at Kwalata Bush Camp we were pampered with luxurious African dining and I took time to observe the people serving us. You see for me now, guiding is a service. I am now in a stage of practising everything that I have learnt from my experience at Kwalata. (Tumo. NHM Site guide)

Another site guide, Alfred Mahapa who was familiar with the tourist attractions did learn that: “What interested me the most as a guide was learning how other guides conduct their tour in their respective sites.” (Alfred. NHM Site guide)

Momo also shared what she learnt from her two-day tour experience:

As a tour operator and guide, it cemented the value of my work and taught me how to present myself as a guide. I learnt that I must always be informed with every aspect concerning our country all the time. (Momo. NHM Site guide)

This two-day tour hosted by the Gauteng Tourism Authority was a blessing for the Long March To Freedom site guides as it allowed them to enjoy and learn about what other South African tourist attractions have to offer. It was fun for them to be the tourist for a change!