The St Lucia Experience With Samport Travel & Heritage Tours

I was one of the few influencers invited for the North Coast Takeover with Samport Travel by Heritage Tours in St Lucia. We were whisked from Durban via Cee Tours and checked in Umlilo Lodge while the other group spent their first night at Heritage house, after checking in we got to experience a sunset drive at St Lucia Dunes views and enjoyed a beautiful dinner in the bushes.

Travel Crew. Pic by Aluta Humbane.

The following day we had to wake up very early to get ready for The Big 5 Safari Game Drive and after driving around and spotting a few animals from the wild we stopped at Centenary Centre where the guys at Heritage tours prepared breakfast for us so we could continue with the road. Loved the items at Vulamehlo Craft Market but were not there for long as more hours of driving in the bushes awaited us. Lunch was had at Sontuli Picnic Spot and yes you may have guessed right, we had it my favourite way, South African braai style.

I am very grateful to have been asked by Miss Portia Mkhize to be a part of this experience and got to make new friends and future business associates. Asking Sanele from Bathathe CookOut about the tour, this is what he had to say;

“Bathathe being just a year old was quite fortunate to get such exposure. The variety of skills and knowledge from the group that was put together made it even more fruitful for Bathathe. The fact that we got to meet in such a relaxed environment made it easy to break the ice and connect. You often find that if you meet people purely on business terms in a formal setup it becomes difficult to know and understand their character but the trip gave us an opportunity to see people for exactly who they are beyond the profession they are in. The lodges we visited were beautiful and the fact that there are animals that roam the street at night in the area does give you a sense of being away from the busy life making you relax and refresh. The area does command you to keep it clean just by how it’s well maintained and kept clean by the locals and you can actually see that locals take pride in keeping it like that. The game drive was fun even though the weather wasn’t the favourable one. The team tasked with driving us around the reserve are very knowledgeable and comfortable in what they do which builds interest to the guests to want to know more about the reserve and even refer it to other outdoor lifestyle and nature lovers. Even though we could breakfast individually the dinner time with everyone around the table assured that we stayed engaged and touched base with everyone. As Bathathe we are about bringing people together through food and entertainment while giving the opportunity to the small business and art entrepreneurs a platform to showcase to that crowd so being in the midst of that group made us realize that we on the right track when we saw what wonderful and great things are being done by the different individuals in that group. We grow up being thought to study and finding a job in the corporate space and that entire group proved that there’s more to life for the youth do as entrepreneurs than being incorporate. We actually believe that given time to have more such meetings/outings will give birth to lifechanging collaborations. Thanks to Samport Travel, Umlazi Tourism and the Safari for giving an opportunity to be part of such. My highlight was Aluta being the glue for the entire group by making sure that sonke besiRight and laughing” – Says founder of Bathathe CookOut, Gcina Sanele Ndlovu.

Miss Portia Mkhize. Pic by Aluta Humbane.
Read my interview with Portia, founder of Samport Travel.
  • When was your company founded and what persuaded you to? That is a very broad question, – from the time I was young, I had a lot of opportunities to travel and study abroad, namely after being chosen to be Model United Nations ambassador, and my first international trip was to New York and Washington DC. And that is when the seed was first planted, I then came back and studied a Wits University, and as my working career started, I worked in corporate, for businesses Like, Hollard, Discovery Health, FNB just to name a few, but my personality and what I was doing was just not making me happy until I met a lady from Flight Centre, who asked me to apply, and a month later after the long interview process, I was hired as flighty. And that is when “I fell in love with travel”…the excitement behind planning a holiday for someone else, and giving it your best, whether they have a beer budget or Champagne. The satisfaction of when they come back and say, thank you Portia, that was truly indeed an amazing holiday, you exceeded our expectations! That was satisfying enough for me, I was then manager at one of their branches in Fourways 8 months after joining, the group, it was exciting, and that is when I learned more about running the business. 4 years later I moved to Durban and worked for Comair ltd ( kulula and British Airways) and that is where I now larned about airport operations and that broadened my knowledge and understanding of Travel. And then one morning, I woke up and I told my mom, Ï am going to start my own travel agency…and the rest is still untold history.
  • What do you enjoy most about what you do? Apart from travelling, fam trips and other educational, I thrive on compliments, so doing my work so well and getting the recognition for what I do, and also empowering youth who want to join the travel industry, makes me enjoy my work better.
  • Which are some of the best tours you have taken in your company? The first time I took my interns to Johannesburg. It was their first time flying, sleeping at a hotel, and seeing Johbugh for the first time. And the excitement in their faces was priceless, and it made me realise that as a people, there some things that we take for granted. And obviously the trip we did now with @heritage tours and KZN influencers.
  • Which tours are common at Samport Travel? Let me put it this way we are not a tour operating company, we are a travel management company. We do leisure packages and corporate. Tours are part of the experience we give to our customers when they book both locally and internationally.
  • Have you had return clients? Why do you think it is important to have a good relationship with your clients? Half my monthly sales are based on repeat clients, and to me, that indicates that we must be doing something right.
  • Tell us about your academic records; With regards to travel, I have earned awards and numerous certificates, that have qualified me to do what I do. I did not study travel, I fell into travel and I wish when I was younger, we had options and it wasn’t just about being a doctor, teacher or an accountant, And I am not complaining about my accounting, it helps me manage the business a little bit better.
  • I know that you work with a lot of students, do you choose the institutions you prefer working with? I love sharing knowledge and upskilling youth. No, I do not choose the institutions I work with, for now, they have approached me. I am currently working on something to change that though….
  • Where did you go on your last international holiday? China and Thailand- 15 day trip with my family
  • Where are you hoping to go next? I would love to do Africa, there some amazing countries that are definitely on my bucket list.
  • What’s on your bucket list in terms of African Tourism this year? Duh! Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana, Zambia, Egypt, Mozambique and Lesotho.
  • What don’t you ever leave behind when travelling? Passport and body lotion.
  • 5 essentials you can not complete a day without? My phone, laptop, juice( I don’t like water), lipstick and my prescription glasses.
  • What’s next for Samport Travel? I am a dreamer, and to be an entrepreneur, you need to dream very big that your dreams give you nightmares. However on a short term basis, we are looking at adding new departments, within the company ( room for growth and to hire more interns- I can’t really say what, all I can say is that tourism students should keep glued to our pages, so that they don’t miss out)
  • What are you currently offering for first-time travellers? The beauty of travel is that there are no small or big holidays. Your heart guides you and I make suggestions, work around your budget and make sure, where ever we take you, you will have a blast and mostly get value for your money.
  • Motivation to tourism students? Tourism is one of the fastest-growing industries in the world and South Africa is becoming one of the most popular destinations. So trust me, you are in the right place. And the best part is, you do not need money to participate in tourism, for example, I started my business with a laptop and a good Wifi connection. I always tell my students that, being on Florida road, or at the beach or even Ka Max, as soon as you take a picture and you post it, you have actively participated in tourism, accept for that picture will make the other person money. There are many ways of having s travel business, like for example, post pictures about your township, partner with people on your street that sell amagwinya, and #bestamagwinya Usection Umlazi, /call me ….…or the best beadwork and traditional wear, you will find @…#myculture my heritage…simple things like that, so that when tourist come, they know where to find you and what is exciting about your area. And stay informed, watch the travel channel, read travel novels and books and know your map.

Thanks so much for reading, hope to see you again :)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.