Hout Bay entrepreneur Lionel Human has set his sights on regaining the travel-and-tour business he started a few months before lockdown hit.
He launched his long-distance and overland tours enterprise last December.
“I bought a new Mercedes van just before the lockdown for this business, but then everything was closed, and now I am sitting with this van which has to start working for me,” he laughed.
After regulations were lifted on hiking a few weeks back, he decided to run tours up the mountain, knowing all too well about the dangers.
“People were asking me about the hikes, and I know how dangerous those trails can be, so I decided to organise a trip up the mountain with a group, at no cost,” he said.
He also teamed up with Hangberg couple, Brent and Donita Thomas, who know the mountain well and run Karbonkelberg Tours, which also took a major hit due to lockdown.
“I do not accept any money from the hikes, but I do request people to make a small donation towards Brent and Donita, who are both not working and this can help them if more people can get involved,” Mr Human said.
Mr Thomas said he had been very keen to get going after Mr Human approached him.
“He then started planning and advertising the hikes,” Mr Thomas said.
Mr Human said that without the Thomases he wouldn’t have taken groups up the mountain because of previous muggings.
Last year, Ukrainian tourist Ivan Ivanov was stabbed to death while hiking up the East Fort trail (“Three suspects arrested for mountain murder,” Sentinel News, August 2, 2019).
Mr Human hopes the Thomases will be able to revive Karbonkelberg Tours at some stage once there’s enough interest in the hikes.
“The primary focus will be to assist with not only job-creation initiatives but also providing small businesses with training and set-up. I believe that by empowering people to run their own businesses, they will be able to create jobs in their respective communities,” Mr Human said.
“Brent and his wife, Donita, have been invaluable in terms of their knowledge of the herbs on the mountain. Everyone on the hike had only positive things to say about the wealth of knowledge they shared during the hikes. These hikes have brought them extra income.”
In an attempt to branch out, Mr Human hopes to launch the Hout Bay Meet, Greet and Eat, offering a local eating experience for hikers and tourists with meals such as koeksisters, fish curry and other traditional dishes, being outsourced to people in Hangberg.
“I would like, with the assistance of various role-players, to create as many small businesses and jobs as possible. I would love to see more people from Hangberg and Imizamo Yethu joining the hikes.
“The hikes could also be a real catalyst for creating a spirit of ubuntu in our community,” Mr Human said.
The next “free” hikes will take place on the following dates:
Wednesday September 2, starting at 8am from Sentinel Close
Sunday 6 September 6, starting at 8am from Sentinel Close
For any future hikes, contact Mr Human on 082 782 1979.