ATAMELA TOURS – EXPERIENCE THE SOUTH AFRICAN CULTURE
Established in 1999, Atamela means to come closer or to come together. The name aims to bridge the cultural gap between Africans, white South Africans and visitors alike, through our cultural tour packages.
Our tours are unique and different from other guided tours and sightseeing holidays. Our tours expose you to our beautiful weather, breath-taking views, and historical landmarks. In addition, we will give you the cultural encounter of a lifetime, exposing you to the heart of our diverse culture and its people. The focus of our tours is to bring people together and make it possible for them to learn from each other.
Atamela Tours founder, Miss Thuli Tshabalala.
Thuli was born and raised in the Township Soweto in Johannesburg. She is a SATOUR accredited guide and furthered her studies in Germany between 1992 to 1998.
“When I decided to study tourism, I was amazed by the fact that there were virtually no Africans participating in this industry. I saw many buses coming into Soweto, but the tourists never got out and walked around to interact the local Soweto residents. I felt a deep urge to get them more in touch instead of sitting in busses and just taking pictures. There is such a greater fulfillment in meeting new people and learning about local cultures from those that are involved on a daily basis with maintaining the culture”.
South Africa is one of the most blessed countries in the world. We have the best weather all year round, breathtaking scenery, an extremely diverse wildlife, unusual flora and fauna, and a fascinating collection of tribes with different customs and traditions. This diversity not only fascinates visitors from other countries, but it fascinates us with so much pride and excitement as a nation.
Historical tourism literature has not done justice for us nor to our country. Atamela Tours has a deep urge to change this and therefore pursues its business model as well as its vast network, in the creation of a unique tourist experience of Johannesburg and Soweto specifically.
After Miss Thuli Tshabalala completed her tourism studies in South Africa in 1992, she moved to Germany to further her studies in tourism. She spent 6 years working in the German tourism industry to build up her network and gain experience and further her skills in the hospitality industry. In 1998, Thuli returned to South Africa to establish her own tour operating business, and Atamela Tours was born.
I not only offer tours in German and English, but also take care of organizing accommodation and catering for my international guest in an “all-around carefree package” if required.
South Africa has nine province/states in total. Gauteng is the smallest but most important province for the country and the entire continent. This is due to the fact that Johannesburg, a city is in Gauteng, is the fastest developing economic powerhouse in South Africa as well as the African continent.
Johannesburg is the only city in the country that will give you a feel of a typical African city in every way possible.
Soweto is right next to Johannesburg and was developed to be a “dormitory” to house the working force for Johannesburg.
Like any large city in the world, there is crime in Johannesburg, however, it is not as bad as the media makes it out to be. Petty crime does exist in and around the city centre but most of the serious crime reported is outside of the areas where visitors would venture on their own or with a guide accompanying them.
We advise our guests not to look like a typical tourist with cameras hanging around their necks and shoulders. For your safety and memorable travel experience, we advise our tourists to adhere to the following safety guidelines;
- We strongly advise our guests not carry too much cash and valuables. Please utilise the safety deposit boxes which are normally in your rooms at your booked in guest lodge, hotel or place of accomodation.
- Be alert when mixing with people that are not involved in your tour. Is is always important to have your tour company or tour guide introduce you to the main people that will be sure to look out for your safety and needs. So it is rather safer and better to communicate with your contact or guides to confirm your safety to mingle and communicate with new people.
- If you are unsure which areas are considered unsafe, please ask at your hotel, guesthouse or at a police station near you. You can always locate the nearest Police Station using Google Maps or dialing “112”, which is our local and free emergency contact number.
- When leaving your car parked out in the street, make sure you do not have objects lying around that may attract would-be thieves.
- Another tip is be very effective and simple and not project valuables unnecessarily. When you are in a predominantly black area, self-driven or on a guided tour, be friendly, greet the people, smile back and show interest in their art and craft without showing too much commitment. By showing respect to the locals, they will immediately notice that you are probably a visitor, and will treat you likewise. If you show locals respect, they will repay you in kind and treat you with the same respect.