Local travel agency, Happy Soul Adventures is changing the way tourists and locals get to experience Botswana.
The company gives those wanting to see a different side of their city and surrounding areas a fresh concept that leaves them feeling rejuvenated and looking forward to their next adventure.
The brain behind this extraordinary concept is none other than Cynthia Mothelesi.
Mothelesi has a background in Public Relations and Marketing, and she was with Botswana Tourism Organisation for seven years. During her time at BTO, she realised the potential Batswana have. She also realised that for one to start something, one does not need to have a lot except passion.
At BTO she noticed a gap in the market for adventure lovers who seek to experience Botswana through the eyes of a local, and so Happy Soul Adventures was born. The company is all about giving clients a people based experience. Happy Soul Adventures is targeting travellers interested not in safari tours, or fancy places, but those into getting a whole new experience. Happy Soul Adventures clients get to cycle, and explore the country on a bicycle, something that is still new locally.
Other services that her company provides include photography as well as Art lessons.
Mothelesi tells BG Style that she takes her clients to places such as the Main Mall, a local Chesa Nyama, local pubs and bars such as B6 in Mochudi and United Café lounge, and surrounding villages where they get to unwind, and breathe in fresh air while taking in the sounds and sights of the area. Already, she has set Instagram alight with some of the adventures in areas like Notwane, Manyana, Mogobane, and Livingstone Kolobeng. She also takes her clients to Thapong Visual Arts Centre to see local artists in action and then takes them for sundowners at the Yacht Club.
What makes this even more exciting is that the clients experience this new lifestyle riding a bicycle. “We don’t just cycle, we cycle, and will stop somewhere to have snacks and relax,” she explains. Most people lead busy lives nowadays hence Mothelesi offers an experience that affords them a chance to relax, and take in the sounds in a relaxed atmosphere. To date, she has hosted clients from as far afield as Canada, United Kingdom and a young couple from South Africa who were taking their maiden visit to Gaborone.
She is also hosting clients from Belgium this week. “The young couple from South Africa was blown away by everything. They had so much fun, and they bought hot dogs from a local seller,” she explains adding that her business is also about benefiting the businessman on the ground. “Wherever we go I make sure that the tourists buy something from them it can be traditional food, or crafts. This way I know that the money goes directly to them,” she says.
Through the company she wishes to dispel the myth that tourism is for certain groups of people or those who have money. She also specialises in special requests. For example, she recently hosted a couple from Mochudi who wanted to enjoy a day out in the sun to celebrate the lass’s birthday. The couple didn’t have a car, and travelled by bus from Mochudi. She picked them in Gaborone and took them to Notwane, where they got to take pictures. “It was such a cool experience,” she explains.
The cost for an experience like this is just P200, and it includes snacks, and the use of a bicycle. Her services are also family orientated in consideation of the fact that parents also want to take their children along. “Our bicycles are quacky and colourful. We want people to relax and enjoy themselves,” she says. She is currently busy working on a city map that is focused on people based tourism.
The map will have information about places such as Oodi Weavers, and will show people where they can go for unique experiences. The tours happen on Friday afternoons, Saturday and Sunday (morning & noon). One tour can host up to ten people, and she is growing it to take 13. She is in the process of helping out the Oodi Weavers as part of her Corporate Social Responsibility.
She got her motivation after she was engaged by DeBeers to work with the Thamaga Pottery as Project Manager and she realised that there are many Batswana who are doing amazing things out there. “I gained knowledge from the Thamaga project,” she says.