Having traversed through Bali on a cultural tour in a vintage VW Kombi exploring “significant historical places, along with renowned restaurants and bars”, partners Drew Campbell and Sophie Bagheri were inspired to provide this unique, educational yet fun travel experience to travellers in Cape Town looking to soak in the city’s art, culture, food and drink scene. Campbell, who has a construction management background and Bagheri, who holds a Business Tourism degree now offer curated experiences that cater to just that through Kiff Kombi Tours.
“We absolutely loved the combination of exploring a destination with both educational and fun aspects. Cape Town is such an amazing city, but offered nothing like this. This inspired our first curated experience, which combined culture, art, food and drink and scenery,” says Campbell.
With the emergence of travel apps and curated tours, Kiff Kombi Tours keeps its edge by engaging with audiences online. Campbell shares that maintaining a social media presence on Facebook and Twitter has allowed them to market South Africa as a destination of choice through “quality content that is Afro-inspired in an informative and eye-catching way” to a broader international community.
There are six tour packages provided by Kiff Kombi Tours, including an Urban Safari (rated Top 10 in Cape Town) for R750pp, with highlights such as Bo Kaap, District Six Street Art, Woodstock and Chapman’s Peak and inclusions such as lunch, beer tastings, wine tastings and drinks; a Road Trip (Cape Point & Penguins) that’s cheaper than hiring your own rental car at R750pp, with highlights such as Cape of Good Hope, Cape Point and Boulders Beach, with inclusions such as a packed lunch and all entry fees; and a Craft Beer Safari for R750pp, on which you’ll get to explore four craft breweries with beer and food- pairing board included. Tailor-made experiences are also available, be it for a corporate business day, bachelor/bachelorette party or a birthday get-together.
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On the ground, the brand stands out from its competitors by prioritising logistical and operational planning, while remaining affordable. “We take into account the nitty-gritty details of timing, inclusions and affordability. We are one of the most affordable companies for day trips in South Africa and will remain like this. Our trips are generally all inclusive – but there are times that excited guests like to indulge in those extra few beers not included in the price! We try to keep it as ‘real’ as possible by delving into unchartered locations that most people (even locals) don’t explore.”
Kiff Kombi Tours has ambitions to continue to grow, with plans to branch out and launch tours in Gauteng areas such as Braamfontein, Maboneng and Soweto, producing similar tours to their township street art tour in Langa. “The vibe in Jozi is buzzing so we are eager to tap into that and showcase it to the rest of the world. Joburg is commonly regarded as a transit city or corporate city. People often stop only for one night on the way to Kruger National Park or other African cities, but we want to change this. There is already a lot of growth and positive change happening in terms of tourism and we hope to be part of it!”
Youth employment and empowerment is also an important organisational pillar. “Youth employment is definitely a key focus for us and should be for most companies in SA, with 67% of youth under 25 years unemployed. We employ six different guides and have recently curated a new tour focusing on street art in Langa,” explains Drew. “We aim to empower youth in the township by giving them the opportunity to showcase their skills to our guests, covering street artwork, music, culture and food. We currently support The Homestead Project for Street Children and are looking for a grass roots youth community project to engage with. Tourism is one of the major industries in South Africa and we hope that the youth are inspired and see the great opportunities they have.”
They’ve also partnered with Once Youth Hotels. “We have a great relationship with Once Youth Hotels, as my girlfriend, Sophie, is the Business Development Manager of the brand. Together, we brainstorm and share a lot of ideas, and have really helped each other grow as youth-targeted businesses.”
The brand has been recognised for its work, being rated one of the Top 10 Day Tours in Cape Town by Cape Town Magazine in 2017 and being sponsored by the South African Department of Tourism to participate at Vakantiebeurs Tourism Fair in the Netherlands in 2018. But with that, there have also been challenges, with Campbell sharing that they came close to giving up on their dream due to the barriers to entry in getting the business accredited.
“The first few months were incredibly difficult, as we were new and people did not yet trust us. We had little support from other local businesses and had to rely on our own marketing online tools to obtain our first bookings. Shout out to Cape Town Tourism whose online social media and website got us our very first booking!
“It was a slow start, but once the ball started rolling, it hasn’t stopped. We’ve been rated as one of the top tour companies in Cape Town and we are now also launching a craft beer brand – Kiff Brew! Two of the beers are Llandudno Lager and Higgovale Pale Ale,” he continued.
Follow Kiff Kombi Tours on Facebook and Instragram @kiffkombitours and if you like beer, @kiff.brew, or visit the website for more information and bookings: kiffkombitours.co.za