Hi sports fans

It has literally been six months since my last confession.  I actually needed to go have a look at when exactly I last wrote a newsletter. November 2014.

Man. So I better have a good excuse for going so quiet.

I actually have several, listed to an old favourite melody:

Doe, a deer, a female deer

The office is predominantly female. And the guides are predominantly male. My theory is that men mostly like the women to tell them what to do. There has been a shift, an expansion, I daresay an evolution in the PG TOPS/Luxury Safaris team. While we were sad to say goodbye to Barbara, our plucky German intern, Sofie has rejoined the team after an extended holiday, and we welcome Thami and Nela as our junior consultants. Necesssary, as Bianca has left the office to focus on guiding for us full time, to rave Tripadvisor reviews. Jarred has also joined the guiding team, and doing some sterling work for us, especially as we do some brisk business with his old employers Sanbona.

Ray, a drop of golden sun

Some golden stats to light up the day for the PG fan club:

  1. March was our biggest month ever. April would have been, if it wasn’t for March. For the year to date, our numbers are up by a whopping 35%.
  2. Easter Friday was our busiest day ever. Easter was bumper, overall, but Easter Friday saw:
    1. 3 groups on safari
    2. 3 groups on the peninsula
    3. 3 groups in the winelands
    4. 2 groups on Table Mountain and City Centre
  3. The only reason we can sustain our service quality but do these increased volumes, is the quality of our guide contractors (and the ace office team, of course). Take a bow contract guides, our Tripadvisor page is littered with great reviews for Erica, Jamie, Deon et al!

Me, a name I call myself

PG TOPS continues to deliver the best quality day trips in the Cape Town, winelands and Peninsula areas.  In addition, our decision to name the new business Luxury Safaris has also been a good one.  Our luxury partners Sanbona, Botlierskop, Romney Park and Sabi Sands Reserves have been the main beneficiaries of increased support for this full service business. Caren, our safari specialist, has been booking everything from flights to hiring camera lenses for clients to safaris for 3 year olds. With Nela in support, this journey is also only starting!

Far, a long long way to run

Well, actually, it’s only about 200 metres. The PG TOPS operation has shifted location. The office is now located at 14A Avenue Montagne, and we had a lovely launch party in March.  This has enabled me to claim back my personal space (although there has been scant time to redecorate) and we have had a lot of fun choosing pictures, plants and paint jobs.  We’re all pretty happy with the move, I think my neighbours appreciate it as well!

Sew, a needle pulling thread

Like any favourite piece of clothing, the PG TOPS suit still looks good but needs some patching up, and we are having to let out the seams a bit to allow for an expanding waistline as we cruise into the middle of year 7. We tired of having to keep stitching up the oldest vehicle in the fleet, so the Vito has been sold, to be replaced by a newer model (arriving this week). I also added the Avanza to the fleet (once in a while I actually want to take my Beemer for a personal drive, so the extra set of wheels come in handy). We are also going to do some much needed maintenance on the website, and the quiet winter months afford the ideal opportunity to do some constructive tweaking to our business processes . The squeaky wheel, as they say…

La, a note to follow Sew

La, as in Ebo-LA. I want to reiterate: South Africa has no Ebola. We are five zillion km’s away from the affected zone. But it is worth congratulating Trevor Noah on his epic appointment as new host of the daily show. Check out his schpiel on

Also, even though we sometimes feel that we live in LA-LA land here in South Africa, what with Xenophobia, ridiculous governmental decisions and a cricket team that builds me up and breaks me down like clockwork every four years… There’s a lot to be happy and hopeful about.

Specifically, our LAnga township tour remains one of our most popular experiences. With the wonderful local Xhosa guides Godfrey, Richard and Odwa, we have a team that engages with our clients in a constructive and socially sensitive way that beats expectations every time. It’s hard to see the social divides that still hold us back as a nation, but equally encouraging to see a community hard at work changing things day by day. Proud.

Oh, and it’s not to early to start punting the Santa Shoebox Project, as always championed by YoLAnda. We have started to receive our first R200 donations!

Tea, a drink with jam and bread

Company slogan (check my logo) has always been TOUR-TRAVEL-TASTE. That’s why I crossfit. To balance out the excessive calamari lunches or the cookies the Mercedes dealership delivered.  In terms of our evolution as a business, one of our key success factors is our understanding of which restaurants deliver on client expectations, anticipating on behalf of our visitors where they would like to eat and booking them the best spots before the fill up. Perennial favourites Two Oceans, La Petite Ferme, the Pot Luck Club, the Test Kitchen, La Colombe,  Baia and the Codfather are among the restaurants that have made Cape Town the culinary capital of Africa.  We list our favourites on the website

That will bring us back to Do (oh-oh-oh)

And full circle.

DO recommend South Africa, Cape Town, the Garden Route, PG TOPS and Luxury Safaris to all your friends. We specialize in creating the trips of a lifetime!

Don’t pay too much attention to the bad press. If good news sold papers, we would have much more of it.

DO give me some feedback if you spot something that needs to be improved on our website(s), or if there is tour specific feedback that I need to be aware of.

Don’t hesitate to go out and rent Sound of Music and watch it again. I know I will.


Take care of yourselves… and each other! For graphics version click HERE.


PGThami Mokoena



Santa Shoe Box

The Santa Shoebox Project originated in Cape Town in 2006 and has grown in leaps and bounds, starting with only 180 boxes and within 8 years reached a whopping 118 274 boxes. These are distributed to more than 1000 recipient facilities, through more than 60 satellites around South Africa and Namibia.

PG TOPS got involved in 2011 and has ‘adopted’ this initiative as a yearly affair. This is the 4th year we will be involved and need all the help our friends, family and clients are willing to give.

You can assist by:

  • Donating. R170 or $20 will buy you a Shoebox, which we will allocate on your behalf, pack and send to the depot end of October.
  • Helping to pack: The Santa Shoebox Party 26 October 2014.
  • Spreading the word, packing your own boxes and dropping them off, or supporting the packers (braaiers, drink pourers, cheerleaders needed).
Check out this amazing initiative on

Two Oceans named one of the world’s best aquariums

TripAdvisor has named the Two Oceans Aquarium (Cape Town, South Africa) as the 10th best in the world and with more than 3000 marine animals to view, this is not a surprise at all!!!

The popular travel review site awarded the aquarium this honour on the list as part of the 2014 Travelers’ Choice Zoo and Aquarium Awards, which is based on the reviews and opinions of millions around the world. To top it all… they are the only aquarium in the southern hemisphere to have made it on this list!

Comments from travelers include: “Best aquarium I have ever been to” and “I really liked the variety of animals here. You see animals that you do not normally see. The animals are also quite large. It is very affordable”.

Some MUST DO’s at the Two Oceans Aquarium includes: diving with the sharks, feeding of African penguins, watching the antics of Yoshi, the loggerhead turtle, feeding of ragged-tooth sharks on Sunday afternoons and experiencing the interactive ‘Nemo’ exhibit.

First place in the Travellers’ Choice Awards went to Monterey Bay Aquarium in California, USA. Other aquariums in the top 10 include Oceanario de Lisboa (Portugal), Georgia Aquarium (USA), Tennessee Aquarium (USA), Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies (USA), Aquaworld Aquarium (Greece), Dallas World Aquarium (USA), Vancouver Aquarium (Canada) and Mundomar (Spain)

Head to the Two Oceans Aquarium website for more details.


Flying Around

Apparently I enjoy being in the sky…this started with my first visit to my grandparents in Cape Town (lived in George) with South African Airways. It was a short effective flight and one amazing experience for a 14 year old boy. My next flight was when I was a manager at a guest house in Port Elizabeth with two Canadian clients – this was in a helicopter ride over the coast.

After that I took a few more domestic flights, mainly to visit family in the “many” holidays I got in those days.

With PG Tops I managed to do 5 flights…

My 1st flight was from Johannesburg to Cape Town after our excursion to Kruger National Park and watching the Boks play at Ellis Park and Bafana Bafana in Mbombela

The 2nd trip was a helicopter flight with my colleagues in Cape Town with Cape Town Helicopters. Here I got my first “bird’s eye view” of Cape Town which was great!

My next 3 big trips happened within a period of 3 months… 3rd was a trip to Turkey – AMAZIG! 4th was a hot air balloon flight in Göreme (Turkey) with Mohamed as my pilot – early start, light wind which is good.

5th and most recent was my paragliding experience with Cape Town Tandem Paragliding and oh my! Again? YES PLEASE! I was in the capable hands of my pilot, Mias, he has been a pilot for the last 12 years and well, if you look at the pictures and videos you can see his tough working conditions…thought we had it tough.

This activity came as a bit of a surprise – a very pleasant one if I may add. This experience was totally amazing and something that I would recommend to everybody! You get to really experience Cape Town from a different angle with only the wind in your ears – no engine sounds – nothing…well, except your shrills of pleasure and the instructions of the pilot (I got to steer a little).

If you are in Cape Town and not 100% sure what to do…call us, we will sort you out. If you want, we can book you with Cape Town Tandem Paragliding and with the help of Manu and his team give you a few minutes in the sky whilst you contemplate what else you would like to do during your visit to Cape Town.


Till next time! RH

PG TOPS Jan 2014

PG TOPS – Roll on 2014

We’re already raced halfway down January 2014. The only reason I’m aware of how fast time is flying by is by the size of my dog, who is statistically oustripping PG TOPS’s growth, and that is no mean feat.
PG TOPS TRAVEL AND TOURS is in its sixth year of operation, and so I would like to focus on the number six for this newsletter:




Six is the most harmonious of the single digit numbers. It is the motherhood number, and the glue that keeps a community together.  It’s all about sacrificing, caring, healing, protecting and teaching others.
Five (by this logic last year’s number) is the dynamic, energetic number. And Seven is the deep soul- the introspective, spiritual number.

So in PG TOPS context, last year we energetically built the business and sat on our Blackberrys 24/7, this year we’re going to nurture and care for it, sacrifice a lot for it and do a lot of teaching by educational, book and app, and next year we’re just going to sit around and think about stuff. Not really email clients back, you know. Just think about it. Deeply.


If PG TOPS was a box office conquering scifi franchise, that would make sense too. Think about it. And let’s do it in terms of chronology, not the actual sequence in which the movies were made…
EPISODE 1: THE PHANTOM MENACE – PG starts the business. He is menaced by the really obvious lack of clients. He is saved by the Force – in the form of a the British and Irish Lions. KUUUDDDUUU. Bad movie, disappoints on most levels but some promise shown.
EPISODE 2: ATTACK OF THE CLONES – We are invaded by Hundreds of Thousands of Football Fans for the World Cup. PG Speaks a lot of Spanish. Doesn’t help us to defeat the Mexicans. South Africa is the big winner though, and the world takes notice. Better movie. Not good yet though.
EPISODE 3: REVENGE OF THE SITH – the best movie of the prequels. The best year for PG TOPS so far, as things start to get busy.  Yolanda Bekker starts. The Force is strong in this one.
EPISODE 4: A NEW HOPE –a classic movie. A classic year. Roelf Hamman joins the team, much like a young Luke Skywalker. He eventually tells PG to stop asking him to “feel the force”.  The fans look back at this episode as the foundation for the franchise, and the legend.
EPISODE 5: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK – widely believed to be the best of the series. The number don’t lie, and the stellar cast of Luke (Roelf), Leia (Yolanda), Han (PG) is joined by Simba (Chewbacca),  Bianca (C-3PO) and Rudi (Artoo Detoo).
EPISODE 6: RETURN OF THE JEDI – the first one I ever saw, and probably my favourite. This chapter will tie up all the storylines. Darth Vader dies (there is a major political shift as South Africans vote) but not really, the force is too strong in him as he redeems himself in the end (introduces a youth wage subsidy) and returns stronger than ever. In the end there is a helluva interstellar party with a lot of dancing teddy bears (this might be JZ).


Take your pick. This could refer to:
Robben Island, Table Mountain, Cape Point, Boulders Beach, Kirstenbosch Gardens, The V&A Waterfront
The CBD, The Townships, The Peninsula, the Winelands, Shark Cage Diving, Safari
Bungy jumping, hiking in the forest, kayaking in the wilderness, Paragliding in Sedgefield, skydiving in Plett, ziplining in the trees
Lions, elephants, rhinos, buffalo, leopards and squirrels
Sabi Sabi, Singita, Lion Sands, Londolozi, Kruger Park, BotlierskopThat last one was a shameless plug for new business Luxury Safaris South Africa.We’ll be launching it with all the bells and whistles within the next SIX months… watch this space.Take care of yourselves, and each other!




Less esoterically, I now have six troops on the payroll. Yolanda  remains the Queen Bee and Operations Manager, Roelf our stalwart allrounder, Bianca our very pregnant control tower, and Rudi our happy go lucky tour guide. They are joined this month by Caren Schoeman who will be the reservations manager for new business unit, and Sofie Otto who will take care of things for Bianca while she takes care of the motherhood business. Welcome to the newbies, they walked into absolute chaos as PG TOPS has been absolutely swamped with enquiries both large and small. Roll on the good times.


Six Sigma was Jack Welch (of General Electric Fame)’s pet project that drove that business to the top of the food chain. The nerds describe it thus:  Six Sigma at many organizations simply means a measure of quality that strives for near perfection. Six Sigma is a disciplined, data-driven approach and methodology for eliminating defects (driving toward six standard deviations between the mean and the nearest specification limit) in any process – from manufacturing to transactional and from product to service.
This kinda works for me. At PG TOPS we strive for perfection, and we’ve built systems that enable my amazing team to be the best at what they do. We’re not perfect, and we make mistakes, especially with the strong growth we’ve had… but I do believe the Quest for Zero Defect is valid and sustainable.
Having said that, we made a few mistakes over the incredibly busy summer weeks. The business doubled in turnover, we dealt with a whole bunch of products and variables that were new to us – but I hope we learned our lessons, and we’ll walk away stronger for it. Thanks to our loyal support base and fantastic subcontractors for bearing with us…

Or as we called Steve Austin when I was a kid: Die Man van Staal.
“We have the capability to build the world’s first bionic manSteve Austin will be that manBetter than he was beforeBetterstrongerfaster.”
That’s the guide team at PG TOPS. Better. Stronger. Faster.
And if you don’t believe me, check out the more than 117 reviews on Tripadvisor. They love us. Well except for that one angry lady.


The annual Agri Cheese Festival is here again. The festival runs from 26 – 29 April and we will be providing daily transport from Cape Town CBD and Durbanville (Toys R Us) to the festival at R200.00 per person return.

We will depart for cheese festivities at 09:00am from Heritage Square in the city and 09:30am from Toys R Us in Durbanville we will return from the Cheese festival the afternoon at 16:30pm.

To book call Pieter on +27 (0)83 288 4944 or email

We also have private transfers available, for rates please contact us.

For more information on the festival click here or Contact us!

Kirstenbosh Summer Concerts

PG Tops does Kirstenbosch summer concerts

The Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens on the slopes of Table Mountain has a host of amazing performances by local and international artists every year throughout the Summer season!

Here is the 2013/2014 schedule!

Date Event
24-Nov-13 Prime Circle
01-Dec-13 Jack Parrow, Francois van Coke
08-Dec-13 Tailer, Matthew Mole, Nakhane Toure
12 to 15-Dec-2013 Rotary Christmas Carols
22-Dec-13 Mango Groove
29-Dec-13 Oliver Mtukudzi
31-Dec-13 Goldfish, Yaov and Tailor
05-Jan-14 The Parlotones
12-Jan-14 MACSTANLEY, Craig Hinds, Ard Matthews
19-Jan-14 Johnny Clegg
26-Jan-14 Jimmy Nevis
02-Feb-14 Fokofpolisikar (PG)
09-Feb-14 Civil Twilight
16-Feb-14 Freshlyground
23-Feb-14 The Cape Philharmonic Orcgestra
02-Mar-14 Mi Casa
09-Mar-14 Hugh Masekela
16-Mar-14 Cape Town Folk ‘n Acoustic Music Festival
23-Mar-14 Desmond and the Tutus with Shortstraw
30-Mar-14 Lira
06-Apr-14 Jeremy Loops

Keep The Kirstenbosch Summer concerts in mind when planning your holiday – they really are a unique South African activity!

The Famous Garden Route and R62

Once in a while you want to get away from the daily hustle and bustle and then I think about all the fun we had by ourselves and with clients on the Garden Route.

There is something magical about the Garden Route; it is the home away from home and the nature lovers retreat with various wonderful activities to see and to do! We all have our favourites and preferences.

Depart Cape Town and drive via Route 62, if you are not the driver, stop off at Arabella Wine Estate for a wine tasting and be sure to buy some! After the tasting head towards Barrydale, here you stop off at the Country Pumpkin and enjoy a “lekker” lunch before continuing your journey.

Ronnie’s Sex Shop is a stop that one MUST do – even if it is just to use the loo – the idea here would be to have a brandy and coke, seeing that this is the drink that made Ronnie’s famous!

From Ronnie’s you follow the road towards Oudtshoorn; if you love Port have a stopover in Calitzdorp where this town boasts with some award winning ports. If you find yourself here between 14 and 15 June 2014, join in the festivities of the Port and Wine festival…no surprise that R62 is known as the world’s longest wine route.










Your final destination will be in Oudtshoorn for the day. It is a bit of a drive and fully packed. There are quite a few places to stay but De Denne Country Guest Lodge, once again, one of my favourites!

The next day you can have a leisurely lie in, enjoy some breakfast and then go exploring! Oudtshoorn has a few good attractions. There are the Cango Caves, The Highgate Ostrich Farm, Cango Wildlife Ranch and various museums, art galleries and restaurants.

From here you get onto the N12 and go down the picturesque Outeniqua Pass. Be sure to stop off at the four passes view point and, well, enjoy the view! Knysna I would put next on my list as it is not that far. There is however another option, if you like a younger “backpacker” vibe then definitely check out Afro Vibe on Myoli Beach in Sedgefield! They can organise various tours and activities for you and the vibe is just great! The rooms are clean, linen is provided and the owner, Lyle, is one amazing guy!









In Knysna there are also a few “not to miss” activities. One is a walk/view of the Knysna Heads. A trip that I enjoy here is the Knysna Featherbed Experience. Here you get to go on a boat, do a fun 4×4/trailer drive, have some excellent views, have a nice walk in local flora and see some various fauna – if you are lucky you can see the little Blue Duiker.










Plettenberg Bay is also a quaint little town that gets crazy busy during the December months. There are some great activities out here as well; Birds of Eden, Monkeyland and the Elephant Sanctuary are some great spots. Within an hour drive from Plettenberg Bay you can visit the World’s Highest Bungee Bridge, have an awesome hike within the Tsitsikamma National Park and see the suspension bridges and then a stop at Stormsriver Adventures – locally run and supports the community – will also be able to keep you busy for some time!











Now, depending on your time and how you feel, I usually turn around here and start heading back to Cape Town, having another night at Afrovibe and the next day drive towards Mossel Bay via the N2.

In Mossel Bay I enjoy to visit the Diaz Museum Complex and The Point to do the hike to the Cape St Blaze Lighthouse and then, the most important, have an ice cream from the ice cream hut there – respect my culture!!!

Spending a night in Mossel Bay is optional; from here I like to continue the road towards Cape Town and then taking a detour to Cape L’Agulhas, the most Southern Point on the African continent. Here I enjoy the views from the lighthouse and naturally visit the little beacon showing you where the Indian and Atlantic oceans meet geographically – more about that when you visit Cape Point.









After a tranquil evening and a dinner at the The Michael Collins Irish Pub – my favourite – you take the easy drive back towards Cape Town via the towns of Hermanus, Betty’s Bay – the Botanical Garden and the Penguins are quite a sight – Strand and Somerset West. If possible, make use of Clarence Drive. If you are an adrenalin junkie, don’t miss Kleinbaai! Here we have the Shark Cage Diving which is an adrenalin thrill!










Then ease your way into Cape Town, sleep at one of the many hotels in the area and welcome to my slice of paradise and most importantly, welcome to my life!

Now, if you do not feel like going through all the hassle of driving and booking accommodation then just contact us and we will sort you out!

Hope you enjoyed reading the article as much as I enjoyed writing it.
Till later RH

Oct/Nov Newlsetter

This month’s newsletter is admittedly a little bit late – but we have cause, I reckon. October has been another exceptional month at PG TOPS – heck, if it wasn’t for September, this would’ve been our biggest month yet.
I’m going to dedicate my discussion this month to the issue of GROWTH over the last five years, as we are celebrating our 5th birthday on 1 December:

Some quick facts you didn’t know about how well our country is doing:
·         GDP (PPP):
o    $555.1 billion
o    3.1% growth
o    2.7% 5-year compound annual growth
o    $10,973 per capita
The good news? The Government has built more than 3 million subsidized houses for poor families since 1994. The bad news? 12 million to go…

The good news? South Africa’s BLACK middle class has grown from 0 to 5 million since 1994, with total purchasing power of R400m, more than the white middle class. The bad news? There’s a helluva lot of people still out there on the poverty line… but if the evolution of strong middle class is the solution, we’re definitely getting there…

The good news?  The “Boere Buffet” Jannie Mouton, through investment company Zeder, is betting big on agriculture in South Africa and Africa. A country and continent as fertile as ours should not be importing basic foodstuffs – and once we get it right to provide in our own needs, further prosperity will follow. Where he treads other are sure to follow… The bad news? Government still not doing enough to give assurance to commercial farmers.

Meantime, PG TOPS grew by 30% this year. This was our year for bringing in resources, structuring things better and now… bring on 2014. We plan to do some exciting things, and shake things up again!

We had the packing party on 20 October, and as always, it was huge success. Thanks to the tireless work of Yolanda, Roelf, Nela, Leanie, Bianca, Kobus and Roelf both upfront and on the day, and then with all the myriad Christmas pixies pulling in for some fun and packing – we packed 200 boxes! That’s 200 kids who are gonna have a big smile this Xmas! Thanks to all, to everyone for donating – we were actually oversubscribed and are already 40 boxes strong for next year!
The final pledge list and packing video on

We are pleased to announce that Bianca’s belly is growing exponentially, and we are looking forward to welcoming the first PG TOPS 2^nd Gen Tour Guide in February.

Congratulations to Yolanda for writing her finals – she will now add a degree in Tourism to her list of accolades.

Rudi completed his Garden Route exams and is now ready to take on our ever increasing Garden Route itineraries.

And as for team mascot Simba – he is double the size, eating everything in sight and no longer a cute little puppy. Just a cute puppy. Growing both in size, speed, strength, and ability to jump on tables, couches and destroy fluffy toys.

Roelf has also stepped quite voluntarily into a mentorship role for the new staff, showing them the ropes and arranging activities for learning. Good one Roelf!

We are currently interviewing for:
1.       Contract tour guides – we are desperately short of quality tour guides and drivers, please contact us should you be interested in guaranteed work.
2.       Office personnel – we will need a replacement for Bianca while she is on maternity leave next year, and there are strong plans afoot to aggressively expand our product portfolio. Interns and eager youngsters will also be welcomed, send CV’s to (

It’s an amazing thing to live in Cape Town, South Africa. There is constant innovation and new things to do, see and taste. Wine farms, restaurants, activities, destinations… from windkarting in Muizenberg to ziplining in Hermanus to fine dining in Stanford.
I recently had the pleasure to be invited to Springfontein Eats, a culinary experience soon to become a regular stop for the discerning traveler, and conveniently located on the way to Gansbaai in Great White Shark country. Check out my experience review on
Our Garden Route offering has been nicely streamlined – be sure to check out our family friendly options ( , as well as our offering for individual travelers ( .

Dinner at Reubens
Grape stomping in the cellar
Blending my own wine
Horse ride at Rhebokskloof

** PG TOPS 5 years
We owe a huge thanks to everyone for getting involved with the business over the years - clients, suppliers, staff members, ex-girlfriends, colleagues... it's been a fantastic journey so far, and as we celebrate my first client (in my mom's Mercedes) on 1 December, I am once again driving around in my dad's car... because we are all out of vehicles. Blessed to be so busy.

I will do one more missive before Christmas engulfs us... but until then...

Take care of yourselves... and each other!


Welcome to my life...