Howzat Bob's blog

The Gatekeeper: A tour manager's diary

Ever wondered what’s it like for those in charge of the various tour groups on tour? Howzat Bob talks through his experience of being a tour manager for the first time!


Having been a Howzat customer for five years, the tour to South Africa marked my very experience as a tour manager! Having been on the other end of great organisation at all times the challenge was set however it was helped that I was surrounded by a group of Tour Managers that all knew their stuff.


December 29th. Leaving Durban a day early (missing the victory celebrations) I meet the new arrivals and showed them Cape Town at its best. It’s not just great wine that comes out of this place I guess a bit of cricket too, sharing my knowledge of this great city was going to be a pleasure.


December 30th. Arrivals all met in this ever welcome country, a great hotel not only for its views of Table Mountain and the town but it’s only 15 minutes from Newlands, nearly midnight and everything but the hot water bottles have been provided. All customers are safe and sound in bed. Most had been up at the crack of dawn on the long daylight flight from UK. Just one small problem, KLM had lost a bag but the dad said “It’s ok, only my sons, he doesn’t change his clothes too often!”


The missing luggage was delivered within 24 hours.


New Year’s Eve. A three hour breakfast giving guidance and helping plan some New Year’s dinners, plus trips for the up and coming days. Open top buses were the order of the day for those who were not booked on excursions (it’s a great way to see Cape Town), early evening drinks and more information on how to get the best out of Cape Town. Downtown Cape Town is magnificent at this time of year with the V and A at its best lit up and full of exciting and wondrous things to do for all ages and tastes.


New Year’s Day. Ticket allocation done and more sightseeing and I of course was always on hand just in case Tour Managers drinks were being bought!


To the Cricket.


Day 1. A short coach trip to the ground unless you were ‘five star posh’ when a five minute leisurely stroll was your morning exercise. All Howzater’s seated and happy - well of course they were, the sun was shining, view of Table Mountain and of course the Castle Brewery - who wouldn’t be smiling - simply beautiful. Now who was going to expect what happened next, South Africa conceding 46 runs in the last five overs of day one, Game on.


Day 2. The memory will last forever, Ben Stokes the animal unleashed and wow what a performance the best you could have hoped for with an onslaught of sheer genius, scoring a DOUBLE CENTURY off 163 balls. Now we’re talking and the sun was still shining and happy faces became even happier when the Bairstow / Stokes partnership reached 399… good days work!


Days 3 and 4. South Africa matched that stunning performance with an Amla double-hundred and a maiden Test century for the diminutive Bavuma.


Day 5 and it all ended in a draw.


January 7th. There are somethings in life even I can’t make happen, disgruntled Howzater’s not at all happy that they couldn’t get to Table Mountain or Robben Island, because of the WIND! I promise I will try harder next time! However Cape Point and the Vineyards all went well and expectations met.


January 8th. Final day concluded, hands shaken, cheeks kissed, pats on the back all round. Travellers dispatched on trips to Victoria Falls, the Garden Route and the magnificent Kruger Park.


Well done ME! Would I do it again?


Of course - in fact I’m signed up already!


Regards


Howzat Bob




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