Not “a walk in the park”
After working six years as an overland-safari guide in eastern and southern Africa, having travelled through 15 countries, he decided it was time to pursue his dream of starting his own business. Using the experience and knowledge he gained from the industry, he finally got his company started.
“Leaving the most amazing job of travelling and meeting amazing people was tough, and venturing 100% into my business was not a walk in the park. I had to do a lot of presentations to tour companies, most were sceptical, and as a result business did not boom right away. Eventually one company called, offering me only one client. I took it as a test. As time went by, other businesses started also offering just one client. I would use taxis to conduct tours at the time. I would say I have made up my own personal ‘Vision 2030’, and that long-term vision captivates me to reach my next level,” he explained.
“Hafeni Tours introduces the tourists to the real African community that showcases the authentic Namibia and its people. Our visitors get to have a clearer understanding as to why we have people staying in shacks, and in that way they learn about the different cultures and customs of our country.”
His company has since made his township, Mondesa, the highlight of his African Traveller Experience.
The business is now in its fourth year, has five employees on a full-time basis and an 18-seater safari truck in which the tours are conducted. Hafeni Tours want to Acquire more vehicles by the end of next year and will then look at branching out into showcasing cultural villages and township experiences around major tourism attractions in the rest of the country, the main focus always being on the consumer. “My mentor told me it’s all about empowering your workforce and for them to take ownership. That’s the secret to a progressive organisation.”
As vice chairman of the NCCI Swakopmund, Hafeni was able to meet with seasoned entrepreneurs of the country, learning from them and his mentor, the executive chairperson of Ohlhaver and List, Mr Thieme, a great leader in the country, whom he considers to be a great motivator.
“I’ve always known that something more challenging awaited me. Building from scratch and going through the struggles that came with it, I enjoy creating such a history for myself, working hard to achieve my dream and inspiring others in the process.” He pointed out that the tourism sector was not a walk in the park. “It’s about building relations, delivering professional service. Even though time is very crucial, patience is the key. Young people in Namibia want to hear from successful people. If you have a nation of non-achievers, then who will inspire the others to also reach their full potential?” he concluded.