This is a service offering we have considered for a number of years now," Gary Stern, (Owner of Nontando) said. "We have had both our retail and online customers seeking advice and recommendations regarding African travel and in many ways their input, over time, helped us build the platform in identifying the criteria that we were seeking in partnering with a feasible tour operator".
"We know Africa and we know African Art", Stern admits,"It was of paramount importance that we teamed up with an travel organization that can offer our customers the experience and expertise".
The owners of Nontando were born and raised in Africa and still travel back to the continent for their annual buying trips. "We used the opportunity during our annual African visits over the past few years to familiarize ourselves with some of the leading players in the African Travel Industry" says Stern. After a detailed assessment and evaluation, Nontando selected and teamed up with a leading South African tour operator and will soon be able to offer it customers an extensive collection of diverse and customized packages.
Stern continues, "We at Nontando have spent the last two years evaluating and studying numerous travel organizations and their respective products and service offerings. We used the input from our customers as the bulding blocks in establishing the type of company we were seeking" Stern says. Their objective was to provide the following to their customers:
1. A wide array of affordable luxury package choices to Africa providing for flexibility
2. An extensive portfolio of tour programs with a variety of hotels, game lodges and
safari companies throughout Southern Africa at their disposal, with an extensive
support network throughout the region
3. The comfort of dealing with a "one stop shop" that includes your complete
package, meals, air travel, hotels, game lodges and safaris.
4. Itineraries that are exciting, diverse and fulfilling.
5. Dealing with a travel company that has the experience, extensive knowledge and
know-how in planning the perfect African vacation.
6. A travel package that can be customized to perfectly fit your ideals, timeline and
7. An company with a history of positive recommendations, credentials and
references and an outstanding reputation in the marketplace..
Stern says, "We wanted a partner that was recognizable and people were familiar with". They have operated tours for 11 years, this organization is a division of South Africa and Africa's most awarded and recognized airline, hence all packages include your airfare throughout your tour, and they have ground handlers working and operating throughout the continent".
"In many ways we see our role here as a consultant or advisor", Stern says,"We have travelled the continent extensively and couple this knowledge with an established tour operator that has a reputation for quality and reliability .
Stern continues, "For many folks this is a life long trip and you want to feel comfortable that you are dealing with a reputed and experience enterprise". Stern tells me of a story that occured recently when long standing retail customers of his contacted him as they were considering a tour package to Cape Town with a local travel agent in Sarasota, FL.. They voiced some concerns as they did some of their own research on the company offering the package and could find nothing on them, were only recently established and had little or no factual credentials and references to back them up. "They visited my offices and we reviewed the itinerary of the package together". Stern says. Stern soon realized that their accomodation throughout the tour consisted of an apartment in Durbanville, Cape Town. Stern informs us,"Durbanville is about one hour driving distance from the heart of Cape Town and other popular tourists spots. Durbanville is a small rural residentual suburb with quite simply nothing to do and nothing going on. "No foreign traveller, unfamilar with the region would suspect anything reading this itinerary", Stern remarks.
" This would of been a disaster for this couple", Stern says, "We have steered them away from the abyss and they are currently finalizing an ideal package with our partner that is being customized to exactly fit their needs". Stern continues, "This is life long venture for many of us and a big expense", "You want to be in the hands of folks with experience and good reputation, and an established orgaization that can provide you with choice and flexibility"
Nontando plans to roll out approximately 30 tours packages this summer to 6 Southern African countries, including South Africa, Namibia, Zambia, Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Botswana. They will quite possibly to include Kenya and Tanzania tour packages in the future. "We are currently developing the tools to offer these packages online and will be going live this Summer" Stern says, "This will coincide with our travel package promotion and offerings to our retail customers".
Stern explains," In addition to the regular packages offered, due to our partners very visible brand, strong relationship with its suppliers and the fact that are a division of South Africa and Africa's premier airline, they are often able to offer special or tailor made packages at exceptional prices". "Timing is critical here and that is where we plan to really be of benefit to our customers" Stern says. "We will want folks to register at www.nontando.com and in that way we can submit the details of the specials without delay".
Specials, where rates are really discounted and specials offers are released regularly.
The special package pricing is valid for specific travel periods with the same itinerary available at higher prices during other travel periods. Stern shows us 2 examples of current specials that seems unbeatable and somewhat hard to believe:
$1810 - 6 days in Cape Town.
$2699 - 9 days, include Cape Town as well as African safari.
" The accomodations are top class. In this example, the 6 dayer in Cape Town you are staying at one of best hotels in Cape Town overlooking the Atlantic Ocean at the hub of the activity", Stern says. "But here is the best news regarding these specials and all packages for that matter" Stern say ." Prices include ALL airfares, including from the US to Africa". "Considering I fly back to Africa every year and know the pricing history pretty well, it seemed these prices were impossible to believe at first, but it is true", says the owner of Nontando. Nontando plans to establish the channels of communication to ensure all customers are up to speed in real time of all specials. "The one stop shop factor is in play here as well", Stern says,"You do not have to make seperate airline reservations, they manage the genuine whole package for you".
Nontando's new partner was recently appointed as one of three tour operators in the U.S. to develop and sell travel packages for soccer fans visiting South Africa for the FIFA 2010 World Cup.
"We plan to provide more information in the weeks and months to come, but we encourage to monitor www.nontando.com and we will be providing our retail customers the necessary information and documentation regarding this exciting new service offering soon".
6578 Gateway Avenue, Sarasota, FL, 34231
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Nontando, operating since 2003, has the largest and best selection of African Art, Gifts and Home Decor in Florida. www.nontando.com was launched in 2009 has attracted customers from all over the US, becoming a popular choice for designers and decorators.