Tour operator shares how travelling with his father as a child inspired him to open his own tour bus company

Durban bus tour operator Nolan Naidoo started Protea Tours. Picture: Supplied

Durban bus tour operator Nolan Naidoo started Protea Tours. Picture: Supplied

Published May 30, 2024


According to Protea Tours director, Nolan Naidoo, 42, travelling with his father to destinations around the country as a child opened his eyes to travel and tourism and inspired him to get into the industry.

The father of three from Chatsworth opened his company Protea Tours in 2016. The tour bus operator provides safe and reliable tours to destinations in South Africa and parts of southern Africa.

Naidoo recalled how a trip planned by his father for family and friends turned into a business for his dad and planted the seed for him to later go into business as well.

“About 40 years ago, I was only 2 years old at the time. My dad just started off with a local beach day trip to one of the famous Beaches on the South Coast called Park Rynie. All his friends and family had the most amazing time.

“That's where it all started. Next he planned his first bus tour overnight, whereby their accommodation was a tent big enough to separate men on one side and ladies on the other with a curtain in the centre.

“Food was cooked on an outside fire and people had the most memorable time ever,” said Naidoo.

He said he watched as the bus and accommodation started changing to the semi luxury type while the demand for travel began to grow.

“I was also part of this journey with him going around South Africa to different destinations. It then just stopped for him as he went into the corporate banking world. It was sad for me at the time as I really enjoyed travelling all over and meeting new people,” said Naidoo.

He highlighted that he had a desire to start this business up again as a business and in an industry he was most passionate about, that being travel and tourism.

“I’m passionate about people, entertaining and organising events and I created a way to take that passion and turn it into a business. That’s when Protea Tours came alive. It was like I never stopped,” said Naidoo.

He said since exploring new destinations has always been of great interest to him, his desire is for people to travel and experience the beauty the country holds and therefore his tours are affordable and customers get great value for money.

Some of the popular destinations Protea Tours showcases include St Lucia in Northern KZN, the Drakensberg, Mpumalanga, Cape Town, Sun City and Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe.

“Excellent customer service and unforgettable customer experiences are some of our core values at Protea Tours.

“We pride ourselves in creating the ultimate travel experience like no other while our clients build beautiful memories with their loved ones. We know that even though details of the tour are sometimes forgotten, you will never forget how a person made you feel in a specific moment,” said Naidoo.

He said that his favourite destination will always be Cape Town as it offers stunning natural wonders, mountain ranges and the spirit of the people are unmatched. There is no shortage of adventures.

For young people aspiring to get into the industry, Naidoo said to take a leap of faith and start.

“Just start, there is never going to be a perfect time to start. You alone possess your vision and your passion therefore only you can turn your dreams into a reality,” said Naidoo.

He highlighted that though the market is saturated and very competitive he strives to ensure that he continues providing quality over quantity and uses every challenge as an opportunity to learn and grow his business.

“My family is my motivation. I am a family-oriented man so everything I do, I do for the betterment of my family and like they say, find a job you love and you never have to work a day in your life. It may be a cliché, but it is completely true,” said Naidoo.