A day in the life of a tour guide

Fun, that's Peter Joseph's motto. Picture: Clinton Moodley.

Fun, that's Peter Joseph's motto. Picture: Clinton Moodley.

Published Apr 12, 2017


Peter Joseph, 71, is a tour operator from Port Elizabeth. Clinton Moodley spoke to him.

Tell us about your profession?   I sell 101 very interesting tours from PE  to Cairo.

How did you get into this career?  I retired in 2002 and took a Toyota Condor as part payment for my shares in a tyre dealership. Having earned my tour guide badge, I started  taking tourists around the country, which I had travelled around for 35 years during my tyre career.

Tell me about the typical day in your life?  I am up by 6.30am, have some breakfast and check e-mails. I usually have a tour or 3 which I arrange to be done by my partners and me. It is there I meet many different people from across the world. At the end of the day, I balance the day’s takings.

You meet a lot of tourists a day. Which one sticks out for you and why?  My first tourist was a high flying New Yorker. He knew the Union Castle Line owner and wanted to see the Ron Belling collection .l knew the ships well and also where to find all the paintings. It was the highlight of his round the world cruise. Knowledge is everything in this business.

What is the secret to your success?  Having travelled the world I can relate to a huge variety of different people.

What are the challenges of the job and how to deal with it?  The government rules and regulations are huge. For example, to get a road transport permit can take 6 months and waste days queuing. Where possible I pay someone to do this.

What has been the best place you have toured and would recommend again? Tiffindell ski resort. I take tours there often. South  Africa's most unusual product .


How do you deal with rude customers? Head on . Ek vat nie kak nie(I do not take nonsense).

What is the motto you live by?   Have fun.

When you not touring, what do you enjoy doing?   I love to play golf.

How do you deal with competitors?  I make 3 times the calls to get the business. This done,we give the best experience possible to our tourists.

What's next for you?  Three days at The Great Fish River Nature Reserve.

Final words? Touring has always been part of my life . My wife has now retired and together we will explore Southern Africa ,a lekker way of life.

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