20 Years of Living the Journey
The Live the Journey Story – celebrating 20-year in Tourism Month
September 2023 marks 20 years of Live the Journey travels.
A 20-chapter travel journal filled with amazing guest experiences and wonderful memories by staff who planned these adventures.
Chapter 1 - 2003: The company was founded by Jurgens Schoeman, a Karoo-boy who had a desire to bring amazing travel experiences to others. Mary Anne Radmacker’s quote: “I am not the same having seen the moon shine on the other side of the world”, left an unmistakable impression on this man, driving this desire.
Chapter 2 – 2004: Momentum is building as part-time weekend trips are planned for the alumni from the University of Stellenbosch under the umbrella of Maties Veldry Klub. At that time there was no office, no company name and no logo, just unforgettable travel memories being made.
Chapter 3 – 2005: The first employee was appointed – Elsabeth Muller, who is still here! Still no office, but the company started operating under the name Siyaya Safaris (meaning “we are going” in Zulu).
Chapter 4 – 2006: The company started to operate as The Journey establishing itself as a market leader for 4x4 tours in the Namib Desert. It is also the year in which the first trip to Tanzania was done. The latter was a guided self-drive trip during which one of the clients suffered a stroke. Thankfully all the guests returned home safely but lots of lessons were learned…
Chapter 5 – 2007: The Journey nearly doubled its annual number of guests by adding new destinations to the tour schedule. The highlight of the year was when a guided self-drive group attended the Kuomboka procession of the Losi King in Barotseland (a region between Namibia, Angola, Botswana, Zimbabwe) and another group drove from Ruacana to the northern-most part of Angola at Soyo.
Chapter 6 – 2008: This marks the year in which the word “Live” was added to the company name and we became known as Live the Journey. Slowly but surely new destinations were added and a highlight this year was Ethiopia with a visit to the Omo Valley and the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela.
Chapter 7 – 2009: The company expanded its touring borders across continents when six guests departed on an overland journey following the Silk Route. A Battlefields Tour to Angola requiring unprecedented planning took place when Col. Jan Breytenbach from the SADF and Joua Nambalo, ex MPLA military officer, joined the touring party.
Chapter 8 – 2010: This was the year flights abruptly came to a halt due to an enormous ash cloud over Europe caused by the eruption of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano in Iceland. Clients were stuck in Europe and South Africa causing absolute havoc and keeping the ever-growing team on their toes!
(Remember how everyone tried to pronounce E y j a f j a l l a j ö k u l l? It is actually quite easy: Ay-uh-fyat-luh-yoe-kuutl-uh.)
Chapter 9 – 2011: A big year. Live the Journey merges with a local destination management company to broaden its service offering. The company name and logo remain the same but we now service both inbound as well as outbound guests. One good thing caused by the ash cloud in Europe was an interest in Iceland. We decided to take a closer look at the island and the first group departed on a guided self-drive trip to the “Land of Fire and Ice”. The first of many.
Chapter 10 – 2012: This was the year that Live the Journey’s contribution to RSG Reis Sonder Grense started by providing the well-known travel news bulletins for the Saturday morning programme.
Chapter 11: 2013: Having weathered the global recession, Live the Journey celebrates 10 years in the tourism industry, shining brightly like a diamond that was shaped by the forces of nature. The well-known Live the Journey diamond logo was launched. Gorilla safaris in Uganda is added to the tour schedule.
Chapter 13 – 2015: Live the Journey finds a home in brand new offices in Paarl. We also sponsor the prizes for the Feite en Geite competition on Kwêla. Mark Beaumont sets a world record for the fastest cycle trip from Cairo to Cape Town with Live the Journey providing support to Mark from his border crossing into South Africa until the end of his journey in Sea Point.
Chapter 14 – 2016: One desert, two runners, nine days and 504 kms. Andrew Murray and Donnie Campbell completed a record-breaking run in the Namib desert under the watchful eye and support of Live the Journey. Borneo and our ever-popular Tanzania Migration Safari is added to the tour schedule.
Chapter 15 – 2017: This marks a record year having had 1 350 guests travelling outside the borders of South Africa. We broaden our horizons again, this time to Sicily for a cooking adventure and colourful India!
Chapter 16 – 2018: We launch our guided 4x4 self-drive group tours to untamed Mongolia, a tour that will change the lives of two very special guests, Adriaan and Laetitia de Lange, who later join the Live the Journey team. The year ends on a high with the Race to the Wreck. Giving support to 70 athletes and crew covering 300 kms on bicycle and on foot in the Namib desert to end at the wreck of the Eduard Bohlen.
Chapter 17 – 2019: Egypt and Peru are added to the tour schedule. Live the Journey is part of the BBC reality series The Heat is On, whereby celebrities had to cross the Namib desert on foot to raise funds for charities… the first live broadcast of a television programme in the Namib Desert. The logistics were mind-boggling, but the success made it all worth it.
Chapter 18 – 2020: Lockdowns due to COVID-19 brings tourism to a halt. At Live the Journey the wheels did not stop turning. A brand-new series of local guided self-drive tours were launched as well as the Namib100 Hike.
Chapter 19 – 2021: The borders with neighbouring countries start to open and tours to Namibia and Botswana resume. We launch the Namaqua Flower Hike. We even manage a group tour to Tanzania, the first post-COVID-19 small group tour to depart.
Chapter 20 – 2022: We introduce the Wupperthal66 adding to our range of world-class hikes. It is time for a change and a new look after the doom and gloom of COVID-19. Live the Journey launches its new look and colours. We have always been pioneers in our field and took this opportunity for our branding to do the same. Our new logo is inspired by the notion that for every new journey you only need to take that first step. Our new journey starts here __
In 2023 Live the Journey celebrates 20-years in the tourism industry. We continue going from strength to strength and add St. Helena Island to our tour schedule, as well as the brand new and exclusive Kuiseb90 hike.
We would like to pay tribute to all our loyal clients, supporters, suppliers, and staff. Without you this Journey would not have been possible. Here’s to many more years of exploring together.
*Header Image Credit: Enzo Lombardi