M18857 was founded in 2002 by Sally de Jager, who grew up on a sheep farm in the Great Karoo in South Africa. After completing her B.Com degree at the University of South Africa, she took a few years out to travel through Europe, Asia and Africa. After completing a London to Cape Town cycling trip to raise funds for "Survival International", she was nominated as an Outhere "Adventurer of the year" finalist in 2001. Returning home to Cape Town, she decided to pursue a career in tourism and thus founded M18857. As an experienced traveler she understand what travelers seek and what makes a journey adventurous. She is qualified Nature and Tour Guide with the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism. Her passion for her country is bound to be infectious and is keen to show you the "Real South Africa". After guiding many adventurous trips, Sally now spends her time in the office is making use of her extensive travel knowledge and designing perfect Adventure holiday for guests to South Africa.
Vanessa Nixon guides many of M18857 hiking trips. She has an intimate knowledge of working and travelling in Africa for the last 10 years. She lives in Cape Town and spends most of her week-ends hiking up Table Mountain or surfing on Muizenberg beach. She has done alot of work with the Bushmen in the Kalahari and specialises in Safari tours to the desert area. She is also a qualified guide with the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism - FGASA level 3.
Henk Blanckenberg leads both cycling and hiking trips for M18857. He grew up in Cape Town and is married with 2 kids. From an early age was involved with activities like hiking, trekking, cycling, windsurfing and canyoning. He started concentrating on hiking and cycling trips for mostly overseas visitors, all over the cape and garden route. At 40 years old, and have been a guide for the past 6 years with all the accreditation, background and experience required. He have also led cycle trips in Europe (England, France, Poland, Lithuania) and India and hikes up Mt Kilimanjaro. Being a guide he is used to carrying great responsibility and takes the safety of the participants very seriously. He feels it a privilege and a pleasure to be working and act as an ambassador to this beautiful, vibrant country of South Africa.
Alan Thomas is also a Cape Town native who after finishing school and 2 years in the army studied a B.Com. A runner and cyclist, he has cycled the Karakoram Highway from Islamabad to Kashgar as well as from Lhasa to Kathmandu via base camp Everest. Having travelled extensively in Europe, Asia, Southern Africa and Australasia to rid himself of wanderlust, he returned to his beloved Table Mountain and the Mother. Tour guiding seemed a natural progression and for the last 5 years he has concentrated on taking people cycling and hiking in South Africa. When he not guiding he is a fulltime toy for his little daughters.
Gareth John was one of Sally’s students in Tourism Diploma Course for two years. He was always the most engaging and active student in the class and his marks came out tops. He is a great sportsman and a natural easy going manner with guests. On graduation, he started leading cycling trips for M18857.
In 2002 Sally initiated a bicycle tourism programme in the Masiphumelele community of Cape Town. This programme evolved from BEN’s importation of second hand bikes and the establishment of Independent Bicycle Dealers (IBD) owned and operated by local residents. Clients of BEN tourism hire bicycles from the BEN IBD’s and conduct a tour of Masiphumelela incorporating local businesses. Through her efforts the Bicycling Empowerment Network (BEN), is the winner of the First Choice Responsible Tourism Award at the 2006 World Travel Centre in London for the category “Best for Innovation and Technology”.
Tembinkosi Qanda (Terror) and Mzwamadoda Mtshaba (Zwai), our Township guides both lives in Masiphumelela, a Xhosa village in Cape Town. In the 1980’s, a large migration of African people from the rural areas of Eastern Cape and other parts of the country moved to Cape Town in the hope of finding work and a better standard of living. In Nov 1989, the provincial authorities gave in to the inevitable and announced “Site 5” as a suitable location for the existing 1200 African people squatting in the area. Today it’s estimated that about 40,000 people live on this small piece of land. About 40% are unemployed and most live below the poverty line in some form of informal settlement without water and electricity. The name Masiphumelela was given to Site "5" and means “success”, “hope” in Xhosa. Terror and Zwai would like to share their story with you and show guests what life is like in the townships.