Specialising in the smile of Africa
by Marita van Rooyen
Tolou is the name of a French artist, and although there is a very inspiring story behind why Martin Wiese chose this name for his safari company, neither him nor his company is in any way related to anything French, except in terms of some of the guests he takes on safari.
Martin is a born-and-bred Namibian who, after briefly dipping his toes in the refrigerator business, decided that he prefers working with tourists and showing them why he loves to move around our beautiful country so much. He started Tolou’s Safaris in 1998 as a safari company that focuses on smaller groups and families. Tolou’s Safaris offers tailor-made tours, study tours (mostly for Norwegian nursing students), camping safaris and fly-in safaris. Although he specialises in Namibia, Martin also takes guests to Zimbabwe, Botswana and South Africa and will also soon be making trips to Angola, especially for soccer fans wanting to watch pre-games for the 2010 World Cup. Martin conducts most of the tours himself, personally showing visitors why Namibia is also known as the smile of Africa. Says Martin, “Whether you want to go with only the bare necessities, or stay and rest in luxury, we offer both. The splendour of natural contrasts from the African bushveld with its huge baobab trees in the north, to the open wilderness of the world’s oldest, most unspoilt desert, the Namib, Namibia is at your disposal.”
Tolou’s offers one-day trips to Sossusvlei, leaving Windhoek at 6:00 in the morning and returning at 20:00 in the evening. However, the company’s most popular trips are still the three-day Etosha National Park and three-day Sossusvlei packages, as guests tend to come for shorter periods, but want to see and experience as much as possible.
Adds Martin, “My favourite place in Namibia is and will forever be the Sossusvlei area. I have had so many amazing experiences there. It’s just one of those places you can’t describe to others; you have to see it for yourself.”
This article appeared in the April/May ‘10 edition of Travel News Namibia.