24 August 2015 | Tara Turkington
One of the first things you’ll notice about City Sightseeing is how friendly the staff are, and how much they love what they do.
Whether it’s the person welcoming you at the ticket counter, the driver, the host or the person who shows you up to the top of the Carlton Centre, the staff, all dressed in easily recognisable red outfits, go out of their way to help you.
We interviewed some of them to find out just what they love about their jobs.
Naledi Msibi and Phumzi Tshabalala sell tickets for the bus at Gold Reef City. Says Naledi (left): "I love tourists. I love working with people." Says Phumzi Tshabalala (right): "I love exploring and travelling. My favourite stops are the Apartheid Museum and Newtown. The Apartheid Museum gives you the history of South Africa, and Newtown is a great experience – I love the African beer at the SAB World of Beer!"
George Lungu is a tourism safety ambassador, who guides people from the bus through the Carlton Centre and up to the 50th floor, where they can see one of the finest views of Johannesburg.
"Meeting different people from around the world is fun," says George, who is from Soweto. "I learn about their countries and they learn about South Africa from me."
George has been working for City Sightseeing for two years and says his favourite stop is stop 17, Braamfontein, especially when the Neighbourgoods Market is held there every Saturday. "It’s very vibey," says George. "There’s a mixture of blacks and whites in the same neighbourhood, all enjoying themselves."
German Ngceba is a City Sightseeing bus driver who jokingly explains, "My name is German, but I don’t speak German." But, he adds, "I do love to talk to people, and I love making people feel safe and comfortable."
German says his favourite part of the Johannesburg City Sightseeing route is down Bree and Sauer streets. "Those are the busiest streets in Joburg, so are the most challenging," he explains. German, who is a very experienced bus driver having previously driven buses for the Gautrain and for Metrobus, also says he loves negotiating the tight corners in Braamfontein. "You turn and make the people very excited," he laughs.
Thandile Njombela is an intern who is spending a year working for City Sightseeing in Johannesburg while she studies tourism. What does she love about her job? "Meeting new people, learning new languages". (She admits she’s learnt how to swear in German.) "You get to converse with a range of people. You also get to meet South Africans who have never seen Johannesburg before like they see it on the bus," she says.
Like Phumzi, Thandile, who is originally from the Eastern Cape, says the Apartheid Museum is her favourite stop. "I was born in 1994, so to see South Africa back then and now is very enlightening. When I walked in there, it was like walking back in time."