From shark diving to perfect fixtures

Why Edwin Doran's staff are destination experts

Here at Edwin Doran Sports Tours our expert staff are our greatest asset. We know that our staff’s knowledge of our sports, destinations and schools knocks spots off the competition. But we often get asked HOW we make sure our NEW STAFF get up to speed quickly.   

Well, we’d like to let you in on a little secret. We send our newest staff members away to our most popular destinations like South Africa to meet our vast network of contacts within schools.  We want them to:
  • know how our tours work first hand
  • visit some of the host schools
  • meet team coaches
  • inspect a range of sports facilities
  • reinforce our knowledge on the area
  • see why South Africa continues to be our top selling destination for UK schools touring abroad
We also want them to experience and expand the excursions available to group leaders. So this could include visiting a Game Reserve, Robben Island or going DIVING WITH SHARKS! Diving with sharks is one of our newest and most talked about experiences and has been approved by our health and safety team.
We do this so that when our staff sit down with you to organise your next footballrugbynetballcricketwater polo - or other sporting - tour to South Africa they know who to call to:
set up perfectly matched fixtures for you
arrange your next visit to one of our life changing community projects  
organise homestays, cultural exchanges or billeting with students on opposing teams
book you into one of our favourite accommodation providers
arrange excursions to world-famous landmarks or less well-known  activities such as a trip to a Cape Town, Soweto Township, the Highveld or - yes, you ready it correctly the first time – diving with sharks!!!
Over the years we have worked hard to maintain a very strong presence in Africa. We are proud of the fact that since 1992 we’ve been cultivating an extensive network of on-the-ground contacts and knowledge that we use to help players get under the skin of this vibrant continent. Having an office in Newlands, Cape Town also means we have staff in country who are able to provide you with unbeatable levels of service, safety and expertise.
You can find out more about our expert team by visiting the Our People section of the Edwin Doran Sports Tours website and our brand new South Africa video can now be viewed online!
Staff familarisation visit to South Africa  
So how did we help coach our latest crop of ‘newbies’ so they are destination experts? Simple! In February 2014, we put them on a plane and sent them to South Africa to get to grips with what’s happening on the ground. It’s all part of the job some say! So where did they go?
Mabula Game Lodge
The six-strong party started their trip just north of Johannesburg, with a night in the Mabula Game Lodge. The lodge is located in a private game reserve, against the backdrop of the lush green Waterberg Mountains. It features an outdoor pool and spa facilities, a tennis court and games room popular with touring groups. The drives are fantastic with an abundance of wildlife a stone’s throw away.
Konka Camp
Konka Camp was next on the cards. The ultimate destination for team-building, Konka’s exciting activities include zip sliding, abseiling, wall climbing, international obstacle courses, kayaking, raft building and a high rope course designed to get any heart beating faster.
Sun City and Soweto
A quick dip in the pool at Sun City was followed by a visit to the Soweto Township, Lesedi Cultural Show and the HPC. The HPC’s unique combination of world-class training facilities, medical services, accommodation, nutritional food, scientific expertise, research and hospitality has established its local and international reputation for excellence and success.
Kariega Game Reserve
Travelling along the popular Garden Route, The Kariega Game Reserve was one of the real highlights of the trip! Not just for the ultimate safari experience but also the incredible scenery and finishing our evening Game Drive drinking a cold beer, surrounded by a family of about 30 elephants will not be forgotten.
Hotel inspection
Various hotel inspections over the following few days were supplemented with a visit to the cheetah sanctuary and an evening in the lovely Knysna Quays before travelling to Paul Roos Gymnasium in Stellenbosch. Founded in 1866, this school is only a step away from the University of Stellenbosch and a variety of amenities, from sport to internet facilities.
Path of Poverty charitable project
Stopping at the Goedgedacht Farm the Edwin Doran team had the opportunity to learn about its various charitable projects, which our UK groups have the unique opportunity to get involved with as part of their school sports tour. The main programme is the Path out of Poverty (POP) which helps children in rural farming communities by education them on health, personal development and environmental issues and builds their confidences which ’teaches children to dream‘. 
Edwin Doran groups have the opportunity to help at the trust and visits vary from one day to week-long experiences. During this time the UK children help out at the farm through the harvesting of olives, farm upkeep, etc. They can also visit the POP centres to meet the children who benefit from the programme, and this allows them chance to teach the local children sport or other key skills. 
Rugby tours are encouraged to visit the Rugby Performance Centre. You can view their promotional video on our YouTube channel. Situated in the Riebeek Valley, the Rugby Performance Centre offers fantastic training facilities including a fully equipped onsite gym for schools, club and professional teams.
Cape Town, Robben Island and Shark Diving
Rounding off their African experience the Edwin Doran team landed in Cape Town. Visits to Seal Island, penguins and Robben Island are all offered to sports touring groups in South Africa, as well as our brand new excursion - shark diving! Another highlight, not for the faint hearted and fully passed by health and safety!
Springbok Experience – SA Rugby Museum
The South African Rugby Union’s world-class, modern interactive museum received rave report. It explains the country’s complex but proud rugby heritage and features more than 64 audio visual monitors and computer screens, interactive ‘Springbok Trials’ skills tests for children and adults as well as a flagship Springbok clothing store.
Table Mountain
What better way to end the evening than to take the cable car to the top of Table Mountain... a must do! The views are amazing and the speed with which cloud envelops the area is stunning. Wrap up warm, though, it's a long way up!
Baphumelele Orphanage and Langa Township
On the last day the group visited Baphumelele Orphanage at Khayelitscha and Langa Township. Baphumelele Orphanage is an incredibly good cause having started with one lady taking in children from the street and has ended with an orphanage, day sick centres for children and adults, a school and a bakery amongst others.
Langa is a suburb of Cape Town that was established and designated for Black Africans before apartheid. It is a culturally and historically important urban area. The township tours are a real eye-opener into the history of apartheid and the changes which have taken place since and school groups are strongly recommend visiting at least one township during their sports tour.
Sheila’s Restaurant
Concluding the final day the group headed with hungry stomachs for an amazing lunch in Sheila’s Restaurant is a must and great value for money!
Phew! Just a whistle stop tour then?! 
You can find out more about our amazing and expert team by visiting the Our People section of the Edwin Doran Sports Tours website.
Or you can follow the links below to find out more about our sports tours to South Africa:
You can also call us on  020 3411 2615 to ask a question, or contact us [email protected] by email.