Photo Credit: The Real South Africa
The Black Expat: From The US To Opening A Luxury Travel Company In South Africa
The Real South Africa is a luxury travel company based in Johannesburg, South Africa. Owned by the African-American couple Mark, 53, and Latesha Blanton, 44, the company offers a variety of services for those interested in expanding their knowledge of South Africa and what it has to offer. In an interview with Travel Noire, Mark Blanton shared his experience as an expat entrepreneur in one of the most beautiful countries in the world.
Travel Noire: When did you open the company?
Mark Blanton: We opened the company in 2018 after selling our previous company in the healthcare field we owned for 10 years.
TN: What inspired you to open the company?
MB: From 2010 to 2018, we were very regular visitors to South Africa and felt very close to the country and the people at that time. We felt that we had found something that was special. As African Americans, we wanted to share what we experienced with a larger base of people.
We knew if we can decode this for everyone, people would find South Africa an exciting option.
With our background in business ownership and growing a business properly, we knew we could use our talents. That inspired us to open our company, The Real South Africa.
TN: Why South Africa?
MB: We know South Africa is perfectly positioned to provide those in the African Diaspora with great African experiences. South Africa and its people really understand African Americans via mainstream media. However, we do not understand South Africa.
South Africa is a great place to start when making Africa your destination because of its infrastructure and first-world offerings at a reasonable price point.
TN: What does your company offer?
MB: Primarily, we offer people the option to have expert travel packages to South Africa based on our experience.
We offer much more than just safaris or what you find on Google, providing mainstream offerings to visit South Africa, and we market directly to those who never felt that South Africa was an option. We provide a high level of customer service and culture and lifestyles found only in South Africa.
TN: What are the main tourist attractions nearby?
MB: The city has upmarket/upscale locations to explore and 5-star restaurants and hotels. All this is wrapped in South African culture. There is a local safari and The Cradle of Humankind right here.
TN: What have been your achievements so far?
MB: We have been able to help hundreds of travelers realize their dream of visiting South Africa, many for the first time in South Africa or Africa. We have been able to have a very successful YouTube Channel (The Real South Africa) and have been recognized as leaders in the industry.
We are proud that people have been choosing and recommending The Real South Africa to friends and loved ones.
TN: As a Black-owned company, what have been some of your experiences in a foreign country?
MB: We have had nothing but good experiences here in South Africa. We have become good partners in the spirit of tourism. We get invited to any new attractions or anything they feel that African Americans and those in the African Diaspora may enjoy as tourists. So our experience has been better than expected.
TN: What are your plans for the future?
MB: Our future plan is to continue to make travel to South Africa accessible to the masses in the African Diaspora. We want to normalize travel to South Africa as an option.
Visiting South Africa should not only be on your bucket list; it should be on your right now list.
TN: How can people find you?
MB: People can find us on our website TheRealSouthAfrica.com, YouTube Channel (The Real South Africa), Facebook (The Real South Africa ), Instagram @therealsouthafrica18, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.