Meet the Team 

Professional, passionate, here to help. At Lions Rugby Travel we pride ourselves in offering the very best customer service. Meet our fantastic team who will be your point of contact from now until the last plane touches down in the UK. We asked them a few questions to get their thoughts on all things South Africa.

MARCUS NEAL, Senior Customer Services Manager

I have previously worked on the 2017 New Zealand Lions tour.

My favourite moment of a previous Lions tour was the Lions Den and being part of the “Sea of Red”.

In South Africa I have visited Johannesburg, Pretoria and Cape Town in February 2020 and Port Elizabeth in 1992.

My personal highlights of South Africa were Constitutional Hill for its history and the amazing food (quality, quantity and price). Favourite restaurants were “Cape to Cuba” in Calk Bay and “Surfshack” in the Clifton area.

My favourite South African food is Frikkadel. This is a traditional Afrikaner dish comprising usually baked, but sometimes deep-fried, meatballs prepared with onion, bread, eggs, vinegar and spices.

My favourite personal experience/moment in South Africa was visiting Constitution Hill, Johannesburg.

My “wish I had known before I travelled”: Tipping is expected and the norm is to write the value on the receipt before handing over your card or payment. However, some restaurants add the tip automatically whilst still including the additional TIP line for you to write in – therefore very easy to tip twice.

My “wish I had packed in my suitcase”: Binoculars to view the wildlife including whales, dolphins and seals found along the coastline of Cape Town.

My best South African purchase: Metal bottle-topped head of a Greater kudu (woodland antelope found throughout eastern and southern Africa). Wall art – started at ZAR 1800 bartered down to ZAR 1000 – purchased in the market in Boulders Car Park.

Glen Ferguson, Event Services Manager

I have previously worked on the Australia 2013 and New Zealand 2017 Lions tours.

My favourite moment of a previous Lions tour was the final deciding test in 2017.

In South Africa I have visited Johannesburg, Pretoria and Cape Town in February 2020.

My personal highlights of South Africa were visiting the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town.

My favourite South African food: is Bunny chow.

My favourite personal experience/moment in South Africa was ending the day with a sundowner at Camps Bay.

My “wish I had known before I travelled”: Tips are expected in most places so have small denominations of cash.

My “wish I had packed in my suitcase”: Binoculars, they will be very useful when spotting wildlife throughout South Africa.

My best South African purchase: A bottle of South African red wine.

Charlotte Perkins, Customer Service & Tour Coordinator

I have previously worked on the New Zealand 2017 Lions tour.

My favourite moment of a previous Lions tour was the ‘Sea of Red’ at the Lions Den on matchday – what an atmosphere!

I was lucky enough to visit South Africa in 2018 for England’s Summer Tour. With a group of circa 40 clients we travelled across South Africa for nearly four weeks and visited Cape Town, Johannesburg, Bloemfontein and Kruger.

My personal highlights of South Africa was Cape Town – it’s such a beautiful place with so much to see, and the views from the top of Table Mountain were incredible.

My favourite South African food has to be a South African Braai in the sunshine.

My favourite personal experience/moment in South Africa was the game drives at Kruger National Park. These were an absolute dream come true and a tick against my bucket list.

My “wish I had known before I travelled: Tipping is largely expected so, if you are out and about, having some cash at hand is essential.

My “wish I had packed in my suitcase”: If you are a light sleeper and visiting one of the game reserves – take earplugs! The animals can be noisy at night which is amazing to experience but the morning game drives do require a very early start!

My best South African purchase: Cape Town ‘The Pink Lady’ gin.

Kane Hazard, Event Services Coordinator

I have previously worked on the Lions tour in New Zealand 2017

My favourite moment of a previous Lions tour was the official Lions welcome by hundreds of Maori in the Bay of Islands, second Test Lions Den and Test Match,

I have been lucky enough to visit Johannesburg, Kruger, Cape Town and Bloemfontein in June 2018 for England’s Summer Tour.

My personal highlights of South Africa include Table Mountain, Kruger National Park and Game Drives, Ellis Park atmosphere.

My favourite South African food is any of the steak!

My favourite personal experience/moment in South Africa include listening to the National Anthems at Ellis Park, views from the top of Table Mountain, seeing a Leopard right by the side of our truck in Kruger National Park!

My “wish I had known before I travelled”: How cheap food and drink is – be prepared to indulge!

My “wish I had packed in my suitcase”: Lip balm – the altitude can make your lips dry!

My best South African purchase was the Biltong.

Lucy Willmott, Customer Service & Tour Coordinator

Whilst I have never worked on a Lions tour, I have visited Cape Town as part of a visit to Southern Africa in 2012.

The wildlife would have to be the top highlight, closely followed by the food and wine.

My favourite South African food is a typical South African Braai – with this you literally can’t go wrong, however I’m looking forward to trying some more of the traditional South African dishes.

My favourite personal experience/moment in South Africa: Climbing Table Mountain was a great experience. The views are incredible.

My Best South African purchase: Many of the towns and cities have amazing markets where you can get hand painted pottery and hand carved wooden animals, these make great souvenirs!

I’m really excited to be a part of the Sea of Red in South Africa. I’ve heard a Lions Tour is an experience like no other!

Tasmin Carthy, Customer Service Administrator

Having never been to South Africa or worked on a Lions tour, I most look forward to experiencing all South Africa has to offer. Its culture, history, food and of course the rugby. I can’t wait to meet the fans and experience my first Lions tour.

I hope to experience great food, amazing landmarks and architecture. I also hope to experience a safari adventure and see the Big Five. I look forward to visiting all the amazing cities South Africa have to offer such as Cape Town, Johannesburg and Port Elizabeth.

I am most looking forward to trying biltong which is a dried, cured, and spiced meat. I’m also looking forward to trying boerewors which is a type of sausage made from beef mince. I have heard a lot about these dishes and would like to give them a try.

My Favourite animal of the Big Five is most definitely the elephant closely followed by the leopard. I think the elephant is a remarkable mammal and I cannot wait to see one with my own eyes in their natural habitat.

Samuel Brown, Event Services Administrator

My favourite moment of a previous Lions tour was George North lifting Isreal Folau in the 2013 tour of Australia.

I previously went on a rugby tour 2015 to South Africa for three weeks and visited visiting Cape Town, Johannesburg, Pretoria, Paarl and Stellenbosch.

Besides the rugby, the main highlight of South Africa was the exposure to different cultures and behaviours. It was a key reason for going on to study Sociology with Anthropology at University.

My favourite South African food is the steak – I remember the quality to be great and it was cheaper than I was expecting!

My “wish I had packed in my suitcase”: Clothes / shoes to give to the children in the township I visited as they are in need

My best South African purchase: The only purchase I made was a traditional woodwork set of serving spoons for my parents.

REBECCA SUNNUCKS, CUSTOMER SERVICE ADMINISTRATOR

Having never been to South Africa or having had the opportunity to work the Lions Tour, I am excited to be a part of it all. From the food and the safaris to the famous Sea of Red, it will be a truly unique and memorable experience shared with clients and the team.

I am hoping to be able to experience everything possible, to see all famous landmarks, wild animals (particularly the Leopard), cities and stadiums and also to be a part of the unifying atmosphere that Rugby Supporters share for their team.