Meet the AWOL Tours Team

Sally AWOL Tour director 3

Sally Petersen

Sally Petersen (nee de Jager) founded AWOL Tours in 2002 to fulfill a dream  to create unique  adventure tours  building on her varied life experiences. This includes growing up on a Karoo sheep farm in South Africa, studying Bachelor of Commerce in the Stellenbosch Winelands, international travel and work experience including  a  cycling trip from London to Cape Town. Now an active mother with two adopted children, Sally spends most of her time organising tour logistics and accounting when she is not out hiking on Table Mountain, cycling the Cape Peninsula and mountain biking with her work colleagues!

zizi awol tours sales consultant

Zizi Silwana

Zizi Silwana joined the team as a Sales consultant, right after she graduated in Human Resource Management. She is the youngest AWOL team member and a growing outdoor enthusiast.
When she is not organizing tours for the AWOL guests and keeping the blog page fresh with updated inspiration, she joins our guides on adventures around Cape Town. She is thrilled to be part of the AWOL family and in a role where she is able to combine her administrative and creative experience with hiking and cycling adventuring.

Helen AWOL Tour hiking and cycling tours cape town marketing manager

Helen Baker

Helen Baker works as a busy, social, proud South African marketing enthusiast full time for AWOL Tours at our V&A Waterfront Tourism Information Office. She studied marketing communications and journalism, after 6 years of life and culture in the UK, Europe and Southeast Asia, she is happy to be back home with loved ones, and loves sharing places with locals and visitors. Helen is currently in SATSA Western Cape Committee for Responsible Tourism portfolio. When they’re not busy with  AWOL and guests on tours to various parts of Cape Town , she loves surfing, hiking and biking to distant places.

AWOL Jeremy hiking tour guide

Jeremy Schreiner

Jeremy Schreiner is a born-Dutchman gripped by the beauty and fun-loving lifestyle of the Cape. Jeremy was dragged – albeit willingly – to South Africa in 2012 by his South African wife. He loves the active lifestyle the Western Cape has on its doorstep and finds living hand-in-hand with surrounding nature one of the most important qualities in life. Having traveled to many countries and continents in the world nothing beats Cape Town as his favorite spot on the planet. After growing up in Holland, Jeremy knows exploring locations on a bicycle is the best way to experience and engage in a place. Besides the nature and active lifestyle, Jeremy loves the rich cultural and historic diversity of Southern Africa. Within AWOL Tours he manages and guides hiking and cycling tours in Cape Town.

AWOL Mark Sickle tour guide

Mark Sickle

Mark Sickle knows Cape Town better than most. From humble beginnings as a cab driver and as the saying goes “ask a cabby anything…” It was not long before a 5 star hotel offered Mark a permanent position as a chauffeur and guests really appreciated their driver’s knowledge about restaurants, vibrant community markets and who was playing at the Kirstenbosch sunset concertsHe is in every sense a ‘local’ of Cape Town and grew up surfing, hiking and being outdoors. Mark joined AWOL Tours team in September and has established himself as an integral part of the team.  Guests appreciate the way Mark explains the complexities of South Africa’s past on the Cape Town City Cycle tour to hiking up to Table Mountain tallest peaks. In the words of one of our guests on Trip Advisor “Mark’s enthusiasm for his city was infectious”

Meike German hiking and cycling tour guide

Meike Aschenbroich

Meike Aschenbroich after completing her Degree in Tourism in Germany she spent 3 months internship at AWOL Tours. This gave her a taste of the adventurous life in Cape Town and she has opted to come back to work fulltime for AWOL Tours as a Sales Consultant but to also lead AWOL hiking and cycling tours in German, Spanish and French. As her parents run a crop and chicken farm in Germany, she grew up spending a lot of time outdoors playing hide and seek in the wheat field with her friends. Since she was a little girl she dreamed of exploring the world and discovering different cultures and countries. Her fascination for South America and Africa lead her to exotic places such as Patagonia, the Amazon or the Namib and Kalahari deserts, but one of her favourites is still going AWOL hiking on Table Mountain and share this experience with friends and visitors from Germany.

Henk Blanckenberg

Henk Blanckenberg also leads trips for AWOL. He grew up in Cape  Town and is married with 2 kids. From an early age Henk was involved  with action activities such as hiking, trekking, cycling, windsurfing  and canyoning. He then started concentrating on hiking and cycling trips  for mostly overseas visitors, all over the Cape and Garden Route. As a  mature guide, Henk has been guiding for the past 6 years with all the  accreditation, background and experience required. He has also led cycle  trips in Europe (England, France, Poland, Lithuania) and India and  hikes up Mt Kilimanjaro or in Ethiopia’s Simien Mountains.  Being a  guide he is used to carrying great responsibility and takes the safety  of the participants very seriously. He feels it a privilege and a  pleasure to be working and acting as an ambassador to this beautiful,  vibrant country of South Africa.

Alan Thomas

Alan Thomas is also a Cape Town native who studied a B.Com after finishing school and 2 years in the army. A runner and cyclist, Alan has cycled the Karakoram Highway from Islamabad to Kashgar as well as from Lhasa to Kathmandu via Everest base camp. Having travelled extensively in Europe, Asia, Southern Africa and Australasia to rid himself of wanderlust, he returned to his beloved Table Mountain and the Mother City. Tour guiding seemed a natural progression and for the last 5 years he has concentrated on taking guests around South Africa. When he is not guiding he is a fulltime toy for his little daughters.

Leonard Hoerikwaggo hiking tour

Leonard McMillan

Leonard McMillan works full-time on the AWOL Team making sure all our tours run smoothly. He has  fantastic experience leading hiking trips on Table Mountain having  worked for Table Mountain National Parks for last four years. Having  grown up on the Cape Flats in an impoverished environment, it was a life  changing for him to participate in a school hike and then later be  selected for theHoerikwaggo guiding programme. He is ecstatic to be  part of the AWOL family and enjoys working in a more personalised  environment where clients become friends and we go the extra mile for  our guests to provide that personal service. He is hopeful and  optimistic about the tourism industry and the boost the South African  economy received after hosting the  2010 FIFA world cup. He is a proud ambassador of our beautiful  country.

Dave Kruger winelands cycling guide

Dave Kruger

Dave Kruger grew up in the Green Kalahari near the border to Botswana. After studying and some time in the South African Military, he worked for 8 years in the IT industry. When he got the opportunity to change the profession he wasted no time to get the qualification as a safari guide and direct safari, hiking and cycling tours in various destinations in South Africa. As a qualified nature guide and part-time snake dealer, he has a passion for nature conservation and sustainability, and happy to share his passion with our guests. When not working on AWOL, he likes to go mountain biking, wine making and photography.

Leif Petersen

Leif Petersen, a Conservator who grew up in Australia has completed his master’s degree and PhD in researching the natural harvesting of resources on Table Mountain and Cape Town’s biodiversity. Leif is founder and board member of theSustainable Livelihoods Foundation. Having lived and worked throughout Australia, New Zealand and Southern Africa he has an interesting view on life, politics and the environment. He has done around-the-world community and conservation marketing exercises including Australia, USA, Brazil, Holland and the United Kingdom. Leif is chief advisor to Sally Petersen, AWOL Tour Director and expertly provides consulting to the smooth running of AWOL Torus.

Zwai township guide

Mzwamadoda Mtshaba (Zwai)

Mzwamadoda Mtshaba (Zwai) is 35 year old Xhosa male who grew up in King Williams Town in the Eastern Cape. After completing school , he was selected for the Table Mountain National Parks Hoerikwaggo guiding program as an NQF level 2 site Nature guide in December 2007. He now works as AWOL’s Township Guide in Masiphumelele and the owner of BEN (Bicycling Empowerment Network) Masiphumelele Bicycle shop fixing and repairing bicycles. Zwai is fluent in English and very reliable and often does all the organising and tour arrangements prior to guest arrival. He is compassionate and has a friendly personality and is easily able to talk to and convey information about his culture to guests coming on tour. He enjoys interacting with guests and showing people around his community.