by Melanie Du Toit
on July 8, 2017
6 min read

After over a decade in the business, we know what we’re talking about when it comes to a safari, but did you know not all safaris take place in the bush?

A unique offering in Cape Town trades the real jungle for a concrete one, a savannah safari for an urban journey. Travel Designer, the brainchild of Ozzy Yerlikaya, creates tailor-made, inner-city tours unlike anything else seen before. Ozzy turns tourists into locals.

Travel Designer street art tour

A personality powerhouse from Istanbul, Ozzy’s love of travelling has led him to many fascinating corners of the globe from Europe to South East Asia. His life has been anything but ordinary and you wouldn’t be far off the mark in thinking he hasn’t stayed in one place too long. Until now, that is.

After a stint in the Mother City, the perpetual nomad was finally stopped in his tracks. In love with its vibrant eclecticism and Instagrammable views, Ozzy decided to move to South Africa in 2007 and make Cape Town his new home.

The city’s multifaceted attractions and fascinating pockets of intrigue were flying under the radar as far as Ozzy was concerned. And so, Travel Designer was born, inspired by a pure travel experience and travel as a transformative concept. “This”, Ozzy says, “is the way of future travel”.

The Urban Safari

In what he calls his past life, Ozzy was accustomed to guiding groups of up to 200 people. “I saw the errors in it and I saw that people left disappointed”, Ozzy explains, ” the problem with this kind of guiding is that you don’t know your client’s lifestyle”.

Ozzy and Sarah Joanna Kennan, founder of La Leona.

He couldn’t stand the fact that so many people arrived and left the Mother City and the country on a whole without connecting with its residents. “I wanted to introduce international travellers to locals and have people experience Cape Town with locals, rather than just like locals”.

Grandt Mason, founder of Grandt Mason Originals, and his team.

That is why Ozzy is on a mission to know all about what makes his clients tick in order to ensure he makes the most of their holiday, whether that is by asking about previous travel experiences, requesting access to old itineraries, or taking a look through your Instagram page.

On a Travel Designer urban safari, you’re bound to feel less like you’re on a tour and more like you’re spending a day with friends – which is what everyone ends up being at the end of the day.

Ozzy and Zapiro on Travel Designer urban safari

Ozzy with famed South African cartoonist, Zapiro.

Ozzy ferries his clients around in a fleet of Land Rover Defenders, a car whose iconic shape is representative of Africa and safari. And how might you document this grand adventure, you may ask? It’s all done for you.

There’s Wi-Fi in all vehicles, drones and Go Pros tailing you en route, and iPads in the car so you can double check your itinerary as you go (and update a Facebook status or two).

Cape Town Legends

Not long after its inception, Ozzy introduced a ‘Cape Town Legends’ series to Travel Designer. This is a personal concept, which, he says laughingly, is really all about him and what he likes to do most: socialise. “I can’t go a day without meeting at least five people”, Ozzy declares.

In fact, he would much rather find a coffee shop in Kalk Bay and spend hours there talking to the barista than go on a tour to Cape Point alone – no matter how beautiful it may be!

Visitors see the city through local eyes, whether that’s while in a cooking class with chef, Jade de Wall, or seal snorkelling off Duiker Island with zoologist, Steve Benjamin. Go to a concert and sit backstage with the band or pick your favourite backdrop (Mountain? Forest? Sea?) against which to be served a gourmet grill by none other than Jan Braai.

Street Art Tour with Mak1one and Travel Designer

Graffiti Artist, Mak1one

If the cultural landscape is more your thing, embark on a street tour led by a Cape Town graffiti artist as he discusses his work and that of his contemporaries. Famed cartoonist, Zapiro, has also been known to welcome Travel Designer visitors into his studio from time to time for an insightful chat in the confines of the creative space where he sketches his most celebrated and sardonic comics.

Award-winning cartoonist, Zapiro

The options truly are endless, from an afternoon with a surprising origami sensation, Ross Symons, who’s garnered over 91k followers online to a thrilling drive along Chapman’s Peak in a sports car manned by experienced rally driver, Michelle Hambley-Grobler.

The country’s first Miss South Africa of colour, Amy Kleinhans, is sure to teach you a thing or two about diplomacy and how the beauty really is in the details, over a spot of high tea.

Michelle Hambley-Grobler with her car collection

Have You Been Living Under A Rock?

Well, in Cape Town we do. It’s not all about the city, as anyone who lives here will know. It’s really all about the mountain. Table Mountain, that is. Nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts can let the trail take them wherever their heart desires around Mother Nature’s embellishment on the Cape coastline.

That could be on mountain biking trails in the Cape Winelands a scenic drive away, or on a sunrise hike to the peak of Lion’s Head where, if you’re lucky, South Africa’s top barista may just be waiting, steaming mug of coffee in hand.

Meet the Designers

Ozzy sees his concept as art, with each guide personally picked for each group like colours in a paint palette.  There’s Dave, the sage, Robin, the companion, and Chris, the explorer, while new additions include Doug, a surfer, and his co-pilot, Stout, the Belgian Malinois who moonlights as a guide (and does the job pretty well).

Stout after leading a hike up Lion’s Head

Up-Close with the Rainbow Nation

The most important part about Travel Designer for Ozzy is that his tours allow visitors to meet people from all walks of life, truly getting in touch with and getting to know South Africa’s cosmopolitan nation. Whether that’s over a G&T from Ozzy’s gin bar or in a scenic location at sunset, well, that’s entirely up to you.

To start planning your own urban safari with Travel Designer, contact us today.