History of Mmilo Tours.
The history of Mmilo Tours starts with two African total solar eclipses in 2001 and 2002. The first total solar eclipses of the 21st century and the first in southern Africa for over 40 years. Patrick Hanratty relates:
I just had to see these eclipses and didn’t have the money to do so. My only chance was to earn the trip by assisting others.
My friend put up a website with a booking form. I managed to get interviewed on radio and TV and get some other free publicity in newspaper articles. Keen eclipse viewers soon found me and filled out the form. We filled a 44-seater coach with eager eclipse viewers who wire transferred money to the bank account. We called it Eclipsetime.
This was a first for an online tourism/event website in Africa.
I repeated the exercise for the 2002 eclipse the pathway this time crossing the Limpopo River, South Africa’s northern border with Zimbabwe into South Africa. For this one I organised 4 coachloads of people, chartered a 50-seater private jet, and numerous self-drive clients over 600 people in all.
There were nail-biting moments on both of these trips but they were both a great success, the stories and friendships made were epic. I caught the tourism bug! I enrolled for a course in tourist guiding and organising tours at University of South Africa (Unisa) and qualified with a full certificate with distinction 3 years later.
After working for other tourism companies, I decided to start my own. I wanted to call it something unmistakably African, rooted in our soil as I am a keen gardener and interested in the natural environment particularly plants and trees.
In the large garden where I now lived with my new wife were many mature trees of the African veld.
One of the trees was a Mmilo tree identified to me as such by my gardener who came from the province of the eclipse in 2002, Limpopo. It was genuinely and exclusively African and so, I named my company after it!
About The Mmilo Tree (Vangueria infausta)
A small tree with big character!
The Wild Medlar, African Medlar or "Mmilo" is an small fruiting tree native to the southern Africa.
The name "Mmilo" alludes to the belief by some that the tree harbours a mystical spirit which can only be unlocked by fire. (mello being the North Sotho word for plural fires). Many people thus hold a superstition not to use it's wood to make a fire with.
But the Mmilo tree is revered in other ways!
It's delicious fruit has floury flesh with a sweet-sour taste similar to apples and has high levels of calcium and potassium. Mmilo fruit is used as a pulp in desserts and for making traditional wine. One recipe calls for the mixing of Mmilo fruit with porridge and fermented milk for a pleasant African breakfast.
Mmilo roots have traditionally long been used for treating malaria and pneumonia. In addition, an infusion of the roots and leaves can alledgedy treat ringworms, menstrual and uterine problems as well as toothache.
We are Bonded
Mmilo Tours is Bonded. This bonding is a form of financial guarantee. In the unlikely event of our business becoming insolvent or should our suppliers go out of business, you will not be left high and dry.
For Your Added Peace of Mind
Mmilo Tours is an ethical, professionally managed inbound tour operator. It is a member of the Southern Africa Tourism Services Association (SATSA) and as a requirement of membership, is audited annually by SATSA to ensure that it is legally compliant, has the pre-requisite tourism industry insurance and is in good financial standing. We are committed to upholding the codes of conduct and professional standards of these industry organisations we belong to.
The parties to this financial guarantee extended to Mmilo Tours, as a member of the Southern Africa Tourism Services Association, in good standing, are Lombard Insurance Company Limited and the Southern Africa Tourism Services Association.
Mmilo Tours is owned by Patrick Hanratty.
Patrick has travelled the length and breadth of South Africa many times over in the course of business and guiding. He began operating inbound tours to this country in 2001. He is a qualified and accredited South African National Tour Guide, having gained his Certificate in Tourist Guiding at one of the country’s foremost institutions, the University of South Africa (Unisa) and is registered with the Department of Tourism of South Africa.
Patrick is a member of Gauteng Guides the regional body helping to regulate guides.
He is also a keen walker and hiker with an in depth knowledge of South African flora, fauna and landscapes. Previously, he ran his own businesses in horticulture and in book retailing. Most of our tours are guided and accompanied by Patrick who has a personal interest in ensuring that your visit is enjoyable, relaxing, informative and enriching.
Mmilo Tours is also registered with Safaribookings.com/p637