Meticulous Tours, Inc was founded by Nomvimbi Meriwether, who was born and raised in Soweto, South Africa. Currently she is a resident in the Washington D.C. Metropolitan area. She travels between the US and South Africa, on a regular basis. Nomvimbi came to the United States in 1979, after obtaining a law degree in South Africa, as a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) candidate at American University. While pursuing her studies in the United States, she met her husband, Dr. Wilhelm Delano Meriwether, the first black to be admitted and graduate at Duke University Medical School, with whom she raised three children who were born in Zimbabwe, South Africa and Botswana. Upon successfully completing her MBA degree her husband convinced her to accompany him to do volunteer-work in Southern Africa.
The destination was Zimbabwe, a newly independent country then, where the American based Quaker religious group had already identified a small isolated medical clinic. When Dr. Meriwether was denied a work permit by the Zimbabwe government they were invited to work as missionaries at Tintswalo Hospital, which was founded and operated by the US based Church of the Nazarene, where they spent 7 years making a difference to impoverished rural communities. The hospital was located in the home of the Shangaan people, then called Gazankulu, a few kilometers away from the Orpen Gate and Numbi Gate of the internationally renowned Kruger National Park. Gazankulu got its greatest international exposure, as a title of one of Harry Belafonte's famous anti-apartheid songs, "Paradise in Gazankulu".
Kruger National Park is renowned for its abundance of wildlife notably the "Big Five", lion, elephant, leopard, rhino and buffalo.Several other privately owned game reserves were situated nearby notably Sabi Sabi, Mala Mala, Skukuza, Londolozi, and Timbavati.These comprised the area where Nomvimbi got much of her knowledge and exposure to wild animals and gained extensive experience working with somes of the best safari game lodges in the region.
On several occassions Dr. Meriwether and Nomvimbi had to drive into the Kruger National Park to rescue refugees walking 120 miles on-foot from Mozambique, away from the Renamo and Frelimo ferocious civil war,who were attacked by wild animals. This was the order of the day for the Meriwethers when groups of dozen refugees arrived at the Welverdene and Hluvukani clinics, where they often worked in the remote impoverished villages. Thousands of refugees, children, women and men were secretly accommodated at the Meriwether's home for shelter. Initialy this had to be done clandestinely, because undocumented aliens running away from the civil war in Mozambique were unwelcomed enemies of the then apartheid goverment of South Africa. A refugee camp was established in their yard which provided clothing, food, healthcare and medical services. Nomvimbi established and operated economic empowerment programs for the refugees, village women and children. A primary school was established from a feeding scheme the Meriwether's initiated for the malnourished village children.
Dozens of intrepid visitors from South Africa, the United States, Germany, Australia, England and various other overseas countries volunteered to support the activities, including Operation Hunger a South African non-profit organization. Their supporters and volunteers were also take for a spectacular views of the nearby Blyde River Canyon, Bourke's Pothole, Strydom Tunnel, Pilgrim's Rest and God's Window, perched atop the majestic Drankensberg Mountains. Nomvimbi has since then, founded and supports several charitable organizations including an orphanage and started a program call "Water for the Village" for installing water boreholes in the villages, an organic gardening program and medical missions for healthcare professionals. She has led several youth mission to Africa to volunteer in schools, orphanages, contruction of fences, participated in school feeding programs, making bricks for orphanage construction.
"While growing up in Soweto, I did not appreciate nor document the history that was unfolding, right before my eyes. It was only after I had travelled and partially settled in the United States that I began to appreciate the significance of the experiences I went through day to day. I was classified black. Some of our relatives were classified coloured. I had to carry at all times a reference book called a "doompass". In public facilities there were chairs I could not seat on or entrances I could not go through due to my classification.
My home was located in the Mofolo section of Soweto, a few houses away from internationally acclaimed leaders like Miriam Makeba and Robert Sobukwe homes. I vividly remember my father greeting and chatting with Robert Sobukwe, who was later imprisoned at Robben Island under solitary confinement, as he passed by our home daily walking from Dube train station. Miriam Makeba became well known for her "click songs" and Pata Pata. My aunt's house was a shebeen, an illegal township bar/tavern, which served as a place of entertainment and were "illegal politics" where discussed by patrons. Nowadays, shebeens have become popular for foreign visitors who want a taste of South African cuisine and world renowned wines from Paarl, Stellenbosch, Franchhoek, Klein Constantia and Groot Constantia regions.
Another mark in my life experiences was going to school at Orlando West High School right across the street from Bishop Tutu, Nelson and Winnie Mandela's homes. The fear we had during our school lunch breaks when passing by or starring at Nelson Mandela's house, which was instilled by the Apartheid government, which banned any mention of the Mandela name or getting close to Winnie, who was always under banishment. Mr Mandela spent 18 years of his 27 year imprisonment in Robben Island. On June 16th, 1976 students were marching from Orlando West High School, with a petition protesting the introduction of Afrikaans as a medium of instruction for their education, when the South African police and the military pointed guns at them and the first student to be killed was Hector Peterson a 13 year old. For the days and years which followed, thereafter our schools where closed by the government. We marched and ran the streets of Soweto protesting daily with the military throwing tear gas canisters and shooting at us. We held many of our anti-apartheid rallies and protests at the Regina Mundi Church, which is now dubbed 'The Parliament of Soweto". Some of what transpired is documented at the Apartheid Museum.
My brother, who was always in trouble with the law, was detained and interrogated several times at the infamous John Foster Square police station and imprisoned at the Number Four Prison, which is today the grounds of South Africa's Constitutional Court, a living tribute to the countries' freedoms and human rights. Both Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi were detained here. Today Soweto, Hector Peterson Memorial, Regina Mundi Church, Shebeens, Apartheid Museum, Robben Island, Constitution Hill, Bishop Tutu's home, Nelson and Winnie Mandela's Home Museum, are icons for visitors to South Africa" says Nomvimbi Meriwether
Why choose us
Our track record speaks for itself: We have a more than satisfied customer base. We have renowned, knowledgable, highly educated and experienced tour guides registered with each country's tourism boards. We utilize the finest accredited accommodations, internationaly acclaimed, ranging from 3-5 stars hotels, guesthouses, lodges and camping facilities. We select meals with a wide variety of local or international cuisine and where meals are not included we select venues with a variety of cuisine. Our consultants were born and raised in Africa. They have indept excellent knowledge of what Africa has to offer. They are constantly trained to offer outstanding service and itineraries designed to offer the best balance between travel, sightseeing, leisure, business, education, volunteer service and wildlife viewing possible in each region.
Attention to Details
Dedication to travel planning
Knowledge of Africa by birth
A full team of experienced travel planners
A team dedicated to Africa travel planning
Solid reputation for creativity and attention to details
Wide selection of itineraries which reflects years of expertise and experience
Our tour consultants speak and understand several African languages