Introduction to Safarisharing
Marloes Elbertsen | Do you ever run into something and just know you found the solution to an issue nobody has thought of yet? The perfect idea for a new company? Man, if you would sell that idea there would probably be a line so long it would make the Apple store look like a joke? And that’s where it ends…
Well, not for the founder of Safarisharing. He had an issue. He was in East Africa and there was no way for him to go on safari. Uhm, excuse me?
“When I was on a business trip in Arusha and trying to add a few days safari at the end of it, I failed to find a group safari that I could join. Despite having contacted 20 tour agents, no one was able to hook me up with an existing group. They could only offer me a very expensive private safari and that was how Safarisharing was born.” As of Jorrit Kooi, the founder of Safarisharing.
But as any other company, it grew into much more than expected. I stepped into their office to meet with Elisa Droll. A young and ambitious professional of only 26 years, who can now call herself a CEO. Leading a team of two others and working closely with Jorrit, she is aspired to bring Safarisharing to the next level.
“Safarisharing brings the most beautiful safari destinations accessible for travellers through the sharing principle. Sharing means a fair price, more fun, but also a more sustainable way of travel. Up till today no one else is able to deliver those three unique attractions in one proposition. We want Safarisharing to incorporate educational trips to conservatories and cultural initiatives to raise awareness in favour of a more responsible and sustainable tourism industry. That would be the Safarisharing-dream coming true.”
Sounds great; plenty of dreams, plenty of possibilities. But the world is also a big place, so why the focus on East Africa?
“I fell in love with this place. East Africa offers the best wildlife experiences in the world, but also has some of the most beautiful mountains and pristine beaches. And importantly, the safari industry in East Africa is a very traditional one and innovation is required to ensure sustainable growth of tourism.”
In the meantime Elisa brings me another cup of coffee, noticing I need to wrap my head around the whole concept. But I think I got it:
“By re-selling safari tours with travellers already on-board and by promoting left-over seats in safari vehicles, you connect international travellers with like-minded travellers. To our local partners, we offer an extra service to gain additional business by accelerating their spare capacity and thereby decrease the number of vehicles in the park. As a result, it offers sustainable growth opportunities for the industry and for the customers it’s a fair price but also the fun of meeting new people.”
I start laughing because both are quiet. That’s the fun part about young companies. They are always on the move and rethinking their position in the market. So did I include everything that they believe is of importance? Let’s just talk future for now.What can we expect from Safarisharing?
Elisa jumps in with a clear vision: “In 10 years’ time I envision Safarisharing to be a main player in the African tourism sector. I see Safarisharing as supporting 500 mid & small sized tour operators in East-Africa, to have served over 100,000 travellers and to have highly reduced the CO2 emission.”
For the final question, I ask the founder: “Jorrit, is there something that you want to add to that or perhaps even share something we don’t know about Safarisharing yet?”
“I hope that the company will develop into the leading sustainable travel platform in Africa offering thousands of travelers the possibility to see the most beautiful places in the world. And as far as things you don’t know yet. We are working on some very exciting partnerships. Follow or social media channels to hear more in the near future.”