Bountiful Safaris: BY MAGGIE NJUKI / NMG: To think that Sh. 6000 is enough to start a company is audacious but this is exactly what Esther Njeri Njoroge thought. The bold lady is the director and CEO of one of the leading tours and travel operators in the country, Bountiful Safaris.
But how did she get there?
Esther spent her early years in Bogita, Thika town before her family moved to Nyahururu in Nyandarua County. Life wasn’t easy growing up. Esther had to stay with relatives several instances to enable her to attend school.
After high school, her parents managed to enroll her at the University of Nairobi for a social science degree. Two years down the line, Esther secured an internship at an NGO that did community service that also had a lodge in Narok County that they managed. Little did she know that it was her internship that would define her journey to prosperity.
A few months into her industrial attachment, a position as a travel consultant for the lodge fell vacant and Esther was asked to sit in before they could find a replacement. Being a fast learner, she quickly got acquainted with the position and soon enough started earning a salary.
“I was paid Sh6000 per month – a salary I continued to earn for the next three years until it was raised to Sh10, 000. I was not able to finish my degree due to the nature of the working hours,” Esther says.
“I used to walk from Nairobi’s Upper hill to Ngara so as to save the little that I earned,” she continues.
She did not despair. Instead, she approached a webmaster with the brilliant idea of setting up her own website to market her own tours and travel company. It went by the name Bountiful Tours and Travel Safaris. She later shortened it to Bountiful Safaris. It was going to cost her Sh25, 000 in total, and since she could not put together the whole amount, she started paying with installments of Sh1000 every month.
Three years later, in 2009, the second born in a family of four left the company for another tours and travel company that was now paying her Sh 15,000.
“The second job was much better than the first one since I earned commissions. By the end of the month, I would take home up to Sh70, 000,” she remembers.
Even with a better paying job, her tribulations were far from over.