Expeditions Maasai Safaris is a leading tours and travel company in Kenya. Registered in 2015 and located in Nairobi at the Kenya Police Sacco Plaza, 3rd Floor. Expeditions Maasai Safaris is widely recognized for offering the most affordable and unique travel solutions for all types of travelers and corporates in Kenya.
With a clear vision to be Kenya’s Most Trusted and Recognized Travel Partner by the year 2021, Pancras Karema, Team leader at Expeditions Maasai Safaris Ltd tells us the journey and future prospect for the business.
What services does Expeditions Maasai Safaris offer its customers?
For all individuals and families looking for exciting and unique beach or bush holiday experiences within Kenya and beyond, Expeditions Maasai Safaris gives the most affordable rates for some of Kenya’s and world’s leading resorts, camps and lodges in Mombasa, Masai Mara, Naivasha, Zanzibar, South Africa, Morocco, Dubai, Seychelles, Maldives, Greece and Bangkok to mention just a few. In addition, we organize successful mountain climbing expeditions across Africa and Asia.
For our corporate guests, we tailor-make both day and overnight teambuilding programs and activities that are geared towards aligning their teams with the organization’s core mission while inspiring teamwork and life-work balance. Our fleet of executive tour buses is also available for hire by corporates of all sizes to any destination in East Africa.
We handle every aspect of the safari from hotel and flight/SGR bookings to airport and hotel transfers using our very own executive tour vehicles that we also avail for hire anywhere across the country from as low as 6000 Kes per day for both Mombasa and Nairobi SGR transfers.
What motivated you to venture into the Tours and Travel Business?
Travelling has always been my passion since my childhood. Growing up in Nanyuki, I got to enjoy the magical views of Mt. Kenya from an early age. Then came my admission at the Ontulili High School which is located inside the Mount Kenya National Park. From the windows of our dormitory, we always felt like magnificent Mt. Kenya was always calling us. It was not unusual for me and fellow boys to sneak out for adventures in the forest.
It was during these ‘outlawed’ expeditions that I discovered that we shared similar interests with my then classmate and now my co-founder, Lawrence Ndegea, with whom we had numerous such trips. It was this experience that led me to pursue a career in Tourism at the University of Nairobi where Expeditions Maasai Safaris was born. We started organizing day trips to Mt. Kenya where we could hire a matatu and charge a little fee to take our collegemates for day trips.
After numerous successful trips and 2 years of dominating the day trip scene, we decided to formalize our operations by getting registered and opening our office and expanded our service offerings to include hotel bookings, ticketing, safaris, corporate travel as well as outbound holiday itineraries. We have come a long way since then and I am extremely proud of the strides we have made so far- a growing team of passionate travel consultants, and experienced and professional driver guides whose daily contributions has brought us this far.
How Much did you invest in Expeditions Maasai Safaris when starting out?
We started with zero capital and only a Facebook page but with undying passion and hunger for success. Today, what we have is even more passion and powerful desire to make affordable holiday travel possible. We don’t consider ourselves to be in this for the money, at least not for now.
When we serve our guest and are able to support families of our team members with a decent lifestyle and pay our taxes to the Kenyan government, we consider Expeditions Maasai Safaris to be making more than an average contribution to the society.
What has attributed to the success of your travel company?
I believe Expeditions Maasai Safaris is where we are today because of consistent customer service, and honesty in our all dealings I must thank my entire team for working around the clock to keep our guests happy, and speed of adapting to the changing needs of the modern traveler.
As an entrepreneur, I have learned on several occasions, that you must be very patient, consistent, constantly learn and improve on feedback from client and the market, as well as be willing to take calculated risks.
What are some of the challenges you encountered an how did you beat them?
Entrepreneurship for us has been a remarkable journey. Our biggest challenge was market penetration and building brand visibility and trust. Initially, it was very difficult for clients to believe that a team of very young duo, straight from college with limited experience could be trusted to plan successful itineraries without a hitch.
We overcame this challenge by offering the most competitive rates and by always ensuring that every client that we serve is happy and pleased with our services and thus very comfortable recommending Expeditions Maasai Safaris to their networks.
I can confidently state that this perception has now completely changed as evidenced by guests of all classes and budget- from major banks, leading insurance firms to NGOs reaching out to us for bookings.
What are some of the Major Achievements of Expeditions Maasai Safaris?
We got our aha moment when Expeditions Maasai Safaris was crowned the Social Media Organization of the year 2016 and and the Most Social Business in Kenya Biz Yangu Award scooping 2 awards at the celebrated OLX SOMA AWARDS.
It was indeed an emotional moment to get such a huge recognition by our clients and Kenyans at large. To know that millions of Kenyans feel that the work we have been doing in the hospitality industry is important has always been a very humbling experience. It has constantly served as a challenge for us to keep innovating and offering tour and travel solutions that meet and exceed customer expectations.
We have had the honor of serving leading names in Kenya notably Urithi Housing Cooperative, Heritage Insurance, Liberty Assurance, StanLib, AAR Insurance, Safaricom, Airtel, Uber Kenya, Facebook Kenya, Co-operative Bank, DTB Bank, Credit Bank, World Vision, Agakhan University Hospital, United Nations and recently The Kenyan Alliance Insurance to name just a few.
We have also been honored to plan holidays for some of the notable names in the creative industry including Sauti Soul, Nameless, Anyiko Owoko , Larry Asego, Jasper Murume of Churchill Show and Henry Desagu to name just a few.
What’s your attitude towards being your own boss and a young entrepreneur?
For many people, being your own boss sounds very fashionable. But the true test is when you realize you have a team whose families rely on your everyday efforts and decisions for their daily bread. I prefer to view myself as a team leader with a huge responsibility to inspire our team at Expeditions Maasai Safaris to give the very best to our very important customers, themselves and ultimately the business.
How does Expeditions Maasai Safaris remain competitive in this digital space?
Our customers are our greatest marketers. The best marketing strategy is customer satisfaction. At Expeditions Maasai Safaris, we strive to give exemplary service to all our guest regardless of budget. We consider our “customer-first” approach to be our strongest marketing tool and the rest as secondary.
We are now leveraging our growing Social Media presence to extend our customer experience to as many adventurous as possible. We have also invested in offline marketing by sponsoring events, attending expos like the recently concluded Sarit Center’s Getaway Tourism Fair as well as paid advertising with leading Media companies in the country. We are also engaging several influencers in our attempt to push our brand reach even further.
Where do you see yourself and your business in the next five years?
We are set on growing Expeditions Masai Safaris to become Kenya’s Most Trusted and Recognized Travel Partner by the year 2021 and myself as still the Team leader inspiring our team to reach and surpass this milestone. I am confident that fellow Kenyans and our customers will continue to give us the support we need to get there.
If you were to go back on time, what would you differently that would have contributed enormously to the success of Expeditions Maasai Safaris?
I would have started what I do early, but am one person that abhor regretting over the past, so I prefer to appreciate the journey we have had so far with all its valuable lessons and make Expeditions Maasai Safaris the brand our valued customers expect it to be now and in future.
Your word to upcoming entrepreneurs?
Consistency! Consistency! Be very consistent in offering working solutions where gaps exist in the market, Don’t Promise What You Can’t Deliver and Deliver Everything You Promise with time, your big break is coming.
There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure. Colin Powell