Present on the ground
Picturing a dusty office in the Netherlands with dreamy photos of idyllic beaches on the wall, where we make bookings behind our computer screens while the rain taps on the window? Not for us, we don’t do it that way! We are on the ground on the African continent, and not just because we love the continent so much. We have offices in Nairobi, Kampala, and Cape Town, and team members who are working from Ethiopia and Tanzania. From here we go on expeditions and explorations to find new routes and uncover places not yet rolled flat by tourists. By living, working, and travelling here, it’s easy to make the right friends and connections to create the best trip for you.
The middleman? That doesn’t exist! We have direct and personal contact with all our partners. This means we can always drop by to see how things are going, how everyone is doing, and have a cup of Chai (East African tea!). With no middle man, the results of these partnerships are much more beneficial for both parties. We can also be sure that the economic impact of our partnerships with our local partners has the effect we want it to!
Off the beaten track: local partners
We are killing three birds with one stone by looking for new partners in local businesses and communities. WIN-WIN-WIN, right?
But first … equal business is the future!
We are talking about development on this page, a term that does require a small comment. The term in this context stems from the Western world, where the definition is determined by what we see from our perspective as developed and underdeveloped (or: the positive aspects to strive for, and the negative things to get rid of). It is good to ask the question: what is the meaning of development for the local communities, based on their own norms and values? Western countries often seem to want to take African countries by the hand when it comes to how they should spend their money. Communities themselves have a much better idea, and ability to determine, what ‘progress’ actually means.
Many charities have already poured hundreds of billions into projects to boost development in African countries since the 1960s. The results sixty years later? Not exactly to write home about. We believe that business is the future. When equal partnerships are formed, communities have the opportunity to earn their own money, take control of their own affairs and thereby stimulate development themselves. Want to read more about how we encourage equal exchange and strongly discourage ‘charity’? Then check out our page on ethical travel and positive cultural impact here!
Our economic impact: sustainable business with local communities
How does that work? Product development
How do we find our partners? We often start by tracking down off-the-beaten-track locations with a lot to offer: beautiful nature, charming villages or towns, interesting hiking trails, or unique wildlife. Of course, we find these places because we travel a lot, we get to know people on the way and ask around for the best tips. But we also use another technique that you might not have expected: Google Satellite! Charlie is often scanning the map like a geologist. Which areas look promising from a bird’s eye view? Which ones still look promising when we zoom in? When a place seems packed with potential, it’s time to hit the road. The backpack is packed, the engine is started, and step on that accelerator! When Charlie arrives at the location and indeed sees promise, it’s time for product development. Where can travellers spend the night when they visit this location? What kind of cool experiences can they do? And the obvious question: who is going to host or guide travellers? This is when special collaborations are started, friendships are made and business opportunities are created for the local communities.
Do you want to meet some of our partners? You can!
Or watch the video of Brian, our guide in the Kenyan city of Kisumu. Brian set out on a quest with kids’ through the town!
In this video you are introduced to the boys of the Nai Nami tour: they grew up in the slum and have the most interesting stories to tell!
How does that work? Collaborate with partners
The connections have been made, the ties forged and the partnerships closed. How is such a collaboration kicked off and maintained? The partners will visit our headquarters in Nairobi – another advantage of being on the ground! – where they receive training on, for example, hospitality and the standards and values
How does that work? Africa Inside Out
Africa Inside Out is our project to develop routes and find partners – led by Charlie. Thirteen countries in East and Southern Africa have been turned inside out to find the most off the beaten track routes and most interesting partners in every nook and cranny! And Charlie does not do this alone: