Elewana was founded by Karim Wissanji in 2004, but it’s worth looking back at the entrepreneur’s roots in East Africa; it would make a good film! Wissanji’s father Murji, a successful businessman in the Democratic Republic of Congo where Karim was born, was forced to flee the country after the expulsion of Asian citizens that followed independence in 1960. Arriving as refugees in Kenya with only the clothes on their back, the 14 members of the family made their home in a two-bedroom apartment
But within a year Mr Murji had managed to acquire a few acres to farm, just on the edge of the Amboseli National Park where he built a traditional mud covered cottage. As a boy, Karim recalls: “He would pick me from school and we would spend the weekend there together.” As the farm grew, though, Mr. Murji added a few more cottages for guests. As time went on he realised his property had graduated from a shamba to an embryonic safari lodge.
This could so easily be the start of our tale, but the family had no experience in the hospitality business so it was decided to sell the property to a tour operator. That could easily be the end of the tale, but 23 years later Karim, now a Canadian citizen, and his generation returned and bought back what is today the Amboseli Sopa Lodge set in 200 acres of private land, in the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro.
More at the source: Elewana Group | Company Profile | Business Review Africa