Pancras Karema, 30, is the co-founder and CEO of Expeditions Maasai Safaris, a tour and travel company based in Nairobi.
Karema holds a Bachelor’s degree in Tourism and Political Science from the University of Nairobi. In 2018 he won the Young Male Entrepreneur of the year from the Young Entrepreneurs Awards (YEA).
He shared his career trajectory with nation.africa.
I had a normal childhood growing up in Nanyuki, one of the most popular tourist destinations in Kenya and I used to see a lot of tour vehicles when growing up.
Being the firstborn in a family of three, I had to take care of my younger siblings. This taught me how to be responsible, skills I still apply to this day.
My mother is a former teacher and my late dad was a lecturer at the University of Nairobi.
My educational journey started at Bingwa, a local primary school in Nanyuki before joining Ontilili High School which is located inside Mount Kenya Forest. After my O-level, I joined the University of Nairobi and I graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Tourism and Political Science from the same University.
I co-founded Expeditions Maasai Safaris with my childhood friend and now our MD, Lawrence Ndegea in 2014. While at the university, I used to organise hikes and outings for classmates, and since I was pursuing tourism, I fell in love with the whole idea of creating experiences for others for a profit.
After high school, I interned with the Kenya Tourism Board and this cemented my dream of formalising my travel business giving birth to Expeditions Maasai Safaris.
The most satisfying moment in my line of work is when I receive messages of gratitude from our customers after they have enjoyed a safari. Knowing that we played a part in creating a fulfilling holiday experience for them makes me happy.
I am also very thrilled when I see my team doing their work with passion and going out of their way in ensuring our customers get value for booking with us.
Being able to create opportunities for fellow young people in this country is something I am very proud of.
My career progression has been an incredible journey from just two childhood friends who believed in each other to becoming a full-fledged tours and travel business championing domestic tourism.
We now have three branches, two in Nairobi and one in Mombasa, and I consider the opportunity to lead a dynamic team of young professionals into believing in our vision for tourism in this country – progress.
Passion has been the key driver of growth. Entrepreneurship is not easy and if you are not passionate about what you do, challenges will easily demotivate you.
I have learnt to value people, especially those working with you to build the brand and this has really helped Expeditions Maasai Safaris in terms of brand evangelism as our team owns the brand.
Among the people who influenced my career trajectory is my late dad Dr Fredrick Karema (may his soul rest in peace). A strict disciplinarian and academician, he pushed me a lot to excel academically and in life. He used to advise me to go for what I was passionate about. He also taught me the value of serving others and this is a principle I have embraced by putting our customers’ satisfaction before profit.
Key decisions I have taken along my career journey is deciding not to look for employment, instead, I expounded on opportunities around me and took the initiative to transform them into business situations.
My future plan is to expand my business to the rest of the East African region.