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Safarisource is an online marketplace for safaris and tours in Africa. Our aim is to fundamentally change travel to Africa. We connect international travelers to locals achieving the following things: We empower local African businesses and we lead the traveler straight to the source for a more personalized safari experience and the opportunity to support the local economy.

We scrap external agents and let local African tour operators engage the tourist directly. We wish to empower those in the know and connect them to the traveler without foreign agents getting in the way and taking huge cuts. We want to give local operators, especially the smaller ones, the necessary tools to market themselves independently to the traveler and help them be their very best on the internet. We enable direct market access for those who, until now, have been denied this opportunity.



Connecting travelers to local operators here:



The Problem?

Safaris are booked with travel agents who outsource tours via multiple middle men. Safaris are expensive, standardized and offer little room for tailored experiences or community tourism initiatives. There is no communication between tourist and local organizer. Middle men take massive cuts and local operators are dependent on their whims. Not much money trickles down to communities living with wildlife. We are changing this by giving connecting local operators directly with tourists.


Whose Problem?

Local communities bear the burden of wildlife conservation without profiting much from conservation and tourism. This leads to human-wildlife conflict, the encroaching of agricultural activities on parks and conservation areas and overgrazing of cattle. Overall, Africa’s youth is disenfranchised from the biodiversity the continent offers. The solution is to deplete Africa of its richest natural resource – nature.


An important Problem?

African biodiversity is under attack. If no radical steps are taken to protect the environment, it will collapse. Equally important is the welfare of Africa’s rural communities. They have been pivoted against conservation efforts and are often used as mere props in tourism. We want to offer them access to the global tourism market. We seek to provide incentives that make protecting the ecosystem lucrative by offering an economically and socially inclusive platform.


Your Solution?

Safarisource connects travelers with locals. We let travelers book, browse, review and communicate with local, African tour operators, guides and community tourism initiatives. It gives local operators direct access to the global market, circumventing middle men. Travelers can book safaris at local rates and locals can participate fully on the travel market, therewith increasing their incentives to protect the environment. Safarisource turns local communities into custodians of the eco-system.


Business Model

We deliver people-driven technology that cuts out the middle-men in tourism. Service providers are screened and register, present themselves, load their itineraries and use the communication and booking platform. This is free. We take commission on sales (9% + 3% transaction fees). We continuously educate on marketing and communication. Travelers communicate and book securely on the platform.



Tourism to Africa is growing rapidly. +1000 tour operators and community tourism initiatives compete for representation with middle men. However as more learn about us, we get several new sign ups per day. Currently we work with 350 tourism service providers in 21 African countries. Major countries for us are Tanzania, Kenya, South Africa and surprisingly, Angola.



Safarisource is the only platform with this multi-layer approach in the global market. Closest competitor is – an aggregator of tours. Safaribookings is a Dutch platform on which one cannot book safaris. Instead, Safaribookings asks money from tour operators to deliver messages to these sent by prospective tourists. Booking and payment is organized privately between organizer and tourist.



I (Jessika, founder) did my PhD in anthropology working and living with the Maasai of Ngorongoro. I was disturbed by the disconnect between local communities and the safari industry and conservation agencies, and the disconnect between tourist expectations, tourists having booked with overseas travel agents, and what local tour operators offered. Back in Europe I became an Airbnb host and the idea for a participatory platform or marketplace for safaris was born.

Dr. Jessika Nilson



Jessika is in charge of Safarisource strategy and its implementation. She works closely with the tour operators in coaching them and works on improving client-operator relations. Gonzalo is in charge of supervising technological development and the online marketing and digital strategy for the platform. Loserian, a Maasai naturalist and guide, runs our East African field office for the quality control and the education of East African tourism providers. Max, Jessika’s brother and avid wildlife enthusiast assists Jessika in all her duties and functions as her right hand. He is particularly involved in developing the brand identity, in trade shows and managing interns. Linnea works on social media management, digital marketing and brand identity. Nick may in the future join us to improve our social responsibility and our focus on eco-tourism. Asha works with Gonzalo writing texts and country pages. A team in India does programming.


More details on the team

Jessika brings diversity in thinking with her entrepreneurial spirit, her deep-rooted experience in Africa and a thorough and unique academic background. She has a MSc. in Economics, a MSc. in Cultures and Development Studies and a PhD in Anthropology. Sustainable ecotourism requires education of people who otherwise have little access to education. Jessika has a very empathetic understanding of the people she works with. Cultural sensitivity and a social mindset is essential. Jessika has already shown to trigger Africa’s interest with 350 tourism service providers signed up as members of the platform. Gonzalo, whom Jessika met studying in Leuven, has worked extensively in emerging economies and has an academic background in both finance and IT. Loserian was Jessika’s research assistant during her fieldwork. A Maasai naturalist and guide, Loserian is known to recognize a bird by its shadow. Having worked in tourism for more than 15 years, he has a personal relation with nearly every single provider in East Africa. Max, Jessika’s younger brother, brings youthful enthusiasm, dedication, education in marketing and a passion for African wildlife to the table.

Safarisource Launches Activity Booking Platform., the online marketplace for safaris and tours has announced today the launch of an activity booking platform. The platform is an integration of live-inventory technology provided by Stellenbosch based start-up Activitar. With the platform, Safarisource hopes to meet the growing demand for experiences, activities and day-tours that can be booked directly online. The unveiling of the activities platform comes less than one year after the launch of Safarisource at the 2017 Indaba Travel Trade Fair in Durban. Cape Town based start-up Safarisource has since experienced rapid growth offering over 700 safaris and tours organized by 350 tour operators in 21 African countries. Safarisource connects local, African tour operators with travelers who can search, communicate, review and book safaris on the platform. Local tour operators avoid middle-men and travelers thereby book safaris at local rates.

The activities booking platform is integrated with the original safari marketplace. Travelers can use the site as normal to book safaris and tours, or they can select the ‘activities option’ to browse and book experiences directly. The real-time availability of activities is shown and no communication or waiting for confirmation is needed. Herein lies the difference to the safari booking experience. To book a safari, travelers need to send a booking request and can then communicate with the tour operator to tailor the safari to their specific needs. CEO and founder Dr. Jessika Nilsson says that communication between traveler and operator is key to booking a dream safari holiday. However, this type of communication is a distraction when booking an activity. Travelers must be able to confirm their activity or experience booking with just a few clicks.

The Safarisource expansion into the activities segment comes just as Airbnb and Viator are making strides to become Africa’s key platform for activities. Safarisource believes that being the most widespread network of safari tour operators in Africa gives it a strategic advantage in the activities market that none of the competitors have. “We already work closely with 350 tour operators in offering complex and tailor-made tours, from where we stand, as a pan-African company, extending into activities is easy. Airbnb and Viator do not have these connections or these roots on the African continent.” Says Nilsson. With the expansion, hopes to establish itself as the premier African travel website. For the launch, Safarisource has made available a limited selection of activities to book directly and invites tour operators to get in touch to have their activities listed.

Dr. Jessika Nilsson, CEO Safarisource



Contact us:

17 Queens Park Avenue

7925 Salt River, Cape Town

South Africa




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