Minor International, owners of Anantara Resorts, has taken its first step into East Africa with a US$12 million deal with a luxury safari operator.The agreement with the owning company of Elewana Afrika opens up an exciting new horizon in MINT’s mission to offer exceptional luxury experiences to the discerning traveler.
Based in Tanzania, a leading safari destination in Africa, Elewana owns and operates a collection of luxury lodges in total harmony with the exquisite but fragile ecosystems of the African bush. Meaning harmony or understanding in Kiswahili, the name alludes to the balance between all the elements expected in today’s sophisticated market.
Elewana’s properties include: Serengeti Migration Camp located in the Serengeti, a World Heritage site and one of the continent’s largest ecosystems; Tarangire Tree Tops, with its unique tree-house style rooms built on wooden decks around the trunks of enormous baobab and marula trees; and Arusha Coffee Lodge, cradled in the endless acres of Tanzania’s largest coffee plantation.
Under the agreement, MINT will acquire a 50% stake in the group during this strong expansion phase which will see the addition of six new properties to the Elewana portfolio by 2011. These resorts totaling 165 rooms will allow Elewana to offer guests a total immersion in Tanzanian culture that includes safari, beach and city components. Elewana’s principal promoter, Karim S. Wissanji, will retain a 50% stake and remain as Chief Executive Officer of the company.
Elewana’s near-term plan includes the development of a new property near the Ngorongoro Crater, a World Heritage site renowned for its unique game viewing, and three high-end, smaller properties in unique destinations in Tanzania. Elewana’s expansion plans also include a new city hotel in a historic building in Stone Town, Zanzibar. In addition, guests wishing to experience both historic Arabic culture and pristine beaches will be able to do so at the planned luxury beach facility on the private island of Kiweni located in the Zanzibar Archipelago.
In the longer term, expansion into Kenya is planned as well as the expansion of the Elewana brand into other ‘experience’ destinations both within and outside of Africa.
William E. Heinecke, CEO of Minor International commented: “MINT is very pleased to be entering this unique, high-end niche market through such an established, luxury brand. Elewana’s strengths include its property locations, its brand reputation and its ability to offer distinctive safari experiences. Mr Karim Wissanji brings a wealth of wisdom and understanding and our partnership will open up great development opportunities for the Elewana brand.”
Karim S Wissanji, CEO of Elewana Afrika added “We are very excited about the joint venture with MINT, a leader in our industry with a highly respected reputation for excellence and innovation. Our strategic partnership with MINT will allow us to synergise and leverage our collective strengths to offer distinctive, experience driven travel opportunities, within and outside Africa.”