I’m Jay, founder of Wander Africa. A third generation Kenyan, and a second generation safari designer and tour operator. I am fortunate enough to have a father in the safari business who has exposed me to the importance of travel, learning and appreciating different cultures, and by seeing the world. Forty-seven years later, he is still running his own safari company, and playing the role as my hero, advising me just as any father would. I also happened to grow up learning from my Godparents, Sue and Steve Soldoff who had their own successful safari business based in Los Angeles before retiring. Today they have traveled to over 120 countries and continue to guide me, encourage me and share their wealth of knowledge with me. Who knew that I would be following in these remarkable footsteps and continuing a legacy of sharing Africa with the world? I sure didn’t!
Around my 18th birthday, I came to the U.S from Kenya to pursue a higher education, and received an undergraduate degree in Business Management, and later a Master’s in Leadership and Global Development. During my time as a student, I designed and created safaris for people on a referral basis only, which sustained me throughout my college days. It was fun and I enjoyed it thoroughly, so I continued to do this on the side for 11 years, with a brief stint in Mortgage Finance and Real Estate.
As my referral base grew, I began to notice from client feedback, that what set me apart from the other “mainstream” safari companies, was that I remained approachable, authentic, and did what I did out of love and passion for sharing Africa with the world - which is an approach that I do not intend on ever changing.
One night in 2016, after dinner with one of my mentor’s, Ankur Bulsara (an incredibly successful tech entrepreneur and business consultant) encouraged me to resign from my real estate job the next day and to put everything I have into building Wander Africa. My wonderful wife, Brandi willfully took on the responsibility of supporting me in this venture as I pursued my passion, and I put all of my resources into action.
Newly liberated, life began as Wander Africa on January 1st, 2017. Nothing has been the same since. Brandi joined forces with me to develop, grow and manage Wander Africa. We moved from Los Angeles to Asheville, NC, purchased a house, got married, and in just a short time we have built the company into what it is today.
The story continues and I welcome you to be a part of it…
Founder, Wander Africa