When Natalia Cubillos decided to book her safari to one of Kenya’s popular tour destinations, she was excited to enjoy an array of activities with her family. Having lived in the city for over one year, she decided to plan a trip for her family to the Masai Mara. Something so exciting ended up in frustration.
This must have been a huge disappointment for Natalia, a Colombian former executive at the World Bank and founder of an online marketplace for rural locations in Colombia who had moved to Nairobi with her family at the beginning of 2022.
Having worked on a busy schedule with her startup the preceding months, Natalia looked forward to exploring this holiday destination.
“I contacted more than 20 camps and after weeks of countless emails and an excel sheet to understand what I was being offered, I thought there must be an easier way to do this.”
As the world enters the holiday season this month, experiences such as Natalia’s might be common. From last-minute hotel cancellations, mismatch between the actual and advertised tour destination facilities, to no-shows by tour drivers, domestic and foreign tourists often end up frustrated and wishing they knew better. To help travelers with the right information and authentic review of tour destinations, Natalia, together with her colleague Marina Cangelaris started Tukio, a platform that enables safari lodges, transportation providers and activity organizers to publish and sell their services directly and transparently to travelers. Travelers can select all components of their trip separately, add them to a cart and check-out entirely online.
Marina, a Greek avid traveler and tech entrepreneur whose entire career has revolved around building and scaling startups around the world, spent January of 2023 working remotely on the Kenyan coast and was immediately captivated by the potential of the region. This curiosity led her to return to Nairobi the same summer and join a startup accelerator where she met Natalia.
Tukio offers a seamless and informed booking experience to every traveler, while still keeping in mind that such trips have a more complex nature.
“With Tukio, we want to offer the modern traveler a single transaction booking experience and therefore remove all the confusion that is associated with booking a Safari.”
By enabling lodges, transportation and activity providers to transparently list their offering on the platform, the end to end safari experience is available online. This allows the travelers to see, compare and select all the components of their trip, add them to a cart and check out all entirely online in one single transaction, while knowing exactly what they are paying for. No surprises!
Tukio has just launched as a pilot in Kenya’s Masai Mara, featuring a selection of lodges ranging from budget to luxury, therefore offering something for every type of traveler.
In 2024, Tukio plans to expand to more Kenyan parks and coastal destinations.