Minor International (MINT) has taken its first step into East Africa with a $12 million deal with a luxury safari operator Elewana Afrika.
Based in Tanzania, Elewana owns and operates a collection of luxury lodges in harmony with the fragile ecosystems of the African bush. Under the agreement, MINT will acquire a 50 per cent stake in the group during an expansion phase which will see the addition of six new properties to the Elewana portfolio by 2011.
These resorts totalling 165 rooms will allow Elewana to offer guests safari, beach and city holiday options. Elewana’s principal promoter, Karim S Wissanji, will retain a 50 per cent stake and remain as CEO of the company.
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 tree house style rooms built on wooden decks around the trunks of baobab and marula trees; and Arusha Coffee Lodge, cradled in a coffee plantation.
Elewana’s near term plan includes the development of a new property near the Ngorongoro Crater, and three high end, smaller properties in unique destinations in Tanzania.
The safari operator’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 said, “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.”