Kumba Africa: The Black-Owned Booking Platform Connecting Travelers To Local Africa
By Parker Diakite
A passion for wanting to create solutions and access in Africa is what inspired Tapiwa Ndlovu and Ayyoob Abrahams to create Kumba Africa, a one-stop booking platform for travelers visiting African destinations.
According to the co-founders, Kumba Africa was created after identifying a need where other travel booking platforms failed. The online platform connects travelers to local experiences, accommodations, activities, international cell phone rental, travel insurance, and more.
“If you’re thinking about going to Africa we want to be that one-stop place,” Ndlovu says.
After launching in 2018, the Philadelphia-based company is offering services in more than a dozen countries, including Mali, Zambia, Sierra Leone, Swaziland, Nigeria, and more.
In an interview with Travel Noire, the co-founders discussed the meaning of the name and how they are planning to expand across the continent.
Travel Noire: What does Kumba Africa mean?
Ndlovu: Kumba means “home” in my language. I was born and raised in Zimbabwe. The reason why we named this Kumba Africa was we wanted to make Africa feel like a home for travelers.
We’re certainly not exclusive, our company works with everyone from all backgrounds, but we work primarily with travelers of color.
We also work with a lot of providers of color because we’re empowering the black community and funneling those funds into these communities that need them the most.
Travel Noire: How would you describe Kumba Africa in terms of the services that you provide?
Abrahams & Ndlovu: Traditional platforms that are out there like TripAdvisor and Airbnb Experiences have neglected the continent. And if they do have packages available on the continent, they’re more of these generic packages.
We focus on local experience whereby you interact with locals on the ground. We also collaborate with with-small-to-medium sized property companies, and travel service providers as well.
This is all tying in full vision to be the number one, one-stop place for travel needs in Africa. We want to be the company to streamline that process and making it easier for people to access Africa as a tourist destination.
Why Africa? One, because there’s a lot of interest in Africa. Two is when you look at where Southeast Asia was about 15 or 20 years ago, it was right about where Africa is right now. It’s becoming more of a popular tourist destination.
Travel Noire: What’s next for Kumba Africa?
Abrahams & Ndlovu: Right now as we are increasing our targets for the year, we are looking at increasing the number of experiences that we have available on the platform of the year and over 3000 access points across 14 countries together with four other markers we’re looking at as well.
We just launched an up-to $1 million seed round where we are looking to grow our team, do some aggressive marketing and to just keep improving our products.
There are two ways people make bookings on our site. There are automated bookings where there is no interaction with us. You can book single-day experiences, book flights and accommodation, getting a SIM card delivered or renting out a device
We also have the customization aspect for groups.