The vast openness of the African savannah is the image that Jason McCracken carried home from his first trip to the continent last year. That openness, defined by the starlit, broad sky at night—a Milky Way brilliantly visible in a way McCracken had never seen before—remains with him and calls him to return.
For Joe Karuga, a return to Africa, Kenya specifically, is homecoming. The Kenyan native has lived in Birmingham since 1997, attending university and working in the tech field. It was while working for McCracken’s company, MC2 Development, that the African immigrant and the Birmingham native found a common calling, Africa travel. The entrepreneurial pair put together a company, Mwendo, that works with clients to custom tailor safaris, climbs, and treks to East Africa by arranging adventures based on their interests and schedule. “We let our clients decide the size of their party, whether it is just a single person, a family group, or a group of friends, because we also specialize in small groups. We enjoy the flexibility this gives us and our clients, and we take full advantage of it. Along with custom trips, we have also some preplanned safaris that include all the major National Parks in Kenya and some of the lesser known areas,” McCracken says.
The bespoke experiences McCracken and Karuga devise for customers have a broad range, from bush camping to five-star hotel experiences, from photographing game to hot air ballooning. “Africa is a whole different world,” Karuga says. “There are 47 different tribes in Kenya alone, different cultures, different languages. When you drive in the Kenyan countryside, you see nature in its purest form.”