“When you Google “African Travel” or “Travel in Africa” everything shows up like the Lion King,” says Cherae Robinson, founder of Tastemakers Africa.
“The tour operator system here is dominated by companies who don’t understand and/or target the wants and needs of today’s digitally savvy traveler who ranks personalization, authentic experiences, and cultural immersion high on their bucket list,” she explains.
But Robinson is out to change this.
Tastemakers Africa is a mobile app and content platform dedicated to revolutionizing what the world thinks about travel in Africa. By providing a hybrid booking and content experience, travelers are guided from the point of inspiration to take an African trip, and accompanied with information and advice throughout the time they’re at their destination.
From curated suggestions and insights from local influencers to mobile booking of exclusive behind the scenes tours, to bespoke travel planning, Tastemakers aims to be a one-stop-shop for those looking to travel Africa.
Robinson says the idea for Tastemakers was borne from her own experience of travelling to Africa, having been born and lived in the US.
“I noticed a disconnect between the media’s conversation on Africa and what I saw happening for myself. I was constantly having amazing experiences with artists, entrepreneurs, and tastemakers who provided an inside view on authentic ways of exploring their own backyards,” she says.
“From rooftop bars in Nairobi, Kenya to hidden galleries in Soweto, South Africa these real connections allowed me to see the Africa the media never shows first hand.”
As such, the Tastemakers team are dedicated to building relationships with merchants across Africa, on which they create content with which they regularly update the Tastemakers site and app to reflect real, exciting opportunities for travellers in Africa.
“Tastemakers Africa turns the travel world on it’s head by repositioning Africa as a prime destination going beyond the safari narrative with a design forward approach to uncovering destinations on the continent,” Robinson says.
Covering Accra, Cape Town, Johannesburg, Lagos, and Nairobi, the Tastemakers Africa website has been live since December 2014 – and has amassed a 2,000 member subscriber base, while the Android app is currently under private beta testing. The app, as well as an iOS version, are set to go live in September.
Robinson also has ambitious plans for the future.
“We plan to hit 20 cities on the continent in the next two years,” she says.
“There are other things in the works but we’d rather scale and grow our user base before we pontificate about our plans to take over the world.”