Meliane Unesha is a Rwandan entrepreneur who was previously a tour guide and is now a tour operator under her firm ‘Salama Afrika’.

She shared her story about her career in the tourism industry.

Meliane Unesha initially started out as a musician as a gospel artist and later ended up in secular music where she did ‘Aranankunda’ and ‘People’ featuring Sintex.

In her story into the tourism industry, she told Doing Business that she didn’t study tourism, instead she studied Accounting at Baptiste College Gacuba 2.

Despite being a nature lover, she had no idea that she would end up tour guide or in the tourism and conservation industry.

Unesha said; “In April 2014, I heard that Akagera National Park was recruiting new tour guides and I went there to try my luck. I wasn’t so sure that I could make it but yes I did it. Since then, I attended different special training sessions to become a professional guide and worked there for 6 years guiding international tourists. In March 2020 I got another opportunity to continue my studies in the USA at Madison College and that’s how I resigned from my job.”

As fate would have it, prior to her departure for college in March 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic broke out leading to the closure of international travel which got in her way of joining the university in the United States.

Going forward, she decided that the on-the-job training she had received while at Akagera National Park would come in handy to earn a living and hence set out to start her own tour operation.

She told Doing Business that “Whenever you give the best services to the customers, the results become so good not only in terms of finance, but also in terms skills and connections. From the savings I made while I was the guide and the connections I made while there, I managed to operate and the customers.”

Unesha said that while she had plans to set up her own firm in future, she decided to bring the actualization closer now that she was out of work and yet to join college.

It is then that ‘Salama Africa Tour & Travels,’ was born.

Unesha said that in commencement of operation, she turned to her savings from previous years, skills from her previous employment as well as connection of the various clients she had met and interacted with.

In June this year, Salama Afrika had its first trip, to her former place of employment, Akagera National Park.’

Going forward, Unesha says that she still plans to go back to school as well as continue running her new venture through.