Spotting opportunities in hospitality: The story of the man behind Aqua Safari Resort
Samuel Afari Dartey has gradually cemented his place as a household name in the hospitality industry. His love for nature and the desire to have an eco-friendly ecosystem has led him to establish two great eco-resort that has Ghanaians and tourists from all over the world buzzing with glee.
He is one of the entrepreneurs in Ghana, making impact in the hospitality industry
Entrepreneurs in Ghana – Who is Samuel Afari Dartey?
Samuel Afari Dartey grew up from humble beginnings in a Ga community called Ayalolo around the Jamestown locality where he attended Seventh Day Adventist (SDA) Primary School. After school, Samuel Afari Dartey would sell pure water, and toffees to help provide for the family. He also polished people’s shoes in Tudu, Accra.
Despite the hustle of selling after school, Samuel Afari Dartey’s academic pursuit wasn’t cut short as he received scholarships throughout his academic endeavour. From the Seventh Day Adventist Church giving him the scholarship to fund his primary education to receiving a scholarship program to pursue his secondary and tertiary education in Cuba. He also received a scholarship to pursue his Master’s program in Germany.
Entrepreneurs in Ghana- How it Started for Samuel Afari Dartey
In 2008, Samuel Afari Dartey took a trip to Ada to explore the breathtaking natural landscape of the environment. During the sightseeing in a boat together with his colleagues, Samuel Afari Dartey noticed a bunch of properties lined up onshore and inquired of the boat captain the persons to which the properties belonged. The boat captain replied by saying the properties belonged to foreigners from such places as Lebanon and Italy. Saddened by the fact that the properties were mainly owned by foreigners except for a few being owned by Ghanaians, Samuel Afari Dartey uttered the words “I will change this” to his colleagues.
In 2009, Samuel Afari Dartey became the CEO of the Forestry Commission before paving way for the late Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie popularly known as Sir John to take over after his term ended in 2017.
During his time as the CEO of the Forestry Commission, Samuel Afari Dartey made the decision to develop the natural landscape of Ada out of which came Aqua Safari in 2013. Aqua, a Latin word that means “water” and Safari, a combination of the first alphabet of his name Samuel and his surname Afari.
Since its establishment, Aqua Safari has employed over 80% of its direct workforce from the local community of Ada and has become one of Ghana’s best and greatest resorts for Ghanaians and tourists alike.
Following the success of Aqua Safari, last year, Samuel Afari Dartey launched The Safari Valley resort cited in the Eastern Region of Ghana which is home to dozens of species of wildflowers and wildlife with local and exotic animals such as antelopes, zebra’s, and giraffes.
More than 90% of the food on the resort will come from the farm where guests will have the chance to pick their food, including their fish from the lake.
Samuel Afari Dartey plans to replicate eco-friendly resorts in every region of the country with Safari Palm Lands in the Western Region and Safari Royal Gardens in the Ashanti region.
Achievements & Awards
Aqua Safari has achieved a milestone in its improvement in the hospitality and the forest reserve sector but according to Samuel Afari Dartey he is only “Good” not yet “Great.”
In 2015, Aqua Safari won the 2015 Ghana Tourism Awards (GTA) visitor attraction of the year. In 2017, Aqua Safari won the Jumia Travel Traveler’s Choice of the year and the Ghana Tourism Awards three (3) star hotel of the year.
Though Samuel Afari Dartey is appreciative of the awards, his greatest joy and passion is to develop the forest areas in the country and to create a source of livelihood for as many Ghanaians as possible.
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Source : African Media Agency (AMA)