Ruka Safaris got its start when Lilli and Juhani Karjalainen opened ADP guesthouse for groups who needed meeting facilities. The guesthouse was equipped with the latest technology and was a pioneer in new ADP meeting systems in the area. There was eight accommodation rooms in the house and they served food made by Lilli to the guests.
Groups staying at the guesthouse started asking for acitivities. Guided snowmobiling trips became the first activity organised by Ruka Safaris.
Aivoriihi sauna, Honkakota and Villa Golf Ruka were built for the growing company as new operation stations.
Vanha Karhu- restaurant opened its doors at Ruka.
Kontioluola, the biggest private restaurant in Ruka, was built in Naatikanniemi.
The first building in Iisakki VIllage, Iisakin Talo, opened. Since then more buildings like saunas and accommodation sites have been built on the area in the likeness of Rajala courtyard, which was in the Paanajärvi area.
Younger generation of the Karjalainen family joined the running of the business.
Vanha Karhu – restaurant was renovated into a Safari center, the new head quarters for all activities.
Glass Village was finished next to the Iisakki Village area and offers now unique accommodation in glass walled and roofed Villas.
The new reception building for Iisakki Village was built and the company celebrates its 30 years!
The base for all of our services and products is their safety. We follow all safety regulations defined by Finnish law which include for example liability insurance, fire safety checks and safety and rescue planning for all activities. All of the machines and devices we use are periodically checked and well maintained. To prevent accidents we have strict group sizes for all of our activities, we train our guides thoroughly into their activities and go trough possible danger points of the programs.
The programs we offer correspond to what the customer has bought. Timetables and other arrangements are made in a way that they can be followed. Customer feels like he/she gets value for the money they have spent. We offer activities and accommodation throughout the year, so that we can provide as many permanent job contracts to our employees as possible. We take care of paying our bills in time.
Our personnel is professional and motivated. All guides are trained into their work and they all have valid licences and certificates needed, for example first aid and hygiene proficiency certificates. New guides will always train with an experienced guide before going out with a group alone. We retrain our staff always when there is a chance. We recognize that every customer is different and need personalised service. And so all our staff members are also unique, with their own sense of humor!
We develop our products and services continuously to better respond to the needs of our customers. By actively collecting customer feedback we can spot the possible faults in our services. We strive to be sustainable in our operations. Our activities are done within the limits of the nature, stressing it as little as possible. We actively use the ”leave no trace” method and bring back all the gear and trash we might produce in nature. In our purchases we take into notice the locality, environmental impact and the longevity of the product. We strive to buy from Finnish companies like Luhta and Erittäin hieno suomalainen.
In our motorized activities we renew our equipments so that the equipment would be as modern and low impacting as possible. For example our snowmobiles have four stroke engines which are quieter and less polluting than two stroke engines. In cleaning we use Finnish detergents, and we do not use any single use items. We also do not automatically change towels for our customers, only by request. Our kitchen staff follows the amount of food waste we create and tries to minimize its size. On lunch we serve only vegetarian options couple of times a week. We are a partner of Metsähallitus, and so we have commited to act according to their sustainability principles.
As a family business from Kuusamo we have a strong connection to the habits and people of the area. All of our subcontractors are local businesses. We recommend other service providers in the area to our customers depending on what they are looking for. We offer always local food when it is possible and the dishes we serve represent the local culinary culture. We provide quality souvenirs for purchase, for example reindeer hides that come from a local reindeer farm.
Iisakki Village as a whole is a local heritage site: it mimics the courtyard of Rajala, which was in the Paanajärvi area. According to this courtyard buildings have been moved to the area from different parts of Finland. All buildings moved to the area were under demolition threat, we have taken the usable materials form these structures and built them again according to their style. We bring out the local culture in our programs, for instance SaunaTour activity introduces the customers to the Finnish sauna culture.