Sense of Africa, one of integrated tourism group Tourvest’s inbound tour operator brands, celebrates its 50th birthday this year.
The company, which was first called Oryx Safaris, was founded in 1968 by a Belgian Congolese expatriate and ran it as a small safari and day tour operation out of Swakopmund.
The business was then acquired by South Africa’s Springbok Altas, which changed the name to Oryx Tours and extended the product range with tailor-made group tours as well as select self-drive itineraries.
Meanwhile, South African Railways had started its own tour operation to cater to local tourism demand, which was bought by private investors and renamed Trans Namibia Tours.
Tourvest acquired this business in the nineties and approached Avis Southern Africa, now the owner of Oryx Tours, to merge the two entities into what would become Namibia’s leading tour operator. Tourvest went on to purchase the remaining shares in the business, which still traded as Oryx Tours.
To provide fresh impetus and instill a new vision within the business, its name was changed to Sense of Africa and it became a fully-fledged destination management company, catering to all travel requirements of the international distribution chains.
Today, Sense of Africa is the undisputed leader in Namibia for inbound leisure travel in both group and independent traveler format. The business, now based in the capital Windhoek, has grown from strength to strength with 105 permanent employees and a further 80 freelance tour guides on its books.
As a testimony to its importance in the Southern African tourism industry, among the leaders that have helped shape its direction are well-known doyens Helmut zur Strassen, Udo Weck, Willie du Toit, Mannie Goldbeck, Dieter Glaue and Rob Nichols.
With over 60 ready-made itineraries and the ability to create custom made tours for clientele, Sense of Africa Namibia offers versatile itineraries, insight into little known tour and safari destinations and exclusive added value. They are constantly looking at new products and experiences, or just being innovative and using local knowledge and experience to make the tour or safari more fun and offer more value.
Through this they have been able to create a portfolio of product that comprehensively portrays the natural beauty that is Namibia.
Sense of Africa owns and operates a very comprehensive fleet of vehicles that range from 4-seater Toyota Fortuners, Quantums, custom-built 4WD Land Cruiser safari vehicles and Isuzu Overlanders to larger 44-seater coaches.
Their coaches are designed and custom built to suit the Namibian road conditions, both in their configuration as well as their construction, adding to the durability and reliability of their fleet, and also to the comfort of guests while on safari.
Sense of Africa has its roots deep in the African experience, with a growing African footprint throughout the region, with offices in Botswana, Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya.