Sense of Africa was founded in 1968 as Oryx Safaris by a Belgian Congolese, Jacques du Mont, as a one man operation in Swakopmund, doing tours on request to other parts of the country when not sitting in his small office reading western magazines. The business gradually grew and drew the interest of Tollgate Holdings, a large international private equity business based in the Cape with offices in London and who also owned Springbok Atlas in South Africa. Oryx became part of the same stable and was renamed to Springbok Atlas. During this period from the late 70’s to 1992, the business was managed by, amongst others, Helmut zur Strassen, Udo Weck and Digby Schutz

With the infamous collapse and liquidation of Tollgate Holdings in 1992, Oryx Tours of Namibia (Pty) Ltd t/a Springbok Atlas was also placed into liquidation. The touring operation was purchased out of the insolvent estate by Avis and some well-known Namibian private investors, to be operated individually in Namibia, but then purely as Oryx Tours. These well-known businessmen included Koos Brand, the senior partner of Dr Weder, Kruger and Hartmann law offices, but also the man behind Capricorn Investment, Bank Windhoek and Oryx Properties. His partner was Willie du Toit of Du Toit Transport who brought with a wealth of knowledge in respect of transport and coaches. Willie du Toit is also the main shareholder behind the Taleni Group, including some trademark lodges such as Sossusvlei Lodge and Etosha Village. Within a fairly short period, AVIS managed to purchase the shares of the Namibian investors through providing shares in AVIS and Oryx Tours became the tour operating arm of Avis Car rental. At this period the business was managed in a caretaker role by Uli Roland. In 1994, Rob Nichols was offered the position as MD of Oryx Tours. Rob was a Chartered Accountant with 9 years operational experience within AVIS.

Rob managed the business through the merger with Trans Namibia Tours, a tour operating business started by the then Railways to stimulate holidays in Namibia (previously South West Africa) which had become part of Tourvest. Tourvest had acquired the company from Johannes Harper when the business fell on bad times as settlement of a debt. One of the Managing Directors of this business had been Mannie Goldbeck, the personality behind the Gondwana Collection, the largest privately owned group of lodges in Namibia, who was succeeded by Dieter Glaue.

Tourvest approached AVIS in 1996 to merge Oryx Tours and TNT and form the strongest Inbound Tour Operator in Namibia. During the process, Tourvest ended up buying AVIS 50% stake in the merger and became the sole shareholder. A new shelf company was used as a vehicle to take over the operations of both businesses, keeping both brands, but operating under the name and style of Oryx Tours.

In 2000, to move away from the perception of Oryx being a coach operator, the company initiated a rebranding and after much creative discussion, out of the dust we settled on the name Sense of Africa.

In 2003 Rob decided to immigrate to Australia with his family and Tourvest appointed a local Namibian lawyer with no tourism experience, Paul Brinkmann, as the new Managing Director. Although there had been a rebrand, there was still much confusion on the markets between TNT, Oryx Tours and Sense of Africa and the business followed a concise strategy to only still have the Sense of Africa brand visible in the market.

Sense today is the undisputed leader in full destination management in Namibia, both in sheer volume, as well as product and service offering. The business brand has also expanded into Botswana (2013), Uganda (2014) and Kenya and Tanzania (2015) giving it an African footprint in Southern and East Africa.