Our Story

The founders of African Sensations are Åse Ellingsen and Iain Cottam. We have been in the travel industry for many years. Together we bring a creative and innovative touch to your travels in South and Southern Africa, underpinned with our passion for adventure and responsibility to nature, wildlife and local people. We have spent the last year visiting most of our destinations, as well as the hotels and guesthouses that we offer. Our offices are in Cape Town and Milan, and we are here to assist you at all times before and during your African Adventure.  

Åse Ellingsen – Co-Owner

Åse has made Cape Town her new hometown since 2014, when she moved from Switzerland with her South African husband and 3 children. Although born and raised in Norway, she lived many years in Geneva and worked at the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) and later for the Permanent Mission of South Africa to the United Nations. She is passionate about travel and has been exploring Europe and Southern Africa together with her family.

Åse is a qualified cultural Tour Guide in Cape Town and Western Cape. She guides tours in French, English, Norwegian and Swedish. She is also on the board of the Norwegian Society in Cape Town along with 6 other fantastic women. The society is in charge of organizing events such as Norwegian Constitution Day, hiking, picnics, and much more. She also supports charities like “Zulufadder” situated in KwaZulu Natal, as well as sanctuaries for abused animals.

“Together with my colleague, Iain, we have created and hand picked some fabulous and unique itineraries just for you. We are really excited to show you this part of the African Continent. Whether you are travelling solo, with family, in a small group or for business, we will go the extra way to make your visit to Southern Africa an unforgettable one.”

Iain Cottam – Co-owner

Iain is currently based in Milan, but has in recent years lived in Cape Town. While living in South Africa Iain spent a lot of time travelling around and exploring Southern and Eastern Africa. He has long experience working in the UK travel industry. More recently he has also been working with niche cruise lines, creating itineraries as far afield as Antarctica to the Galapagos Islands. Iain is now dedicating his time to taking visitors to see and experience the magic of Africa.

“I am passionate about the culture, way of life, and travelling in South Africa and Southern Africa. Together with my wife I have explored many of its regions, from the vast salt plains of Etosha in Namibia, to the great waterways of the Okavango Delta in Botswana, and the luxurious settings of the numerous safari lodges in the Kruger National Park in South Africa. I have also had the pleasure of exploring the winelands of the Western Cape in South Africa, tasting the fine wines from the exceptional and world beating vineyards in Stellenbosch, Franschhoek and Hermanus -to name but a few areas. Cape Town is a world renowned city, but it also has many beautiful beaches such as Clifton and Camps Bay, set against the magnificent Table Mountain and the view of Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela spent a lifetime, during South Africa’s Apartheid era, that has no parallel in the world. Together with my colleague Åse, we have put together some of the most exotic and unique offerings that Southern Africa has for the discerning traveller. We do this in an ethical and responsible way, always working closely with the environment and wildlife, local people and businesses.”