About Ondjou & Van Heerden Safaris

Ondjou Safaris cc was established in 2009 by Hentie van Heerden and Falko Schwarz, the sole members of Ondjou Safaris cc. Both company owners’ expertise in African hunting safaris stems from a family tradition.

Both hunters got to know each other at a young age and developed a respectful and deep friendship, which made them decide to open a business together. After 12 years of partnership Ondjou Safaris cc has proven that a long lasting and fruitful partnership in the hunting business is possible and that combining strengths is the key to success.

ONDJOU is a Namibian indigenous word for ELEPHANT, originating from the Herero tribe.

FalkoFALKO SCHWARZ

Owner of Ondjou Safaris & Big Game Professional Hunter

Falko was born in Germany, but his passion for Namibia’s wildlife and the African way of hunting was formed during his numerous holiday visits to Namibia when he stayed on his father’s hunting and cattle ranch, Halseton, in the Summerdown vicinity. With his father’s big game safaris to other African countries like Kenya and Uganda, he gained early experience. Falko moved to Namibia in 2002 after completing his studies in Germany and became the manager of Halseton Hunting Lodge where he also started guiding hunting clients. Falko gained part of his big game experience on hunts with Hentie and passed his big game professional hunter exam in 2011. He was an ardent member of the NAPHA (Namibia Professional Hunting Association) big game subcommittee as well as the NAPHA executive committee. Falko loves to guide any enthusiastic hunter who wants to visit Namibia.

He speaks German, English and Afrikaans.

HentieHENTIE VAN HEERDEN

Owner of Ondjou & Van Heerden Safaris & Big Game Professional Hunter

Hentie, a born Namibian and a hunter since childhood, began by studying at an agricultural college in South Africa, but his love for wildlife, hunting and his urge for adventure encouraged him to become a professional hunter. In 1999 Hentie founded his own hunting operation called VAN HEERDEN SAFARIS. Hentie began as a Hunting Guide before becoming a Master Hunting Guide then obtaining his professional hunter license in 2003. He then went on to pass his big game professional hunter exam in 2008. Since 2009 Hentie has guided clients from around the world in communal conservancies, starting off with plains game hunting in the Damaraland communal conservancies. When the opportunity arose to obtain a big game concession in 2009 he was looking for a business partner to share the work load with. He couldn’t have made a better choice than selecting Falko for this.

Hentie speaks German, English and Afrikaans.

DeniseDENISE VAN HEERDEN

Office Manager at Ondjou & Van Heerden Safaris

Denise was born and raised in Dresden, Germany. Her love for travelling brought her to the African continent where she met her husband Hentie on a hunting farm in Namibia. She moved to Namibia in 2005 after completing her studies in International Tourism in Germany. As Van Heerden Safaris grew, Denise started working for them after hours as her office hours were spent working for a car rental company in Windhoek. After Clara was born in 2007, Denise decided to work full time for Van Heerden Safaris as their office manager and cook in the hunting camps in Damaraland. More than a year later she and Hentie became parents for the second time when their son Leon was born. When Ondjou Safaris was founded in 2009, there was no doubt she would take over the administrative and accounting portfolio as well. Although the office work swallows up most of her time, she loves spending every spare minute in the “bush” photographing and attending the hunts.

She speaks German, English and basic Afrikaans and French.

MathiasMATHIAS MWAETAKO

General Controller, tracker & driver at Ondjou & Van Heerden Safaris

Mathias was raised in the north of Namibia (Ovamboland). As a young boy he was taken out of school by his grandfather to herd the family’s cattle. When he was sent to Windhoek, his chances in life didn’t look very promising. He started working for Van Heerden Safaris in 2008 after being recommended by his uncle as a hardworking and reliable young man. Since day one he has proven his uncle right. Mathias is an all-rounder; he's either picking up clients from the airport in Katima, transporting trophies to the taxidermy, tracking a wounded buffalo in the Caprivi, spotting a Kudu bull in thick brush in the Khomas Highlands, setting up fly-camps where needed or maintaining and repairing the hunting truck. His tracking and skinning skills are exceptional. Whether it’s the Big 5 or a plains game hunt, he will track a Warthog as passionately as an Elephant. Many clients remember his welcoming smile at the airport on their arrival day.

He speaks Afrikaans, basic English and his tribal language Oshivambo as well as Herero.

AngelaANGELA GABRIEL

Chef at Ondjou Safaris

Angela, or Mrs. Merkel (the German Chancellor) as we sometimes jokingly call her, is the soul of the hunting team. She was born in Gobabis, which is in the east of Namibia and has raised 3 children almost on her own. Angela learned to cook in a hotel in her hometown and got introduced to cooking for international clients in 2007. It was a strange coincidence that Ondjou Safaris was looking for a chef in 2011 and Angela was looking for a new position. Since then she has been the head chef in the Caprivi as well as the camp assistants supervisor. No matter whether Angela is cooking over a primitive camp fire in Hereroland, in a grass hut kitchen in the Caprivi or a well-equipped farm kitchen, she will always prepare you amazing dishes. Because she goes about her work with such heart and soul it also makes each clients’ visit to Namibia a culinary journey.

She speaks English, Afrikaans and almost all Namibian tribal languages, but her home tongue is Damara/Nama.

LourineLOURINE SHAKWA

Chef at Ondjou Safaris

Lourine was born and raised in Dzoti Conservancy and joined the Dzoti team in 2017. Angela and her are alternating in the kitchen. Her delicious soups, the famous buffalo tongue starter, she prepares so well, and her Crepe flambe will be remembered by many hunters long after the safari. Her initiative to celebrate successful hunters when returning to camp, motivates all ladies in camp to join her in joyful carols and traditional dancing.

She speaks English, Mayeyi and Silozi.

MatthewMATHEWS MUSHAKWA

General Camp Controller at Ondjou Safaris

Mathews was born and raised in Dzoti Conservancy and has been part of our Dzoti team since the beginning. He started off as a tracker, but we quickly saw the potential in him to be more than that. He is a quick learner and very reliable. The camp and trophy maintenance is his department. His ability to pick up a new language easily, came in handy, when he suddenly had to communicate with many German people in his new job. When his son was born, Mathews even decided to give him a German name (Sven). His tasks are happening in the background, but his work is contributing to the success of a hunting safaris just as the tracker finding the trophy the client came to hunt for.

She speaks English, Mayeyi, Silozi AND little German.