The Schoeman Legacy
Louw Schoeman, an attorney by profession, initially came to know the Skeleton Coast through his clients who were involved in prospecting, and researching the feasibility of a new harbour in the area. Plans for the latter thankfully fell through, by which time Louw knew, and loved, the area very well. His thoughts turned to conservation, and he was instrumental in the proclamation of the Skeleton Coast Park in 1971. The Schoeman offspring spent their childhood days (early sixties) exploring and playing among the remains of old wooden ship wrecks and natural wonders of the Skeleton Coast.
The Schoeman children, who in the intervening years acquired and expanded on their father’s expertise and vast background knowledge of the Skeleton Coast and adjacent regions, took over management of the enterprise in 1994. The late Louw Schoeman’s enthusiasm and passion for the desert rubbed off on the youngsters.
Today, middle-aged and wiser for it, the Schoemans are rated as experts on the Skeleton Coast and semi-desert areas of Namibia. They have followed in the footsteps of their father who, at the time, was considered the pioneer of ecotourism in Namibia. They all fully believe that the future of country not only rests with tourism and the preservation of wildlife, but also in protecting the natural resources and wilderness areas of Namibia. They take great delight in sharing their intimate understanding and knowledge of the Skeleton Coast with their visitors.
The oldest of the Schoeman brothers, involved in Skeleton Coast Safaris together with his father since the company’s inception in 1977
He assisted Louw as a guide for a year before joining the South African Air Force for military service in 1978. After completing his service in 1981, he went to the University of Stellenbosch where he took a degree in Geology.
The knowledge gained at varsity is used extensively in this geologist and archeologist’s paradise when entertaining guests, and educating other guides. Bertus has been flying since the age of 17 and completed his commercial pilot’s license a few years later. His other company responsibilities include handling accounting matters, assisting with all computer related issues and managing the staff.
Hobbies and interests: photography, mountain biking, diving, computers, electronics, astronomy and Science Fiction.
Bertus is married to Helga, an IT specialist and keen pilot in her own right, joining tours occasionally.
The second eldest brother, André joined the company just after finishing his BCom degree at the University of Stellenbosch in 1987.
He spent a number of years serving in the SA Air Force. His flying hours and experience are extensive and versatile. Similar to Bertus, he obtained his private pilot’s license before obtaining his driver’s license at the age of 18, completing his commercial license a few years later.
André’s love for the desert is evident in his extensive knowledge of the Flora and Fauna of the area. As a combat pilot during the bush war in the late 70’s, he had the opportunity to intensively explore the Northern areas of Namibia, as well as bordering Angola.
This experience proved very useful at a later stage of his life when he joined Louw in the
business. Together they could discover areas that had most likely never been explored by modern man. His experience together with knowledge he gained at University is put to good use as he plays a major part in the operations and strategic planning of the business.
His wife Jeanita manages our Uisib camp close to the Etosha National Park.
Hobbies and interests : Caving and farming.
André and Jeanita have two sons, Kyle and Garlomel and two daughters, Cindel and Jurieanke.
The third of the Schoeman siblings, a Fitter and Turner by trade. He obtained his flying license at an early age, and joined the company in 1994.
Prior to joining the company, he operated a successful workshop part-time, whilst working full-time for a big distillery in the Cape.
Léon is brilliant with people, and often helps out as a guide, testing our fleet in “operation”. Although much of his time is occupied by his other company commitments, he has a keen passion for the desert, being the one who discovered the rock paintings at Kuidas camp.
His main responsibility is our very large, efficiently run workshop in Windhoek.
This fully equipped workshop maintains a fleet of more than 30 vehicles, mainly Land Rovers, and builds specialized structures for the different needs of the camps.
Land Rovers are stripped to the ground, and rebuilt to Leon’s stringent specifications to suit our unique needs in the desert. Due to the nature of his responsibility, he spends a great deal of time driving to the various camps, checking the fleet and helping with the rigging of structures. He’s the practical designer of the family, and has a solution for every problem.
Hobbies and interests : reading and sketching.
Léon is a married to Ute, who is the Stock and Quality Controller for the three camps.
The youngest of the Schoeman clan, joined Skeleton Coast Safaris in the early 90’s. Although the youngest, he benefitted tremendously from all the mistakes his brothers have made over the years.
Although he is a full-time guide, he is also indispensable to Leon with helping to maintain the fleet on site.
He completed his private pilot’s license at a young age, followed by his commercial license.
Henk is the artistic one in the family. He helps with color schemes, and creating interesting menus when needed.
Hobbies and interests : photography (special interest in the flora and fauna of the desert), computers, model aircraft, entertaining people and cooking.
Henk is married to Anita, who occasionally accompanies her husband on trips to the Skeleton Coast.
Wife of Bertus Schoeman, Financial Director and Administrations Manager. Now retired from guiding, Helga used to fly on safaris with the Schoeman brothers, especially with her husband.
Helga is an excellent guide in her own right, Bertus and Helga often guided safaris together, especially when two aircraft were needed. Helga’s background is in IT, more specifically programming and analysis.
Intrigued by aeroplanes since early childhood, Helga did her private pilots’ license and completed her commercial license shortly afterwards. This gave her the ideal opportunity to get away from her desk-bound job, and to accommodate her adventurous spirit. Helga came to Nambia, where she worked for a Charter Company as a charter pilot. They soon recognized her keen interest in adventure and nature (being a health and naturalist fanatic). Helga completed a guiding diploma at the Windhoek Technicon, and soon was appointed as a freelance tour guide / pilot for the company. It was on one of these trips that we got to know her. She started flying for Skeleton Coast Safaris in 1995.
Over and above her function as a guide, she’s the one keeping tabs on the company aircraft and certain ops related aspects.
Hobbies and interests: Skydiving, large sewing projects (tents, etc.) and pre-historic literature.
Son of Leon Schoeman, is the oldest of the next generation. He joined the family business in 2021 as the Operations manager.
He, as all the other Schoemans, have been familiarized with the Skeleton Coast desert from a young age. Though he lived with his mother most of his life, he would often visit the Skeleton Coast area with the Schoemans and share the same passion for the Namib Desert. He graduated from school in 2002.
He then continued and studied for Aircraft Maintenance Engineering and graduated in 2011. He started working for Aviation Centre soon afterwards and specialized in servicing the Cessna 210, which is the favoured safari plane for Skeleton Coast Safaris. He worked there until he joined the family business in 2021 as the Operations manager until current. He has since been managing all aviation and plane operations and Pilot licences for the company and Directors.
Daughter and second eldest child of Andre Schoeman. She is a qualified graphic designer and has recently become the marketing manager for SCS.
She graduated from home schooling in 2010 and au paired in the UK for 3 months in 2011. Afterwards she worked on the farm helping her parents until she moved to Windhoek to work for a construction company in March 2012 as a receptionist. She joined the Skeleton Coast team soon afterwards as Operations, Administrations and accounts manager assistant for 5 years. While working for the company she studied Visual Media and Desktop Publishing (Graphic Design) at IIT and Graduated in 2017. By August 2017 she left the company and started working as a Graphic Designer at Gecko Signs for 2 years. In August 2019 she started working for Frames for Africa for 3 years. She enjoyed it especially as it taught her a lot about Photography and Art. In October 2022 she decided to re-join the company as a Marketer, which is a new and exiting experience for her.
Kyle Schoeman is the eldest son of Andre Schoeman, and is currently training to become the newest pilot/guide of the Schoeman family.
Growing up on a farm near Etosha National Park, he has been going on working trips with his dad to the Skeleton Coast since a very young age. From there, his love for the desert deepened, just like his father and grandfather. Kyle always loved exploration, travel and adventure, and he and his father often go on cave explorations in their free time. They found many beautiful caves on the farm and together decided to start a private guided tour to the caves. It became Kyle’s duty to guide guests from local farms and lodges to the caves while his father was away on safaris. Kyle has a passion for working with people. A valuable quality that is indispensable in a safari guide.
He is also a self-taught artist, like his mother, with excellent drawing, painting and 3D sculpting abilities. He has spent a lot of time studying and improving his skills over the past few years.
He also has a passion for Music like his father and has spent extended time studying it over the years.
After finishing his commercial pilots license, he is now not only qualified to be a guide, but also a pilot to take people on these incredible adventures.