Untamed Travel Africa! with Frikkie von Solms

Welcome to Untamed Travel Africa! If you are interested in a tour like no other tour, one that will take you to untamed places in Africa, Frikkie von Solms of Namibia is the guide for you. Frikkie’s tours are much more than mere sight seeing; he specializes in small groups and the personalized adventure you will have will challenge you, deepen you, delight you. I have known and learned from Frikkie since 2012 on numerous adventures he has led me on throughout Namibia. Tours outside Namibia can also be arranged. You might ask, “who is Frikkie von Solms?” Let me tell you a little bit about this man’s life, his background, education, career, and the unique skills he acquired during his journey through life, all of which contribute to his being an extraordinary guide for the adventurous soul.

Frikkie was the second of four brothers who grew up together on his father’s farm in Gobabis, in north east Namibia.  His mother, Marta, pictured above, and father, Frans, built their farm from scratch.  In those days you could not own farmland in Namibia unless you could find water on the land.  While Frans worked on other farms to generate an income, Marta took care of the babies, including animal babies, and everyday searched for water on the land with a dowsing rod.  Water was discovered and Frans and Marta began the adventure of creating a thriving farm.
Frikkie and his brothers grew up learning everything about raising cattle and growing crops on his father’s farm. A Bushman, Hans, also lived on the farm assisting with the work. He taught Frikkie all the ways of the Bushmen – their skills, values and culture, their relationship with nature and the animals.
Coat of Arms, Pretoria University, South Africa

In 1964, as a young man, as required by law, he served for two years in the South African army as a fully trained parabat during the war for Namibia’s independence. Frikkie then attended the University of Pretoria, majoring in history and social studies and prepared for a career in education.  He played Rugby for Pretoria and is an  avid Rugby fan.  While at University he met the woman who became his wife and mother of his children, Hildegonda, Tillie for short.  He wrote his thesis on the Bushmen. He says this was “easy” because he grew up with them. 

graduation photo


After graduation, in the early 1970’s, Frikkie and Tillie began their teaching careers in the Otiwarongo region which is located in  north central Namibia. There they started a family and created a home.

In 1978, Frikkie left the traditional classroom at the request of his superiors to create the Outdoorschool Swakopmund, or Veldskool. The purpose of this school was to give students from all over Namibia an opportunity to learn survival and leadership skills in an outdoor setting in the Namib Desert. The work he did with these young people made a deep and lasting impression on them. Many of them still keep in touch with Frikkie.

The little girl pictured here is Frikkie’s daughter, Marika, gazing out over the Namib desert, the Veldskool classroom. She sometimes accompanied her father on her own adventure  to learn about the desert and its ways .
After ten years of this work, Frikkie was asked to undertake supervisory administrative work for Namibia on a regional basis. Eventually he assumed nationwide administrative responsibilities. In 1994, when Namibia achieved independence, Frikkie was named Chief Inspector of Education for all Namibian schools.
As Chief Inspector of Education for all Namibian schools  Frikkie was charged with creating a nationwide system which would standardize the curriculum for all the schools, train teachers and administrators, and ensure standards of quality were maintained.  After 13 years of this work, Frikkie took early retirement from the Ministry of Education, but continued to provide service through a company he founded which specialized in teacher leadership training.
In 2012 I had an opportunity to tour one of the schools which had been under Frikkie’s supervision when he was Chief Inspector. It is named Epukiro which means “Hope.” A group of retired teachers, called the Grandmothers, is dedicated to promoting the school and the village in which it is located. 
This is the Epukiro kindergarten.  They sang songs for us and danced.  The woman with the white hairnet on the far left is the Grandmother who showed us all around the school.
We visited one of the classrooms with older students.  They had an abundance of enthusiasm and friendliness.  Their teacher is on the far right by the white board.  The respect and affection the students and teachers had for Frikkie was a testimony to the impact he had on the development of Epukiro.
Frikkie’s journey took another path after he received a request from Marietta van der Merwe, his cousin and founder of Harnas Wildlife Sanctuary located in Gobabis. Marietta asked him to work as a consultant for Harnas and develop volunteer programs. So, over the next 13 years, Frikkie devoted himself whole-heartedly to this work.
Over the  years he worked at Harnas, Frikkie undertook to learn everything about the sanctuary and every animal which found a home there. He was asked to raise two orphaned lion cubs whom he named Zion and Trust.
Frikkie’s experience with Zion and Trust transformed his understanding of the capacity of the lion to bond with humans.   Here he is greeting those little lion cubs you saw above, Zion and Trust almost full grown.
Lions are capable of deep and lasting relationships.  Frikkie says he learned they have souls. Here Frikkie and Zion listen to one another in mutual understanding.
Eventually, Frikkie became known as a Lion Whisperer.
His work with lions eventually led to a number of articles in Namibian news about him and a story in South Africa’s version of People magazine. However, Frikkie is not one to seek out publicity.  He would rather go for a walk with Zion in peaceful solitude.
While raising his lion cubs, he was also developing two volunteer programs for Harnas, one primarily for young adults as pictured above. One of the foundational values of this work is that it is a privilege to  serve the animals who provide healing and inspiration to all who spend time with them.
The volunteer program for older adults, dubbed The Matures, was designed for the participants to have an in-depth experience with the animals, the land, and the cultures of Namibia.  During the course of their activities led by Frikkie, each Matures group also completed a project to benefit Harnas.  This group created a drinking hole by digging a hole by hand, hauling rocks and pouring cement.  Frikkie worked side by side with them every step of the way.    Here they erect a sign they made to memorialize the event.
Frikkie in teaching mode at Harnas. The volunteer programs he set up have an international outreach even as far as California in the USA. This is how I met Frikkie. I was a member of one of his Matures groups.
Frikkie’s work with me transformed my life, leading me to have the courage to fulfill a lifelong dream of being the in presence of lions and developing a bond with them.
Over 2013-2015, I spent three months in the presence of Zion and Trust while I wrote a book entitled God is a Lion.  Frikkie was my mentor for this work.  This is my favorite photo to my two beloved lion friends –  Zion on the left, Trust on the right.
If you are interested in learning more about Frikkie, Lions, Harnas, and the history and culture of Namibia you can order a copy of God is a Lion through my website www.godisalion.com. 

In 2015, Frikkie retired from Harnas, but he is not one who spends his time in a rocking chair watching Rugby matches. He and Tillie moved to the coast, to Henties Bay, and not long after they launched his tour company, Untamed Travel AfricaTogether they are the heart and soul of Untamed Travel Africa.

Another quality Frikkie possess is a sense of humor.  Here he serves me lunch in the Messum Crater in one of his favorite T-shirts.   Yes, He is full of fun, but he will also challenge you and take you as deep as you can go.
He brings to this work all his knowledge of the history and culture of Namibia, his expertise in education and leadership mentoring, his love for animals, especially lions, and his love of the land – the desert, the ocean, the mountains, the wild untamed places. He is passionately committed to providing the highest quality experience for everyone he works with. If you are viewing this, you have already discovered Frikkie’s website and his contact information. Also included are a number of posts of adventures in Africa I’ve had with Frikkie over the past six years, searching for desert elephants, desert lions, sleeping out under the stars in the Messum Crater and much more. Don’t miss the opportunity to take a tour with Frikkie von Solms – it will be an unforgettable experience.