Bennet Mthonsi, more affectionately known as Stikenyawo, or Bennet on the bonnet! After growing up in the Timbavati area in the Kruger National Park, Bennet trained as a ranger at Phinda Game reserve in 2001 and was a valuble member of the guiding team for many years. However, his love and true talent for tracking soon had him perched on the front of the Landrovers of Londolozi for the last 16 years. Bennet is a bastion of the ancient traditional ways of tracking where finding and following animals runs deeply in his blood. His connection to the natural world and his ability to read the subtle signs of the bushveld is a gift that is characteristic of the truly great trackers of Africa.

Alfie and Bennet in one of the last sightings that we had at Londolozi of the Sparta grandmother otherwise known as the 'Iron lady'. Bennet is no longer seen without his camera in hand

Alfie and Bennet in one of the last sightings that we had at Londolozi of the Sparta grandmother otherwise known as the ‘Iron lady’. Bennet is not seen without his camera in hand!

Mashaba and her cub photographed by Bennet

Mashaba and her cub photographed by Bennet

For the last 8 years Bennet has teamed up with Alfred Mathebula, and together they have shared the wonders of Londolozi with countless guests and friends, and their partnership is seen as an example to many of the younger tracker and ranger teams. These new members of the ranging team often sit wide-eyed and transfixed as Bennet regales them with stories that have become legend. His favourite animal to track was the famous 3:4 female, a leopard that captured the imagination of so many. His skill and passion for finding her contributed greatly to Londolozi’s special relationship with this beautiful leopard.

Blog-05

A wonderful picture of one of the Ximpalapala cubs taken by Bennet.

Bennet’s skills and interests extends past the art of tracking, and he is also a valuable addition to the photographic team for our blog. If this is not enough, in his spare time he is a talented carpenter and his eye for beauty is reflected in many of the artworks and furniture at Londolozi.

Having the corner of Bennets tracker seat in this shot gives us the perspective of how close the trackers can get to these animals. Here you can see the Hipscar Majingilane walking past Tom Imries vehicle

Having the corner of Bennets tracker seat in this shot gives us the perspective of how close the trackers can get to these animals. Here you can see the Hipscar Majingilane walking past Tom Imries vehicle

In a world that is rapidly changing, the tacit knowledge of Bennet’s generation is rare. He is one of the last great members of the old school way and is valued hugely by the Londolozi family!

Bennet in his characteristic hat!

Bennet in his trademark hat!

Written by Helen Young 

About the Author

Helen Young

Ranger

Helen guided at Londolozi from 2007 to 2013, coming to the reserve after pursuing her post-graduate studies in conservation management. A natural story-teller with a fondness for clapping loudly round the fire during guitar nights, Helen now works as head researcher and content ...

View Helen's profile

18 Comments

on Meet the trackers – Bennet on the Bonnet

sara
Guest

I would love to have the pleasure of being on a Bennet guide safari drive.

Bronwyn
Guest

Bennet you are a ROCK STAR!!!! keep it up- and thanks!

Charlie
Guest

My family and I have had the privilege of having Bennet tracking for us on two amazing trips to Londolozi. What a great guy and amazingly talented tracker. We will always remember driving through the mist with Bennet and Alfie on an atmospheric morning in 2011. As we started off into the undergrowth the mist closed in and we were all thinking that it would be impossible to spot anything. But just before rounding a seemingly normal tree, Bennet calmly got off the ranger seat and into the landrover. As we rounded the corner there was a Tsalala mother with her 4 cubs, having just woken up. Mother stretched, the cubs wrestled and we were able to share such an intimate moment. Awesome tracking team!

John Sammut
Guest

My wife and I are coming to Londolozi for the first time this coming December. We hope to meet Bennett during our vist.

Judy Guffey
Guest

Londolozi trackers…..a breed unto themselves…..all make the experience beyond belief. Keep up the fine photography, Bennet.

anthony goldman
Guest

Wonderful article,Helen,we had the privledge of Bennet as our tracker in February and it was special particularly for me with Bennet`s interest in photography .I believe we were together when Bennett took the photo shown here of the Mashaba female and her cub.We look forward to returning to Londolozi
and joining Bennet and Alfi in August later this year.

Lynn Rattray
Guest

Hoping to have the pleasure of having Bennet as our tracker when we visit the first week in September. I’m sure all the trackers are wonderful! Can’t wait!!

Rich Laburn

Bennet, your photography is fantastic. I am looking forward to seeing lots more of your images on the blog :-). Well done!! rich

Jan-Erik
Guest

Had the privilege to be in the company of this illustrious duo for 3 days. (In 2008) Still remember Bennett getting off in the middle of the bush looking for this big lion family and Alfie driving off to go around “the other way”… No radio, just a rifle in his hand. How can they find each other again? After 15 anxious minutes we caught up again but it took a bit more as Bennett had to hide for some buffalo !!! Back in car, we drove 200 meters and found the lions we were looking for: three mothers and 10 cubs walking through the bush… Just a regular day for Bennett !
Or the way he ” calmed” this male bull elephant, from his bonnet seat when we drove in the morning mist by accident through the line of elephants….and the bull did not appreciate being “separated” from his young… Best bush memories I have had! Thank you gents.

Cynthia Thurlow
Guest

We just had the wonderful privilege of seeing Bennett (and Alfie’s) talents first hand this past week while at Londolozi…..he is an incredibly charming, interesting and knowledgeable tracker during our 6 drives while at camp. My husband and I truly believe that Bennett contributed enormously to the magic of Londolozi for us! Many thanks again! We will be back!

suzan
Guest

Love this story!

Ron Whiteside
Guest

Just over a year ago (mid-March/12) , my wife Dorothy and I had the extreme good fortune to be with Bennet and Alfred for 4 days … just the 2 of us on the vehicle , on our first Safari experience .We’ve spent the last year sharing anecdotes of how A. & B. could see (from hundreds of metres off) , and find , animals that we couldn’t see until we were almost beside them!
As a bonus , they were able to introduce us to a LOT of birds and animals of smaller stature .
Again , thanks to great team , for a truly wonderful lifetime experience .

Evette Hartig
Guest

We had the pleasure of having Bennett and Alfie as our ranger and guide during our visit last May, we will be returning the 29th of August and have requested they be our guide and ranger again. We have many fond memories thanks to this dynamic duo. Hope to see you soon!

Mike
Guest

Nice

Lauren Westmoreland
Guest

My husband and I just got back from our wonderful honeymoon stay a couple of days ago. Bennet and Alfie were our guides – and they were amazing! Any question we asked, they could answer. All of the animals we hoped to see, we saw within the first two drives! Having them as our guides was definitely one of the highlights of our stay!

Therese Cooper
Guest

Just returned today from a wonderful two days in the company of Alfred and Bennet. Thanks for the great photography tips Bennet. I got some stunning photos and video footage of the Vomba female and her cub this morning!

BENNET
Guest

thenk you all my promise to you is that if you comeback again you will see more and thenk you all for Emailing me abourt how you feel being with me as atracker

Comments are closed.

Connect with Londolozi

Follow Us

Sign up for our newsletter

One moment...
+
Add Profile