“In the century now dawning, spirituality, visionary consciousness, and the ability to build and mend human relationships will be more important for the fate and safety of this nation than our capacity to forcefully subdue an enemy. Creating the world we want is a much more subtle but more powerful mode of operation than destroying the one we don’t want.” – Marianne Williamson
Alex van den Heever’s dream to establish a tracking school started when he was paired with Renias Mhlongo as his tracker at Londolozi Game Reserve in 1995. At the time, Renias, a highly skilled tracker, had been at Londolozi for 27 years. In 2008 Alex approached Mrs Rupert, the Chairperson of the SA College for Tourism (SACT) in Graaff-Reinet with the view of establishing an institution where the fast disappearing traditional art and indigenous knowledge of tracking animals in the wild could be taught and trained in a formal education and training environment.
In 2010 Alex with encouragement and support of Mrs Rupert founded the Tracker Academy – the first school of its kind in Africa. The Tracker Academy stands as a division of SACT which operates under the auspices of the Peace Parks Foundation. Alex and Renias are the General Manager and Principle Trainer, respectively, of the Tracker Academy.
Alex and Renias form part of the greater Londolozi family. This, paired with Londolozi’s philosophy of preserving ancient wisdom and making sure the art of tracking has a place. It was a natural fit and a decision was made in 2010 for Londolozi to become a base for the students. In June 2013, three years after the start of the Tracker Academy, Londolozi has built a place and a space for the students to call home.
The opening of the above mentioned place and space took place at Londolozi on the 10th of June, the day before the students graduated. As the Londolozi family, we are extremely proud of the accomplishment of Alex and Renias and we look forward to welcoming more Tracker Academy students to Londolozi!
Written and Photographed by Kate Neill