About the Author

Alex Van Den Heever

Guest contributor

Alex spent his formative years growing up on a cattle farm in the Western Cape, South Africa. After completing his studies in Marketing and Business Management, he joined world-renowned Londolozi game reserve in 1995 as a game ranger. Alex’s greatest fascination during his ...

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on The Original Leopard Trackers

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Absolutely wonderful and finely written article, you are champions of conservation! Thank you to all Tracker Academy and members for fulfilling the dream

Alex, I loved the video

Hi Alex, thx for writing this! I just love it.
Is it possible to send the text in a word doc or pdf format.
I can use it to sell Londolozi and make people aware of Tracker Academy.
My email: jos@vanbommelsafaris.com
Thx a lot on forehand,

Fascinating history, thank you .

We visited in September 1993 for our silver wedding celebration . A wonderful experience never forgotten . Elmon was I am sure our tracker and provided us with fantastic viewing . I think Drew was our driver .We stayed in Tree Camp ? looking down into the river bed with Elephants rubbing against the supports underneath at night .I would love to come back but now approaching 80 It’s probably not possible . We wish you all a very successful future , keep up the good work .Tim Kendall

Alex, how awesome to read a post from you! The history of trackers and the early conservation efforts at Londolozi are legendary. The part you played in this process is so significant. Thank you for reminding us of the great history of this honored profession. Your leadership in training young people in the art of tracking has made this huge difference today. We almost had you visit us in Florida a couple of years ago, and we hope to make that happen someday!

The leopards at Londolozi are really fantastic, as are the possibilities to watch them. Big “Thank you” to all those wonderful trackers who have made this possible!

Fascinating program–definite change in attire!

Again I come back to your beautiful Londolozi Blog. Thank you again for the photos and the stories! I’m so hoping to come back soon.

Wonderful history-telling! I am always amazed by Londolozi trackers and have seen over 25 different leopards over several visits due, in part, to their keen tracking. “How did he see that?!” is a frequent refrain.

Thanks so much for this lovely post and video Alex! My brother in law have a copy of your and Renias’ book “Changing a Leopard’s Spots” and I enjoyed it immensely!! Wishing you all the best during this time, and for your intention about the endless possibilities to commune with all of nature.

Fabulous story thank you so much for sharing this.

This is an awesome story. The trackers have so much skill, just imagine all the stories they can tell of what they see on a daily basis.

Alex thanks for sharing the history of the original trackers of Londolozi with us. This will give us more insight and appreciation for you trackers and for conservation. The leopards are spectacular and hopefully I too will one day be able to see these beautiful animals. You and your patner Renias dedicated your life to tracking and we appreciate it.

What a marvelous “trip” back into the (very) old days Alex… Yes, we vividely remember our first stay at Londolozi, staying in one of the four rondavels at Varty Camp (Main Camp at that time), with one single expectation in mind: seeing a leopard. With no success until our very last drive and until Simon Matebula – after tracking on foot for the whole morning – finally found the 3:4 female (a baby at that time…), curled up in the long grass, amid the most intricated bushes… Thanks to Simon, a non-curable addiction started at this very minute. An addiction which never faded away, fueled by other incredibly talented trackers, Ranius, Ehrence, Judas, and many others. Thanks to you Alex, the Tracker Academy has since passed over to younger generations the talent of these legendary heroes. Congratulations and gratitude.

We were lucky to see a leopard in the early 80’s and I’m sure it was due to Renias’s tracking but to be honest I can’t remember..only that it was the first leopard I ever saw at close range! A huge hats off to all the trackers, old and new as their deep connection with nature is second to none. We could all learn a thing or two from them…and not just based on finding the big five…. more the game of life 🙏🏻💕

Interesting video.
Beautifully powerful b&w photo of leopard!

Alex, your article was fascinating and so informative about the history of trackers. Your efforts in setting up a tracking academy have truly paid off, giving many young men and the occasional woman the opportunity to develop a career with a job that would change their lives. I’m in awe during each drive at the knowledge and keen eyes of the tracker, noticing a bent leaf that soon led to a animal. Thank you!

Senior Digital Ranger

What a wonderful piece on the leopard trackers … the natural ‘built-in’ talents of trackers is awe inspiring – they can read tracks and see subtle hints that tell a whole story – like a book. Congratulations to everyone involved!

A remarkable and informative post!

Wow this was something awesome to read. Just imagine all the knowledge those trackers had. It is awesome to see where it started. And how they if I can say “lived” with the leopard’s.

Hats off to all of the Trackers that started this beautiful connection to nature and to those that maintain it to this day. It has allowed us to experience such intimate times with not only the Leopards but all of the wildlife at Londolozi and elsewhere. Pioneers!

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