Tracking Retreat: Let Nature Guide You Home
Meet the Trackers
Alex Van den Heever, Co-founder & General Manager of Tracker Academy
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. During his 13 years at Londolozi, Alex led habitat restoration projects, presented for the marketing team and conducted specialized safaris.
However, Alex’s greatest fascination during his time in the bush was tracking. To this end, he dedicated much of his time to learning the ancient art of tracking, eventually qualifying as one of five Senior Tracker Evaluators in 2004. During the course of the last two decades, Alex’s dedication to tracking has afforded him the opportunity to track many of the world’s big cats, as well as grizzly bears in Yellowstone National Park.
Renias Mhlongo, Senior Tracker and Trainer at Londolozi Game Reserve
On 16 March 1963, Renias Mhlongo was born in an area which is today part of the greater Kruger National Park. The Mhlongo family sustained themselves on the land by growing vegetables, tending cattle, hunting and gathering. Renias, almost as soon as he could walk, was sent out to tend the family’s cattle. He is one of the last people to be raised in the original traditions of a Shangaan pastoralist and naturalist.
Without any formal education he was forced to seek work at a private game reserve as a labourer. In 1984 he became a tracker at Londolozi, thereby putting to use his exceptional skills as a naturalist. Renias has since qualified as one of 16 Senior Trackers in South Africa – the most challenging formal tracker qualification in the world today. His intuition while tracking is uncanny and he played a major role in the habituation of the world-famous leopards of Londolozi.
Renias has conducted tracker training workshops in South Africa, Kenya, Brazil and America, teaching people the traditional skills of trailing animals. Renias has travelled internationally, and in so doing has touched many with the gracious manner in which he teaches people about the African landscape, its culture and indigenous knowledge. In 2010 Renias became the principle trainer at Londolozi game reserve campus of the Tracker Academy.
Diane Hunter, Master Coach
Diane first heard about tracking from her mentor and teacher Dr. Martha Beck and had her first tracking experience at Londolozi, South Africa in 2011. The powerful experience inspired her to return for more the next year where she and three friends spent eight days learning from trackers (including Alex and Renias), animals, and nature. She began to see all the ways tracking mirrored her life and this planted the seed to invite Alex and Renias to California to share their wisdom and skills with a group in Ojai, CA. She returned to the bushveld at Londolozi Game Preserve to co-lead a tracking retreat with Alex and Renias in September 2015.
Diane offers her experience from her previous tracking adventures in addition to her coach training. She trained with Dr. Martha Beck and Koelle Simpson, two of her greatest teachers. She also earned a degree in Computer Science and while she used to explore patterns in software she now loves to find the patterns in the mind and discover ways to rewrite the software of your mind to create new patterns. To learn more about Diane, please visit her About page.
All Inclusive Retreat Includes:
Shared accommodations. *Private available upon request for additional fee.
Round trip air transportation to and from Johannesburg International airport. Game drive on your day arrival and dinner with Alex and Renias then tracking with Alex and Renias Monday morning through Thursday morning.
Tracking begins very early in the mornings and we return for breakfast between 10-11 depending on the bush experience. We then have down time to rest and reconvene at 3:00pm for an afternoon excursion.
We live a fluid, flexible schedule depending on what we are following and there will also be time to learn about tracks and signs. The average walking distance is 3-5 miles with mostly flat terrain.
We will begin our journey together in sacred circle Sunday evening to provide a foundation for support and exploration and close it in an evening ceremony Wednesday evening.
Email me with any questions or if you would like to schedule a time to chat I would me more than happy to hop on a call and answer any additional questions and share more about the actual experience.