The Vehicle That’s Helping Preserve Tracking in Southern Africa

In April 2021, Iconic Africa facilitated an immersive tracking getaway at Londolozi Game Reserve, South Africa, to raise money for the Tracker Academy – a non-profit organisation that trains disadvantaged rural men and women in traditional skills of wildlife tracking.
Hosting the event were Tracker Academy co-founders Renias Mhlongo and Alex van den Heever, and they facilitated an amazing and immersive few days in the African bush.

Alex and Renias telling stories around the fireside.

Present at the event was Tim Abbott, INEOS Automotive Head of Region, Southern Africa and Sub-Sahara, and what he saw and experienced there moved him so strongly that he decided to offer the full support of INEOS to the Tracker Academy for the next three years.

Below is part of the press release issued recently by INEOS, detailing the amazing partnership formed through that Iconic Africa Tracking event:

December 2021 – As it grows its presence in Southern Africa, ahead of the launch of its Grenadier 4X4 in 2022, INEOS Automotive is partnering with the SA College for Tourism’s Tracker Academy. The three-year partnership will see INEOS support vulnerable communities through a regional employment programme that aims to promote traditional approaches to wilderness conservation.

Tracker Academy Co-founder Alex van den Heever (middle) with Head Trainers Innocent Ngwenya (left, based at Londolozi Game Reserve) and Karel Benadie (right, based at Samara Game Reserve) and a Tracker Academy branded INEOS Grenadier

INEOS is the first automotive company to be actively involved in an initiative of this nature in the region. The overarching vision of the Tracker Academy is to restore indigenous tracking knowledge and skills in Africa and to continually improve the standards of training and assessment. It aims to prove that ancient tracking skills are relevant in modern conservation management efforts.

Tim Abbott, INEOS Automotive Head of Region, Southern Africa and Sub-Sahara, said: “The Tracker Academy offers us an ideal opportunity to support the reinvigoration of rural communities in South Africa through education and employment. It will allow us to make a meaningful and lasting contribution to the wellbeing of local people, while safeguarding ancient techniques that have protected the environment for thousands of years. We hope that the Grenadier – a vehicle suited perfectly to the conditions of rural Africa – will also play an important role in protecting biodiversity in the region.”

Tim Abbott (centre) proudly assisting with the recent Tracker Academy awards ceremony in Graaf Reinet.
Tim Abbott (left) and John Holley, Iconic Africa Director.

INEOS Automotive will sponsor 30 student bursaries for the Tracker Academy’s one-year course structure from 2022 to 2024. The course will expose students to the diverse range of wildlife in the semi-desert and bushveld biomes. Sponsored tracking courses will only be offered to unemployed, previously disadvantaged men and women, up to retirement age.

“Since day one, our goal has been to empower tracker graduates to become ambassadors for the African wildlife conservation industry,” says Tracker Academy general manager, Alex van den Heever. “We are dedicated to bringing authenticity and accuracy to environmental education, wildlife protection, eco-tourism, monitoring, and research, and we are delighted to be partnering with INEOS Automotive to share knowledge and expertise for the benefit of social ecology and our communities.”

The INEOS Grenadier is already breaking new ground in the automotive space. Given that through this alignment with the Tracker Academy it is also firmly establishing itself in the social upliftment sector, it seems set to take the African market by storm, as well as ensuring a bright future for the ancient art of tracking for years to come.

South Africa’s “Small Five”

Travellers flock from all over the world to witness South Africa’s magnificent Big Five, often waiting hours to catch a glimpse and photograph the fierce lion or the gentle elephant. The lion, elephant, rhinoceros, buffalo and leopard are held in high esteem and even celebrated on our currency.

The Big Five animals really have the ability to conjure up magical memories for families, especially when travellers are fortunate to see all of them on a safari! While the Big Five are extraordinary and charming in physique and manner, there are lots more adored wildlife including the giraffe, zebra, impala and many more that are heartily pursued. Sadly there are some that are forgotten too, but we are here to show you that there’s so much more to South Africa’s animal kingdom.

South Africa has a multiplicity of ecosystems that include remarkable birdlife, small game and insects. Included in this is South Africa’s Small Five animals that are no less fascinating and should make an addition to everyone’s “must-see” list. The Small Five are elusive creatures and so spotting them is somewhat of an accomplishment. In complete contrast to the size of the Big Five, they maintain a part of their counterpart’s English name. They are the elephant shrew, ant lion, rhinoceros beetle, buffalo weaver and leopard tortoise.

Found all over South Africa, the Elephantulus Myurus– getting its name from its long elephant-like snout – reaches an arrested size of 25cm and weigh approximately 60 grams. While they feed on insects, fruit, seeds and nuts, they in turn become food for our slithering reptiles and birds of prey. Because of this, they become extremely scarce and spotting this small insectivore can deem your game drive a success!

The Myrmeleontidae is a peculiar creature with familiar ways. Like the king of the jungle, this insect traps its prey by digging indents into soft sand and pouncing on the ants. Hence the name ant lion. During the adult stage, the pupa develops wings and starts resembling a dragonfly. Although the ant lion is as scarce as the elephant shrew, you will recognise its funnel-shaped death traps that collect ants stumbling into it.

The Scarabaeinae dynastinae is one of the largest beetles in southern Africa. Getting its name from the horns on its head much like that of the Rhinoceros. Dynamite comes in small packages as the male rhino beetles are known to be an aggressive creature, fighting off rivals with their horns. The horns are also used to dig, climb and mate. Adult rhino beetles should be applauded. The larval stage can last 12 to 18 months.

The Bubarlornis Niger is found in parks and reserves all over South Africa and is the easiest of the Small Five to spot. And if you can’t seem to find them, you’ll hear them or find their nests. The buffalo weavers are noisy and busy birds that build their woven nests up in the branches of tall trees. They interlace coarse grass and twigs to form large nest structures.

The Geochelone pardalis is definitely not as fast and agile as the leopard, but definitely poses a striking resemblance. Named for its black and yellow spotted shell, the leopard tortoise is one of the largest breeds in the southern hemisphere with an adult weighing up to 23 kilograms and a shell circumference of up to one metre.

Tag us in your candid images of South Africa’s Small Five on our Instagram account @iconicafrica!

Bringing a Piece of Africa to Atlanta, USA

“Up in this air you breathed easily, drawing in a vital assurance and lightness of heart. In the highlands you woke up in the morning and thought: Here I am, where I ought to be.” – Karen Blixen, Out of Africa

On 24 September 2019, Angama Mara will partner with Iconic Africa to present an unforgettable and authentic African night of inspiration and entertainment in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, to help raise funds and awareness.

We request your company this September as we bring Africa to Atlanta and display a marvellous exhibition of stunning wildlife photographs from Kenya’s newest photographic competition, The Greatest Maasai Mara Photographer of the YearFor full invite click here. 

The Angama Foundation proudly presents a competition, exhibition and auction which aims to help important conservation programs such as The MAA Trust, Anne K. Taylor Fund, mara elephant project, The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust and Mara Conservancy: Protecting the Mara Triangle with funds raised.

Let us transport you to an unimaginable part of East Africa and fall in love with the greatest game reserve, wildlife habitat and photography.

The rationale behind this exhibition is to:

  • Promote the beauty of Africa’s Masai Mara
  • Raise awareness of conservation issues
  • Create exposure for many up and coming wildlife photographers
  • Connect potential travellers to East Africa

The evening will include sundowners, an authentic African Braai, and lively African stories around the campfire.

A fantastic holiday at Angama Mara will also be up for auction.

Angama Kenya Iconic Africa Luxury Safaris



1782 Cheshire Bridge, NE, Atlanta, GA, 30324

Contact (404) – 343 0313

Dress Code

Smart casual / restaurant attire

Cost of Ticket

$90.00 – Includes South African sundowner pre-drinks and snacks, African dinner (from a set menu), speakers and African entertainment.

There will be an auction selling an incredible holiday and funds from the proceeds will go to the listed charities

RSVP – Terri Abadi at or +14 044 322 407


Save The Date! Iconic Africa and Tracker Academy Fund Raiser

Iconic Africa Save The Date Tracker Academy Fund Raiser

Does your soul yearn for untouched open spaces? Iconic Africa and The Tracker Academy would love you to save the date for a magical night on the 3rd of October from 18h30 where Africa comes to Atlanta for just one night.

Immerse your senses in the captivating essence of Africa and be inspired by true African heroes who have dedicated their lives to protect and learn from mother nature. Watch the video to learn about the Tracker Academy and RSVP to to book your place.