In the sudden stillness, I could hear the drone of bees. There was a hive in a large tree trunk just off to my right. “What are you waiting for?” I could hear the Honeyguide’s question as it stared at me from a nearby perch. “We have a deal, you and me. Don’t you remember?” I looked at the expectant bird. My lack of action felt like a betrayal, and I dropped my head in shame. What have we become? Have we forgotten our place in Nature? And if so, what terrible consequences await us?

The ‘Hero’s Journey’ is one of the most influential archetypes in almost all cultures around the world. Often referred to as the monomyth due to its pervasiveness as a foundation or backbone for man’s greatest tales and lore, the story of the ‘Hero’s Journey’ resonates deeply with everyone, whether they are aware of it or not. The typical Hero’s Journey can be broken into a number of components, all of which are experienced during a Primitive Trail

A piece by Chloë Cooper. At first, your uncertain footing demands your attention. Your pack burdens your balance and your skin pinches between straps too tightly fastened – a precaution of your paranoid mind. Your feet are unfamiliar in your shoes, and your breath crashes like waves in your ears. The silence makes your thoughts even louder, while the melody of the bush lingers far away. Your thoughts are stumbling on the past, and leaping to the future. But they are not here, nor are they now.

Selecting an appropriate campsite is possibly the most important aspect of maintaining a negligible impact within the area of ‘Primitive Trail’ operations, as it requires the greatest degree of judgement and information. Deciding where to camp should be based on information about the fragility of soil and vegetation, the likelihood of wildlife interaction, and the assessment of previous impact.

It may seem that humans are preposterously vulnerable out in the African savanna. Nearly every large animal that occupy this space is stronger, faster and ‘toothier’ than us. So, how did it come to be that our species survived the savanna for hundreds of thousands of years, despite this imminent threat from dangerous animals? 

Through the drifting dust appeared an almighty presence of a large and confrontational Elephant bull. Struck with awe from his magician-like entrance, I held my head and chest up with false confidence while my legs started to quiver with fear. He was too close and I was unprepared. Behind me the Trail group glared at my dramatic pose, they had become the spectators of my spontaneous act and anxiously awaited the next scene.

If there is one thing that we are certain of at Lowveld Trails Co. it is that immersive experiences in wild places changes the way that people think and behave. We are proud to be driving a travel option with a positive impact. Primitive Trails can improve the ecological integrity of a landscape while increasing participant’s well-being and support for Wilderness conservation. It’s not just tourism, its regenerative travel.

There were two more sets of eyes reflecting back from a thicket nearby. “We’ve got company” I told Jackson as the pale shapes of two male Lions appeared in my binoculars. Nobody knew these Lions better than Jackson; one of the Park’s more experienced Field Rangers that had been tasked with monitoring the population since their reintroduction in 2015. The two male Lions were now striding leisurely towards us as Jackson and I held our position in front of the group.