Background: Joel Hlatswayo was born and raised in Lilydale, a town far east of the Mpumalanga province of South Africa, near the Sabi Sands, which borders the Kruger National Park. Living 25km away from the fence of a protected area, he usually heard sounds of lions roaring during the day on his way to a local spaza shop to get supplies, and in the evening as well. These calls sparked interest in him to visit and experience wildlife.
During his high school years, he visited his mom’s friend who worked as a housekeeper in the Sabi Sands. He went on game drives which got him inspired by the field guide who was sharing his knowledge with his team about wildlife conservation and the environment.