Author, environmentalist, film-maker, international motivational speaker.
Benedict Allen became established as one of the world's leading modern-day explorers through expeditions famously achieved not with a phone, GPS or "backup," but by preparation alone with remote indigenous communities. Dispensing with a film crew, he went on to pioneer the authentic recording of adventurous journeys for TV.
Though dearly loved, Mad Jack was the most troublesome of Benedict's dogs – but unusually had no fear of wolves, or anything much – and earned his place in the team through his excitement when travelling through intimidating country.
Learn more in Into The Abyss.
Benedict owes his life to Lucy, who taught him foraging skills to cross the Amazon Basin for weeks alone. Even aged eight she knew twenty "herbs" that you could rub on your skin as a disinfectant.
Pancho, a marakami or priest of the Huichols, allowed Benedict to join their pilgrimage to Wirakuta, the sacred homeland of their gods and ancestors in the lowland desert.
Learn more in The Last of the Medicine Men.
Tsend, here with her young apprentice, Uugantsetseg, "Beginning Flower", is almost blind but as a shaman is trusted to intercede with the spirit world for her nomadic people, who are overseen by Tengger the great Sky God.
An intimidating "war-dance" of the uncontacted Yaifo – photographed by Benedict while they were surrounding his expedition to cross PNG's Central Range.
Learn more in The Proving Grounds.
Bought and trained on a "Boer" farm bordering the Gemsbok-Kalahari Reserve, Nelson was descended from the Camel Corps once used to patrol the arid frontier, and became a devoted companion of Benedict's 1000km journey up the "Skeleton Coast".
Learn more in The Skeleton Coast.
A member of the small "uncontacted" band of Obinis who Benedict briefly visited aged 24 – before having to run for his life with his remote Momwina guides.
Learn more in Into the Crocodile's Nest.
Amam Dirikogo is a kerei or medicine-man, and provided Benedict with insights into his physically/spiritually hazardous world – some medicine of the Mentawai have in excess of forty different plant ingredients!
During Benedict's lone crossing of the Gobi – a journey of six weeks – Bactrian camel Jigjik decided to turn around and walk 700 kilometres home, leaving Benedict to struggle on with two camels.
Learn more in Edge of Blue Heaven.
Top Dog was the small, intelligent and brave leader of a ten dog team that took Benedict 1000 km through icy wastes in the worst winter in living memory.
Learn more in Into the Abyss.
Kwazarane belongs to the semi-nomadic group who helped prepare Benedict for his journey up the Namib Desert – she steered her goats by spinning stones ahead of them with unerring accuracy.
Joel underwent the secret/sacred rite to become the "a man as strong as a crocodile" with Benedict. This involved being beaten and permanently scarred – and is perhaps the harshest traditional man-making ceremony in existence.
A rare surviving picture from Benedict's first journey – a woman fleeing on his arrival at a village perched over the mudflats. The Warao were the first ethnic group to assist Benedict on his crossing of the remotest (NE) portion of the Amazon.
Learn more in Mad White Giant.
A hero to Benedict, this extraordinarily tough and generous man helped him take charge of his own (borrowed) dogteam, guiding him up to the Bering Strait for his attempted lone crossing of the loose pack-ice to America.
"For me personally, exploration isn't about conquering nature, planting flags or leaving your mark. It's about the opposite: opening yourself up and allowing the place to leave its mark on you..."