Wilderness Leadership School
The Wilderness Leadership School continues as one of the leading organizations in Africa providing a true wilderness experience. Now well over 55 years strong, it was originally established by Ian Player (WILD’s founder) and his Zulu brother and mentor, Magqubu Ntombela.
Ian and Magqubu defied the South African laws of apartheid at that time by taking small groups of people, often multiracial, into the wilderness of the iMfolozi Game Reserve (where Ian Player and his team saved the white rhino from extinction, a pioneering conservation story related in Operation Rhino) In a “first ever” program, for 5 days the “trailists” would (and still do) hike lightly; carry their own packs; watch (and occasionally quickly avoid!) wildlife such the rhino, elephant and lions; understand cultural lore of the Zulu people; and sleep around the fire at night, under the African stars, while listening to the roars, barks, and bellows of the African night.
In the process they created multi-racial environmental experience and awareness in South Africa, created a new tourism industry, and quietly declared to the world that there is both an inner and outer connection between humankind and wild nature.
We are often asked about the WLS — our sister organization and a member of our Wilderness Network — “Is it like Outward Bound?” Our answer is the same, always…”It is an inward looking Outward Bound,” encouraging people to understand themselves , consider their origins, and look to their future as they hike, sit, and dream in the landscape in which humankind evolved. Some of the many stories of experience and personal transformation are in the book South African Passage, with a foreword by the late, renowned explorer and writer, Sir Laurens van der Post (a key person in founding WILD and guiding our work for many years)
The WLS operates trails in numerous locations in KwaZulu Natal, South Africa, and In Botswana. Contact them direct – try it, and see if this experience is for you.