History: Our African Roots

“Wilderness, it is here I came to know myself, but it was only just the beginning, because I found the more you know your true self, the more you know about those around you,” J. Shaw, participant on trail with the Wilderness Leadership School, South Africa.

Ian & Magqubu by campfire

© Trevor Barrett Photography

Around a campfire, in the iMfolozi Wilderness of South Africa. Light flickering, the sounds of wild-ness all around. Silence. Stillness…the cough of a stalking leopard, the cry of the hyena, coming from the dark, surrounding bush. These are our African Roots.

The WILD Foundation and our partners in Wilderness Foundation Global share a common history – one created by a white game-ranger and his Zulu mentor and colleague of 40 years. Dr. Ian Player and Magqubu Ntombela knew that taking people into wild-nature to experience wild-ness is the best way to connect people to one-another and to foster a relationship between people and nature.

From this understanding grew The WILD Foundation and The World Wilderness Congress. During the early years, The WILD Foundation focused its efforts on wilderness experiences. We continue this work through several programs within Wilderness Foundation Global and have broadened our reach to include many other avenues that enhance the human-nature relationship.

Through on-the-ground field projects, art and culture for nature conservation, publishing, training, and the World Wilderness Congress, we invoke and honor our African Roots. The African wilderness is humanity’s birthplace and our common heritage.

Just as it is our common heritage, wild-nature is also an essential part of a healthy, modern human society.