Member Profile

Wilderness Leadership School

  • 7%
  • 5
South Africa

Reconnecting man and nature since 1957

The Wilderness Leadership School (WLS) was the first non profit organisation in Africa dedicated to providing a pure wilderness experience for people of all backgrounds, races and nationalities. Steeped in a rich environmental history, The Wilderness Leadership School was founded in 1957 by the legendary Dr. Ian Player who, together with his friend and mentor Magqubu Ntombela, recognised the necessity for people to connect with the environment.

Long before ecology had become a vogue catch-word, the Wilderness Leadership School foresaw the urgent need for a large body of well-informed, conservation-oriented leaders, capable of and dedicated to the defense of our planet’s irreplaceable natural resources.

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Wilderness Leadership School Trail/Photo by Jaime Rojo

50% by 2050

Why 2020?

We can stop the sixth mass extinction if we protect approximately 50% of the 846 ecoregions that provide habitat for all of Earth's biodiversity. That means finding leaders and organizations around the world willing to align exisiting efforts around protecting and interconnecting nature in the region.

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At the forefront of conservation of South African wilderness areas by:
  1. Focusing on people
  2. Giving people direct experience with wilderness
  3. Growing leaders, ambassadors, and change makers
  4. Advocating for and protecting wilderness areas
  5. Nurturing future conservationists

The trail philosophy is one of ‘leave no trace’ and the trails are conducted according to the original principles which the founder enshrined in his vision that people of all ages and cultures need to re-connect with their roots through a guided walk in areas accessible only on foot where there are no roads, and where the guides lead the groups along the paths made by the wild animals.

Unfettered by connection to the outside world, no cell phones or watches, the experience allows the trailists to exist in this sacred space.


WLS strives to restore a balanced relationship between humanity and nature by providing a direct experience of wilderness for the leaders who shape society. In wilderness we find a place where the full range of natural processes are in balance.

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Contact the Wilderness Leadership School for trail inquiries.

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