Wilderness Leadership School

the original wilderness trails since 1957

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Reboot your life. Experience Wilderness.

Over 70 000 people from all walks of life have been on trail with the Wilderness Leadership School since we were founded by Dr. Ian Player and Magqubu Ntombela in 1957. A trail is not a hike. It is not a safari. It is not a personal endurance test. A Wilderness Trail is a deeply profound experience that is very difficult to articulate. It is a chance to return to your natural habitat. A digital detox. A deep experience of our own connection to the natural world. A chance to re-wild yourself and get inspired by the rhythm of nature. Your experience is carefully facilitated by guides who are arguably some of the best in Africa. The food is beyond what you could imagine. An authentic  Wilderness Trail with the Wilderness Leadership School is unlike any other "trail" experience. Those who have been on trail return again and again. You simply have to experience it to fully understand the power of a Wilderness Leadership School Trail. 

Wilderness Trails

The Trail Experience

Wilderness Leadership School wilderness trails were pioneered by Dr. Ian Player well over half a century ago. After all of this time, the principles, the experience and the purpose of these trails remain the same. Our trails run over three days, five days and for some, even longer periods. You sleep under the stars. You experience some of Africa's most wild and sacred places. But most importantly, the trail experience is about you, a personal journey into wilderness and yourself.

  • Group sizes range from 6-8 people
  • All trail equipment provided
  • Transport from Durban, airport pick up and drop off.
  • All meals, seriously good food, catering for any dietary requirements.
  • Locations include iMfolozi, iSimangaliso, Pilanesberg, Okavango, Wild Coast and Drakensberg

Training Courses

About Our Training

We do not just want to train nature guides, we want to train exceptional guides. Guides with an unparalleled understanding of our planet and her ecosystems, guides that can interpret the magic of a butterfly opening its wings with as much enthusiasm as the magnificence of a herd of elephants crossing a river. Guides who can use their time with tourists to spread the conservation message. Guides who can become future conservation leaders. Guides who can open people's eyes to the power of mother nature and wilderness. But this course is also so much more, it's an opportunity for personal growth, for learning new skills and and an experience of a lifetime.

  • FGASA Accredited Training Provider
  • FGASA Level 1 Nature Guide
  • FGASA Backup Trails Guide
  • Careers in Conservation and Social Entrepreneurship courses
  • Customised courses and short courses
  • Small groups and personal attention

Our Legacy

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. 

Today The Wilderness Leadership School (a registered non-profit and public benefit organisation, NPO 0222 67 PBO 18/11/13/674) continues to provide an educational experience to thousands of South African youth and overseas visitors. Funds from public trails are used to fund community projects, community trails and training bursaries ensure that the experience is made available to our people from disadvantaged communities, thereby ensuring the sustainability of the tenets of the organisation which is to bring about awareness of the natural environment through experiential education

Wilderness Foundation Global

The Wilderness Leadership School is the patron of the Wilderness Foundation Global (WFG). WFG is an international alliance of action-oriented, like-minded organizations who understand that wilderness areas have local meaning and global significance, with direct importance to human well-being and inspiration. Founding members are Wilderness Foundation Africa, Wilderness Foundation UK, and the WILD Foundation (USA), with the Wilderness Leadership School as a patron partner.

WFG is also a founding member of and an active proponent for Nature Needs Half, a science-based, culturally relevant, open-structure public movement to protect and interconnect at least half of the earth's lands and seas for the well-being of all life.

Wilderness Leadership School Trust

90 Coedmore Ave
Yellowwood Park, Durban
South Africa
+ 27 (0) 31 462 8642 / +27 (0) 832 255960

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