Short Wilderness Trail
“ON TRAIL WE ARE GUESTS OF THE NATURAL WORLD, WE ARE HUMBLED BY WILDERNESS, IN AWE OF ITS COMPLEXITY, POWER AND BEAUTY. OUTSIDE OF THIS OUR EGOS RULE” ~ DR. IAN PLAYER
Dr. Ian Player, one of the leading figures in South African Rhino Conservation and founder of the Wilderness Leadership School pioneered the concept of transformative wilderness trails well over half a century ago. Since then, the Wilderness Leadership School has grown into one of the most respected and established conservation NGO’s in the country.
Trails offer a unique experience. A rare chance to exist for a period in the original, primitive atmosphere of wilderness. Trailists are exposed to an enlightenment of the connectivity of the natural environment and the
animal and human species.
The experience is uncontrived and no two trails are the same; each one determined by the dynamic of the weather, the group, the animal sightings and the natural habitat. Although many of the trails occur in big game areas and magnificent sightings are recorded, the experience is not focused on interaction with the wild animals but rather as a means of reconnecting to the natural world and order.
Over sixty years experience, over 70 000 trailsts and a flawless safety record, our trails deliver a life changing experience time and time again.
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.
WHAT TO EXPECT ON TRAIL
The drive to the wilderness areas takes about 3 ¾ hours from Durban. On arrival in the wilderness area, the group will leave the vehicles and begin on foot for the rest of the trail. The group will carry all possessions, provisions and food for the rest of the trail period. There is a sense of satisfaction at being able to live off your own energy during the trail and not
having to rely on any other means of transport or other facility.
Places to camp are chosen for their beauty and practicality. Often you can sit in camp and watch animals going about their lives oblivious to the humans sitting nearby. Mostly, we camp near water to ensure a ready water supply.
Camping is done with minimum impact, following a strict leave-no-trace practice, and only ground sheets and sleeping bags are used. In wet weather flysheets may be erected. We will walk through the wilderness, sometimes camping in different places each night, depending on the weather, the animals and the group.
Night watch is a memorable part of every trail. All participants stand watch during the night for an hour or so. This is to ensure the safety of those sleeping and to check animal movement near the camp. This is an special time to reflect on the trail, your life and where you are going. This, combined with taking responsibility for the lives of those sleeping, is a powerful
experience. Many people have written to the School with memories of night watch and how it changed their lives.
WILDERNESS TRAILS FOR SCHOOL GROUPS, YOUTH AND BUSINESS LEADERS HELPS NURTURE ONE’S UNDERSTANDING OF WHAT A LEADER IS, TEAMWORK,
ETHICS AND JUDGMENT ARE SIGNIFICANT OUTCOMES OF THE EXPERIENCE. THE TRAIL EXPERIENCE HELPS DEVELOP SELF-RELIANCE, IMPROVES JUDGMENT,
DECISION MAKING, RESPECT, AND A SENSE OF RESPONSIBILITY THAT HELPS PEOPLE THRIVE IN TODAY’S RAPIDLY CHANGING SOCIAL AND BUSINESS LANDSCAPE.
The Wilderness Leadership School is committed to creating an environmental conscience in South Africa and throughout the world, through experiential trails in wilderness areas. The experience is more than seeing wildlife; it’s about being embedded in Africa, about leaving the craziness of the modern world behind and for a few days living like many generations
before you did. For some, it’s a life changing, deeply spiritual experience, for others it’s about reconnecting with nature and themselves, whatever the outcome, The actual trail and trail mechanics differs each trail and is therefore difficult to elaborate on, suffice to say it is a life changing experience that should be experienced by everyone. There would be more wilderness areas and fewer conflicts in this world, if a wilderness trail was a compulsory experience.
No two trails are ever the same, everything is unique to your trail. In the case of iMfolozi, Wilderness Leadership School is the sole concession holder to this incredible wilderness area,
no roads, no cars, no other tourists.
“The Wilderness Leadership School is a patron partner 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 wellbeing and inspiration. 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.”
WHAT WE PROVIDE
THE WILDERNESS LEADERSHIP SCHOOL PROVIDES:
• Experienced guides to guide you and ensure your safety.
• Personal attention: trails limited to eight people and travel at the pace of the slowest member.
• All camping equipment including ground sheets, foam mattress, sleeping bags and rucksacks, cooking utensils, eating utensils, spade, water containers etc…
• Food – three meals a day (our guides prepare incredible trail meals and can cater for all dietary requirements)
• A basic first aid kit.
• Transport from a designated meeting place to the wilderness area.
• Comprehensive emergency evacuation cover.
Your guides are some of the most experienced in Africa, specially trained not just for your own safety but to also facilitate your wilderness experience and give you deep, meaningful insight into Africa and the wilderness area. For many, this experience inevitably also opens up a deep insight into yourself, reconnecting with nature at such a profound level changes the way you see the world, changes the way you see yourself and your experiences in the modern world. Your guides are also trained to ensure your safety during encounters with wildlife such as Rhino, Lions, Elephants, Buffalo and other when on foot.
WHAT TO PACK AND NOT TO PACK
• 2 Pairs of Shorts (Dull or natural shades, preferably not black but definitely not white, nor bright colors).
• 2 Shirts (Cotton, dull or natural shades, preferably not black but definitely not white, nor bright colors).
• A pair of socks for each day.
• Underwear, as required.
• 1 Pair of comfortable walking shoes.
• 1 Pair thick-soled sandals. (Preferably with an ankle strap)
• 1 Pair of fleece lined tracksuit pants.
• 1 Woolen or fleece jersey/jacket or sweater.
• 1 full raincoat (with hood, windbreakers will not suffice) or a rain suit.
• 1 Swimming costume. (If you can’t use your shorts)
• 1 Torch (flashlight) with spare batteries and bulb.
• Toothbrush and Toothpaste.
• Personal Medicines – Insect repellent and sunscreen.
• Sun Hat (also dull colors).
• Pocket Knife
• Facecloth / Washcloth.
• Your personal sleeping bag and pillow if preferred.
FOR WINTER TRAILS
(May through and including August) All of the above plus:
• Thermal underwear; top and bottom,
• Gloves & Wool Hat
• A thick wool or polar fleece jacket (minimum equivalent of
Polarfleece 200 – preferably 300)
Camera, Headlamp, Binoculars Windbreaker, Notebook and pencil
WHAT NOT TO BRING
• Alcohol or (psychoactive) drugs.
• Cellular phones, radio’s, watches, iPods etc…
• Deodorants and/or scented skin creams.
Simplicity in all things is the secret of the wilderness and one of its most valuable lessons. It is what we leave behind that is important. I think the matter of simplicity goes further than just food, equipment, and unnecessary gadgets; it goes into the matter of thoughts and objectives as well. When in the wilds, we must not carry our problems with us or the joy is lost.