Sunday, April 30, 2006

Kilimanjaro's disappearing glaciers

Useful reading for those who are taking part in the October 6th - 15th Kilimanjaro Trail:

Article on - The Woes of Kilimanjaro:

"The fabled glaciers on Tanzania's majestic mountain will soon be gone. Its forests are disappearing, too. For local farmers, this could mean disaster. For the rest of us, it's another unbearable loss on an overheating planet."
The article is part of Reports From a Warming Planet which in turn is part of a project called Living on Earth which in turn is a joint initiative by U.C. Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, Salon and NPR [the US' sort-of equivalent of BBC Radio].

If you want to partake in the trail, or any other Wilderness Foundation events, get in touch - events (at)

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Updated 2006 Events Diary

20th August -- 15 day Imfolozi, Drakensberg and St Lucia Wilderness Trail
Explore the South African wilderness by following ancient game paths, listen to the silence and sleep under the stars. This trail is a counter balance to today's busy life and leaves you relaxed and re-energized.

24th September -- Family Day
Join us for a family day out in the wilds of Kent. The day will consist of learning basic Bushcraft skills. All welcome.

September 26th -- Save China's Tigers
A fundraising evening at South Africa House for the Wilderness Foundation & Save China's Tigers on Tuesday September 26 2006. A reception followed by a short film and lecture by Li Quan, who has taken several of the last remaining captive South China tigers to South Africa in collaboration with the Chinese Government to pioneer a programme that will lead to these tigers' eventual release into the wilds of their native homelands in China, based on the role model ofSouth African conservation.

October 6th - 15th -- Kilimanjaro Trail Experience
Trekking the highest mountain in Africa, one of the so-called 'Seven Summits' with us. A 10-day trek via the remote, wilder Lemosho Route which is off the beaten track for most of the climb. The routepasses through several micro-climates on the way, making for interesting trekking.

20-25 November -- Mountain Leader Training
By Rob Collister and Hugo Iffla, renowned Mountain Guides.
- The Foundation is offering you the chance to participate in a nationally recognised six day Mountain Leader Training programme in Snowdonia. This course is aimed at experienced hill walkers who wish to lead others in British mountains in summer conditions. In addition to the normal syllabus, wilderness ethics and values will feature prominently.

November (date to be confirmed)
An evening of White Wilderness skiing adventure with Rob Collister.
- Join Rob, International Mountain Guide, exploring the world of wilderness & snow skiing. Rob is an outstanding explorer and has acollection of wonderful slides and images. Not to be missed!

For all information and bookings contact: events (at) or 08081786934 (Freephone sponsored by m2m) - If you are calling from outside the UK: +441245-443073

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Saturday, April 22, 2006

uMzi Wethu Training Centre Press Coverage and Premier Speech

From The Herald today:

"PREMIER Nosimo Balindlela yesterday launched the first uMzi Wethu Training Centre, which is aimed at equipping Aids orphans with the skills to work in the booming eco-tourism industry.

The initiator of the project, the Wilderness Foundation, says there are more than 800 000 Aids orphans in South Africa, and about 80 000 child-headed households resulting from the disease in the Eastern Cape alone."

You can read Eastern Cape Premier Nosimo Balindlela's full speech here.

Read more about the project here (and below) - If you're based in the UK and would like to support the project, get in touch - 08081786931

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Umzi Wethu Training Academy for Displaced Youth in South Africa

The much anticipated Umzi Wethu (Xhosa for “our home”) Training Academy opened in Port Elizabeth, South Africa 20 April 2006.

This ground-breaking project has been developed over the past three years by the Wilderness Foundation South Africa (WFSA). WFSA has led a consultative process bringing together experts from a wide range of specialist areas to address the enormous issue of youth orphaned by the HIV/AIDS pandemic and devastated by poverty. Professionals in child clinical psychology, youth welfare, and education, and local community groups and game reserves came together to develop a program that will enable displaced youth to learn life and employment skills enabling them to participate in the growing ecotourism industry of South Africa’s Eastern Cape Province.

The Eastern Cape is an area of very high biodiversity and great wildlife carrying capacity, and ecotourism is growing at a pace of 10% a year. Its 29 parks and 20 private game reserves are generating jobs that on average pay twice minimum wage but demand skilled labor. However, the AIDS pandemic is having a big impact on Eastern Cape (EC) ecotourism potential. HIV/AIDS hits people in their most productive years of life. About 3% of the EC Parks Board staff is lost each year to HIV/AIDS. In the hospitality industry as a whole, it is estimated that 24% of staff are HIV-positive – the highest ratio in an industry, next to mining. Yet to date the tourism and hospitality industry has not collectively addressed the HIV/AIDS pandemic. Umzi Wethu will provide the certified vocational training and learnerships (internships) that qualify AIDS orphans and vulnerable youth for guaranteed jobs in private game reserves and parks, secured by WFSA partnerships.

Nosimo Balindlela - Premier, Eastern Cape - South AfricaThe Eastern Cape Premier, Nosimo Balindlela, has recognized the unique contribution of this program and has become its official patron. She opened the skills centre and residential academy with a moving speech, describing Umzi Wethu as a “visionaryproject which will use our natural resources in a sustainable way to help young peoplecope with the way HIV and AIDS has affected their lives.” This underscored the WFSA belief that experiences in wild places have the power to transform and that theresponsibility for the future of our environment rests with the youth of today.

The launch reception was held at the newly renovated Umzi Wethu building. It was attended by:

· Nomsa Jajula, Provincial Minister of Health for the Eastern Cape, and Christian Martin, Provincial Minister of Public Works for the Eastern Cape. Both expressed an interest in working with the Umzi Wethu project moving forward.

· Ubuntu Education Fund, a township based community organization helping to select and counsel the Umzi Wethu youth.

· Africa Global Skills Academy, a firm designing the Umzi Wethu course that will ensure that all youth acquire three National Qualifications Framework (NQF) certificates during the program, and also receive some of the life skills training so essential for the adjustment necessary to undertake full time employment.

· Local game reserves committed to employing the trained youth.

· The Eastern Province Youth and Child Care Centre that helped WFSA secure the Umzi Wethu facilities and advised WFSA on youth care and social welfare issues.

· The Black Managers Forum, a network of successful business people expressing interest in participating in the mentoring program for Umzi Wethu participants.

· Contributors to the project including architects, advisors, private funders, potential sponsors, local businesses and other organisations who are keen to be involved with the Umzi Wethu project. As a result of the launch, funding was received from Volkswagen South Africa to outfit the residential academy with furniture, and WFSA continues to seek local and international donor support.

· WFSA board members from the United States and United Kingdom, as well as South Africa.

Timing of the event allowed 9 of the 15 youth selected for the first program phase to participate in the launch activities, experiencing their first opportunities as hosts. Dressed in matching Umzi Wethu t-shirts and trousers, they looked like any ordinary teenagers, hiding the fact that all have led very tragic lives, losing their families to the scourge of AIDS and growing up in town-ships with no hope or opportunity to realise their dreams.

Many of the speakers on opening day addressed the Umzi Wethu youth personally during speeches, charging them with added determination to succeed in their new career paths. The students were fired up about the facilities and services that were to be provided for them and expressed a keen desire to make the most of the opportunity that Umzi Wethu will bring. They shared their excitement about being able to financially provide for their extended families once employed in the promised secure job in an EC park or game reserve.

A reception with food and drink was then held in the newly renovated residential academy which will eventually be a home base for about 36 youth. The first intake of students is now settled into the new residential academy and undertaking their initial training courses. Within days of starting the program, for the first time in their lives, the students are beginning to dream about real possibilities.

Changing lives…for a better future through conservation.

Read more about the project here - If you're based in the UK and would like to support the project, get in touch - 08081786931

Friday, April 14, 2006


When is sustainable energy not sustainable? When it threatens to despoil very large areas of wild and scenic landscape, undermining local livelihoods and even endangering rare bird species.

You can read more about what the Wilderness Foundation thinks about windfarms here, but why not take direct action too:

"Located six kilometres south of Clachan, two kilometers inland and above the Kintyre Way long distance footpath, Largie wind farm would be the fifth and by far the most inappropriately sited wind farm in Kintyre. It would contravene multiple policies in at least twelve local and national planning documents and would be in an area described as "essentially incompatible with wind farm development" in the finalised draft of the Argyll and Bute Local Plan. AWF urges you to familiarise yourself with the application, then object using the link below."

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

New Atlas of Current Threats to People and the Environment

This new publication may be of interest:

"Planet in Peril - Atlas of Current Threats to People and the Environment."

Thesiger photos on-line

Thesiger took thousands of photographs on his travels, some one hundred of them can be found at the University of Oxford's Pitt Rivers Museum.

New biography on Wilfried Thesiger

There is a new biography of one of the Wilderness Foundation's late patrons, Wilfried Thesiger - it has been reviewed in The Times by Ben Macintyre, who on a previous occassion when writing about Thesiger observed that:

You have to be an oddball to want to plunge into malarial swamps.


Also in The Times, Philip Marsden observed:

There is no doubt that Wilfred Thesiger was one of the most remarkable figures of his generation. He was a man who conducted his life in fierce and unfaltering pursuit of a single ideal. He travelled without concession to his own physical needs or safety in some of the most remote and dangerous places in the world. He did it almost continuously, for more than 40 years. From an initial pioneering expedition to the Danakil desert in the 1930s through to the 1970s, he was rarely still. He conducted countless, months-long treks in Morocco, Yemen, Iran, Kenya, the Himalayas, Ethiopia. He lived for two years in Darfur, five years in Arabia and seven years among the Marsh Arabs of southern Iraq. – The Article can be found here.

Other reviews in Country Life, The Independent etc.

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