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The Children in the Wilderness programme hosts rural children between the ages of 8 and 16. The children are hosted in groups ranging from 16 – 45 participants at a time, for periods of up to 6 days at Wilderness Safaris Camps. The well-structured curriculum is offered in a safe wilderness environment where nature becomes the teacher and the healer.

During the children’s stay, the focus is on providing a wide variety of educational activities in an age-appropriate and fun way. We believe and have seen from some of our past camps that by the end of the programme, many of the children are motivated to continue with their schooling and to strive for a better life.

Educational topics covered during their stay include: the geology and geography of the region; the area's wildlife and its conservation; arts and crafts; theatre; nutrition, sport, health and HIV/AIDS. Morning or afternoon game drives are an essential part of each day and often in the evening enjoyable wildlife and educational videos are screened.

We encourage the children to participate in various team-building sports to contribute to personal and leadership development as well as to facilitate more equitable interactions between boys and girls. All field-based activities take place with the guidance of local guides and Wilderness Safaris lodge staff who become important role models for the children. We hope to inspire more children to become guides, field rangers, conservationists and ecologists or to make a valuable contribution to the sustainable development of Africa’s natural resources in some other way.

For many children and most of the educators, sponsors and volunteers the programme has been a life changing experience. Our goal is to continue to develop programmes that could have a significant impact on the lives of the children who attend the camps. We hope that every child leaves the camp with a new or improved skill, a better understanding of what life can offer and an increased awareness of his or her own potential, together with a renewed respect for our environment.

The outcome of the programme is a win-win for all. The children are inspired to strive to achieve their utmost potential; their enthusiasm and new ideas are shared with their families and communities. While this is happening, the environment is the big winner. Sustainable environmental education and conservation is practiced and taught, which results in these children returning to their communities as leaders in conservation and environmental matters.


The environmental education component is a vital part of the programme. Through these educational components we aim to:

  • Create environmental leaders and ambassadors that will go back to their communities and become role models for good environmental practices;

  • For the children to develop positive attitudes towards the environment and therefore a sense of ownership of these wild places;

  • Through the appreciation of biodiversity, encourage the sustainable use of water supplies, sustainable cooking practices and other energy conserving practices;

  • Improve living standards within the community as the surrounding areas are upgraded through clean-ups and planting initiatives;

  • Start environmental clubs in the communities and introduce environmental curricula in the schools.


In a nutshell, our aims are to:

  • Develop personal and interpersonal skills in the children including leadership and teamwork.

  • Instil a sense of hope, develop creativity and increase self confidence and self-esteem for the children’s personal growth and development.

  • Increase involvement in the children’s cultural heritage.

  • Mitigate the impact of HIV/AIDS and reduce the vulnerability of our children.

  • Develop positive role models in our local schools and communities.

  • Improve gender relations and promote gender equality.

  • Support learning programmes at schools and motivate our children to commit to lifelong education.

  • Increase awareness of employment opportunities within the tourism industry.

  • Equip teachers and influential community representatives with environmental information and  new interactive teaching skills.

“My favourite activity was the game drives and walks because I learned so much. I am going to go home and teach all my friends about what I learned, especially about HIV"
(Teapot – Children in the Wilderness Participant, Namibia)

“How much I learned from this camp is amazing. E.g. I learned that if we don’t conserve the environment we will have no future. Especially the next generations."
(Kediretswe Kakapa – Children in the Wilderness Participant, Botswana)