Unearthed with the Wilderness Leadership School

Track Rhino on foot. Live in a Zulu village. Snorkel with Sharks in the warm Indian Ocean. This is no ordinary gap year!
Build confidence, leadership skills, life skills and design your future on this epic one month social entrepreneurship course

Download Prospectus

Build confidence, leadership skills, life skills, learn to start your own social entrepreneurship enterprise and design your future on this epic two week adventure. Run by the Wilderness Leadership School, one of South Africa's oldest and most respected NGO's, the course involves a range of activities and  a structured learning program specifically aimed at gap year students and young graduates interested in making the world a better place.

The carefully designed program includes everything from swimming with sharks in the Indian Ocean to spending five days sleeping under the stars and tracking rhino on foot in a wilderness area. From living in a rural Zulu village to volunteering projects and giving back. Everything is designed to answer one question; who are YOU and how can YOU change the world? Like they say, Those who are crazy enough to think they can change the world usually do

Expedition & Course Highlights

“You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. What you'll discover will be wonderful. What you'll discover is yourself.” ~ Alan Alda


Immerse yourself in one of Africa's richest wildlife areas, track rhino on foot, sleep under the stars. A chance to reconnect to yourself, no phones, no watches, just you and nature.


Plunge into the warm Indian Ocean. Snorkel in crystal clear water, learn to surf, and swim with sharks. Don’t worry, our highly experienced guides will ensure you are safe!


Immerse yourself in a Zulu Village. Spend time with a traditional healer, learn new customs and experience rural Zululand, leave seeing the world through a new set of eyes.


These and other experiences are carefully facilitated through a series of workshops and interactions focused at unlocking your passion, your potential and forging your niche

The Wilderness Leadership School 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, recognized the necessity for people to connect with the environment as a tool for personal and leadership development.. 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.

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. Our guides are considered some of the best in Africa, our Wilderness Trails have a 60 year, incident free safety record. Our people are passionate about what we do and care deeply about giving you an experience of a lifetime.

Through a carefully facilitated  wilderness experience the School has sought to instill a sense of appreciation for the needs and laws of the natural environment in generations of youthful participants from around the world, including schools, major corporates, top business schools, universities and a network of global leaders.  More than 65 000 trailists have experienced the awe of a trail through the pristine wilderness areas of South Africa and found the experience a life-changing one is a testament to the power of the natural environment.


ETC-Africa was established over ten years ago as a broad environmental and ecotourism consultancy. Headed up by Duncan Pritchard & Edward Rice, ETC-Africa have worked throughout Sub Saharan Africa and on environmental projects as far afield as Mexico, Canada, Australia and the United States with experience ranging from Multi-National corporations to SMME’s and local community groups.  We are passionate about the role young people can play in the future of conservation.

ETC-Africa and our partners, The Wilderness Leadership School and Tidal Tao have a collective 80 year experience in travel in Africa. Focused on doing more than just travel but facilitating deeply meaningful experiences that benefit our planet.

We put together this expedition based on years of repeatedly seeing the profound impact that wilderness and the oceans can have on people. We wanted to provide an experience that was far from a commercial safari. Something unique, something special and something that will have a profound impact on young people, something that will help build the next generation of ecologically minded leaders and change makers .....and here it is!

The course runs over two weeks or one month and involves a range of activities from formal training, problem solving to wilderness experiences with expert facilitators and subject matter experts. The carefully designed program includes everything from swimming with sharks in the Indian Ocean to spending five days sleeping under the stars and tracking rhino on foot in a wilderness area. From living in a rural Zulu village to volunteering projects and giving back. Everything is designed to answer one question; who are YOU and how can YOU change the world?

The program is a carefully guided mix of theory coursework, practical application and a large portion of incredible experiences, which all ultimately lead to outcomes including:

  • Building independence and confidence in yourself, your ideas and your future
  • Finding yourself, your passion, your driving force and apply it positively in the modern business world
  • Learning to face up and deal with fears and life’s challenges in an effective and positive way
  • Growing new ideas, lean how to take them from idea to implementation 
  • Discovering new opportunities, a range of careers and ways to approach the business world that make a difference
  • Understanding global challenges, see the world from new and different perspectives, learn what is important to you
  • Set goals, design plans, make things happen. A range of diverse career opportunities, projects and initiatives you probably never thought of.
  • Critical life skills essential for survival in the modern world

We get 20+ CV’s from highly qualified graduates each week, looking for employment. Rarely, if ever, can these young people tell us what they will bring to the table, how will they benefit our organisation, what they want to achieve and how do they intend making that happen? The rise of social entrepreneurship has created a wave of new business models. A model that is disrupting traditional business and speaking to a new generation of consumers. Young people need to find a niche in this new model. This course intends to change that starting point and grow a generation of young change makers who can answer these questions

By the end of this course you will have a set of skills and experiences that will change your life, including:

  • Being exposed to ideas, careers, concepts, challenges and opportunities that you probably never knew existed
  • Gaining a newfound sense of purpose and vision for your place in the world
  • Nurturing a project from a tiny idea into a viable social entrepreneurship business model or value proposition for a potential employer
  • Developing a clear understanding of what you will need to do to get where you want to go, what skills you need to cultivate and what people you need to be engaging with.
  • Become part of a global alumni of like-minded young people from all walks of life, sharing ideas and working towards making the world a better place

Who is this suited to? Well, we say, any young person trying to find their place in the world, everyone has equal potential, they just need to find their passion and focus it in the right direction. The course is ideally suited towards people who want to work in the fields of environmental or social issues, specifically fields addressing the Global Goals For Sustainable Development. These include school leavers or gap year students who are still trying to decide what to study or direction to follow with their lives

  • Graduates who are going to be entering the workplace and want to offer potential employees something unique, who want more than a “job”
  • Dreamers who want to build their own business and leave a positive legacy
  • Young people who are passionate about a cause and want to find ways of following that passion
  • Young people trying to find their place in the world, who are looking for inspiration, ideas, and a chance to blossom into something great
  • Young people who want to help create a better world but don’t know how.

Course Costs:

One month program: ZAR 38 000 per person (€2600)

Two week program: ZAR 28 000 per person (€1900)

What's Included?

Each experience directly contributes to conservation. We have ensured that you have NO hidden, unexpected costs.

  • All meals, soft drinks & accommodation
  • All equipment for trails and snorkelling (backpacks, sleeping bags, snorkel gear etc…)
  • Emergency cover
  • All transport and airport transfers
  • All nature reserve and other entry fees
  • Expert facilitators and wilderness guides
  • Priceless memories

What’s not included?

Essentially, you just need to get yourself here!

  • Gratuities
  • Alcoholic drinks
  • International flights (you will need to get to King Shaka International in Durban)
  • Visa costs
  • Personal travel insurance
  • Other items of a personal nature

All profits from this directly contribute to directly contribute to the work of the Wilderness Leadership School, a registered non profit organization and public benefit organization established over 60 year ago!

How fit should you be?

You should be able to swim comfortably and able to carry a backpack of around 12kg’s. However, the trail (especially) is designed around a rich experience NOT hiking as far as possible or testing of your endurance. You just need to be of reasonable fitness and able-bodied.

How safe are we on foot with wildlife and in the water with sharks?

Our guides are some of the best in Africa. You’re 100% safe. We have very clear rules and briefing before each activity to ensure safety and you’re up to speed with procedures. On trail in game reserves, your guides understand the land and animal behavior like few people do. On the ocean section of the experience, you are accompanied by highly experienced dive masters and snorkel instructors.

Do we need specialist equipment?

No, we provide all the equipment you will need. You just need to bring clothes and personal items. Once registered, we will send you a detailed packing list.

We require a deposit of $250 to secure your space. Full payment is required 60 days prior to departure. We realize that this is likely a big investment for you and are always more than happy to discuss flexible payment options to suit your needs.


100% refund (except deposit) if cancelled more than 90 days prior to departure

Bookings are essential as we try ensure a small group size for each group in order to give the personal attention this course deserves. You can complete the form below or click here to contact us anytime for more info

Go to top