What does making an impact mean for Wilderness?


Cultures & Communities


Janine Avery


Pioneers Of Purpose

Wilderness Abu Botswana Iconic

Earth’s phenomenal biodiversity is in crisis. Species are disappearing faster than ever. And through our commitment to helping protect some of the world’s last true wilderness areas, we are taking responsibility for acting. For now, and for future generations.


This is the force, the single truth that drives us. It’s at the front and centre, the heartbeat, of everything we do.

Two halves, one business


Together, the two halves of our operation, hospitality and conservation, feed into one significant whole.


High-value, low volume conservation tourism that generates the resources we need to make a lasting impact, improving lives while helping protect the world’s wildest places.


By bringing guests to discover the beating pulse of Earth’s ultimate untamed places, we impact communities and governments through payment of land-use rentals and fees, resource royalties, employment, and by using locally sourced produce in our camps. This establishment of a conservation economy allows us to support education programmes, further empowerment initiatives, and alleviate human-wildlife conflict.


Our ultimate goal


At Wilderness, we want to increase the world’s wilderness together, doubling the land we help protect by 2030. And then to double it, again and again.


But, how do we do this?


We have identified three pivotal focus areas that lead us to make better, more intentional decisions about where to direct our efforts. These are the lenses through which we view our investment decisions, determining the priorities for our business, and conservation and development initiatives.

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Where can you see our impact?

Together with our partners for change in each of these fields – NGOs, communities, businesses, and our valued travellers – we’ve built a network of positive force. A collaborative ecosystem that combines collective resources to maximise impact.


Our impact starts on the ground at our camps. The heart of our business.


Here we share the natural world with guests. But also, this is where we employ local people and build and operate with the lightest footprint possible, implementing measures to reduce carbon emissions, such as using solar panels and water-retention mechanisms, while reducing waste and eradicating plastic use.



Spheres of influence


From there our impact expands through what we like to call our spheres of influence.

  • Opening migration corridors, reforestation initiatives, and reducing threats to wildlife in our concessions where we contribute lease and park fees to communities and national wildlife departments to protect these areas.
  • Empowering local communities with education at a regional level, where we also assist local economic development through stimulating small business ventures in the tourism supply chain and provide incentives for wildlife tolerance.
  • Furthermore, at country level we work alongside governments to support the improvement of policies to develop long-lasting global protection for the land, its people and its wildlife, while investing in landscapes that protect global carbon sinks.



And it’s working


We’re among the pioneers of the concept of conservation hospitality. When we opened our first camp some 40 years ago, we promised to safeguard the land, to ensure its pulsing rhythm would never cease.


Today, our dedicated team of 3,000 people create captivating journeys to 60+ camps in iconic wild destinations for around 40,000 guests every year. The relentless focus on our goal helps to protect over 6 million acres (and counting) across 7 biomes, supporting 59 vulnerable and endangered IUCN Red List species. Alongside our impact on the landscape, we’ve also created a legacy of education and empowerment. Our education programmes have exposed around 10,000 children to the joy and potential of the natural world, while our empowerment programmes work to create self-sustaining communities that understand the value of ecotourism.


The theory of change


When it comes to making a real, lasting impact, our work is never done. We’re constantly measuring our success and making adjustments, because we, more than anyone, expect the best. Holding ourselves to the highest standards.


Our Theory of Change keeps us accountable and enables us to address problems at the root cause, rather than limiting ourselves to short-term cosmetic interventions. It is a more meaningful way to be accountable for the work we do, with visible tangible results.


Its success is defined by clear outcomes, making sure that what we contribute to generates results and positive change. We’re aspiring to be the benchmark for conservation tourism, changing people’s viewpoints on how they travel and interact with the land they visit.



How can I get involved?


Just by embarking on a journey with us, you help make a difference. Further to this however, the Wilderness Trust is an NGO founded by Wilderness to receive donations that can be used to support and enhance our impact endeavours. The Trust operates independently of Wilderness and determines where impact funds are allocated, aligning with the impact outcomes and ensuring we’re able to make progress with our conservation goals.


Let’s plan your next journey


When we say we’re there every step of the way, we mean it, literally. From planning the perfect circuit, to private inter-camp transfers on Wilderness Air, and easing you through Customs. We’re with you on the ground, at your side, 24-7, from start to finish. Ready to take the road less travelled? Contact our Travel Designers to plan an unforgettable journey.