Wilderness introduces ‘Staying Strong’

Culture & Communities


Nichola Palmer


Wilderness staff wellbeing initiative

From humble beginnings in 1983 Wilderness is now Africa’s leading conservation and hospitality company, with over 3,000 passionate employees. It’s been a remarkable journey. In recognition of its important staff resource, Wilderness is committed to developing effective co-ordination, collaboration and communication structures across all teams and regions within the business to ensure staff satisfaction and the ultimate safari experience for our guests.


Wilderness is thrilled to announce that it is rolling out a new Human Resources initiative, the Staying Strong programme, and DIY Toolkit from Free To Grow. Free To Grow is renowned for its exceptional work in this space, with a specific focus on frontline workers.

Staying Strong is designed to equip and support staff at all levels in the post-pandemic environment and was carefully researched before implementation. Created to delve beyond the initial support and skills-building techniques, supervisors and management at all levels of the business will use the video-based toolkit to facilitate regular wellbeing conversations with staff, expanding the reach of the programme.



Andrew McDonald, Wilderness Group HR Manager is extremely excited to roll out this programme to all Wilderness regions, noting, ‘One of the things I love is that the programme is targeted at frontline employees, though I feel it will be beneficial to all our office and camp staff’.



The Staying Strong programme is a wellbeing initiative to help build employees’ emotional fitness (resilience, optimism, ownership and flexibility), and to help them persevere during tough times. Tools are used to help staff ‘break through instead of break down’ during difficult situations. Another great motivation is that Staying Strong is done in team groups, which creates deeper conversations and connections amongst colleagues.

Botswana rollout

The programme will be rolled out to all Wilderness employees across all offices and camps in 2023. There will be multiple workshops, tailored per region starting in Botswana during June, followed by Zambezi, Namibia, South Africa, East Africa, the UK and US.
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The Staying Strong sessions will take place with training workshops facilitated by Free To Grow for 15-20 employees at a time. These leaders will then use the toolkit to share the information and tools with their teams in 15 sessions, each 30 minutes long. This cascading model is referred to as Train-the-Trainer and will see supervisors and managers playing a pivotal role in the ongoing support of their teams’ wellbeing.



Mpho Mokaila, Wilderness DumaTau General Manager, recently attended the facilitator’s Staying Strong training in Botswana. ‘The Staying Strong programme equipped us with the necessary tools and training to maintain a healthy lifestyle balance. The workshop was both empowering and rejuvenating. It restored a quality of existence for all participants, giving us a renewed focus – on both a personal and professional level. Thank you to the HR Team, for organising this initiative and affording us the opportunity to be better versions of ourselves, and a support structure for those around us”, she said.

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.