Our Ambassadors

Children in the Wilderness (CITW) is very privileged to have two fantastic Ambassadors – Peter van Kets and Jacques Marais. Together, these two have been creating awareness and spreading the CITW message, through their ‘Beyond Expeditions’. Read all about these two passionate ambassadors below. 

PETER VAN KETS

One of South Africa’s top adventurers and a passionate conservationist, Peter’s exploits include rowing unsupported across the Atlantic Ocean – twice. He recently completed an unsupported race across Antarctica to the South Pole, commemorating the race between explorers Scott and Amundsen to the Pole 100 years ago. In his latest talk, Peter relates his lessons learned, applying the factors critical to success to the business world by using real life examples. He addresses the issues of great vision, planning, teamwork, strategy, conflict management, working in a dynamic environment, selfdiscipline and perseverance – to name but a few.

In 2008 Peter made his name known in the world of extreme adventure by winning the unsupported Woodvale Trans-Atlantic Rowing Race together with friend Bill Godfrey. With this he was awarded the South African Premiers Award and the Eastern Cape Sports Star of the year (2008) Award. In 2010 Peter spent 76 days alone in a 7 meter rowing boat crossing the Atlantic. His epic 5438 Km unsupported row across the Atlantic was a first for any African. With this he was awarded the S.A. Out There Adventurer of the Year 2011.

Peter writes an inspirational column for the Leadership Magazines – Leadership in Sport. He also writes an inspirational column for the business magazine “Blue Chip”.
He is married to Kim (also an extreme endurance athlete) and they have a daughter Hannah. Peter has a great affinity with the planets oceans and seas having spent most of his life either in, on or near the sea. His two rows across the Atlantic and the experiences he has had have made him passionate about the conservation of our oceans. His motto is DOT. Do-one-thing! He understands that on his own he can have little impact on the total conservation of our seas, but collectively, if we could each just do-one-thing we could have a dramatic effect and save our oceans.

Peter is a very popular guest speaker both on the South African and international speaking circuit. His presentations are powerful and inspiring receiving rave reviews everywhere. In his latest talk, Peter relates his lessons learned / critical success factors to the business world by using real/true life examples of achieving success. He is a passionate speaker and is totally devoted to inspiring people and changing their lives and very kindly did a fundraising talk for Children in the Wilderness in September 2014.

Peter’s Website

JACQUES MARAIS

Most of my outdoor mates and connections know me as #DieOom. Let’s just say I’m pretty okay with that J

Over more than three decades of adventuring, I’ve been fortunate enough to become  a pretty okay photographer and photojournalist, too, mostly thanks to these self-same mates who often have to suffer my lens pointing at them in some goddamn beautiful corner of the great outdoors. So thanks for that.

The official blurb is this: I’m a professional photographer and author who regularly contribute to a range of premium travel-, adventure- and outdoor magazines, both in SA and abroad. Over the years, I’ve authored 14x books, including successful outdoor titles on Adventure Racing, Trekking and Mountain Biking – for a range of respected publishers – with a recent focus on adventure travel and the environment. As an internationally acclaimed photojournalist, I cover global extreme sporting events, shooting disciplines as diverse as rock climbing, trail running, slack-lining, adventure racing, downhill mountain biking, surfing, snowboarding and off-road expeditions.

I am also an accredited  GETTY and former RED BULL photographer, and therefore fortunate enough to cover global extreme sports commission for respected outdoor brands and agencies. It is a schlep to enter competitions, but I’ve done okay: in 2007, I was selected as a global finalist in the acclaimed Red Bull ILLUME International Sports Photography Competition, joining top action shooters from 22 countries, and  I have also been awarded GOLD and SILVER Certificates in the Sports Category of the SONY ProFoto Awards (2010).

Adventure travel is a huge passion, and Africa has featured big on my radar, with backpacking, mountaineering, rafting and kayaking trips to countries as diverse as Morocco, Malawi, Ghana, Mozambique, Swaziland, Zimbabwe, Central African Republic, Botswana, Uganda, Seychelles, Egypt, Mauritius and Madagascar. International destinations include continental Europe and Scandinavia, Argentina, Bolivia, Borneo, Brazil, Vietnam, Cambodia, Australia, Iceland, USA, Mongolia, Russia and Greenland.

As part of my BEYOND EXPEDITIONS Collaboration with (the way more famous) Peter Van Kets, I’ve joined him on a Fat-Bike and MTB Crank from Angola to Swakopmund in Namibia, crossing the Skeleton Coast, Damaraland, Kaokoland and Dorob National park by bicycle on our BEYOND THE DESERT EDGE Expedition. The second expedition was an incredible trip via six African countries, all the way to Rwanda, where we climbed Africa’s highest volcano, trekked with chimpanzees, paddled the wild Lake Kivu, and came face-to-face with the critically endangered mountain gorillas. It was an amazing adventure into central-east Africa, and a true ‘Adventure Hunter’ quest!

Both van Kets and Marais are official ambassadors to Children in the Wilderness, a non-profit organisation educating rural children on conservation and sustainable community development. “We explore wild places to draw attention to the importance of preserving these natural spaces,” explains the duo. “Children in the Wilderness does this mainly through educating the next generation of decision-makers; inspiring them to care for their natural heritage and become custodians of these areas. We encourage everyone out there to support this worthwhile cause in order to protect Africa’s pristine wilderness areas.” 

The second edition of Jacques’ ‘Guide to MOER & GONE Places’ has just been published, featuring more than 300x pages on off-the-grid outdoor destinations in southern Africa. I am currently working on two new titles, including the SA TRAILS BIBLE and an extensive travel guide highlighting southern Africa’s Peace Parks & Transfrontier Conservation Areas. 

For more information, follow me on my Social Media networks @jacqmaraisphoto or  visit www.jacquesmarais.co.za