Changing a Child’s Life with Children in the Wilderness

“I have worked with Wilderness Safaris for over 23 years and I have to say that I have always known that we do great stuff… this experience truly changed my life.” – Tracy Bamber

Wilderness Safaris Chief Sales Officer Tracy Bamber participated in our recent Children in the Wilderness (CITW) Camp hosted at Davison’s Camp in Hwange National Park. Every year, certain Wilderness camps close for a few days in order to host children on a three-day conservation experience aimed to educate, inspire, and create leaders who will hopefully go on to become the custodians of Africa’s wilderness.

This Zimbabwe camp was particularly special to Tracy. She is undoubtedly one of the programme’s biggest supporters and has, through her marathon running, raised funds that have changed the lives of thousands of children.

Tracy took part in her first CITW Eco-Club 11 years ago, hosted in the Seychelles on North Island. In more recent years, Tracy has raised funds specifically for CITW Zambezi. Going to Zimbabwe this time around, was made all the more special because of this. It was important for her to meet the children and participate alongside them in activities, while seeing just how much goes into making an experience like this possible.

Tracy says, “Comparing the first day to the last, it is unbelievable to see the transformation in the children. They start out incredibly shy and reserved, and by the third day they leave full of life, having been on a journey that has changed their lives.”

Thirty two children from local communities around Hwange came together to take part in the Eco-Club, enjoying a range of activities from team-building exercises to learning about conservation, and going on game drives where they tried to spot as many animals and birds as possible. After their game drive, Tracy asked what they’d sighted. All 32 children put up their hands and couldn’t wait to share their sightings, totally enthralled by what they’d seen.

“After completing all the tasks and fun activities, each child becomes Supercamper. I had collected all my running medals from races I have completed over the years, and awarded each child with a medal to congratulate them on becoming a Supercamper. This made them so happy, and it was heart-warming to see how a simple gesture can be so meaningful”.

Tracy plans to run the Comrades Ultra 90 km Marathon once again in support of Children in the Wilderness in 2019. This will be her 13th Comrades, and to date she has raised almost R1.5 million through her running – all going to charities close to her heart.

“To see these children, and to see what we do in the background to make this happen, is just incredible. I would encourage as many people in our team to participate in something like this. It is an amazing experience to be part of what we do, and it is truly humbling.”