‘My poems are a voice for wild animals, for the wild areas of the world and for the wild part of the human psyche. We have forgotten where we have come from…that we are biologically and psychologically bound to the Earth and to all living things…that we are part of the web of life. We can learn a lot about ourselves from the wild. And we can learn something else…we can learn how to give back. We can rediscover the meaning of relationships.’

These words from Dr. Ian McCallum, a poet, writer, wilderness guide, conservationist and psychiatrist, were uttered as part of his address at last year’s inaugural Rewilding: ROAR & RESTORE Retreat in Kenya, in what was a transformative experience for all. In fact, it was one of many in a unique learning journey filled with fascinating insights, observations and wisdom from a stellar line up of speakers. My personal learning was that ethics are not something you learn, but something you discover once you acknowledge the mysterious connections that exist between all living things. This code of ethics or ecological intelligence is a philosophy that strikes to the heart of our Rewilding: ROAR & RESTORE retreat, set to take place from May 31 to June 5 this year.

In the 12 years since I started ROAR AFRICA, I have seen how the simple act of being in the wild can change people profoundly. However, what transpired on our first Rewilding Retreat was beyond my wildest expectations. While last year’s journey was punctuated by deep discussion and thought-provoking debate there was also a refreshing openness, connection and vulnerability between speakers and guests that led to profound and fundamental shifts in every one of us. To bear witness to this incredible display of trust, on the part of our guests, was my greatest privilege to date. In turn, it led me to the realization that my life’s work in travel will be to move guests to affect similar initiatives and change in their daily lives – in order to be the change they wish to see.

Designed as a five-day learning journey of reconnecting, self-discovery and self-realization, Rewilding: ROAR & RESTORE 2019 will bring together the visionaries, game-changers and eco-pioneers, who inspire us on a daily basis. This year’s retreat will be led once more by ROAR AFRICA’S dear friend and specialist wilderness guide, Dr. Ian McCallum, whose profound intuition, vision and poetry has inspired me since the very first day we met. His thoughts on the far-reaching consequences of action and inaction and his belief that ecological intelligence (the understanding and acceptance of the ancient interconnectedness that exists between us and the animals, trees and land with which we share this planet) leads to a sense of freedom, wellbeing and authenticity is what underpins every aspect of the rewilding experience.

We’re very excited about this year’s lineup of inspiring thinkers, each of whom will give generously of their time as they explain their personal exploration of the evolutionary bonds that connect life across our planet and how it helped them and will help you, to create new frameworks within which to live. The rewilding itinerary is designed so that each speaker session is interspersed between game drives, spa treatments, trail walks and the very many other activities on offer at Segera – so that you have time to digest, reflect, respond and reconnect at your own pace.

Our goal? To inspire people like you – those like-minded individuals we are privileged to call guests – and give you the opportunity to step outside of yourself in one of the most immersive and inspiring places on the planet. Segera Retreat is a recognized Global Ecosphere that is set within 50,000 acres of wilderness on Kenya’s Laikipia Plateau, and offers unparalleled luxury and exclusivity that is both intuitive and discerning.  A decade ago, Segera was a wasteland, overgrazed and denuded of its flora and fauna, not to mention the livelihood of its community. That is until businessman, philanthropist and visionary Jochen Zeitz bought it and set about restoring the land, reinstating the wildlife and creating a sustainable ecosystem that would benefit the local community. Segera’s success is a success for us all in that it illustrates the power of the rewilding process whilst offering the perfect environment in which to reflect on how far we as a species have strayed from our own inner wildness – and most importantly how we can reclaim it.

Our speakers are as follows:

Craig Foster, a filmmaker, environmentalist and naturalist, who has spent his life studying and filming the natural world in order to tell the stories of people who live closely connected to nature. Craig’s focus on the ocean and in particular the kelp forests in the cold, wild waters at the tip of South Africa where he dives every day in his quest to discover, understand and document this pristine environment. Craig’s overriding mission in his work is to illustrate what can be gained when mankind acknowledges and re-establishes our ancient relationships with nature. His belief that immersion in cold water generates new reserves of energy in the mind and body is revelatory and backed by science. Two years ago, his extraordinary relationship with an octopus became the subject of a fascinating episode of BBC’s Blue Planet 2 series. As co-founder of The Sea Change Project and co-author of the book Sea Change, we’re honored to have Craig as a keynote speaker and know that his passion for promoting and protecting our marine heritage whilst motivating a reconnection with ourselves through a deep immersion in nature will have a profound impact on us.

Wanjira Maathai, is the daughter of the late Nobel Laureate, Wangari Maathai, a leading figure of post-colonial Kenya who as an activist and environmentalist shattered boundaries for women. Wanjira’s work to advance her mother’s legacy, both previously as a director of her mother’s flagship Greenbelt Movement and now as Chair of the Wangari Maathai Foundation (WMF), has manifested in the nurturing of youth culture to create a sense of purpose and integrity. ‘We recognize that young people will play a profound role in shaping Kenya’s future and so the WMF seeks to nurture core values – in particular the building of courageous leadership,’ she explains. As such Wanjira’s mission to engage and challenge young people to think, lead and live their lives with the kind of values, principles and integrity that her mother had, is leading to engagement and responsibility where the health and wellbeing of a community comes from within.

Dr. Lucy King is the Head of the Human-Elephant Co-Existence Program for the research charity Save The Elephants, and is credited with coming up with a ground breaking beehive fence design that acts as a deterrent to keep elephants out of smallholding farms next to Tsavo East National Park in Kenya. Not only has this worked to keep 80% of the elephants out but it has also significantly reduced the human-elephant conflict whilst providing honey and a pollination service for the farmers. Having grown up in Somalia, Lesotho and Kenya, Lucy is an African passionate about Africa’s wild spaces. Her research has been published in numerous scientific journals and she was awarded the UNEP/CMS Thesis Award in 2011 from the United Nations Environment Program’s Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species. She won The Future for Nature Award and The St Andrews Prize for the Environment in 2013.

Dr. Bianca Beldini, As the founder of Sundala Wellness in NYC, Dr. Bianca Beldini is an expert in the art of ‘hands on healing’, having started her journey studying physiotherapy at the Hanzehogeschool van Groningen in the Netherlands. There she counts herself fortunate to have been exposed to a European holistic health care model that shaped her mindset and set the intentions of her physical therapy practice for life.  ‘I realized the profound effects of the power of touch early on’ says Bianca, whose thirst to learn, understand and know more has led her over a 25-year period, to experience and acquire knowledge in just about all of the physical therapies. Bianca’s fusion of western anatomy, acupuncture, trigger-point referral, biochemical movement, neurodevelopment patterning and structural unwinding, led to the creation of a progressive style of treatment called The Sundala Method. Dr Beldini works as a specialist in treating Broadway performers, ballerinas, semi-professional triathletes and professional MLB baseball players is progressive and all-encompassing. 

Doug Rowe, an ex US National Rugby squad player whose knowledge and passion for pursuing the optimal healthy lifestyle is put to good use in helping people perform at their peak levels. Every ROAR & RESTORE guest will benefit from a one-on-one holistic wellbeing session with Doug whose ethos is that living a healthy life leads to a more energized and fulfilled one. ‘The improved positivity one gets from this means a happier outlook on life which naturally knocks onto others and thus makes a better planet for everyone.’

To create an optimal experience for all, places on the Rewilding: ROAR & RESTORE retreat are limited, for more information on this life-changing trip email welcome@roarafrica.com.