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Farewell, Russel Friedman....

4/30/2018

 

The safari industry lost a legend with Russel Friedman who passed away from a heart attack on February 4th while engaged in an activity he loved - mountain biking with good friends.

 

 

 

 

The longest-serving and one of three original Wilderness Safaris co-founders, Russel joined Wilderness in 1984, playing a pivotal part in its growth and development, as well as pioneering eco-tourism in Africa. In the 1970s, he was instrumental in founding the Vulture Study Group and pioneering a change in attitudes to these birds (hence his nickname 'Vulcha'), and by the early 1980s was running the country's most influential natural history book dealer and publisher. It was through the book business that he met Colin Bell and Chris MacIntyre, the other two founding partners of Wilderness Safaris. He supplied them, and a host of other naturalists, with books and material for their overland safaris into Botswana and Zimbabwe from Johannesburg. It wasn't long though before he joined the fledgling business, quickly making a substantial impact not only with his conservation ethos, but also his considerable business acumen. As the founder and chair of the Wilderness Trust, and later Children in the Wilderness, he was often the company's conscience in the areas of ethics, community and conservation.

 

Russel was also the driver of the Tour de Wilderness mountain bike events, raising funds for Children in the Wilderness and the Trust, thereby making an incredible contribution to the empowerment of Africa's people and the protection of its wilderness areas. 

 

 

 

 

Classic Africa benefitted greatly from Russel's loyal partnership, support, humor and sage advice over the years, and enjoyed hosting him in our home whenever he visited the States. He will be considerably missed by the safari industry, but his legacy will not be forgotten as we strive to continue down the important path of eco-tourism that he courageously paved for us.


4/30/2018
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