On every Outward Bound Exploration, there is always a systematic procedure that our experienced Instructors follow to maintain our safety standards. This is a great way of keeping a balance within the group and making sure that everyone is accountable for and aware of their surroundings. The following diagrams are great examples of where the Group Leader should be positioned within the Group and why.


                      STUDENT   ♦                                                                   INSTRUCTOR  ψ


POSITIONING STRATEGIES (in relation to physical positioning):




FAR SWEEP                      SWEEP                      MIDDLE                  LEAD                  FAR LEAD


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  ♦  ♦  ♦  ♦  ♦  ♦  ψ

INTENTION: this position allows the staff member to micro navigate and to be in position if any hazards are encountered. Also allows the staff member to role model navigation and keeping the group together. This positioning is often used early on a course or during difficult terrain.





♦  ♦  ♦  ♦  ♦  ♦                ψ

INTENTION: this position allows the staff member to move ahead of the group to macro navigate and/or recon the terrain and anticipate any hazards. This position also allows the students to take ownership of the micro navigation.





 ♦   ♦   ♦  ψ  ♦   ♦   ♦

INTENTION: this position allows the staff member to build relationships, assess, assist, and/or check-in with individual students, and to coach the student navigators. The staff member is close enough to the front to also intervene if hazards are encountered.





ψ  ♦   ♦   ♦   ♦   ♦   ♦

INTENTION: this position allows the staff member to observe the group and still build relationships, while giving the navigators and student group more autonomy. The staff member is no longer in position to anticipate hazards or to coach the student navigators.





 ψ                   ♦   ♦   ♦   ♦   ♦   ♦


INTENTION: this position grants the students with more autonomy and is warranted when students demonstrate competency with regards to navigation, travel, hazard assessment, and social cohesion.





♦   ♦   ♦

♦   ♦   ♦


INTENTION: this position allows the staff member to observe the whole group and to be in position to react to risk management or educational needs. The group is enabled to spread out which can be useful when traveling through open, fragile, or aquatic environments.




These diagrams describe individual positions. When there are two or more staff present they can each position themselves to accommodate a multitude of needs, assessments, and intentions. With common names staff can efficiently and clearly communicate the plan for their positioning. (see below).




♦   ♦   ♦  ψ  ♦   ♦   ♦                 ψ


INTENTION: These two positions combined allows one staff member to move ahead of the group to macro navigate and/or recon the terrain and anticipate any hazards, while the other staff member can observe the group and build relationships This position also allows the students to take ownership of the micro navigation, but the staff member in the middle can easily intervene if hazards are encountered.

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Have you ever had to use these types of stratigues before?

If so, let us know all about it..


The History behind Outward Bound

Outward Bound is a non-profit, outdoor-education organization which aims to encourage personal growth as well as social skills of participants by using challenging expeditions and activities in the outdoors.

The mission statement of Outward Bound South Africa is to empower young South Africans with the character, will, values and self-belief to live their lives to the full and to consistently make the right choices.” Outward Bound South Africa does this through adventure-based learning interventions, providing safe, expeditionary learning experiences that open the eyes, mind and souls of our participants. In so doing Outward Bound South Africa aims to set thousands of young people free from lives of poverty, mediocrity and destruction, and to contribute to the prosperity, pride and success of our country. We use outdoor and adventure activities as a profound metaphor through which to promote individual growth and community transformation.

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Who had the brains to put this together?

Kurt Hahn and Lawrence Holt, with the support of the Blue Funnel Line, started the first Outward Bound School situated in Aberdovey in Wales in 1941. Outward Bound grew out of Hahn’s work in the development of the Gordonstoun School and what is now known as the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. Kurt Hahn felt that young people were not prepared for the hardships of life on a mental, emotional or physical level.  He saw their lack of enthusiasm, lack of care and skill, lack of adventurous spirit and lack of motivation.  He knew that qualities such as perseverance, compassion, initiative, fitness and life experience were lacking in the youth.  Outward Bound’s founding mission was to give young men the ability to survive harsh conditions at sea during the war by teaching confidence, perseverance, and tenacity of spirit and to build experience of adventure and to handle harsh conditions.

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Outward Bound South Africa Founded in the aftermath of Apartheid, as a result of the visionary efforts of Charles P Stetson, an American philanthropist from Connecticut. Outward Bound SA started in 1992. Today, Outward Bound SA’s central focus is to impact the lives of young people in South Africa who have been marginalized and disadvantaged by the political history and injustices of the past. It helps people develop life skills, compassion and a determined, positive attitude toward life and its many challenges.

 What’s In a Name…

The name Outward Bound comes from a nautical expression that refers to the moment a ship leaves the harbor. This is also signified by Outward Bound’s use of the nautical flag, called the Blue Peter.

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Our motto: “To Serve, To Strive and not To Yield,” was adapted by JF Fuller from “Ulysses“, a poem written by Alfred Lord Tennyson.


… Come, my friends.
Tis not too late to seek a newer world.
Though much is taken, much abides; and though

We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are —
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

Alfred Lord Tennysen

Our programs are challenging, but never overwhelming; they stretch but never break; they are memorable and life changing.

Sea Kayaking and Hiking Expedition

At Outward Bound we have a passion for going on Adventures unlike any other. We call these OBSA Expeditions. This is a short Blog on what one of those adventures would need and entail:

What is an Expedition: It is an organized journey that is made for a particular purpose such as exploration, mission etc.

What are the Purposes for our Expeditions:

  1. An Expedition can provide incentive for and a chance to measure individual growth and group achievement of skills, these are called oriented goals.
  2. An Expedition, more than many other types of Adventures, offers the Participant the opportunity to truly master the skills required and proceed with the activity with little or no input from an Instructor. A very empowering learning environment.
  3. It helps to identify weaknesses and strengths.

 The Equipment required for the Expedition:  

Tents and sleeping bag: The tents are used for on the ground sleeping. At Outward Bound South Africa we provide our students with two-man tents. The tent is light in weight and it is easy to carry. Outward Bound South Africa also provides students with the sleeping bag if they happen to come on course without one.             

Douglas: We use the spade to clear the cooking area so that the grass doesn’t catch a flame and it is also used for digging up the “long drop”.

Woozy mat: The woozy mat is used for the lightning drill and also for sleeping on. We tell our Students to sit on the woozy mat only when we know it is necessary to do a lightning drill.

Stoves: When Students go out for an expedition we also provide them with the ground stoves. We give them 4 stoves to use for cooking.

Food: We give our Students rations (food) when they go out for an expedition. They need to be able to share the food among themselves.

Torch: A torch is needed at night when students are hiking or during night camp crafting.

First Aid Kit: We, as Outward Bound South Africa Instructors are qualified with Level Three First Aid. We carry First Aid Kits at all times while in the great Outdoors. It is used for any emergency or if Students need medical attention.

Teaching Outline:

Ø  How to pack a back pack: The first thing that goes into the back pack is the back pack liner. It helps to keep your things dry in case it rains. The second thing that goes into back pack liner will be the sleeping bag because it is the last thing you will need, unless if it is really necessary to be used during the day. The third thing will be your clothes followed by group equipment. A rain coat should always be packed at the top or it should always be where it is easy to grab.

Ø  Food and Drinks: Most Participants are unfamiliar with the Outward Bound food and thus unaware of the possible ways of preparing it. The Instructor is their main source of information and inspiration. Before the course starts it is important as an Instructor to be familiar with the rations and the different ways of preparing them. The benefits will be healthier, more efficient and you will end up with a happy group.

Ø  Map and compass: Teaching Participants how to read a map is a very important tool. It offers metaphors to encourage people to choose the right directions in their lives. The top of the map always points North. Always teach Participants how to use a compass and how to orientate the map. The compass is the most useful when you don’t have distinctive geographical features to orientate yourself with. The magnetised needle in your compass will align itself with the earth’s magnetic field that runs approximately along its North –South axis, unless there’s something metallic or magnetic that interferes with it.

So, after reading all this, you are now ready to embark on Your very own Expedition! Send us pictures and let us know where you explored at Outward Bound SA and that you found! We can’t wait to hear all your stories…

Words by:


Training Coordinator at Outward Bound SA

Eat Right & Travel Light

When packing the food for your camping trip, planning is key.

Every gram counts when you are carrying all your camping equipment, clothes and meals on your back. Follow these 5 easy tips to make sure you are eating right while travelling light on your next outdoor adventure:

  1. Foods high in energy and nutrition are vital as you will be burning many calories out in the mountains. Make sure you are eating a balanced diet and include a starch, protein and a fruit or vegetables into every meal.
  2. Once you have collected your food items, lay them out clearly into the different meals. This will help you to get a clear picture of what you will be eating and help you to avoid taking too much or too little. Use a basic food group wheel to make sure you are including all the types of food that your body will need.
  3. Get rid of any unnecessary packaging, you don’t want to fill your bag up with air. Remember that whatever you take into the mountains, you must take out with you. You should be able to eat as much of what you carry as possible. This way your bag gets lighter as you eat and you don’t end up carrying too much rubbish around.
  4. Snacks are an absolute must to keep you going through long days on your backpacking trip. Be wise in your selection of snacks as this can be tricky. Avoid foods that are high in sugar; they tend to give you a burst of energy up front and then soon leave you exhausted and thirsty. Rather go for snacks high in protein or complex carbohydrates that will give you long lasting energy throughout the day.
  5. Finally never break the three health rules of backpacking: Hydration. Hydration. Hydration. You may aim to travel light but you should never skimp on your water supplies. When backpacking, your body uses much more water than usual and you should budget at least 2 litres of drinking water per person for every day you are out. Remember this is not including the water you will use to cook and clean. Dehydration is extremely dangerous and can sneak up on you if you are not extra careful. So a few extra ‘back up litres’ is highly recommended.