Farewell to Safari Stalwart and Legend – Russel Friedman

Wilderness Safaris is devastated at the loss of true safari stalwart, legend and Wilderness champion, Russel Friedman. He tragically passed away from a heart attack on 4th February – at least doing something he really loved: mountain biking with good friends.

The longest-serving and one of the three original Wilderness Safaris co-founders, Russel joined Wilderness in 1984, playing a pivotal part in its growth and development.

He will be enormously missed, not only by his family (wife Bonnie and daughter Gabi) but by many in the vulture conservation community, the book dealer and publishing world, the cycling fraternity and of course, several generations of Wilderness Safaris employees who he mentored and guided – always with the best and most generous intentions.

Russel was instrumental in founding the Vulture Study Group, pioneering a change in attitudes to these birds, while running the country’s most influential natural history book dealer and publisher. He joined Wilderness, quickly making a substantial impact not only with his conservation ethos, but also his considerable business acumen. Russel was also a brilliant photographer and the driver of the Tour de Wilderness mountain bike events, raising funds for Children in the Wilderness and the Trust and making an incredible contribution to the empowerment of Africa’s people and the protection of its wilderness areas.  

“It is with deep sadness and regret that we share this news with you, but also with deep gratitude that we remember Russel and the role he played in our lives and the life of the company. His love of life, passion for conservation and his immense integrity will be missed by all who knew him”, said Keith Vincent, Wilderness Safaris CEO.