Joel van der Loon
Survival & bushcrafT Instructor, school founder
My experience in becoming a survival instructor began from childhood growing up in South Africa and Tanzania, East Africa - in particular, living off the grid on an isolated stretch of tropical coastline of wild bush, hosting an array of animal species.
The last 12 years, I have traversed through 40 countries and crossed oceans as a yacht engineer, exploring some of the worlds most remote locations by sea. I have hiked, camped, and paddled in just about every type of ecosystem and trained in desert, alpine, jungle, and temperate survival methods. I have taught survival skills to various demographics such as families, celebrities, children, military, and even little people with dwarfism. I am qualified in advanced sea survival under the British Coastguard, I have tracked Africa's largest animals with the Maasai tribal people, and hunted with the Rama Indians in the jungle of Nicaragua. I have put myself into testing conditions in the remote jungles of Costa Rica, the Alaskan arboreal forest, Florida swamps, arid Sonoran desert, coastline of Mexico and of course all over California with little more than a knife, water bottle, and the clothes on my back. I believe that there is no substitute for teaching from a position of real-life experience.
I have been a student of kick boxing and MMA for 7 years, and competed in several amateur bouts. I am a passionate surfer, free diver, spear fisherman, hunter, naturalist, and minimalist.
Listen to my Wild Ideas Worth Living podcast interview highlighting the most essential items to have in the wild, four survival skills you need to know, and thoughts on following your passion!
Survival Qualifications, Education & Training:
- STSC Survival Instructor
- WMA Wilderness First Responder
- MCA Medical First Aid Responder
- ASHI Wilderness First Aid
- MCA Advanced Sea Survival
- MCA Advanced fire fighting
- CA Hunter Education
- CA Bowhunter Education
- CA Trapping licence
- RYA/MCA Yachtmaster200t Captains License
- Celestial and electronic navigation
- MCA Chief Engineer Officer Certificate of Competency
- IMSN Vessel Safety Officer Course
- IMSN Anti-Piracy Defense Course
- Surf Proficiency Award, Lifeguard
south african anti-poaching and bushcraft course instructor
Les has over 40 years of bushcraft knowledge and experience in African countries such as Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe. A corporate member of the field Guides Association of Southern Africa and Professional Hunter's Association Les has achieve the coveted Level 3 Field Guide qualification.
His specialist area of knowledge being dangerous game, in addition this he is also a licensed Professional Hunter (Dangerous Game) and Game Outfitter.
International, private and public sector often seek his council and guidance when traveling and taking part in expeditions to remote areas of Africa, in the past Les has supported the British Schools Exploring Society, British Scouting Association, HM army forces, HM customs excise, US Special Forces, British Lions and England Rugby team as well as entities in the media and entertainment industry among others. Les has even trained a contestant for Discovery channels popular survival show "Naked and Afraid".
With speaking engagements at venues such as the Royal Geographic Society in London and in schools throughout the United Kingdom and USA, presenting on a myriad of topics such as Conservation and Environment. Media appearances include UK television's "Wish you were here" and newspapers and magazines including Sunday Express, Scottish Sunday Express, Wonderlust, Red, Survival Africa and National Geographic.
- Desert and arid training provider
- Specialist Ranger (dangerous game) - (GP0415)(NQF6)
- Professional hunter and Outfitter - CPM-005-00013
- Medical first aid (level 2)-(The American and Health Institute)
- Advance driving (IBA)
- Close protection officer (IBA)
- Firearms training officer
- Advanced weapons handling
- Unarmed combat and self defense (NQF6)(SAQA)
- Instructor TWPA (Threatened Wildlife Protection Academy)
- Education, training, and development practitioner (NQF6) Handgun, shotgun, rifle, and hand-machine carbine
- Special weapons and techniques (Koga training)
- SA Maritime captains licence
- Accredited SAPS training provider
- Special tourist guide