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Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Trekforce Expeditions

Trekforce is a gap year and career break organisation that sends participants to remote destinations. For nearly 20 years, Trekforce has balanced trekking with conservation projects, aiding local communities and exploring new surroundings. It remains a pioneering organisation in the industry and leads expeditions to a number of diverse regions around the world.


Wandy Swales was the inspiration and spirit behind Trekforce. He was one of the late and great original explorers. Like every explorer he inspired those he came into contact with. Wandy also co-led Operation Drake (the precursor to Operation Raleigh). Realising the great work that expeditions can do for the host country as well as the participant, Wandy founded Swale Treks and started leading true adventurous expeditions in the mid 1980s exclusively to Indonesia, where at the time many of the 30,000 islands were uninhabited.

Swale Treks turned into the charity: The International Scientific Support Trust in 1990. This in turn became Trekforce Expeditions to reflect the changing nature of project-based expeditions. The early 1990s saw an increase in the popularity of expeditions. Trekforce has always placed an important emphasis on leadership and their staff have included Bruce Parry, Doug Warner, Ed Swales, Damian Taylor, Corrin Adshead, Lizzy Ellis and Steve Oliver who were all involved in carrying on the great work from Wandy and his fellow supporters. Trekforce Expeditions was continued by Rob Murray John, who then set up Trekforce Worldwide to carry on the legacy of Trekforce Expeditions.

Trekforce Expeditions was a UK-registered Youth Development Charity (No. 1005452) running from 1990 to 2006, which ran two-month jungle expeditions in places such as Belize, Borneo and Guyana where it conducted various conservation projects. The volunteers were predominately from the UK, aged 17-25, with the aim being personal development whilst contributing to remote infrastructure projects in these countries. It is now a limited company and still promotes the original environmental and adventurous principles that it was founded on.

In February 2008, Trekforce was acquired by Greenforce, another gap year company that places a strong emphasis on conservation and the environment. Greenforce specialises in marine conservation and terrestrial projects. In April, they became well known for their work with the Maasai in the London Marathon. With the merge, Greenforce focused on science-oriented conservation projects whilst Trekforce continued to promote safe and adventurous expeditions.

In early 2009, Trekforce is set to become an integral organisation within Gapforce.

Countries of Operation

Papua New Guinea


Trekforce is an official Belizean NGO and has been given part of its rainforest to sustain.

Over the years, Trekforce has worked with many film and television crews, including Ben Fogle in his TV series Extreme Dreams, Jack Osborne on Adrenalin Junkie and Bruce Parry on The Tribe. Trekforce provides important TV and film logistics, especially in remote settings.

Trekforce has completed over 200 projects, been responsible for the creation of over 100 national parks and helped set up significant rainforest, archeological and marine research centres.

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