The Best Gap Year Programs South Africa

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The Warriors Team

Our team consists of certified and qualified individuals who are passionate about the growth and development of all the people that join our gap year programs, multi-activity adventure instructor training, school outings and corporate workshops. We share our passion for life with all the Warriors, especially those looking to grow themselves by participating in our gap year programs in South Africa. 

Rudi Viljoen (Owner)

Rudi’s studies are ranged from Spirituality, Metaphysics, Hypnosis, NLP, EFT and Performance Coaching. His belief is that we control our own destinies through the knowledge that we are able to conquer our fears and reach our true potential through understanding our limitless potential and ourselves. Rudi guides the Warriors through a journey of self-discovery, safely allowing them to see who they really are and how wonderful each individual truly is.

  • Masters completed in Ontological and Performance Coaching
  • Event Co-ordinator for various sport and charity events
  • NAUI Scuba Instructor Trainer
  • First Aid & DAN Oxygen Provider Instructor
  • Ocean Skipper with night racing
  • Private Pilot’s License
  • Abseiling Supervisor
  • Survival Instructor
  • Past Chairman & Honorary member of Round Table
  • Past President of Letaba Rotary Club
  • Past Chairman of Youth Development (Rotary District 9400)
  • Paragliding & Skydiving
  • Business Management
  • Coaching Facilitator
  • Warriors Academy Safety Co-ordinator
+27 (0)82 802 0880
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Rowena Viljoen (Program Director)

Rowena has been part of this extraordinary team since 2007 and is the Warriors Academy Program Director. She is extremely passionate about the growth and development of young adults and thrives on coaching and supporting them to be the best versions of themselves, mentally, physically and emotionally. Rowena takes on this role with pride and has made it her mission to ensure that the Warriors Academy Gap Year Program is not only run with precision and compassion but is one of the best gap year programs available globally. She is a profound leader who enjoys sharing her love of the outdoors and adventure with others.

  • First Aid and CPR Level 3
  • Spinning Instructor
  • Master Scuba Diver
  • Rotarian
  • Rotary Youth Leadership Awards Chairperson for District 9400
  • Outdoor Adventure Facilitator
  • Fitness Instructor
  • Health and Wellness Counsellor
  • Rebounding and Lymphology Instructor
  • Blood Work Analysis and Nutrition Advisor
  • TRE Facilitator
  • Psych-K Practitioner
  • Coaching Facilitator
  • Yoga
  • Scheduling Logistics 
  • Northern Mountain Club Member
  • Hiking
  • Mountain Biking  
+27 (0)83 737 2892
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René Viljoen (Training Director)

René specialises in the natural processes of health and wellness. Her passions are achieving total wellbeing through body, mind and spirit. Her uplifting personality combined with her maternal love makes her a loving and nurturing mother to all. René’s focus is in achieving a balanced full life as naturally as possible. René assists the Warriors in healing mentally, emotionally and physically through the practice of QEC and TRE. René is also the guide to exploring cultures and understanding one's own sexuality.

  • Registered Educator at PPASA (Planned Parenthood Association of South Africa)
  • Life skills & HIV Aids Master Trainer
  • Sexuality Education
  • Scuba Instructor
  • First Aid & DAN Oxygen Provider Instructor
  • Registered Spinning Instructor
  • Mountaineering
  • Certified Health Practitioner in Nutrition & Detoxification
  • Reflexologist
  • QEC & TRE Facilitator
  • Coaching Facilitator
  • Psyk-K Facilitator
  • Adventure Site Guide
+27 (0)82 802 0823
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Tumi Matlou (Marketing)

Tumi’s Ambition to do her best and be the best in her respective fields has led her to various achievements. Her passion for marketing has put her in line to make sure Warriors is well branded and well represented. She adds “Colours” to the team and as the famous Quote say, “Dynamites comes in small packages.”

  • Bcom Marketing Degree
  • Event Coordinator
  • Coastal Skippers License
  • First Aid Level 1
  • TRE Facilitator Level 2
  • Zumba Instructor
  • Dance Instructor
  • Advanced Scuba Diver
  • Running Instructor
  • Nutritionist
  • Rotary Exchange Student
  • Warriors Rotaract President 2012
  • Rotaract member 2009 – current
  • PDP
  • Monte Blanc SA Team Runner
  • Marketing and Communications for Warriors and Revlon SA
  • Coaching Facilitator
  • Media Intelligence
  • Big Data Analytics
  • Account Manager
Ruan Viljoen (Adventure Specialist)

Ruan is a natural leader that loves to be challenged. He always strives for excellence and believes that anything worth doing is worth doing well. He motivates and develops leaders, teaching powerful life principles and producing highly focused and energetic young adults using adventure and extreme sports as a channel. Ruan is the extreme Warrior, there is no challenge that he won't take on and conquer. He is safety driven in all the challenges that he takes the Warriors on, he guides them in overcoming their fears in a safe and secure manner, giving them the freedom to achieve what they never thought possible, building their confidence and developing their self-esteem, taking them to the next level. Ruan believes that leading by example in all aspects of life is his greatest strength.  

• Generic Adventure Site Guide (Hiking Unlimited)

• Warriors MAI trainer

• First Aid Level 3

• MDT Walking Group Leader

• MDT Abseil Supervisor

• Trail runner

• Mountain biking

• Outdoor Adventure Facilitator

• River Guide

• Master of Yachts 200 GT Unlimited

• Scuba Diving Instructor [Specialty and Nitrox] (NAUI and PADI)


• STCW, PDSD, Eng 1

• RYA Powerboat Level 2 - VHF Radio - Diesel Engine - Radar - PWC

• Super Yacht Deckhand

 • SAMSA Skipper (With surf launch and SCUBA diver endorsement)

• PDP Code 14 Driving License (Unlimited size with public transport)

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Renske Hagg (Senior facilitator)

Renske’s energy will get you moving! She joined the Warriors Family in 2013 and her passion for life is contagious. She has a thirst for adventure and believes that “Being out ‘there’ is where I grow”. Her deep and respectful love for nature makes her a reliable leader in the field. She is a mover and a shaker and will turn any ordeal into an unforgettable adventure. As part of the Warriors team, Renske is always researching, upgrading and developing behind the scenes.

  • Generic Adventure Site Guide (Hiking Unlimited)
  • Warriors MAI trainer
  • First Aid Level 3
  • MDT Walking Group Leader
  • MDT Abseil Supervisor
  • Trail runner
  • Mountain biking
  • Outdoor Adventure Facilitator
  • River Guide assistant
  • Master Of Yachts 200 Gross Tons Unlimited
  • STCW 95
  • PDSD
  • RYA Power Boat level 2
  • RYA VHF Radio
  • Crowd control management
  • Stewardess Course
  • Photography
  • Code 8 Drivers License with PDP
  • Diploma in Therapeutic Massage and Diploma in Aromatherapy
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Francois Van Schalkwyk (Facilitator)

Francois is a truly an energizer bunny! A man on a journey to his dreams; who on his adventures stops to help anyone that needs it. Francois is a joker that has the spirit of a kid. He is a nature lover and even a bigger animal lover. Everyone around Francois understands and sees his passion for the outdoors! He is definitely one of the guys.

  • Open Water 20 Raid Scuba Diver
  • Driving License and PDP
  • Rebound Instructor
  • Survival
  • Cooking Skills
  • Off and On Road Motor Biking
  • Entrepreneur
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Brad Askew (Facilitator)

Brad started as a facilitator here at the Warriors Academy in 2021 after completing his two year MAI instructor program. Brad’s enthusiasm for adventure and overall excitement for life is infectious and comes through in everything he does. Brad specifically enjoys rock climbing and scuba diving and is passionate about conservation. He supports our Warriors through all their challenges and always strives to help and encourage others, which is just one of the reasons why we love having him as part of our Warriors team. 

  • Outdoor adventure facilitator 
  • Abseil supervisor
  • Walking group leader award 
  • Advanced public speaking presenter
  • Mountaineering 
  • Fitness instructor
  • First Aid and CPR Level 3 qualified
  • Trail runner
  • Survival facilitator
  • River guiding 
  • National Open water swimmer
  • CGA swimming 
  • Deckhand award
  • Video Editing 
  • OPW 20 scuba diver (Naui)
  • Lifesaving
  • Adventure Site Guide 
Matthew Wilkinson (Facilitator)

Matt started as a facilitator here at the Warriors Academy in 2021 after completing his two year MAI instructor program. Matt's passion for the outdoors and analytical brain makes him an asset to the team. He is always on hand to push and motivate the Warriors in all their activities. Matt is also our resident mountain bike guru, and you will often see him assisting the Warriors with their bikes during our activities.  Matt always strives to better himself and shifts this focus onto helping the Warriors do the same. His inquisitive nature and passion make him a strong and valuable member of the Warriors team! 

  • Outdoor adventure facilitator
  • Mountain biking instructor
  • Limpopo national cyclist
  • Adventure racer
  • Bicycle mechanic
  • PDP
  • Open water 20 RAID scuba diver
  • Survival Facilitator
  • Deckhand award
  • Adventure site guide
  • Abseil Supervisor
  • Mountaineering
  • Fitness instructor
  • First aid and CPR Lvl 3
  • Working at Heights Supervisor
  • Walking group leader award
Dirk Heuff (Ambassador: Europe)

Dirk is a proud Dutchman and father of 3 Warriors and has participated and assisted at multiple Warriors activities. That experience was so very positive for him that he has regularly shares it with everyone willing to listen. He is a real Warriors ambassador. 

Dirk’s work as a business coach focusses on empowering people from all walks of life to develop into the best version of themselves, whether that is in business, in sport or in their personal life. With a loving smile he challenges and confronts while listening very carefully to your story. 

Dirk has been an international rugby referee (talking about managing people …) and enjoys cooking a good French cuisine with a glass of wine on the side. His love for SA finds its origin in 1997 when honeymooning the country. Ever since, he has made multiple trips to SA. These trips always included rugby, braai, hippo’s and beers. 

All this puts him in a perfect position to be Warriors’ first ambassador in Europe. He is based in The Netherlands.

  • Master of Science in Business Administration from the Erasmus University in Rotterdam
  • Master in Coaching from the Johan Cruyff Institute in Amsterdam
  • DISC certified trainer and coach
  • World Rugby Trainer of Educators
  • World Rugby Coach of Match Officials
  • Referee Coaching & Development manager for Dutch Rugby Union
  • Author of the first Dutch book on business development for lawyers and notaries
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