The Scientific Exploration Society is a UK-based charity (Reg No 267410) founded in 1969 by Colonel John Blashford-Snell OBE and his colleagues. As a non-profit making organisation we initiate a worldwide programme of scientific expeditions focusing on scientific, conservation, education and community aid projects.

Today, the focus of the SES is on delivering outstanding events and experiences to our membership, plus inspiring and supporting - through the SES Explorer Awards - the next generation of ground breaking 'Pioneers with Purpose'.


Pioneers with Purpose continues through the SES Explorer Awards.

By supporting the next generation of explorers who are working at the frontline of exploration, and benefiting local communities in the process, we seek the rising stars who could become major players in the next generation. These explorers will be willing to take on risks in a sensible way and who share the values of leadership, integrity, curiosity and sheer grit found in true exploration pioneers like SES Founder Col John Blashford-Snell.

Our aim over the next decade is to create the equivalent of the ‘Oscars of Exploration’; an opportunity to showcase the finest feats of contemporary explorers alongside a new generation who can be inspired by them. We believe the values expressed through the best kind of leadership, exposing integrity, understanding risk, pursuing scientific excellence and endeavour, are all values that the world urgently needs today to navigate the different choices facing humanity.

SES Explorer Award presenters 2015

Photograph courtesy of Nicholas Young Photography. www.nry.co.uk.

The full list of SES Explorer Award 2015 recipients is at click here.


Col John Blashford-Snell, Honorary President, SES. - 'Exploration today is all about advancement; we aim to give people the opportunity to explore their particular areas of interest first hand, to discover what is happening and gain the knowledge and understanding to do something to help.'
Sir Ranulph Fiennes, Honorary Vice President, SES - 'I have been delighted to follow progress, and to hear of the many inspiring young people who have applied for the SES Explorer Awards, showing that there are still many great opportunities for daring adventure and valuable scientific research to merge into great expeditions’.
Pen Hadow - 'Never has it been more urgent or important to understand better how the increasingly stressed natural world works, given that we entirely depend on it for our existence. The SES Explorer Awards recognise the significant role today's explorers can play in investigating and communicating the major social and environmental issues of our time.'
Rosie Stancer- “The SES is to be applauded in its initiative for throwing open the gates to plucky young explorers to go out into the unknown, meet fresh challenges and inspiring others through their own achievements. Such opportunities will yield a rich legacy of
learning and continue to uphold our proud heritage of exploration "

Neil Laughton- “JBS and the SES were instrumental in supporting my desire to travel and explore the world. As a direct result my life has been tremendously exciting, culminating in my achieving the Explorers Grand Slam. This is a wonderful opportunity for young and aspiring adventurers of the next generation.”
Monty Halls - “It is a commonly held misconception that the days of the great exploratory expeditions are over. Programmes such as the SES Explorer Awards are vital to fuel the efforts of young explorers, to facilitate the projects of the next generation of expedition leaders, and to continue the long and proud British tradition of stepping off the map"


Details of the SES Explorer Awards 2016 will be announced in the Autumn, however if you are planning and expedition and would like to make a provisional enquiry, we would be delighted to hear from you at

 Contact form

See  PowerPoint - SES Awards for Exploration 2015 v2.pdf (2.08 MB) find out more about the background to the Awards and the guidelines on how to apply are contained in  Guidelines to SES Explorer Awards 2016 v7.pdf (142 KB)


14th March 2016 Sam McConnell, who has led over one hundred walks in deserts across the African continent, will be joining us on March 14th 2016 at at 7pm at Park Tower Knightsbridge, to speak about Namibian Neolithic Rock Art. For details http://www.ses-explore.org/news_detail.php?article=318

23rd May 2016 The SES Explorer Awards assessment panel are currently sifting through the diverse range of outstanding applications for this years’ SES Explorer Awards, and hope that you can join them on Monday, 23rd May 2016 at the Park Tower Hotel when the successful ‘Pioneers with Purpose’ will be announced. We will also be hearing from past Award recipients about their successfully completed expeditions. Join us for this great opportunity to see the rising stars of scientific exploration! For details http://www.ses-explore.org/news_detail.php?article=341

Autumn 2016 We have two exciting talks this coming autumn. SES Cadogan Tate Explorer James Borrell in September, and Oliver Steeds in November. See our events page for further details http://www.ses-explore.org/news


Col. John Blashford-Snell and team arrive in Colombia

All members of expedition have arrived in Bogotá and set out by bus for 2 day journey to Valledupar at dawn on Monday 8 February. To read more about this latest expedition read here

If you would like to help us continue the Society's work, please click here to donate.


By becoming a member of the Scientific Exploration Society, you are part of a team which is supporting tomorrow's great explorers and celebrating today's exploration pioneers. For costs and how to join click here.

In essence, SES membership entitles you to:

  • Advance notice of forthcoming expeditions.
  • Details of our regular lecture series given by leading explorers which are held at the Park Tower Hotel in Knightsbridge in their Exploration Suite. This is a great way to meet like-minded people on an informal basis
  • Entry to all ‘2015 Exploration at the Frontline’ panel based discussion events held at the Frontline Club, Paddington, London.
  • Invites to the Frontline Club monthly ‘Members’ Drinks, sponsored by Chivas!
  • SESAME, the SES magazine is published biannually and much loved by members.
  • Expert help and advice with travel plans
  • 10% Discount With Nathan Beard 'Wild Ventures' for SES Members when arranging a bespoke venture.
  • 15% discount on purchases from Cotswold Outdoor
  • 20% discount on online purchases from Power Traveller
  • A free 30 minute introductory session and 25% off subsequent Speaking Coaching sessions with Wayne Alexander from AchieveBetter.
  • Discounted subscriber prices and access to the extensive range of remote support services offered by leading international health charity InterHealth
  • SES books, DVDs, videos and merchandise at discount prices
Latest Blogs

Libby Gaulton
24th Jul 2015

Libby Gaulton
21st Jul 2015

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