A Few Words
With the level of species diversity and endemism, the Western Cape is an area of high conservation importance. Most of the remaining natural areas in the Western Cape fall under private landownership. The conservation efforts of these landowners are thus of great importance. Conservancies are recommended as an effective way for landowners to collaborate with their neighbours and collectively address conservation related challenges in their areas. There are over 80 registered conservancies in the Western Cape which include the participation of more than 1600 landowners.
Conservation at Work is a Non-Profit Organisation that promotes and supports the conservation of private land in the Western Cape. This is primarily achieved by sharing information with landowners, formalising partnerships with stakeholders and mobilising resources for conservation initiatives. A further core function is the representation of all conservancies in the Western Cape at the National Association of Conservancies and Stewardship South Africa (NACSSA).
Conservation at Work shares information with the members through our website where you can access fact sheets, conservation guidelines and documents relating to natural resource management, relevant legislation, sustainable farming and conservation best practice.The website and Facebook page also aim to support landowners by providing an online platform for members to share news and articles of interest and stimulate discussion and further promote the importance and impact of private sector conservation.
The organisation engages with key stakeholders and formalises partnerships that will create an enabling environment for private conservation and deliver on the needs of members and stakeholders. Conservation at Work also aims to provide a single point of contact for stakeholders to engage with conservation minded landowners.
Supported by the organisations formal partnerships,Conservation at Work submits funding proposals to mobilise resources for conservation initiatives on members properties. The primary objectives of such proposals focus on natural resource management activities (alien vegetation clearing, fire management, soil conservation, etc.) as well as the training and capacity building of farm labourers in conservation related skills and enterprise development projects that empower local contractors to deliver natural resource management services to landowners and funded projects.
After the formation of The National Association of Conservancies South Africa (NACCSA) in 2003, the need for a branch in Western Cape was identified, and WCCSA (Western Cape Conservation Stewardship Association) was constituted in 2004. Since this association was driven by volunteer landowners it lacked sustainable impetus.
“In 2011 the association received funding from Table Mountain Fund to employ an external contractor, NCC Environmental Services (Pty) Ltd (NCC), to compile a business plan and implementation model in order to create sustainable foundation, where it provides value-adding services and support to its members.”
This association will ultimately become a one-stop-shop for members, stakeholders and funders in terms of: conservation management best practice, expanding the protected area footprint on privately owned land and the mobilisation of resources for conservation projects on private land.
Meet The Team
Dianne Marais has been with Conservation at Work from its inception as WCCSA in 2006. Dianne saw the association grow to where Conservation at Work is today. Dianne Marais a microbiologist by trade, is the chairperson of the Hermanus Botanical Society and involved in the conservation of the Fernkloof Nature Reserve and surrounds. Dianne has a passion for the environment and has been actively involved in the conservancy environment for the past 20 years with many great success stories of which the Schapenberg / Sir Lowry’s Conservancy is but one.
Pippa Haarhoff was born and schooled in Zimbabwe. She graduated in Archaeology at UCT and joined the South African Museum (now Iziko Museums) in 1977 where she worked in the Cenozoic Palaeontology department on the fossil collection from Langebaanweg under the guidance of Dr Brett Hendey. She played a leading role in initiating the Fossil Park project in 1992 and moved up to run the Park, where she still lives, when it opened to the Public in 1998.
Abraham Suse started his wine career in 1999 on Welgemeend Wine Estate, a small wine cellar in Klapmuts. He worked as a cellar hand and as a Farm Supervisor. He went to Burgundy in France in 2001 for two months as an exchange student for training in Viticulture and Winemaking. He worked with Cordoba Wines untill he joined the Wedderwill Wines team as Winemaker and Viticulturist in 2012. Wedderwill joined the Schrapenberg Sir Lowry's Pass Conservancy in 2015, where Abraham serves as a member on their Committee.
Growing up in arid Namibia I have a love of dryland conservation and working with people who farm in these environments. I volunteered and worked in various aspects of conservation in Namibia, from vulture conservation, the game capture unit to community based resource management. I obtained a B-tech in Nature conservation and a MSc from NMMU at Saasveld and am currently completing a PhD focussing on restoration of arid farmlands. I worked as a field guide in Namaqualand and Elandsberg Nature Reserve, as well as doing some environmental consulting work. In 2019 I took up the position as Conservation Manager at the Rooiberg Breederiver Conservancy in Robertson. I work with ~30 landowners to improve management of their natural veld and support WWF together with Cape Nature in their stewardship efforts in the area.
Gill Gimberg [acting chair] has worn many hats over the years, including those of industrial relations officer, horse riding teacher, sailor, legal assistant, freelance writer, editor and indexer and, most recently, subsistence farmer and conservationist. She and her husband live off-grid on a piece of mountain land in the Overberg which is part of the Klein Swartberg Conservancy. Most of the conservation efforts to date have revolved around alien clearing in order to rehabilitate and conserve the fynbos and endemic animal and plant species on this beautiful inselberg of the Cape Fold.
Heather Epstein is a part time scientific researcher at UCT .She partners running a small export Protea farm and has been actively involved with the Schapenberg Sir Lowry’s Conservancy since its inception in 2000
Francis Steyn is heading the team of Sustainable Resource Management: Landcare Western Cape Department of Agriculture and is passionate about the sustainable management of our natural resources and the people that manage these resources.
Anita Wheeler has been with CapeNature for 23 years, and over the years occupied various positions, of which Biodiversity Stewardship was for more than 10 years. She obtained her Masters’ Degree in Botany at Rhodes University in 2014, during which she focussed on the factors that influences sustainable ecological ostrich farming in the Klein Karoo. Anita is currently appointed as the Acting Conservation Stewardship Specialist for Protected Area Expansion and Stewardship and mainly focusses on providing strategic leadership and operational guidance to CapeNature’s Stewardship Programme, Protected Area Expansion Strategy and Landscape Conservation Initiatives, including biodiversity corridors, World Heritage Sites and Biosphere Reserves.
Gareth started his conservation career in 1998, working at Volgelgat and Fernkloof Nature Reserves in Hermanus. 20 years in the conservation sector has allowed him to gain a wealth of knowledge and experience, working in all the major biomes across South Africa and the central Namib desert. He has worked for the Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife the Namibian Government (Namib-Naukluft National Park), in Environmental Education, Protected Area management and project management. His focus over the last 7 years has been developing tools for and implementing Biodiversity Stewardship in KwaZulu-Natal where he assisted in the establishment of the Midlands Conservancies Forum and also where he joined WWF-SA. This has been a rewarding time in his career where he has worked together with farmers to secure the long term protection of some of South Africa’s most special biodiversity and ecosystems through the establishment of several new protected areas.
LandCare is a community based and government supported approach to the sustainable management and use of agricultural natural resources. The overall goal of LandCare is to optimise productivity and sustainability of natural resources so as to result in greater productivity, food security, job creation and better quality of life for all.
Cape Nature is a governmental organisation responsible for maintaining wilderness areas and public nature reserves in Western Cape Province, South Africa. CapeNature was very involved with the establishment of WCCSA in 2003. We work closely together with CapeNature to combine efforts in responsible management of private land.
The Table Mountain Fund of WWF South Africa donated funds to Conservation at Work for the appointment of an external consultant to draw up a Strategic Business Plan and to guide the association through a period of organisational strengthening.
Conservancies in the Western Cape
Conservancies are a vital link in the conservation chain connecting natural areas. The map gives an illustration of the areas, existing conservancies cover, in the Western Cape Province (as per data from the Cape Nature Stewardship Programme).
There are currently70 registered conservancies in the Western Cape. If you would like to become part of a conservancy please contact us and we can assist you as far as possible. Below is a list of active conservancies in the Western Cape. If you are part of a conservancy in the Western Cape which is not listed below, please contact us to be added to the list.
- Aalwyndal Conservancy
- Akkedisberg Conservancy
- Attaquaskloof Conservancy
- Badsberg Conservancy
- Baviaanswes – Hartebeesrivierhek Conservancy
- Benede Bergrivier Conservancy
- Betty’s Bay Conservancy
- Blombos Conservancy
- Boschfontein Conservancy
- Bosrivier Conservancy
- Bottelary Hills Renosterveld Conservancy
- Breede Rooiberg Conservancy
- Buffelsdrift Conservancy
- Cederberg Conservancy
- Constantia Kloof Conservancy
- Danabaai Conservancy
- De Diepegat Conservancy
- De Draai Conservancy
- Donkerhoek Conservancy
- Duiwenhoks Conservancy
- Eden Coastal Conservancy
- Fransmanshoek Conservancy
- Glenwood Conservancy
- Gounaland Conservancy
- Great Brak River Conservancy
- Greater Simonsberg Conservancy
- Groenfontein Conservancy
- Groenlandberg Conservancy
- Groot Vaders Bosch Conservancy
- Hartenbosheuwels Conservancy
- Hemel & Aarde Valley Conservancy
- Herold Conservancy
- Hexpas Conservancy
- Indalo Conservancy
- Jonkershoek Conservancy
- Kaaimans Corridor Conservancy
- Klaarstroom Conservancy
- Klein Swartberg Conservancy
- Kleinriviersberg Conservancy
- Knysna Coastal Conservancy
- Kromrivier Conservancy
- Lower Breede River Conservancy
- Midbrak Conservancy
- Middle Keurbooms Conservancy
- Napier Mountain Conservancy
- Nature’s Valley Conservancy
- Noetzie Conservancy
- Noordhoek Conservancy
- Onrust Mountain Conservancy
- Paardeberg Conservancy
- Pearly Beach Conservany
- Phantom Pass Conservancy
- Pringle Bay Conservancy
- Qolweni Community Conservancy
- Redford Conservancy
- Renosterveld Conservancy
- Rooi Els Conservancy
- Rooiberg Conservancy
- Sakrivier Conservancy
- Schapenberg Sir Lowry’s Conservancy
- Sedgefield Conservancy
- Solitaire Conservancy
- Southern Crags Conservancy
- St Blaize Conservancy
- Swartruggens Conservancy
- Theewaters Conservancy
- Touw River Conservancy
- Tygerberg Hills Renosterveld Conservancy
- Walker Bay Fynbos Conservancy
- Western Heads Goukamma Conservancy
- Zonderend Conservancy