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
Mike Fabricius - Chairperson
Mike completed his BSc in Zoology and Entomology at Rhodes University and furthered his studies at Nelson Mandela University to complete a Btech in Nature Conservation. His passion for wildlife and conservation began early in his life bird watching in the Eastern Cape on the banks of the Great Fish River. He has worked in a number of Nature Reserve in the Cape and is currently Wildlife Ecologist on Grootbos Private Nature Reserve and manages the Walker Bay Fynbos Conservancy. His focus areas in conservation include wildlife monitoring, building ecological corridors, fire management and human wildlife conflict mitigation. He became a committee member of conservation at work in 2018 and has served on the committee since.
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.
Christel has worked as an independent strategic public relations consultant since 1999. She grew up in the Bottelary area and have always had a keen interest in conservation. In 2018 she actively explored a career within the eco-tourism industry. She was appointed the first BHRC conservation manager in October 2018. Her responsibilities include management of alien vegetation clearing, conservation and community projects; marketing and member liaison as well as the management of the 130km BHRC mountain bike trails. She still runs Peridot Communications part time and joined the committee in 2022.
Eugene grew up living on various Provincial Nature Reserves in the Eastern and Western Cape so my love of nature started at a young age. He has a National Diploma in Game Ranch Management from Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University and has been working in the Game and Conservation Industry for the last 12 years. I am currently the Conservation Manager for Game and Veld at the Nuwejaars Wetlands Special Management Area between Bredasdorp and Elim.
Thilivhali Murivami has been in the field of conservation for a decade. His passion being environmental education. He is a qualified facilitator, able to conduct effective environmental educational programs. He’s main role being in alien clearing, fire management, fynbos restoration and forests rehabilitation. He has been working at Grootbos Foundation and the Walkerbay Fynbos Conservancy for 9+ years, as a conservation officer. He holds a Post Graduate Diploma in Nature Conservation, which he obtained at Mangosuthu University of Technology. It gives him great joy to work in the conservation of the fynbos biome.
Tiaan Strydom has 10 years’ experience in various fields of conservation ranging from fire ecology, indigenous vegetation ecology, ornithology, and alien/invasive plant ecology. He is currently managing a private nature reserve called Dunefields in the Garden Route of South Africa, where the main purpose is to quantify biodiversity, monitor the vegetation, bring back lost ecological processes, remove alien/invasive plants, and ultimately protect this ecosystem into perpetuity. His passion lies in restoring and protecting vulnerable ecosystems especially along the coastal areas of South Africa which is currently under threat from increased urban development, sand mining and alien/invasive plants. He has recently been awarded his PhD at the Nelson Mandela University
Jacques Smit is the current manager of the Rooiberg Breederiver Conservancy. He enjoys nature and all that comes with it, camping, hiking, mountain biking and more. His experience in conservation took shape at Cloof and Burgherspost Wine Estates (both being WWF Conservation Champions), he was responsible for the conservation management of these estates, including alien clearing, ecotourism, wildfire management, game management, and environmental compliance. Jacques has a Bachelor of Science in Conservation Ecology from Stellenbosch University and recently completed a part-time Postgraduate Diploma in Environmental Management with Stellenbosch University School of Public Leadership in 2021, Jacques developed a particular interest in Environmental Governance, and intends to specialise in Conservation Stewardship in the Western Cape Province by completing his Master of Philosophy in that topic.
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.
Sarah obtained an MPhil in Environment, Society and Sustainability from the University of Cape Town in 2015. Her thesis topic focused on resource management around agricultural land on the West Coast of South Africa and was: The Food-Energy-Water-Land-Biodiversity (FEWLB) Nexus through the lens of the Local Level: An Agricultural Case Study. Before this she completed her Honours at Rhodes University through the Geography Department, under the Water Management program and her thesis was: An Investigation to Assess Access to Water and\Equity, in Grahamstown, Makana Municipality. Soon after graduating, Sarah worked for Grootbos Private Nature Reserve in the Western Cape for a year and a half where she was employed as a field researcher and guide. She joined the committee in 2022.
Rudolph Roscher is the District Manager of the Cape Winelands district for the Western Cape Department of Agriculture. His roll mainly focusses on the sub-program LandCare, and he has more than 30 years’ experience working with landowners in the agricultural sector. He is mostly involved in addressing Natural Resource Management needs at a landscape level.
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.
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.
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
- Pietersfontein 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