© Koos van der Lende
© Koos van der Lende
Southern African Wildlife College

27 June 2011


Winner of the 2014 Mail & Guardian Skills for Sustainability Award

The Southern African Wildlife College, situated 10 km west of the Orpen Gate of Kruger National Park in the Limpopo province of South Africa, opened its doors in 1997. It is proudly supported by WWF South Africa and Peace Parks Foundation who share the vision of building the capacity of staff in wildlife areas. The programmes presented at the college cover the full spectrum of skills needed to sustain and rehabilitate wildlife areas.

Peace Parks Foundation has been sponsoring student bursaries since 1997 and in 2004 took over the responsibility from WWF-SA of covering any operational shortfalls. Following the development of a new business plan in 2010, the college has expanded its relevance and reach and created opportunities to ensure its financial sustainability. It has also developed and diversified its training products to cover a broad spectrum of essential skills needed in the conservation sphere. The college now presents courses that will not only develop and create career opportunities for conservation personnel but will also help to transform the biodiversity economy of the region.

Following its registration as a Private Further Education and Training College, the college achieved accreditation as a Private Higher Education and Training institution. In 2013 the college also entered into a new agreement with Peace Parks Foundation, whereby the foundation contributes 35% of the annual costs of the college’s flagship training courses, the Higher and Advanced Certificate Programmes in Nature Conservation. The foundation also assists with fundraising for conservation projects and serves as a business partner for training initiatives in the TFCAs.


During 2014, the college developed its 2015–2019 business plan, which follows on from its strategy to diversify its training products, establish strategic long-term relationships within the conservation sector and take advantage of business opportunities in the skills development field. Recognising that training needs to include capacity-building mechanisms that will cater for the people living in buffer zones, the business plan was developed in line with the key elements of South Africa’s National Development Plan. As such it will contribute to the goals and objectives of the National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan and the targets of the Department of Environmental Affairs’ Vision 2024.

Supporting these developments is the expansion of its current facilities, which will take place in 2015 following the signing of a finance agreement between the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and KfW. This work will be funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) through KfW. In the interim, Peace Parks Foundation signed a pre-financing agreement with the college, which made it possible to start on essential infrastructure and services, including staff houses and the ranger training camp facilities.

The Innovation, Development and Best Practice business unit, which was developed to investigate, improve and pass on to the training departments and other institutions the most appropriate conservation practices and skills, also secured funding from the Norwegian Programme for capacity development and research in higher education and research for development. The funds were awarded to facilitate the operations of the research unit and to develop research facilities. Thanks to the funding, six tented units were constructed to accommodate visiting researchers and students completing research projects or Master’s programmes. These units added an additional 12 beds to the current college accommodation of 168 beds.

The college’s flagship protected area management programmes, designed to help achieve long-lasting conservation results across the region, are now in their 17th year. In December, 48 students from seven different countries across the southern African region graduated from the college’s Higher and Advanced Certificate Programmes in Nature Conservation. The keynote speakers at the graduation ceremony were Mr Ernest Mokganedi, director of TFCAs in the South African Department of Environmental Affairs, and Mr Werner Myburgh, CEO of Peace Parks Foundation. They emphasised the importance of combining efforts, creating partnerships and pooling resources if conservation in Africa is to succeed.

Apart from these Higher Education and Training students, over1 500 students were trained across various qualifications and skills development programmes in 2014. This brings to over 12 000 the number of students trained at this SADC-recognised centre of specialisation in conservation education, training and skills development.

College awarded

In June 2014 the college won the prestigious Mail & Guardian Greening the Future Award in the newly established category ‘Skills for Sustainability’. The college was also a runner-up for the 2014 Rhino Conservation Awards in the category ‘Best Awareness, Education and Fundraising’ for rhino protection and conservation.

The college continues to play a vital role in countering wildlife crime in the region by training field rangers at various levels and conducting aerial patrols through its Wildlife Guardian Programme. Since 2013, the college, through its African Field Ranger Training Services Division, has been the in-house provider of ranger training to Kruger National Park, home to the world’s largest rhino population. The college also works closely with government and private reserves in the greater Kruger area to assist with the monitoring of rhino populations and tracking of poached animals, which is in turn linked to the training and deployment of field rangers.

For information on the training programmes of the college and on how you could support it, please go to the Southern African Wildlife College website.

Southern African Wildlife College Trust

The Southern African Wildlife College Trust was registered in 2000 as the Southern African Conservation Education Trust when WWF-SA saw the need to establish a trust fund in support of the work being done by the Southern African Wildlife College and to promote conservation education across the region. In 2011, the name was changed to the Southern African Wildlife College Trust to better align with the Southern African Wildlife College, its sole beneficiary.

Deserving conservation and wildlife management students at the college qualify for scholarships and bursaries awarded by the trust, which also awards funding to other priority projects at the college. A major objective of the trust is to continue to raise funds to assist the college in perpetuity. The assets of the trust are aligned with the WWF-SA Prescient Living Planet Fund, its objective being long-term capital growth with a high level of sustainability and environmental integrity.

Donors supporting the college

The Southern African Wildlife College would like to thank the following donors currently supporting its work, as well as past donors listed in previous years' Annual Reviews

  • Adopt-a-Student individual donors
  • Aimpoint
  • Afrisam
  • Avis
  • Bathawk Anti Poaching Aerial Patrol donors
  • Dallas Safari Club
  • Dioraphte Foundation (Liberty Wildlife Fund)
  • Distell
  • Explore Africa
  • First Rand Foundation – Rand Merchant Bank Environmental Fund
  • Friends of African Wildlife Switzerland and its donors
  • Hans Hoheisen Charitable Trust (managed by Nedbank Private Wealth)
  • Inter Africa BDC
  • Hair Health Beauty
  • Hunter Legacy 100 Fund
  • KfW
  • KfW Stiftung
  • Lydenburg Toyota
  • MAVA Foundation for Nature
  • RTL Television (Mr George Hackl)
  • Individual Our Horn is NOT Medicine campaign
  • Professional Hunters’ Association of South Africa
  • Safari Club International
  • Safari Club International Foundation
  • Scott Dunn
  • Timbavati Foundation
  • The Southern African Wildlife College Trust and its donors
  • Swedish Postcode Lottery
  • The Rufford Foundation
  • Tusk Trust
  • The Van Zyl Family
  • Wildlife Guardian Programme donors
  • Zürich Zoofäscht



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