The perilous 1,000-mile journey to save Africa’s endangered black rhinos
28 October 2022
The /Ai/Ais-Richtersveld Transfrontier Park features magnificent barren landscapes, the world’s second largest canyon, the Fish River Canyon, and the richest succulent flora on earth. Looking after this unique, though harsh, area are a number of dedicated staff.
One such staff member is Nicholas (or Nick as he is known) de Goede, the park manager on the South African side of the transfrontier park, who was justly rewarded for all his hard work by South African National Parks (SANParks) at their 9th Annual Kudu Awards Ceremony held on Friday 1 November 2013.
Nick received the Chief Executive Award for Overall Best Performer, which he won for displaying resourcefulness in overwhelmingly challenging situations, while excelling as an example to all.
Nick has has been working with transfrontier conservation areas (TFCAs) for many years. Before joining the /Ai/Ais-Richtersveld team, where he has been for almost five years, he worked for the Natal Parks Board for 16 years and then for Ezemvelo KwaZulu-Natal Wildlife. Here he worked on both the Maloti-Drakensberg and Lubombo TFCAs.
His responsibilities at the /Ai/Ais-Richtersveld Transfrontier Park are many and varied and include conservation, technical services, human resources, administration and tourism. One of Nick’s strengths is that he has a very hands-on approach and his staff know that he will expect nothing that he is not willing to do himself. To ensure that his team delivers their best at all times, he and his staff regularly undergo training, some of it not for the fainthearted, like the mountain rescue training.
As is the case with most protected areas, /Ai/Ais-Richtersveld is underfunded and this is where Nick’s resourcefulness comes to the fore. Every year he negotiates top-up funding from the Department of Environmental Affairs to maintain the pontoon, which allows visitors to cross the international border between Namibia and South Africa.
He was also responsible for obtaining funding to purchase heavy-duty machinery to clean up the pontoon landing area after floods.
Furthermore, Nick managed to secure funding from the Global Environment Facility for the development of the Kleinduin and Augrabies West farms near Port Nolloth, for inclusion in the community properties along the coast.
Last, but not least, he negotiated funds from the Department of Tourism for the purchase of equipment for sporting events such as the Desert Knights mountain biking tour.
SANParks’ arid region, which includes the /Ai/Ais-Richtersveld Transfrontier Park, Augrabies Falls National Park, Kgalagadi Tranfrontier Park, Mokala National Park and Namaqua National Park, walked away with three Chief Executive Awards.
Congratulations Nick – well deserved!