Bruce McDonald

Bruce McDonald


My earliest childhood memories were spent dreaming of flying…I would stop whatever it was I was doing, watching the sky whenever a plane flew overhead, filled with wonder and amazement.

This led to Bruce having two passions in life, aviation and conservation.

He was fortunate enough to grow up in a conservation environment and at the age of 17 Bruce obtained his pilot’s licence, with his driver’s licence still to come.

In Bruce’s early career he worked in various lodge environments, led wilderness trails and also completed a national diploma in game ranch management. Whilst managing an upmarket corporate game lodge, he got involved with aerial support and counter poaching and it was then that he first developed a small flight school.

Catastrophe hit shortly after he was approached to develop and manage a game lodge in Klaserie Nature Reserve. Shortly after completion, the devastating floods from a cyclonic event hit. The lodge was washed away and destroyed to the ground. Bruce and his family were airlifted by helicopter and walked away with only the clothes they had on. A truly life-changing event!

He then focused on his flight school and flying activities and joined the SAWC in 2014 to develop the SAWC Aerial Support Unit. The unit has grown from strength to strength and has since become an invaluable asset to the Private Reserves as well as SANParks and the Kruger National Park.

In 2018/2019 Bruce was awarded Hoedspruit pilot of the year, and also in 2018 the Game Rangers Association of Africa rhino award.