Track Record

Membership and Accreditation

The Southern African Wildlife College is:

  • A member of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as a national non-governmental organization (NGO). In addition, volunteer experts from the SAWC are members of the IUCN Species Survival Commission (SSC) Specialist Groups to help address conservation issues related to particular groups of plants, fungi or animals, with some experts focusing on broader issues such as reintroduction of species into former habitats, climate change, wildlife health and sustainable use and trade.
  • A recognised SADC Centre of Specialization in Conservation Education, Training and Skills Development.
  • Accredited by CATHSSETA (Culture, Arts, Tourism, Hospitality and Sports Sector Education and Training Authority) and the custodian of national qualifications in the fields of tourism, tourist guiding and nature conservation – Provider Accreditation No 613/P/000001/2004.
  • A CATHSSETA appointed Institute of Sectoral and Occupational Excellence (ISOE) for its outstanding contribution to skills development and organisational capacitation.
  • Registered with the Department of Higher Education and Training as a Private Higher Education Institution under the Higher Education Act 1997. (Reg. No. 2011/HE08/004)
  • Recognised by the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) as an approved project for social economic development purposes under the Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment Act.
  • Recognised ‘in-house’ service provider for conservation and tourism-related training, as well as counter poaching training for the Kruger National Park.
  • Lead provider for the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) in both Conservation and Tourist Guiding for in the Limpopo-Mpumalanga Provinces.
  • Strategic implementation partner, capacity building and support in implementing Biodiversity Economy initiatives for the DEA (now Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries).

Training Projects

The College has since its inception conducted training across the SADC region and has also trained people in other African and International countries.

Some of the major training projects in which the College has been involved:

  • Training within Mozambique for the new Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park (GLTP) (2001)
  • Training Provider to the INTAC project – Training of 400 learners in conservation and guiding (2003)
  • Simultaneously, training 34 women from 9 different African countries in basic field ranging skills. Training of women in conservation is ongoing.
  • Training 100 field rangers as part of a Game Rangers Association of Africa (GRAA) project funded by Liberty Wildlife Foundation (2003)
  • 205 beneficiaries from GLTP trained on accredited skills programs (General Assistant and Field Ranger), funded by the Flemish government (2008/09)
  • Limpopo National Skills Fund (NSF) project to train 201 unemployed learners in Natural Resource Management (certificate) – NQF Level 5 (2009)
  • Liberty Wildlife Foundation funded training – over 400 field rangers trained.
  • Field Ranger Anti-poaching training across various provinces/national and provincial parks (on-going)
  • Training of 220 unemployed youth as general assistants and field/farm rangers. This forms part of an initiative by the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform who through the National Youth Service Corps (NARYSEC) are recruiting and developing rural youth to be paraprofessionals who will provide community service. (2012/2013)
  • Close involvement with other local community projects, including a Women’s Empowerment Projects which has seen local community members trained in, amongst others, maintenance, building and thatching skills.

Other notable training projects

  • National Treasury’s Jobs Fund project to train 90 Field Rangers to be employed by the Kruger National Park
  • National Treasury’s Jobs Fund project to strengthen 100 micro-enterprises participating in the wildlife economy along western boundary of the KNP, in partnership with Resource Africa
  • Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) Youth Environmental Service (YES) project to capacity build 300 unemployed youth in Mpumalanga and provide them with industry placement experience.
  • National Treasury’s Jobs Fund Project, which was aimed at training 257 unemployed peopled trained and placing them in permanent employment. The project was implemented over two years to help build the capacity of five employer organisations and support the protection of threatened species such as rhino. This contributed to alternative livelihoods, poverty reduction and social economic development as well as the capacity of communities to manage their own wildlife resources in Mayibuye and Somkhanda community reserves.

Training Partnerships and Projects

  • The College is a proud development partner of NORHED, the Norwegian Programme for Capacity Development in Higher Education and Research for Development, in its aim to strengthen the capacity of higher education institutions in Low and Middle Income countries (LMIC) to educate more and better qualified candidates to increase the quality and quantity of research conducted by the countries own researchers.
  • WWF-SA GT5213 / ZA2335.B /ZA 5256:  WWF-South Africa partnered with the College in three projects to create a sustainable Community based Natural Resource Management (CBNRM) unit at the SAWC and a business model for CBNRM implementation in South Africa. This was done via the SAWC’s Rural Initiatives for Sustainable Development Unit (RISE), which has become a leader in creating innovative models for protected areas to provide governance support and to protect wildlife linked to communities and conservation.
  • USAID- RESILIM B – This project, entitled “Creating Sustainable Resilience Villages as examples for the Limpopo River Basis” was aimed at developing, piloting and rolling out innovative and appropriate forms of training by the SAWC to address the real needs for pro-poor transformation of protected area buffer zones to contribute towards building resilience in the region.
  • Developed and implemented training programmes for PPF Herding for Health programme in South Africa, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Zambia and Mozambique (2019)
  • The SAWC’s Protected Area Integrity Department (2019/2020) is involved in:          
    • A Ranger Wellness and Perception Survey with WWF-SA and Khetha
    • Curriculum development for Braveheart Ranger Leadership Development with support from WWF-South Africa through the Khetha Programme supported by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The curriculum aims to develop skills in holistic leadership, conflict resolution, community engagement, negotiation and mediation, law enforcement ethics and corruption mitigation.
    • Curriculum development for monitoring the Illegal killing of elephants (MIKE) for CITES
    • Curriculum development for INL KAZA Customs training for customs

International Training

  • Training field rangers in Myanmar to support the Karen Environmental and Social Action Network (KESAN) initiative.
  • Involvement in the development of field ranger training and field ranger training centres for other countries with work taking place afar a field as Bhutan, India, Georgia and Cambodia.


  • Winner of a South African National Parks KUDU award in recognition of the contribution the SAWC has made in the category: Environmental Education and Capacity Building (2007) and who have excelled in their work (K9 Unit) and served SANParks in conservation (2018)
  • Best Conservation NGO – rhino conservation award – for outstanding work done in the fight against rhino poaching in South Africa (2012)
  • Rhino Conservation Awards – a GRAA Co-operative initiative: Nominee (2012, 2013, 2017), Best Awareness, Education and Funding Runner up – Awarded to the SAWC (2014), Best Rhino Conservation Supporter Award –  Awarded to the SAWC’s Bruce McDonald (Pilot) and Marianne de Kock (Field Ranger Trainer and Programme Manager) (2018)
  • Mail & Guardian Greening the Future Awards which celebrate the achievements of South African society in sustaining a healthy planet. SAWC awarded Skills for Sustainability Award (2014)
  • SANParks Innovation Award – Group Award – SAWC (K9 free tracking hounds), KNP section rangers and KNP airwing for their counter-poaching operational successes
  • Kruger National Park’s Managing Executive Award – honouring the work of the SAWC’s free tracking hounds and the Kruger National Park rangers and pilots, including the SAWC’s aerial support unit, in helping to counter poaching
  • SPEAR NPO Award – Rhino Conservation Awards: Category – Conservation Practitioner Award – The SAWC placed as 1st Runner Up 2019 with recognition given to the direct forces involved in the plight to protect the rhino in Kruger National Park by SPEAR – Stop Poaching Endangered African Rhinos together with Nkomazi Interest Group.

The Southern African Wildlife College is an appointed Centre of Specialisation in conservation education, training, and skills development within the SADC region.