What do Nature Conservators do?

Our students are equipped with the knowledge and skills necessary for a career in nature conservation and related fields. The main emphasis of the conservator is to manage biodiversity in natural ecosystems by integrating human and economic resources.

The Department of Nature Conservation Management provides qualifications in Nature Conservation.

Programs offered

The following qualification paths exist within the Nature Conservation field:

The Nelson Mandela University’s George Campus is located in an area where many of these biomes come together, with indigenous forests and fynbos within walking distance of the campus buildings. Within a 40 km radius of the campus, we also have succulent Karoo, thicket and the coastal environment present, which provides students the opportunity to experience a diversity of habitats and associated management strategies. Our campus is located just outside the town of George, on the edge of the indigenous forest. And here we have a tremendous diversity of species present, with more than 30 mammal, 200 bird, 250 fungi, 30 reptile, 800 insect, and 1 500 plant species recorded on campus and in the immediate surroundings.

This proximity to nature enables us to truly apply the theory taught in class to practical situations during our practical sessions and excursions on campus and further afield. These practical sessions also enable students to observe the species they learn about in class, while observing the interactions those species have with the rest of the natural environment. This enables students to develop practical skills, as well as skills in problem-solving, communication & teamwork, which will be essential for their career development. Another major advantage of our campus is the relatively small class sizes, which provide students with more focused attention from our highly qualified lecturers, many of which are top class researchers/scientists with many years of practical conservation experience.

During the third year of study, students have the opportunity to apply their knowledge and skills, during the Work-Integrated Learning year. This year is completed off-campus, at a conservation organisation or reserve anywhere in South Africa (or further afield), under the supervision of a qualified mentor. Here students’ skills are honed, their knowledge expanded, and they have the opportunity to work with a team of people to make a difference and help conserve our natural environment. Through this real-world experience, students are exposed to many different aspects of conservation and can discover the challenges and rewards of this career field.


Career Opportunities

Career opportunities include: nature conservators, wildlife managers, extension work, conservation management on nature and game reserves and estates, parks boards, provincial nature conservation departments, private nature reserves and properties belonging to regional services councils, certain municipalities and larger forestry companies. Other career fields include field ranger, ecologist, researcher, environmental restoration agent, public and environmental health management practitioner, or biosecurity and environmental monitoring agent, a highly skilled and qualified field guide. There are also opportunities in the socio-ecological sector such as environmental education.


For enquiries regarding the Diploma and Advanced Diploma programs:


Mrs Natalie du Plessis (Admissions)

T: +27 (0)44 801 5194

F: +27 (0)44 805 6767

E: Natalie.DuPlessis@mandela.ac.za

W: georgecampus.mandela.ac.za