The Story of Conservancies

Conservation KZN (KwaZulu-Natal Conservancies Association) is the largest and most active voluntary conservation organisation in South Africa. The Association was formed in 1981 and the first Conservancy started at Balgowan in the Midlands. There are now nearly 100 Conservancies in KwaZulu-Natal. Conservation KZN is a registered Public Benefit Organisation (PBO 930023747)

Originally, a Conservancy was a privately owned piece of land under conservation, usually a farm or wilderness area. Today, Conservancies are defined as the organisation; in other words the people are the Conservancy, not the conservation area itself. Ordinary people, from all walks of life, make up Conservancies. Conservancies are now found in suburban, rural, river, farm, estuary, coastal, industrial, institutional and residential estate areas.

Conservation KZN has widened its scope of operation by forming partnerships with other Conservation organisations and municipalities. The Association is a member of NACSSA (National Association of Conservancies and Stewardship of South Africa)

Operational Structure

Meet Our Trustees


Malcolm Stainbank

Chairman of the Association

Has been the chairman for over 12 years. Farmer and conservationist, a wealth of practical environmental experience, an extensive network of environmental relationships.


Phil Barker


Retired Group Financial Director of Crookes Brothers; Managing Director of Crookes subsidiary Renishaw Property Developments.


Colleen Downs (Prof.)


SARCHI Research Chair in Ecosystem health and biodiversity in KZN and the E. Cape. School of Life Sciences.


Neil Macleod

Water Conservationist

22 years head of eThekwini Water and Sanitation; consultant to the World Bank; Honorary Research Fellow at UKZN.


Elsa Pooley (Dr.)


South African indigenous plant botanist, landscaper and artist. Author of nine books and field guides on indigenous plants and trees. Honorary Doctor of Science UKZN.



If we destroy habitats,
we destroy species


Our wildlife
needs your help


We can’t live
without water
Conservancies and


Conservation creates
strong communities