A Warm Welcome
Conservation Manager and Conservation Administrator
Declan and Carmen Hofmeyr
Declan’s career started in wildlife rehabilitation before moving to the field in 1996 where, as a Nature Conservation Student, he gained experience in the world-renowned Kruger National Park, Ezemvelo Conservation (previously Natal Parks Board) in Hluhluwe-iMfolosi Park, and the North West Parks and Tourism Board. In 1999 he was employed as Veterinary Assistant in Madikwe Game Reserve and shortly thereafter took up the position of Field Ecologist in the reserve. In 2002 he was appointed as the Assistant Manager at the Marakele (PTY) Ltd Contractual National Park and in 2004 moved to Mozambique to establish a protected area in the Massingir region. An opportunity in 2006 to return to his beloved Madikwe as the Field Ecologist and later Operations Manager for the 154 000 acre reserve pulled him back to South Africa and in 2016 he was transferred to the Molopo Nature Reserve in the Kalahari as Reserve Manager.
Declan holds two degrees in Nature Conservation and has contributed to peer reviewed publications on predator and disease management. His extensive experience in big game areas and the management that is associated with them stretch from budget, personnel and project management to wildlife relocations and ensuring area integrity in the face of growing threats to charismatic species such as lion, rhinos and elephant. The latter is a particular passion of his, specifically when it comes to rhino protection, and he has been involved in all aspects thereof from intelligence collection and analyses to on-the-ground operations with rangers and South African Police Service teams.
Carmen started her ecotourism journey in the lodges of the world-famous Timbavati Game Reserve in 1993, and in 1996 was only the 3rd female ranger guide to complete the gruelling ConsCorp Guide Training (now part of the &Beyond Collection). As a ranger guide, her career has taken her from managing and guiding at bush camps in remote areas of Botswana to the most luxurious safari lodges in the Sabi Sands.
Moving to Madikwe Game Reserve in 2005 she made every effort to get involved in more than just ecotourism and guiding, becoming the first female member to be accepted into the Madikwe Game Reserve Counter Poaching Unit as an Honorary Officer for the North West Parks Board. Under the same portfolio she volunteered her time working with the Field Ecologist on, in particular, predator management being involved in relocations, disease sampling, radio telemetry tracking and general monitoring of lions, spotted hyenas and wild dogs. She is a full member of the South African Wildlife Management Association. In 2016 Carmen moved with her husband, Declan, to the Molopo Nature Reserve where as a team in the employ of the North West Parks Board they re-established the tourism and research infrastructure, refurbished the water supply system for wildlife and, in her role as Admin Clerk for the reserve, refined the clumsy procurement systems. At Magic Hills Private Collection Carmen’s work as the Conservation Administration Officer under the Conservation Manager ensures compliance is maintained with South Africa’s dynamic environmental legislation while also acting as a support service to the many exciting conservation projects that lie ahead.