Annual Conservation Symposium to take place in Scottburgh, KwaZulu-Natal

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The 11th annual Conservation Symposium is due to take place from 30 October to 5 November 2022 in Scottburgh on the South Coast of KwaZulu-Natal.

The annual symposium, which will be a hybrid event of participants in person and online, is a platform to facilitate the sharing of ideas and lessons, and for the co-creation of solutions to contemporary conservation issues in Africa.

This year, the symposium brings together over 140 speakers from across the globe for 31 sessions over six days at the beautiful Premier Resort’s Cutty Sark and the Dream Hotel’s Blue Marlin hotels. This will serve as a bridge between conservation practitioners, scientists and policymakers in a conducive environment to solve real-world problems.

After two years of conducting the symposium online due to Covid restrictions, this year’s event will be a hybrid symposium with the two central venues in Scottburgh hosting live streaming, pre-recorded and live presentations. There is limited free virtual attendance for delegates across the globe to ensure that it continues to be affordable and inclusive while enabling invaluable face-to-face networking and social engagement between participants.

“We are so excited to be welcoming delegates to The Conservation Symposium to the beautiful KZN South Coast for the first time,” said Phelisa Mangcu, CEO of South Coast Tourism and Investment Enterprise (SCTIE). “This will serve to showcase the KZN South Coast as a key business events destination while celebrating the amazing conservation efforts and environmental significance of the region. From our six Blue Flag beaches and three Marine Protected Areas through to endless nature reserves and wildlife habitats, the region is vital to the local and global ecosystem while offering incredible tourism activities.”

Emerging or ongoing issues identified by the conservation sector are tackled through a carefully constructed programme, including a selection of leading international keynote speakers, presentation of synthesis papers, and facilitated discussions. It also provides a platform for horizon scanning and exploration of new policy directions.

This year’s keynote speakers include Deborah Vorhies of African Wildlife Economy Institute; Sue Stolton of Equilibrium Research; Dr Eddie Riddell of SANParks’ Kruger National Park; Prof Joseph Mbaiwa of the University of Botswana’s Okavango Research Institute; Prof Ndeke Musee of the University of Pretoria; and Dr Erin O’Donnell of the University of Melbourne. The Conservation Symposium is hosted by Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife together with its valued partners: WildTrust, CapeNature, Endangered Wildlife Trust, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Environmental Law Association, and Nature, Environment and Wildlife Filmmakers.

The symposium will cover a vast range of topics relevant to the conservation community with special emphasis on key areas including conservation law, the African wildlife economy, considerations for freshwater ecosystems, protected area management effectiveness, the science of funding, and a post-symposium workshop on biodiversity offsets. Other interesting sessions include canines in conservation, effects of the internet on conservation efforts, conservation genetics and how to facilitate convergence between various role players in the environmental sector.

“We are so pleased with the programme for 2022 and thrilled to be able to get together in person for the first time in two years,” says symposium secretariat Freyni du Toit. “A huge thank you to South Coast Tourism Investment Enterprise [SCTIE] for facilitating two incredible locations for our delegates at the Cutty Sark and Blue Marlin hotels. The natural beauty and biodiversity of the South Coast is a perfect backdrop for what promises to be a productive and beneficial conservation symposium.” 

For symposium attendees, the Scottburgh location offers various opportunities to explore and enjoy South Africa’s South Coast through a selection of tours and evening functions. These include a tour of Ntelezi Msani Heritage Centre, sponsored by SCTIE; Crocworld Conservation Centre, sponsored by Crocworld; a frogs’ world tour of TC Robertson Nature Reserve with Dr Jeanne Tarrant; a rocky shore excursion with Drs Bruce and Judy Mann; and an exploration of the Mahlongwa River Estuary with Matt Machell-Cox and Olivia Symcox.

Thanks to generous financial support from sponsors, VIRTUAL attendance at The Conservation Symposium 2022 is free, however, registration is necessary. In-person attendance will be R1 500 for the full five days of the symposium including the opening function on Sunday evening. Conservancy Members and pensioners attending in person pay R1 000 (33% off)!

Registration for the Conservation Symposium closes on 25 October 2022, both virtual and live attendees need to register before this date. Registrations, full programme and accommodation options can be found on