Serenity Hills welcomes a conservation-focused estate manager to the team

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Set within an indigenous coastal forest teeming with wildlife, the stunning Serenity Hills is an eco-focused estate with a drive towards sustainability. Tasked with overseeing the estate’s maintenance, safety, and preservation – including that of the indigenous wildlife – is Ryne Ferguson (36), the newly appointed Estate Manager.

“The position at Serenity Hills is a valuable opportunity for career growth and the chance to be part of a like-minded community dedicated to preserving the natural world,” commented the Uvongo resident, who took up the position in October 2023. “This estate is in such a distinctive location, featuring a blend of coastal forest, hills, rock outcrops, grasslands, and plantation forests along the Vungu River on its northern border. I’ve been really impressed by both its diverse ecosystem and Serenity Hill’s emphasis on lifestyle and living within the natural world.”

Ryne has had a lifelong passion for conservation and animal care, volunteering as an Assistant Keeper at Johannesburg Zoo as a teenager, and taking on a permanent position after completing courses in aviculture and animal behaviour. He then worked at Montecasino Bird Gardens in Johannesburg as the Bird Show Manager, before heading to the KZN Midlands where he worked as a Reserve Manager and Conservation Project Manager at The KZN Crane Foundation.

Outside of his work duties, Ryne also sat on the sub-committee for the International Association of Avian Trainers and Educators (IAATE) in the United States of America as a representative of the African continent. This position allowed him to travel overseas while obtaining certificates in Animal Care and Management and Animal Behaviour and Training. During this time, he worked with some of the best animal trainers in the world, and also enjoyed the opportunity to work as a volunteer at Australia Zoo – started by Steve Irwin, the renowned ‘Crocodile Hunter’.

In 2020, Ryne moved to the KZN South Coast where he took up a position as the Bird Curator at Crocworld Conservation Centre, before starting as Estate Manager at Serenity Hills – a position he is thoroughly enjoying. His overriding role is to ensure the seamless operation of the estate. Achieving this involves managing the gardens and maintenance teams, conducting fence checks, monitoring wildlife and preserving natural areas, liaising with contractors and residents, maintaining safety and security standards, and preparing for special events such as the Night Market on the last Friday of every month at Sweetdale Skills Centre in Serenity Hills.

Speaking about upcoming projects, Ryne enthused: “Serenity Hills, in its developmental stage, is filled with possibility. As an eco-focused estate, we have recently joined the Green Custodianship through FreeMe Wildlife. This aligns us with the ‘Islands of Hope’ Green Custodian programme, an affiliation that will lead to the release of rehabilitated wildlife onto the estate, contributing to our conservation efforts.”

Sam Wenger, Development Director of Serenity Hills, welcomed Ryne to the team, saying he was a perfect fit for the estate: “Ryne brings a wealth of experience with him to Serenity Hills, and he is passionate about the co-existence of residents with the natural world. We’re so excited to have him on our team, and are excited about the many ground-breaking initiatives being planned.”

The R800m Serenity Hills development has already sold 50% of units in Phase 1, which was launched in the second half of 2022. The plots have been transferred, and construction has started, with the first residents set to move in this year. Exciting new developments include the construction of the exclusive Clubhouse, as well as the innovative Forest Pods built into the flow of the natural landscape, with ocean views, and coastal forest surrounds.

To find out more and book a viewing at Serenity Hills, visit www.serenityhills.co.za.