The SANParks Honorary Rangers volunteer organisation is open to people with a passion for nature and a dedication to support the South African National Parks. We facilitate various activities through which the public can become involved in support of SANParks and enjoy the wonder of our natural heritage.
Our contribution is manifested in many ways, such as raising valuable funds, creating vital public awareness and supplying much needed manpower and equipment to supplement various conservation, tourism and environmental education needs within SANParks.
Our members can participate in a wide range of projects that accommodate individual preferences and skills – from corporate fund-raising activities, on the one hand, to the more hands-on physical activities in the bush, for the more practically-minded. As a volunteer you may become involved in organising and hosting a catered bush camp or birding weekend, or you may join a work party to remove alien invasive plants in national parks. Many of our members do duties in rest camps or at park gates in support of SANParks staff.
Dog-lovers can get involved with assisting the K9 Unit in the Kruger National Park, including providing food, care and facility maintenance.
Some of the fund-raising initiatives we have organised include golf days, birding weekends, sporting events, photography weekends, musical concerts in the bush and charity bonds at public events such as the 947 Cycle Challenge and 702 Walk-the-Talk. These events have contributed significantly to the funds raised for conservation in our national parks. Funds are allocated according to a wish list system compiled in consultation with SANParks.
If education and environmental awareness is important to you, you could participate in educational displays which are held at public events. In addition to environmental education, these displays attract donations and allow our members to sell a wide variety of branded merchandise.
Several regions run very successful Junior Honorary Ranger programmes. Children from 12 to 18 are taught about nature, animal behaviour, conservation and bush skills. Those who successfully complete the programme are awarded a certificate by the Field Guides Association of South Africa. This program instils in the youngsters a pride in their heritage and a solid foundation for a future in conservation, encouraging their peers to do the same.
Certain of our projects focus on providing for the well-being of our rangers and their families by sourcing equipment, upgrading communal facilities (such as equipping gyms or building jungle gyms for the children) and providing counselling services. A ranger’s life is not an easy one, so the aim is to make their lives a little more comfortable.
These are just some of the ways that we contribute to conservation in our national parks. To find out more, please view our National Projects or Regional Projects page.