The Southern African Wildlife College (SAWC) was conceptualized in 1993 and established in 1996 by the World Wide Fund for Nature, South Africa (WWF South Africa) in close cooperation with interested and affected parties in southern Africa, including national and provincial government departments, other conservation agencies and the Southern African Development Community (SADC).
Since its inception, and with the support of WWF-SA and Peace Parks Foundation, the College has trained close to 15,000 people from 26 countries in Africa, but mostly from countries in the SADC region, in natural resource management. By expanding its reach and becoming involved in training ventures and projects off-site, the College has also capacity-built over 2000 previously disadvantaged South Africans.
Through conservation education, training and skills development, the Southern African Wildlife College seeks to give protected area managers the motivation and skills they need to become partners in saving our continent's natural heritage. All training comprises theory as well as practical skills and has been developed in close collaboration with conservation agencies and, where relevant, community participation.
The College also works closely with various qualification authorities and other training institutions to ensure that the students have maximum flexibility of career path. As an accredited HET and FET training institute, the College has aligned its curricula with the standards of the South African Qualification Authority (SAQA) and the National Qualifications Framework to ensure both national and international recognition.
By providing the high standards of professional and technical training that allows natural resource managers to manage their areas within the stated conservation objectives and in cooperation with local communities, the College and its donors are helping to ensure that our natural resources are managed in an equitable and sustainable manner. In so doing, they also impact the role that conservation is playing in job creation and poverty alleviation in and around our wildlife reserves.
With its vision to become the most sought after Centre of Excellence in Conservation Education and Wildlife Management Training in the southern African sub-region, the College is empowering people from Africa to manage and conserve some of the world's most biologically diverse areas which in turn promotes socio-economic development and the sustainable use of natural resources.
The Southern African Wildlife College aims through cutting edge, hands-on training programmes, to produce highly competent and motivated protected area managers and conservationists that are able to manage and conserve their protected areas and associated fauna and flora on a sustainable basis within the stated conservation objectives and in cooperation with local communities.
The College location allows access to a diversity of land use types from national, provincial and private reserves, community owned agricultural land and local community trust areas. As such, the SAWC offers a myriad of on- site training opportunities which have empowered and inspired people from Africa and beyond to manage and conserve some of the world's most biologically diverse areas.
The College itself is 2km north on a good gravel road and is easily accessible with regular flights into Hoedspruit (Eastgate Airport), Phalaborwa and Nelspruit. The nearest town is Hoedspruit which offers most of the important business requirements.
The College boasts an impressive campus, which was designed to blend into the natural environment. Many innovative designs were used to minimise the use of natural resources like water and electricity. The College has accommodation and catering facilities on site. The campus is fenced and students can walk or run around the perimeter fence, a distance of 2,5 km. The College also has traversing rights within the contractual national park within which it is located.