Sep 01

African Conservation Awards Finalists Announced

This year, the announcement of the winners of the prestigious African Conservation Awards will be held at the Southern African Wildlife College on 16 September 2023 and hosted by the Game Rangers Association of Africa (

The Awards will take place after a regional event of the Wildlife Ranger Challenge, a Pan-African initiative which will see ranger teams across the continent compete against each other in a 21km race, carrying 22kgs on their backs! The Southern African Wildlife College is a perfect venue to host both these important events on the ranger calendar.

Each organisation and individual that has been shortlisted has shown remarkable determination to succeed when the odds have often been stacked against them. Conservation areas continue to face many challenges, including limited resources and working against criminal syndicates. Despite this, remarkable people continue to do amazing things for wildlife and the communities who benefit from it.

“The African Conservation Awards showcase extraordinary people doing extraordinary things for nature. It is our privilege to give them the recognition they so richly deserve. Well done to all the nominees who continue to inspire us with their dedicated contribution to conservation. We look forward to celebrating their exemplary efforts!” Andrew Campbell, Chief Executive Officer of the Game Rangers’ Association of Africa.

60 nominations from 11 countries across Africa were received this year. What is also very encouraging to see is the increase in nominations of female rangers which resulted in half of the finalists in the Field Ranger and Game Ranger categories being female. We are also excited to see the different countries across Africa represented among the finalists. Highlighting the quality of nominations this year, we have a “Highly Commended” acknowledgment in each of the four categories. Although these are not finalists, they deserve special mention and must be applauded.

The finalists for this year’s African Conservation Awards, listed in alphabetical order below, are:

Field Ranger:

Well done to all the nominees who continue to inspire us with their dedicated contribution to conservation

  • Givemore Bako, Senior Ranger and Head Rhino Monitor of Anti-Poaching Tracking Specialists, Savé Valley Conservancy, Zimbabwe
  • Nkateko Letti Mzimba, Sergeant of Black Mambas Unit, Olifants West Nature Reserve, South Africa
  • Reginah Smith, Corporal of the Rhino Protection Unit, Pilanesberg Game Reserve, South Africa

Game Ranger:

  • Amos Gwema, Principle Investigation and Security Officer, Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority, Zimbabwe
  • Orlat Ndlovu, Head of Ranger Services, Timbavati Private Nature Reserve, South Africa
  • Petronella Chigumbura, Deputy Ranger Supervisor, Akashinga, Zimbabwe

Conservation Team:

  • Majete Wildlife Reserve, Malawi
  • Wildlife Action Group, Thuma Forest Reserve and the Dedza Salima Escarpment Forest Reserve, Malawi
  • Zinave National Park, Mozambique

Conservation Supporter:

  • African Pangolin Working Group, South Africa
  • Joseph Serugo Ssalongo, Honorary Wildlife Officer, Uganda
  • Rhino Man, South Africa

Highly commended nominations by the judging panel for their excellent work were given to Field Ranger Owenyo Alphonse (Uganda) and Marine Ranger Tima Dago (Kenya); Game Rangers Ali Hassan (Kenya) and Simon Ewoi (Kenya); EWT Soutpansberg Rangers (South Africa) for Conservation Team and Johannesburg Wildlife Veterinary Hospital (South Africa) for Conservation Supporter.

These awards are hosted annually by the Game Rangers’ Association of Africa (GRAA) and are made possible with the generous support of sponsors CNEI. His Serene Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco, who is committed to the protection of endangered species through the support of his Foundation, is the Patron of the African Conservation Awards.

The winners of each category will be announced on 16 September at SAWC where they will be celebrated by their ranger colleagues.