Conservation interns

Simphiwe Gininda (April 2017 - March 2018)

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Simphiwe is a Swati speaking girl from Mpumalanga. She recently obtained her Masters in Zoology,with distinction, at Rhodes University, and is seeing the sky as a limit to her success. In addition to being an ecologist, Simphiwe is professionally trained as a teacher, teaching science at the FET and Senior Phase level of basic education. The combination of education and research in environmental sciences made theoretical sense to her as a student. She then opted for a career option that integrated both her fields of expertise. The conservation education internship position offered by WWF-SA through NVT came as a perfect fit to her interests. She is impressed by how Nature’s Valley remains natural even though its residents are in immediate contact with wild animals within a protected area. Simphiwe believes that education is key to better management of natural resources, and because humans are the main drivers to environmental change and sustainability, they need to be empowered by sharing of knowledge through education. As an Environmental Educator Intern in NVT, she feels that she is doing exactly what she was born for, being an environmental spokesperson. She will never trade the experience she is currently gaining for anything. 


Anathi Mbona (April 2017 - March 2018)


Anathi was born and raised in a small town called Cala in Eastern cape.  She grew up spending most of her leisure time as an adventure seeker which fostered her passion for nature. When the opportunity to come to the shores of Nature’s Valley through WWF-SA environmental programme arose, it was too good to pass up. She will be assisting in coordinating a number of long-term research projects: mosquito fish and macroinvertebrate monitoring project in the Groot River system. Being involved in these projects will help her to broaden her research skills in relation to reliable indicators of water quality and river health biomonitoring methods. Working for a small organization like NVT will also help her to diversify her skill set by participating in different projects and discovering what she would like to pursue for her career in environmental management.

Brittany Arendse (April 2015 - October 2016)


Brittany comes from a small town near the West Coast an hour from Cape Town called Malmesbury. She completed her Undergraduate’s degree in Marine biology and Ecology and her BSc. Honours and Masters degrees in pollination Biology at the University of Cape Town. She then completed a year internship through the NRF with the Custodians of Rare and Endangered Wildflowers (CREW), where she gained experience in plant identification and field sampling.

She then applied for the WWF-SA environmental leadership programme, which placed her with Nature’s Valley Trust.  Here she functions as, primarily, a research intern, taking ownership of some of the long term projects. These include estuarine mosquito fish sampling and sampling fish stocks (using various methods), as well as projects in the Fynbos: field guide development with Kellyn Whitehead and tracking the phenology of flowering plants in and around Nature’s Valley. She is also very keen on ericas and is running a solo project on the breeding system of the closed-flower Erica, E. nabea.

She is very grateful for the opportunity to work in such a dynamic part of South Africa. A little bit of paradise, where ocean, river, forest and fynbos collide in an explosion of beauty.


Brittany (from left to right) doing research in the office, performing breeding system experiments on Kniphofia uvaria, removing a bird from a mist net, ringing and measuring a bird and photographing some mushrooms.


Yanga Manyakanyaka (June 2013 - November 2015) 

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Yanga has a combined 10 years work experience in sales, marketing and debt collecting. He has always been passionate about the environment but spending many years in the city had pointed him in other directions. During a visit to his grandfather’s farm after many years, and seeing the change in the landscape and infestation of alien species, resurrected his curiosity for the environment.  He was selected by NVT due to my passion and work experience with no formal education in the field.

Yanga was part of Groen Sebenza’s first intake of pioneers and he is currently working as an environmental educator and a community outreach intern with NVT.

Yanga said: ‘It has been an exciting and eye-opening journey that requires me to always be on the alert because I had to learn the science language and understand the systems. NVT has presented me with an opportunity to not only be responsible for my performance but to understand how an NGO operates from admin fundraising and assisting on research projects. The environment of nature’s Valley has completely changed my life I will forever be grateful for this phase of my life.’


Noluyolo Obose (June 2013 - November 2015)

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Yolo is from Somerset West and was working towards her diploma in Nature Conservation while working at NVT. She was a Groen Sebenza matric graduate intern working in our Environmental Education division. 


Ruth Moeti (May 2014 - November 2014)


Ruth was a Groen Sebenza intern filling a post in mainly research with some focus on environmental education. She comes from a small rural area in Limpopo with a background in Environmental and Geographical Sciences which she obtained from the University of Cape Town.

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Getting up close with a Spotted Eagle-owl at Radical Raptors


Babalwa Mqokeli (April 2013 - September 2014)

Babalwa holding a Jackal buzzard caught while raptor ringingAMAZING experience.

Babalwa is an industrial bred girl from Durban, who came to the shores of Nature’s Valley through the WWF-SA Environmental leaders Programme. She describes her time at NVT as being a ‘well needed, challenging and yet nurturing experience’. As a research intern she was involved in coordinating 3 major research projects: the Groot River macroinvertebrate monitoring project; mosquito fish monitoring project, and the Groot River Estuary fish monitoring project. Being involved in these projects has help Babalwa develop her research skills as well as nurturing her understanding of estuarine ecology and the relation between macroinvertebrate and water health and management. One of the benefits of being part of a small organisation is that one can be part of various activities. 

Babalwa has also had many first-time experiences during her time with NVT. These include: delicious potjiekos meal organised by a few Nature’s Valley residents, horse riding in a game reserve, hiking trails on weekends, interacting with national and international volunteers and once in a life time opportunities, such as swimming with seals.

Babalwa describes her time at NVT: ‘I loved my experience here, not only because of the work that I did but most importantly because of how I've grown and developed as a person, the amazing set of friends and people I got to interact with.’


Babalwa doing tree maintenance in Kurland (left) and swimming with the seals (right)


Nelishka Singh (June 2013- February 2014)

Nelishkas first day with NVTrust at one of the R102 Fynbos research sites.

Nelishka started her post with NVT as Groen Sebenza environmental educator and research intern, which was very exciting for her because it allowed for skills in many different sectors. Her research project entailed research in the Fynbos biome, on the interaction between plants and birds but her true passion has always been education and instilling passion and drive, for safeguarding the environment, into young scholars.


Nelishka educating and shaping young minds.


Matome Mamodumo (April 2013 - March 2014)


Matome is from Polokwane and completed his BSc. degree in Environmental Science at the University of Limpopo. He was a 1-year NRF intern doing Environmental Education with NVT.


Matome on a horseback- riding outing with the NVT team (left) and listening intently to Mark telling a story about the bird in hand (right).


Mulatedzi Mullaudzi (April 2013 - March 2014)

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Mulatedzi is from Makhado and completed her BSc. degree in Environmental Science at the University of Venda. She was a 1-year NRF intern working with Cindy on the Environmental Education side of NVT. 


Graham Burt (April 2012 - November 2012)

Graham is from Johannesburg, where he studied at  the Tshwane University of Technology. He joined NVT as part of the National Research Fund (NRF) internship programme and served under the Environmental Education (EE) banner. During his stay at NVT he was involved in many of the Educational and awareness projects.