In 1982, Clive Walker of Lapalala Wilderness arranged the first meeting with a neighbour to discuss the possibility of establishing a voluntary nature conservancy. This voluntary body would be formed by different landowners that wished to pursue a common conservation goal.
In 1985, another meeting took place, this one however there with considerable opposition to the idea. It was not until 1990, when Lapalala Wilderness and Touchstone Game Ranch agreed to collaborate on various issues, such as rare wildlife introductions, road closures, fences, wildlife management issues, game scout training, alien plant eradication, hunting and veld fire management, that the concept of a formal nature conservancy started to move forward.
In June 1990 a more formal meeting took place at Touchstone Game Ranch, where an agreement was reached, a constitution was adopted, and Rod Henwood was chosen as the first Chairman. The kudu bull, in the style of San bushmen art, was chosen as the logo, which was a copy of the real San painting occurring along the Lephalale River.
In 1992, Rowan Holt took over as Chairman, followed by Clive Walker later in 1992. Sam van Coller become Chairman in August 1997 and was succeeded by Anthony Baber in 2000. Charles Whitbread served in 2002-2003. Sam van Coller served once again from 2003-2005. Richard Wadley then followed as Chairman from 2006-2007. John Miller has been Chairman since 2008.
The Waterberg Nature Conservancy soon expanded, with more landowners becoming members. From its initial founding members in 1992 it grew to some 26 members. By JUne 2013, membership was 70 members, employing over 1000, with properties totalling nearly 190,000 hectares.
The Conservancy has not only brought landowners with common conservation goals together, but also served as the initial impetus for establishing the Waterberg Biosphere Reserve. For more information about the Waterberg Biosphere Reserve visit the website www.waterbergbiosphere.org.za
(Source: Walker,C., Bothma, J. du P., (2005); The Soul of the Waterberg (African Sky Publishing)