The Waterberg Nature Conservancy honours selected Waterberg residents for their accomplishments and contributions to the Waterberg and/or the planet. Honorary Membership entitles them to life-long free membership in the Conservancy, our great respect for their achievements and leadership in conservation, and our personal pleasure that they live with us in the Waterberg.
Clive and Conita Walker
Clive Walker has been synonymous with conservation and environmental education for over 40 years. From his early days as a game ranger and hunter based in the Tuli Block of Botswana, he became a wildlife artist of renown. Sales of his work contributed funds that enabled him to participate in the formation, in 1973, of the Endangered Wildlife Trust, which ranks as one of the top conservation organisations of southern Africa. Two years later, Clive and Conita set up their own full-time wildlife trailing venture, Educational Wildlife Expeditions, which over the next 15 years introduced thousands of people, young and old, to the marvels of the natural environment at locations around the country.
In 1980, Clive joined the Rhino and Elephant Specialist Group of the EWT as a consultant. He became closely associated with efforts to save the black rhino in particular, from extinction, although he has also been involved in many initiatives regarding the conservation of Africa’s elephant population. In 1980, Clive left the EWT to help establish the newly created Lapalala Wilderness with its conservationist benefactor, Dale Parker.
In 1985, with the continued generous support of Dale Parker, Clive established the Wilderness Leadership School on Lapalala, an institution he and Conita ran until their retirement in 2003.
Meanwhile, Conita developed a Living Museum at Melkrivier, where she dedicated herself to bringing up orphaned rhino calves and educating the public on their behaviour. Together with one of their sons, Anton, they established the Clive Walker Foundation, which for a period operated a museum and art gallery at Melkrivier that focused on rhino and the life of Eugene Marais. While there, Clive was instrumental in the creation of the Waterberg Biosphere Reserve, as well as the foundation of the Waterberg Nature Conservancy – of which he was the first Chairman.
Clive is the author or co-author of numerous books relating to wildlife and conservation, including Signs of the Wild, Twilight of the Giants, Okavango from the Air, Predators of Southern Africa, Dear Elephant, Sir and The Soul of the Waterberg. He is currently completing an autobiography anchored by a theme of his experiences with baobabs, his favourite trees. Conita has recently completed the story of her own remarkable life as a missionary’s daughter, teacher, air hostess, wilderness trails operator and conservation educator.
Charles and Nina Baber
The Conservancy recognizes Charles’ life-long involvement and leadership in many aspects of the Waterberg. Specialising in Bonsmara cattle, Charles has been a successful farmer since 1949. When Charles married Nina in 1961, they embarked on a collaborative farming enterprise in which Nina’s record-keeping of the Bonsmara herd contributed considerably to the success of the farm. Charles has been involved in conservation and tourism activities, both of which reflect his great pride in and promotion of the Waterberg. While Charles is renowned for his local knowledge, hospitality and sense of humour, Nina has served as a most gracious hostess to many international visitors. As a fourth-generation resident, Charles’ personal insights into Waterberg history never fail to delight and enlighten, and those Farm Tours end with tea with Nina and lively and informed conversation.
Sadly, Charles passed away in May 2012.
The Conservancy recognizes Anna’s successful work since 1982 in leading efforts to save the black rhino in Kenya. Anna is the author of the best-selling book Rhino: At the Brink of Extinction as well as Golden Dunes and Desert Mountains. Her continued involvement with the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy in Kenya and the International Rhino Foundation are testimony to her enduring devotion to the cause. A keen horsewoman and animal lover, Anna has lived in the Melkrivier area of the Waterberg since the mid-1990s. As the Waterberg is increasingly a target for rhino poaching, it is timely that we salute Anna’s early recognition of the threat in Kenya and consequent security initiatives she took there.