With 34 years in nature conservation, Mr Serakwana brings both passion and dedication to the job.
Patrick Serakwana was born in Naboomspruit in 1966 He began working in conservation in 1989 as a field ranger in the Department of Agriculture of the former KwaNdebele. He pursued conservation studies with Technicon SA and also benefitted from in-service training.
After a year, the Department of Agriculture set up a unit to enforce conservation laws, and Mr Serakwana was transferred into it. He worked his way through the ranks and by 2001 was leading the KwaNdebele’s conservation law-enforcement unit. He held this position until 2007 when the Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency was formed, and he became a District Compliance Officer.
In May 2017, at his own request, he was moved into reserve management.
“I felt I needed a change and wanted to learn new things,” he says.
He took up the position of Reserve Manager at the SS Skozana Nature Reserve outside Bronkhorstspruit until the end of October in 2018, when he was offered the chance of managing Manyeleti, adjacent the Kruger Park. However, he only stayed at Manyeleti for eight months before being seconded to the Nkangala region where he assisted in various roles, including anti-poaching, mentoring reserve managers, and acting as coordinator for the Land Use Incentive and Project Management teams. He also fulfilled the role of Interim Regional Social Ecologist responsible for liaising with Nkangala land claimants.
In August 2022 he was finally able to return to reserve management and was posted to Verloren Valei.
“I have a huge passion for conservation, and it’s this passion that drove me to move from being a field ranger to becoming a reserve manager. Managing one of the most beautiful reserves in the world, Verloren Valei, is a blessing from God,” he says. “Not only is it beautiful, it’s also a Ramsar site. It’s a great opportunity for me to learn more about the importance of wetlands , and the amazing variety of flowers, birds and other life forms to be found here.
“I feel I was put on earth to be a conservator.”