National Association of Conservancies / Stewardship SA
RSA Flag

Conservancies - the Sensible Way to Do It!

A conservancy is a vehicle and platform for community-based conservation.  It is a voluntary association of environmentally conscious land-owners and land-users who choose to cooperatively manage their natural resources in an environmentally sustainable manner without necessarily changing the land-use of their properties.

In order to use the term “conservancy”, such a cooperative will need to register and have a bone fide conservancy

Community-based means communities within the conservancies, and surrounding areas, irrespective of racial, religious, gender or cultural association.

Hiking in the Suikerbosrand


The National Association of Conservancies / Stewardship of South Africa (NACSSA) was established in August 2003 to:

  • promote community-driven conservation nationally by supporting provincial conservancy associations
  • network with local and international bodies with similar aims

NACSSA’s membership consists of two representatives from provincial conservancy associations plus co-opted members as needed.

Until all provinces have established their own conservancy associations, a representative from their Provincial Government Conservation Department will serve on the NACSSA Executive in the interim.

Currently provincial conservancy associations have been formed in seven of the nine provinces.  Through this network NACSSA represents ±750 conservancies in South Africa.  In total these conservancies own and manage about 3 million hectares of land.

KwaZuluNatal Conservancies Association is the oldest provincial association, founded in 1981. The Gauteng Conservancy & Stewardship Association was the second one, founded in February 2003. In 2004 Mpumalanga, Western Cape and Limpopo followed. Other provinces are working towards forming associations.


Hiking in Mpumalanga


NACSSA’s Vision is:

To promote stewardship of natural resources at a community level.


NACSSA’s aims are:

To promote the conservation of South Africa’s biodiversity and environmental goods and services in conjunction with all land-users.

To raise public awareness of the importance of conserving our environment at a national level.

To aid and guide provincial conservancy associations while still respecting their autonomy

To formally register and give support to individual conservancies where there is no provincial conservancy association in place, or where provincial government bodies do not yet register conservancies.

To help develop a strong united voice for conservation and stewardship in South Africa

To build up a working relationship with other environmental NGO’s in this country

To gain public, business and government recognition and support for NACSSA's aims.

To comment on and take part in all aspects related to the development of our environmental legislation.

To co-ordinate and represent as many properly constituted provincial conservancy associations as possible, and act as their national representative.

To liaise and assist (if possible) conservancy bodies (and organisations with a similar focus and aim) in other countries.

To promote environmental sustainability and the conservation of biodiversity and environmental and ecosystem goods and services among all South Africans.

To promote the values and viewpoints of NACSSA through appropriate mediums such as exhbitions, events and published and aired media, including the NACSSA website.

InDecember 2007 NACSSA applied for NPO status and all Conservancies registered with NACSSA are able to use the regsitration number 058-884-NPO

Typically the purpose of a Provincial Association is:

To develop a strong, united voice for conservation in the province

To raise awareness and conserve on a provincial level among all residents of conservancies and public, of the need to conserve our environmental,  agricultural historical and cultural heritage resources.

To gain recognition and support for our aims from the public, business and the provincial government.

To promote the province's conservancies and conservancy movement by taking part  in shows, fairs and festivals.

To actively promote environmental education through member conservancies in schools and other forms.

To actively publicize via all media forms the work and challenges facing the conservancies in the province.

To collect and build a database of information on important environmental aspects of the province

To establish and develop institutional and human resources to support local conservancies

To encourage social and economic sustainability through engagement with local stakeholders

To be a link between the provincial government  agencies and local conservancies

To actively involve all communities within local conservancies in sustainability issues.


Every second year NACSSA arranges a National Conference, hosted by a different province


Provinces of SA Map


Click on the Provincial Logo below to see what each province is doing for Conservation in their area


Gauteng Conservancy & Stewardship Association Kwazulu-Natal Conservancy Association Mpumalanga
Limpopo Conservancy Association Northern Cape Free State
North West Conservancy Association
 Western Cape Umbrella Association for Conservation of Private Land Eastern Cape




NACSSA is supported by:


EWT Logo   IUCN Logo   WESSA Logo   WWF Logo


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