Highlighting the career of Prof Willem van Riet, directing innovative conservation initiatives in Africa, illustrating his experiences and approach through the use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS).

An all-inclusive approach to conservation was instigated by numerous adventures on wild rivers in the 60’s and developed through academic research at Universities in Philadelphia (USA) and Pretoria (South Africa). GIS software, data and processes were harnessed throughout his career in support of planning, scientific analyses and fundraising.  Projects and programmes will be illustrated through a number themes. This approach was implemented during his years on the SANParks Board and on transboundary initiatives in Southern Africa during his 10 years as the CEO of the Peace Parks Foundation. Recently he has functioned as a consulted through the Swedish entity (Transboundary Conservation Foundation).

"I hope that the review of these conservation projects, as a journey of discovery through the use of GIS and maps, will be of assistance to conservation development in many parts of the world. I would like to iterate that the content of this site reflects my own personal point of view and is based on my personal experiences."

Friday, 06 February 2015 17:21

3 - Sir Richard Branson - Virgin Galactic

I have been fortunate on a few occasions to share many moments in the natural environment with Sir Richard Branson. It all started while I was sitting, at OR Tambo airport in Johannesburg, waiting for a flight to Mozambique to go to the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park. I received a phone call from him explaining his interest in the Peace Park vision of the late Dr Anton Rupert and that he would like support the work that we were doing at the time.

This call led to a visit to his lodge at ULUSABA, from where we went on a 5 day helicopter flight to the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park and the MAPUTO Elephant Reserve and Transfrontier Park. What a wonderful and great person to spend time with. He was energetic, full of wisdom and knowledge and I enjoyed spending time flying across the incredible scenery of southern Mozambique, while flooding his senses with an endless stream of comments on what we where looking at from the air.

Published in Inspiration & Approach