SA’s first female tracker appointed at Karoo game reserve

Posted by Elise Kirsten on 7 May 2019

Samara Private Game Reserve, situated in the Karoo near Graaff-Reinet in the Eastern Cape, has appointed the first formally accredited female tracker in South Africa.

Justa Frans’ appointment comes after her graduation from the S.A.C.T Tracker Academy, which is located at Samara, in 2018. Her Level 3 tracking qualification (an achievement of over 90%) is a useful supplement to the training she completed in nature and culture site guiding after matriculating in 2015.

According to the reserve, these skills will serve Justa well as she prepares for her position as a tracker intern at Samara, a post which the Tracker Academy’s Alex van de Heever is hopeful will evolve into permanent employment.

Justa commented, ‘I am very grateful to the Tracker Academy and all its donors for this opportunity. I am super excited, and looking forward to making Samara and the Tracker Academy proud!’

Justa was one of two females who completed the Tracker Academy’s course in 2018. Her fellow female classmate, Kelathlilwe Malaki, also graduated in November and, with a Level 2 (above 80%) qualification, is now seeking employment as a tracker in her home country of Botswana. Justa and Kelathlilwe’s success appears to have inspired more women to complete the course, with two more women having enrolled at the Tracker Academy, who hope to graduate in 2019.

The Tracker Academy is a division of the SA College for Tourism and was established in 2010 to help provide employment for previously disadvantaged individuals by equipping them with rare tracking skills. Around 94% of the academy’s graduates have found permanent employment in their field.

‘We’re pleased and proud to have Justa joining us at Samara Private Game Reserve,’ says Samara co-founder Sarah Tompkins. As a woman in conservation, Sarah is passionate about empowering other women to play a part in this vital industry.


Image: Supplied (Samara Game Reserve)

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