Neil Midlane is a lifelong conservationist, adventurer, and academic. In April 2019, Neil joined Wilderness Safaris as Group Impact Manager, where his primary focus is to drive the company’s mission of using its conservation tourism business to conserve and restore wilderness and wildlife. Neil is passionate about all things wild, and spends his free time running Cape Town’s mountain trails, paddling its oceans, fly fishing, and camping - while introducing his children, Oliver and Lexi, to the magic of the natural world.
After growing up in East London, Neil studied finance at Stellenbosch University, which led to him qualifying as a Chartered Accountant. Immediately after qualifying he headed off to the Zululand bush, where he spent 3 years as a guide at Phinda Private Game Reserve. Here he met his future wife, and they lived in Jozi and Cape Town while Neil worked in finance at Rand Merchant Bank.
But, his passion for conservation kept tugging, so he completed a part-time Master’s in Environmental Management, also at Stellenbosch. This proved a springboard to get back into the bush. In 2010, he founded and ran the Kafue Lion Project in Zambia’s enormous Kafue National Park. His three years in the field culminated in a PhD in Zoology from the University of Cape Town. His work produced the first reliable estimates of this important lion population, and led to ongoing interventions in the park to protect its precious wildlife.
After completing his PhD, Neil joined ecotourism company Singita as their first Conservation Manager, where he was instrumental in developing the company’s conservation strategy.
He is a member of the African Lion Working Group, the Mozambique Carnivore Working Group, the KAZA Elephant Working Group, the KAZA Carnivore Working Group and the Trans-Frontier Conservation Specialist Group.
What makes you YOU in one sentence?
I’m a lover of our planet’s wild places and wild animals, and deeply committed to ensuring that they survive to brighten the world for my children and theirs.
How will your outlook on life improve the world?
I approach everything with a long term view to making the world a better and fairer place. I am a firm believer that exposing people to the wonders of wilderness and wildlife, and their inherent fragility in our world, is the most powerful way to turn them into advocates for conservation.
Thank you and the greatest respect to your way of life,
The Sealand Crew.
Maryke, a self-confessed fish-nerd, grew up with the ambition of being a dolphin. When that did not quite work out, she managed to obtain science degrees in various fields including marine biology, medical physiology, ichthyology and fisheries science, psychology and neurology. She has worked in the marine science field for the past 26 years, from aquariology, to research to sustainable production and governance, and has presented at many conferences locally and internationally.