Craig Spencer

Craig Spencer, Warden, Conservationist, South Africa, Transfrontier, Balule Conservation Project, Kruger National Park, Greater Kruger Craig Spencer - The man that makes it all happen!

Craig Spencer


Managing Director

Senior Warden of Balule Olifants West

Project Manager for Balule Conservation Project

CEO of The Black Mambas APU


MSc Primatology, Oxford-Brooks University


Craig Spencer is a leading conservationist and field ecologist in Balule Olifants West. He was the head of the Overstrand Nature Conservation Department in the Western Cape of South Africa, a job that clashed with the numerous illegal fishing activities targeting Perlemoen among other species. He founded and ran the successful anti-poaching unit M.A.R.I.N.E.S., and lead the Betty's Bay Baboon monitoring program that investigated the human-baboon interactions.

He now runs the conservation and research project based at Indlovu Bush Camp in Balule Nature Reserve, and runs The Black Mambas APU projec

Leonie Hofstra


The Black Mamba APU Manager


Leonie aka Loony arrived in 2013 to volunteer at Transfrontier Africa. Loving the work so much, she stayed with us to become the camp manager and field technician. From 2015 she became our full-time rhino monitor, spending many days tracking rhino and gathering data. In 2018 she continued working within the wildlife security arena, working for the Balule operations room, overseeing all wildlife security matters, wildlife welfare and becoming a go-to person in the reserve for any other issues. She now manages the Olifants West operations room, dealing with distressed wildlife, and overseeing the community animal welfare project (but still gets the chance to monitor her beloved rhino as well!)

Paul and Charlene Penny


The Black Mamba APU Field Managers


Charlene Penny started at the Black Mambas in May 2018, she completed her one-year FGASA Fields Guide training through Eco-Training in 2011. She has since worked at various wildlife rehab centres across South Africa. Charlie is the Black Mamba Field Manager and works daily with the Black Mambas ensuring the daily running of the field's operation is conducted in a safe and correct manner.

Paul Penny started at the Black Mamba Anti-poaching unit in 2019. He completed his first anti-poaching course in 1997 by Protrack APU, thereafter he went for a specialized advance Anti-poaching course through S.W.P.A  in 2014. Paul is a Black Mamba Fields Manager as well as part of the Reaction team whom assist the mambas if needed. Paul ensures that weekly training and simulations are conducted in a safe and correct manner.


Paul Allin


Research Co-Ordinator


Paul joined the team in April 2018 to help oversee the research projects and interns. After completing his Masters in Wildlife Management at the University of Pretoria he completed the FGASA field guide and trails training and then came to the Lowveld. His work involves overseeing all the monitoring projects, reporting, supervising the interns and collaborating with our research partners professors.



Lewyn Maefala


The Bush Babies Project Manager

Environmental Education Officer


Nat. Dip. Nature Conservation, Tshwane University


Lewyn Maefala joined Transfrontier Africa back in 2015 as a Tshwane University of Technology student doing her Work Integrated Learning for her National Diploma in Nature Conservation. During her time as a volunteer in research and law enforecement departments, she identified the gap in prijects which later grew into The Bush Babies Environmental Education Program that aims to educate the local communities about wildlife and create the platform for them to grow and mature in nature.


Lewyn joined Transfrontier Africa whilst completing her National Diploma in Nature Conservation at Tshwane University of Technology. After completing her 3-month Internship she was invited back to join the team in the newly created position of Environmental Education Officer. Until Lewyns arrival we were unable to start our project to introduce environmental courses into the school of the local communities boarding with Balule.



Anti-Poaching Dog on duty





Retired Anti-Poaching Dog


Lilly was trained in human tracking and worked with The  Mambas on patrols. Due to medical reasons she retired in November 2015 and now lives with Leonie Hofstra, our Black Mambas' Manager. Lilly loves walking outdoors and she has the most shining eyes you will ever see!

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