BirdLife South Africa (BLSA), based in Johannesburg, South Africa, is one of the largest, most active, non-governmental conservation organisations in South Africa.

BLSA is the South African Partner of BirdLife International, which operates through partners in 113 countries and territories worldwide. The BirdLife Partnership is the leading and internationally acclaimed authority on the status of birds, their habitats, and the issues affecting birds. BLSA has special links with the BirdLife partners in Africa, and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds in the UK.

BLSA is looking for a qualified, dedicated and dynamic Avitourism Project Manager to:

  • Work collaboratively with other organisations, both regional and internationally, to further the avitourism and bird conservation cause.
  • Spearhead BLSA’s avitourism work through innovative approaches to increase marketing and employment opportunities for the BLSA-trained community bird guides and creating job opportunities through the biodiversity economy.
  • Develop and implement a sustainable business model for BLSA’s avitourism work and the BLSA trained community bird guides.
  • Identify and develop partnerships with industry (tour operators, birding routes, tourism and wildlife colleges, birder friendly establishments and other businesses) and ensure alignment with South Africa’s National Development Plan (NDP).
  • Market South Africa as an avitourism destination, both nationally and internationally.

The ideal candidate would have a strong background in the economic and/or social sciences and tourism industry, be a keen birder, be an accredited or experienced trainer, be strategic and innovative, display good administrative and leadership skills, have good negotiation skills and be a team player, with a passion for conservation. The Avitourism Project Manager will be committed to BLSA’s vision and mission (available at https://www.birdlife.org.za/who-we- are/about/) and be willing to act as an ambassador for the organisation. The Avitourism Project Manager will report directly to BLSA’s Head of Conservation.


The primary responsibilities of the Avitourism Project Manager will include, but not be limited to:

  • Overseeing all aspects of BLSA’s avitourism work, including delivering critical economic outcomes. This work will be aligned with the overarching conservation and institutional objectives of BLSA and BirdLife International.
  • Marketing avitourism in South Africa, both nationally and internationally, for the benefit of all stakeholders.
  • Representing BLSA at relevant national and international events.
  • Ensuring the growth of BLSA’s avitourism work in order to develop and implement a sustainable business model for BLSA and the BLSA-trained community bird guides.
  • Liaising, developing and maintaining key partnerships with national government to ensure that avitourism is promoted and that job opportunities are created through strategic alignment with the National Development Plan (NDP).
  • Maintaining key partnerships with non-government organisations, academic institutions and other strategic role players.
  • Training and supporting local community guides, with a focus on developing skills and employment opportunities.
  • Developing community and environmental education projects involving community bird guides in conserving birds and their habitats.
  • Design an appropriate business model for Birder Friendly Accommodation and Birder Friendly Tour Operators and liaise with all existing Birder Friendly Establishments.
  • Being innovative to strategically identify and pursue future projects to advance BLSA’s role in the biodiversity and wildlife economy.
  • Ensuring that the project has the financial resources to undertake its work and nurturing key relationships with existing donors.


Inherent requirements for the position are:

  • Honours or preferably MSc degree in an applicable discipline e.g. economic, business, social and/or natural sciences.
  • Experience (preferably 3 years or more) in a similar socio-economic environment, with proven experience in people management, business development, financial administration, and other related managerial duties and responsibilities.
  • Proven experience of collaborations with key stakeholders, donors, funders, industry and government officials.
  • Good communication skills with proficiency in English.
  • Thorough knowledge of South Africa’s National Development Plan as well as tourism and business legislation.
  • Experience in the design, implementation, co-ordination and management of complex socio- economic projects.
  • A proven track record in successful fundraising, identifying donor prospects, donor cultivation and grant writing.
  • Skilful use of the Microsoft Office suite.
  • Code 8 driver’s licence.


  • Extensive knowledge of Africa’s birds and the main threats to these species and their habitats.
  • A good business acumen with ability to develop and identify business opportunities.
  • Track record of working collaboratively with diverse groups.
  • FGASA (Field Guide Association of South Africa) (NQF level 2 or 4) qualification.
  • Registered FGASA trainer.
  • Diplomacy and conflict resolution skills.
  • Ability to multi-task, problem solve, prioritise and delegate effectively.
  • Willingness to travel both locally and internationally.
  • Additional language proficiency.


The successful candidate will report to BLSA’s Head of Conservation.

The position is based at BLSA’s Head Office (Isdell House, 17 Hume Road, Dunkeld West) in Johannesburg.

The nature of the position requires the incumbent to sometimes work afterhours and over weekends and, at times, may involve extensive travel to remote locations.


Salary: BLSA offers a salary which is commensurate with the position and responsibilities. The salary information is available on request. For any further enquiries, please feel free to contact either Dr Hanneline Smit-Robinson or Isabel Human at 011 789 1122.

Fringe benefits: BLSA provides comprehensive group life insurance. INTERVIEW

Interview: Successful applicants will be required to attend interviews in Johannesburg.


Applicants are to submit:

  • A detailed curriculum vitae with three contactable referees.
  • Copies of qualifications (please provide the SAQA accreditation in the case of foreign qualifications).
  • A list of publications and other achievements.
  • A copy of the applicant’s identity document.
  • A detailed motivation as to how the applicant sees his/her role in this post, illustrating comprehensive insight into the avitourism industry.

Please note:

  • All applications will be treated in the strictest confidence. Communication will be limited to shortlisted candidates only. Should you not be contacted within six weeks of the closing date for applications, you may assume that your application was unsuccessful.
  • BLSA reserves the right not to make an appointment.
  • BLSA subscribes to and applies the principles prescribed by the Employment Equity Act.

Preference will be given to candidates from designated groups, in accordance with the principles of the aforementioned act and the employee profile of the specific programme.

Assumption of duties: As soon as possible Closing date: 6 March 2020

To apply please e-mail your CV and motivation to Dr Isabel Human, BLSA’s HR Manager, at [email protected] with the subject title AVITOURISM PROJECT MANAGER.

For further information, contact Dr Hanneline Smit-Robinson, Head of Conservation, at [email protected]