I recently had the great pleasure of meeting and chatting to Peter Coulon – Environmental Manager at Simbithi and passionate advocate for conservation and many wildlife initiatives on the Estate. The most delightful man with a calming presence and a wealth of knowledge, Peter has become synonymous in our area for conservation and caring about the environment and its inhabitants and our conversation was both deeply insightful and truly inspirational. Peter’s passion and love for the outdoors goes back as far as his childhood, when his family used to go on holidays together to the Kruger Park – those holidays meant a lot more to him than they might to the average child, and even at this time a deep love for the environment was brewing and incubating in a young Peter.
Weekends in Durban saw him fishing and exploring and as a youngster, he became an honourary officer for the Parks Board and it seemed almost a non-negotiable that he would go into game-ranging as a career. After his national service, and a short stint working in a bank, he got the magic phone call he still remembers well that he had been accepted into the Parks Board which is now known as Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife in Pietermaritzburg. Peter’s official career with the Parks Board / KZN Wildlife spanned 13 years and he gained invaluable experience working in both large game reserves as well as several smaller parks. He also worked on private land in the Greytown as a zone officer area helping farming communities with their conservation efforts.
When his kids got to school-going age, Peter decided to make the move back to Durban after 13 years of being with the Parks Board and started working with Msinsi Holdings (Msinsi Resorts dams and game reserves) as their operations manager based in Hillcrest. Fast forward 12 or 13 years and you’ll find Peter in his role at Simbithi as Environmental Manager, and orchestrating several wildlife and conservation initiatives in the Estate including research and implementation of projects on grasslands porcupines, vervet monkeys and bush buck.
Peter lives in Hillcrest but often stays over in Blythedale Beach and he tells me of how much he loves his morning drives watching whales frolicking in the ocean – just one of the many joys he experiences on a daily basis living where we do. His heart is truly for education and he would love to see more community members as well as children getting involved and showing an interest in conservation. He tells me that there are many conservation and eco-tourism bodies operating in the area, one of which is the Dolphin Coast Conservancy– and if community members would like to get involved and make a difference then they can get in touch with Peter for more information HERE.