Conservation & ecology opportunities in the African Bush

The Mogalakwena Research Centre (MRC) is an independent research entity based on the Mogalakwena Reserve in the remote north-western part of the Limpopo Province, South Africa.


The Research Centre forms part of the Mogalakwena Group that also includes the Mogalakwena River Lodge & Artist’s Retreat and the Craft Art Centre and Montebello & Cape Connection Studios.


It was established by Dr Elbé Coetsee and Dr Peter Laver in 2006 to build capacity and facilitate knowledge generation in the fields of ecology, anthropology, craft art design and social entrepreneurship, in this remote area.

Dr Elbé Coetsee has long had a passion for craft art and established the Mogalakwena Craft Art Development Foundation in 1994.

She obtained a PhD in Social Entrepreneurship with academic honorary colours from the University of Pretoria in 1998. She conducts research on contemporary oral culture in the Blouberg area in Limpopo Province and writes extensively on craft art and design in South Africa.

Dr Peter Laver is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Animal Demography Unit, Department of Biological Sciences of the University of Cape Town. He conducts quantitative ecological research with a conservation focus.

Dr. Laver obtained his PhD from Virginia Tech on the disease ecology of banded mongooses in 2013. In 2006, he co-founded and managed the MRC where he facilitated field projects for post graduate students, volunteers and University field courses.

The Research Centre is actively involved in research on a range of projects, but also facilitates study and research opportunities, assists with logistical and field support and provides a research-friendly environment for visiting national and international researchers, students, student groups and volunteers.





We focus on the management and conservation of the fauna and flora of the Mogalakwena River Reserve. The main research focus areas include reserve management, wildlife management, habitat management, species abundance monitoring, wildlife ecology and behaviour, environmental observations and eco-tourism.

Research projects focus on contemporary designs and traditional skills to create unique artworks, furniture, interior accessories and table linen. We have worked with renowned artists, designers, architects and collectors for more than 23 years.

The craft artists are skilled in embroidery, beadwork, weaving and pottery, creating contemporary products for local and export markets. Mogalakwena is constantly striving to innovate products and designs, and to develop craft art skills.

The remote area of Blouberg bears witness to a stark contrast between modern urban and traditional rural values. This strong interplay between different value systems provides a culturally rich environment for research.

Students, researchers and volunteers are invited to participate in the research project: The documentation, categorisation, contextualisation, preservation and dissemination of contemporary oral culture in the Blouberg area of Limpopo.



We conduct outreach projects in the local communities to provide education with regard to the preservation of the environment, basic health care and aids awareness.

Research focuses on the transformation of socially and environmentally responsible ideas into marketable products and services. Research includes triple bottom line organisations where social, environmental and financial aspects are equally important.


Are you interested in an internship, volunteering or conducting research at Mogalakwena Research Centre?


Please send a letter of motivation and your CV to the research manager, Dr Tanja Van de Ven at


For more information on Mogalakwena Research Centre, please visit


COPYRIGHT 2018-2022 MOGALAKWENA   |   ALL RIGHTS RESERVED   |   Designed by In A Nutshell