Dr Belinda Reyers received her PhD in zoology from the University of Pretoria in 2001 at the age of 26.

She spent the next four years lecturing there and at the University of Stellenbosch, where she led the biocomplexity research group. She moved to the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in Stellenbosch in 2004, where she heads up the biodiversity and ecosystem services research group. Reyers is a fellow of the Zoological Society of London and of the CSIR, and sits on the South African national biodiversity institute’s scientific programmes advisory committee and the editorial board of the journal Animal Conservation. She has had more than 30 articles in scientific journals, chapters in books and conference proceedings published. In 2002, Reyers won the University of Pretoria’s exceptional young researcher award and, last year, she was awarded the department of science and technology’s award for the best emerging woman in science, as well as the CSIR’s most promising young researcher award.

Lunch spot: Tokara, Stellenbosch; Pafuri picnic site, Kruger Park