Geoff Nichols was born in Nairobi, Kenya, but has lived most of his life in South Africa. He has national diplomas in Agriculture (Cedara Agricultural College, 1974), Horticulture (Durban Technikon, 1977), and Parks and Recreation Administration (Pretoria Technikon, 1980)
In 1983 he established the Silverglen Medicinal Plant Nursery, the first in South Africa to grow plants used by the Zulu people. His work continues to be focused on promoting the conservation of medicinal plants and other rare and endangered species, many of which he has introduced into cultivation. He has also published numerous articles in the scientific, semi-scientific, and popular press, including a handbook on the propagation of threatened plants of southern Africa for SABONET (2003).
He has received many awards for his work and was named Conservationist of the Year by both the KwaZulu-Natal (1987) and Umhlanga (2001) branches of the Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa.