The Big 5 Wildlife Conservation

The Big 5 Animal Conservation

Quick Overview

Get hands on and close up experience with ‘the Big 5’ in South Africa’s Malaria-free Eastern Cape at one of the top private game reserves, working on various day to day maintenance, management and monitoring projects on-site. You will be staying in a lodge with other volunteers and you will spend your time assisting with the ongoing conservation efforts which aim to help protect the big 5 of Africa – African lions, African elephants, White/Black rhinos, African leopards, and, Cape buffalo. Apart from the big 5, there are almost 40 different game species under protection within this reserve and this conservation program is designed to provide ongoing support for the vital tracking and monitoring required to keep these animals safe.

More and more land mammals are becoming endangered every day and there are many species which are now in danger of being hunted and illegally poached; with Africa’s most endangered animals being the Black rhino, the Grevy’s zebra, the African wild dog, Rothschild’s giraffe and the Northern White rhino. Conservation projects like this are in place to reverse this unsustainable depletion, hopefully before it’s too late. Your contribution will not only help our team and our partners get closer to their goal, but it will also give you the chance to get up close and personal with these beautiful animals and walk the path the Africa’s greatest 5 giants.

What’s Involved

Volunteering on this five star private game reserve is truly exciting and an experience of a lifetime. During this wildlife conservation program, you will get the chance to take part in animal identification and tracking through game drives as well as many other amazing activities. Your duties will include reserve management and maintenance, assisting in game capture, birding orientation and classification, helping with sustainable food production, assisting in veterinary work, anti-poaching control, beach clean-ups, predator monitoring, vegetation management and much more.

Imagine a safari experience that gives you a complete behind the scenes look at what needs to be done in order to protect Africa’s endangered animals. Not only will you learn an incredible amount about wildlife conservation in one of Africa’s most popular private game reserves, but you will get hands on work experience with animals to help give your CV an edge. During your time here, you will also get to take part in various activities such as canoeing and boating, guided walks, bush camping and night drives, fishing, target shooting and even some stargazing with basic astronomy. So there will be a great mix of important wildlife reserve work and weekend fun to make your stay as memorable as possible during this program. A night in the luxury 5 star lodge of this private game reserve is treated to all our wildlife conservation volunteers who stay for more than two weeks!

All The Details

Port Elizabeth, South Africa

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5th March 4th June 20th August 5th November
26th March 5th June 27th August 12th November
2nd April 6th June 3rd September 19th November
2nd April 2nd July 1st October
8th January 9th April 9th July 8th October
15th January 16th April 16th July 15th October
22nd January 23rd April 23rd July 22nd October
29th January 30th April 30th July 29th October
5th February 7th May 6th August 5th November
12th February 14th May 13th August 12th November
19th February 21st May 20th August 19th November
26th February 28th May 27th August 26th November
5th March 4th June 3rd September 3rd December
12th March 11th June 10th September 10th December
19th March 18th June 17th September 17th December
26th March 25th June 24th September 24th December

All our rates are in GBP £. You can convert to USD $ or any other currency using the current exchange rates when you make payments.

1 Week 2 Weeks 3 Weeks 4 Weeks 5 Weeks 6 Weeks 7 Weeks 8 Weeks
n/a £879 £1,219 £1,559 £1,899 £2,239 £2,579 £2,919

Price Includes

  1. Pre-departure support and materials – to prepare you for your trip
  2. Unique Volunteer accommodation in a renovated old railway station in Peterson
  3. Outdoor Braai area, DSTV and internet at home
  4. Experienced bilingual local staff guidance
  5. All meals
  6. Local pub next to volunteer house
  7. One night stay in 4* hotel in the reserve (for over 2 week volunteers only)
  8. Professional/experts in animal conservation
  9. 24 hour support in your location
  10. Working with experts in field and contributing to organised conservation efforts
  11. Transportation to project site

Whats Not Included in your program fee :

  1. Flights
  2. Visa fees
  3. Airport transfers
  4. Personal travel insurance for the duration of your placement
  5. All items of a personal nature, such as curios, gifts, clothing (work and other)
  6. Email and telephone calls made during your placement
  7. Any activities and excursions outside of your planned project itinerary
  8. Soft drinks, wines, spirits, between meal snacks
  1. The nearest airport for this program is Port Elizabeth Airport (PLZ).
  2. We recommend you read our South Africa Volunteer Guide that will give you guidance on your visas.
  3. Insurance is compulsory on this program.
  4. Vaccinations are important. We recommend you visit your local travel clinic to find out what vaccines you should take.
  5. We work with the Foreign & Commonwealth Office for travel to India. Goto to find out how best to avoid trouble when abroad. Packed with essential travel advice and tips, the website also offers up-to-date country information.
  6. For support on any of the above email us

Typical Day for Wildlife Conservation Volunteers:

Volunteers are busy from Monday to Friday, the average working day being 8 hours.Weekends are free for volunteers to either relax at their house or to go sightseeing. Exciting and interesting things frequently happen on a game reserve and these dynamics will as far as possible be included in the programme. Volunteers are allocated a qualified game ranger as facilitator and Land Rover game viewer for their sole use for the duration of the programme. The programme is therefore flexible but an average day might include the following:

  • Breakfast at 07:00AM
  • Leave Volunteer house for duties on the reserve 07:30AM
  • Tracking of Lions with telemetry and monitor activities
  • Move through to the game reserve identifying antelope and to area allocated for vegetation survey
  • Lunch on the reserve around 13:00 to 14:00PM
  • Canoe on the river until 15:00PM to survey bird behaviour
  • 16:00PM Fence patrol on way back to volunteer house

Free Time:

Within the vast reserve, you’ll get the opportunity to enjoy guided walks and game drives, bush camping and night safaris and a whole range of activities in the great outdoors. With the friendly city of Port Elizabeth less than an hour away from your base, you will be able to experience colourful city life in this incredible port and have access to beautiful beaches too. Set along the famous Garden Route, weekends are a great time for scenic drives or long hikes. If this is not enough you always have the option to jet off to Cape Town for the weekend! 

What Happens When I Arrive?


Living Arrangements for Wildlife Experience

On our wildlife conservation program in South Africa you will be able to relax in the comfort of your lodge outside the reserve after a day of volunteering work. Because we promote community living for a happy, healthy social life, we will house you with other volunteers on the same program ‘“ so you will always have someone to talk to about what you’ve learnt. Meals are provided daily so you can get an authentic taste of the local cuisine and fully immerse yourself into a new culture. All transport and transfers will be pre-arranged on your behalf.  Your house will have a common area and kitchen for your use. 


Health and Safety :

When you join our programs you can be assured we have carried out Risk Assessments to identify potential safety and health risks on projects and in the community. We share this information with you in our pre departure documents. Our local staff are well trained and we provide 24/7 emergency numbers to all participants. Please read our Health and Safety pages for more details.


Volunteers Love Us!

  • ‘My experience in India was absolutely fantastic. Having never done anything like this before, Volunteering Journeys made sure I settled in well and supported me throughout my time. Being placed with an amazing family gave me the chance to experience Indian culture first hand.  I was part of the Disabled Childcare Programs for two weeks.  Although short, I felt the time I spent was so valuable for the children. If this is something that you are interested in I would 100% recommend it. The memories, friendships and experiences you will develop will be ones that you will never forget.’

    Fiona Kirk
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  • ‘The teaching experience was second to none. I was overwhelmed by the respect and politeness all the children have, which made it some much easier to work with them, even with the language barrier. The amazing thing about the schools I visited was that all the children are like little sponges, they absorb everything you say, teach and do! It’s quite outstanding how much they gain from just a small conversation in the playground or in the class room.
    So in general if you are questioning whether you want to volunteer and you don’t know what company to go with, it has the be Volunteering Journeys. You will be well looked after, gain an immense experience and make friends for life!!!’

    Jemima Kershberg
    Connect with Jamie via our Facebook Reviews Page
  • ‘I took a short sabbatical from work in November 2013 and decided to come to India. I was helping at a small school in Fort Kochi, teaching English, Maths, Science and the odd nursery rhyme. The school where I volunteered had amazing teachers and the kids were great. Ridhi and the team organised everything brilliantly – from cycling tours to the backwaters, to hosting me with a family that made my stay feel like home. If you’re going to volunteer in India then I highly recommend Volunteering Journeys’

    Glyn Owen
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  • “J’ai passé deux mois formidables à Kochi en travaillant comme volontaire avec Volunteering Journeys. Deux mois de ma vie que je n’oublierais jamais. J’ai rencontré des gens incroyables et participé à des projets qui me tenaient vraiment à coeur. J’ai pu voir l’aboutissement de mes efforts et le sourire sur le visage des enfants. Une expérience magique que je recommande à tous. Merci Rainbow”

    Laura Prigogine
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  • ‘I spent 3 wonderful weeks with the Volunteering Journeys team in Kerala, it marked the beginning of almost 2 months adventuring through India, and I can say without a doubt it was one of my favourite experiences of my time spent in incredible India! From the moment my plane landed and I was greeted by a friendly face and whisked away to a wonderful home, the local staff were incredibly welcoming, helpful, supportive and great fun to be around!
    I spent my time volunteering in 2 local schools, assisting with English studies. The enthusiasm and joy with which the children approach their days will ensure you never want to leave!I cannot recommend Volunteering Journeys highly enough, it was such a joyful introduction to India – it’s culture, people and crazy beautiful way of life. You will leave with some fond memories and firm friendships’


    Katie Parsons
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  • ‘I volunteered by teaching English both at a school and at an all girls’ orphanage for two months. It has been the best experience of my life so far. I really got to know the children I was teaching and seeing the children’s English improve over my time was an incredible feeling. From being introduced to yoga to tasting delicious flavoursome Indian cuisine and living in “God’s own country”, has left me eager to return. I have made friends across the World who made my time spent in Kerala unforgettable. I highly recommend volunteering with Volunteering Journeys; Kerala is beautiful and you will gain fun memories.’

    Elidith Cameron
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  • ‘I spent two weeks running an art workshop which was absolutely fantastic. The children were so enthusiastic and bustled about with paste and paint, putting together the most amazing creations. They were not used to producing collaborative work and were thrilled when their individual efforts achieved a glorious whole. Their personalities really shone through and I became very fond of them in the short time I was with them. Thank you to Volunteering Journeys for enabling me to have such a wonderful experience!’

    Jane Daniell
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  • ‘There is some kind of magic that happens when you’re in India. The climate, the people, the warm welcome, the happiness in every person, the culture, it’s simply inspiring. On top of that having a group of friendly, thoughtful organizers guiding me through the program made my time volunteering with Volunteering Journeys one of the most memorable moments in my life.
    If anyone reading this is considering becoming a volunteer, don’t hesitate, become a volunteer. It will be the most rewarding experience and adventure of your life. I assure you that you will have a vital impact on the community, the place and the children. I would recommend Volunteering Journeys without hesitation. Well organized and hassle free adventure. You get help and guidance with everything you need. Kerala was my destination. Safe, beautiful and very friendly. Just do it and have an adventure of your life!’

    Harminder Athwal
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  • “Volunteering at the schools was one of the most incredible experiences of my life. Once again the friendships you create are irreplaceable. Admittedly, the first few days were scary, in the sense that my partner and I were only 18 & 20 yrs old and we were teaching women and children a language that was not their first. However the persistence and willingness of Indians is not to be tested. Each of our students put in 100% and naturally we became very personal with everyone and these women and children taught us much more. We came out of this experience with more than we had ever anticipated. It can’t be put into words just how much we learnt from volunteering. Ever aspect of our lives and mindset has changed.”

    Aimee Chirio
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  • ‘I think it was quite an eye opening experience to kind of see how people live and enjoy their lives very differently to what we do probably in UK. Even though comparatively they didn’t have as much, the children still came to school with a smile on their face and they were really keen to learn. They were ever so happy and always had a smile on their face regardless of the circumstances that they are living in, and I think that was an amazing experience for us to take back. We have comparatively much more wealth in the UK and we have much more available at our fingertips. Yet we were quite not so happy’

    Andrew Davies
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  • ‘We decided to volunteer as part of our family vacation. It was the perfect balance: making a contribution but not being asked to do too much, with Volunteering Journeys staff with us every step of the way to help, support, clarify, etc. I was also impressed that they didn’t feed us a line about how we were changing the world in a week; I knew going in that *we* would be the ones most changed, and the staff’s perspective’s was the same: we were making an impact by showing we cared and sharing experiences, which hopefully meant something to a lot of people.’

    Bob- Family-Volunteering-Review
    Bob Macauley & Family
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