The Big 5 Wildlife Conservation Volunteer in South Africa offers you a unique experience in the African bush and allows you to observe and be a part of the research/monitoring teams on the reserve. The focus of the this project revolves around some of the key species; elephants, lions, hyenas and leopards. You will also be involved with monitoring breeding initiatives comprising of buffalo, Livingston eland and nyala. Habitat work also plays an important part of the monitoring process. The reserve is a vast Big 5 nature reserve covering an area of 25.000 hectares and is situated in the Lowveld area, the home of nature conservation in South Africa. Here, your work is vital for accurate management of the animals within the reserve. The data collected is also made available to students and researchers that we host, as well as several national conservation projects, including the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT).
Whether on a monitoring drive, on foot, or observing the wildlife at a waterhole, all of your work on this Wildlife Conservation Volunteer in South Africa will be done under the guidance of qualified rangers. As each activity has a pre-determined objective, you not only get to view the animals, but are also able to assist in the conservation of these species. In between activities, volunteers will receive a series of presentations on the work of the project, or how to approach dangerous game on foot, or possibly even a presentation on Rhino Poaching lesson. This time will also be used to transfer all data collected onto the computers and compile the weekly research report, as well as helping out with vehicle checks and cleaning. At the end of the day, you return to the camp to share your experiences over dinner around the open fire and then fall asleep to the sounds of the bush. You don't have to be a wildlife expert to volunteer on this wildlife conservation project in South Africa. You should be 18 years or older and you should be reasonably fit to join in with our activities.

Wild life Conservation Volunteer in South Africa Gallery

What is involved as Wildlife Volunteer

Our Wildlife Conservation Volunteers in South Africa will be quite busy most of the day. Here is an example itinerary for you. Please note that from time to time there can be unavoidable changes to projects. These can be caused by weather, conservation priorities, materials supply, or because ongoing projects have progressed more quickly or slowly than originally planned. We ask you to accept the changes – we are sure that you will enjoy the replacement projects just as much.This routine is stuck to as best as possible; however, working with animals requires a flexible schedule. The below
outline is subject to change:

Monday : Project start day. Town trip to pick up volunteers and restock on supplies.

Tuesday : Early start on a set-route drive as part of the game counting program to determine populations of general game. In the afternoon, depart for a monitoring drive to locate one of the projects key species of interest; lion, elephant, leopard or hyena.

Wednesday : Waterhole monitoring in the morning to determine species utilisation of the area. Set off for a drive in the afternoon to the breeding boma to monitor the buffalo, Livingstone eland and nyala.

Thursday : Habitat work; you could be busy with exotic plant removal, erosion control or bush clearing. In the afternoon or evening, head out on hyena monitoring and night patrol.

Friday : Early morning start, go out to locate elephants as part of the ongoing research into the elephant contraception program. The afternoon set out to monitor bird species on the way to a sleep out under the stars with the Endangered Species project.

Saturday : Either an outing will be planned or it will be a free day for volunteers to relax or head out on their own tour. When you have free time, it’s not recommended to stay at the camp because the rangers have their off duty.

Sunday : Habitat work in the morning, followed by an afternoon monitoring drive focusing on the lion population. On return in the evening, you may head out to the local pub or have a typical South African braai (BBQ).

Wild conservation Documenting research

Some details

Arrival Day - Saturday Time - Your flight can land anytime on Saturday

Airport -  Orientation - Saturday - Sunday

Project Starts - Monday. You will travel by shuttle to the project site in Hoedspruit.

Alternatively, you may fly JNB - HDS in order to skip the shuttle (at your own expense).

Departure Day - Monday

Departure Time - You must take a late evening flight out of JNB as the shuttle will only arrive back to JNB at approximately 18h00.

Alternatively, you may fly HDS - JNB should you wish to skip the shuttle (at your own expense).

Min Duration - 1 week (including 2 day orientation)

2024 2025
Jan 20,27 Jan 4,11, 18, 25
Feb 3,10,17,24 Feb 1, 8, 15, 22
Mar 2,9, 16, 23, 30 Mar 1, 8, 15, 22, 29
Apr 6,13, 20, 27 Apr 5, 12, 19, 26
May 4,11,18, 25 May 3, 10, 17, 24, 31
Jun 1, 8, 15, 22, 29 Jun 7, 14, 21, 28
Jul 6,13, 20, 27 Jul 5, 12, 19, 26
Aug 3,10, 17, 24 Aug 2, 9, 16, 23, 30
Sep 21, 28 Sep 6, 13, 20, 27
Oct 5,12,19,26 Oct 4, 11, 18, 25
Nov 2, 9, 16, 23, 30 Nov 1, 8, 15, 22, 29
Dec 7, 14 Dec 6, 13, 20

What your first week looks like

Day One: Arrival day

South Africa Volunteering Lecture
You will be picked up from Hoedspruit Airport and taken to your accommodation. Here you will be given a chance to settle down before meeting the staff. You will be given a briefing on your volunteer program and then meet other volunteers. If you arrive to J'Burg Airport you must make your way to Hoedspruit.

Day Two - Project Work

South Africa Volunteer
Start the day with breakfast at the accommodation. You will be given project training and then start project work. Health and Safety training will be given as well.

Free Time

South Africa Volunteer pool area
In between the morning and afternoon activities’ you have free time. This time should be dedicated to food preparation and making sure all the data collected that day is inputted onto the computer and checked by a second person. In your free time you can watch a documentary or movie in the lounge; Read a book ; Soak in the swimming pool ; Take a nap!

South Africa Things to Do

Explore Mpumalanga

Explore the scenic Panorama Route in the Mpumalanga region- Blyde River Canyon is a site not to be missed!

Visit Cape Town

best volunteer abroad program 2024
Take a guided walk through the city to learn the history from the days of Dutch settlement though the Apartheid years.

Wine Country

South Africa Stellenbosch
Meander through stunning landscapes and wine farms of Stellenbosch. Stop at wine estates for tastings.

Cape Point

cape-point-South Africa
Follow the scenic coastal roads of the Cape Peninsula to Cape Point where the two oceans meet.

Testimonial Videos

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