African Elephant Conservation & Education

founded in 2015
African Edu-Eco
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Coordinator | Wayne
Coordinator | Wayne
Book with Flex Option! Choose new departure dates or change to a different volunteer program at no extra costs.
This 4-Week Program takes Edu-Eco Learning Participants on an exciting journey through Husbandry, Welfare, Care, Management, Research & Behavior of Elephants. This volunteer program is especially suitable for:
Age 18+

This 4-week African Elephant ‘BIG GREY’ Management and Conservation Research Edu-Eco-Learning Program is an informative, fun yet formalised Elephant focused educational program and comprises learning through a Wildlife experience along the Garden Route of South Africa participating in a residential, structured and dedicated Elephant specific program which is founded on outcome-based learning objectives with innovative approaches to deciphering observable elephant behaviour and applying sound operational animal management care, husbandry and welfare strategies, procedures and protocols.

Each program is structured and organised with developmental interactive learning from day to day.  This interactive program is managed in such a manner where all participants take away invaluable knowledge and experience which can be measured, quantified and qualified through the acquisition of new and innovative knowledge and acquired interpretive skills. This program gives an insight into both a managed population and the wild roaming populations of African Elephants and the way that they have adapted to change and sound wildlife management strategies and initiatives. Participants will reluctantly leave the program enriched with Elephant ‘sense’, Elephant life and Elephant memories which are unsurpassed and friendships forged into the future.


Participants will become Elephant aware in an African context through a structured OUTCOME BASED LEARNING program where all facets of the functioning, ecology, social order, behaviour, anatomy and physiology of Elephants are highlighted as are the Facility and Animal Management principles, strategies and protocols adopted by a ethical Sanctuary.

Participants will develop an appreciation for our resident Elephants where behaviour, husbandry, care, monitoring and informal research initiatives, leaving an unforgettable imprinted memory of this close-encounter experience.

 Participants will leave with a better appreciation and understanding of Captive Elephant Management in South Africa by experiencing every facet of the day-to-day life and activities and how this contributes to conservation awareness and the plight of African Elephants in Africa today.

Participants will experience the free-roaming life of wild elephants where social structures and interactions are observed, behaviors observed and assessed, and general management issues pertaining to wild & captive elephants addressed and discussed daily. We also explore African Elephants in an Africa context – distribution, threats and conservation measures.



Participants will be led through the various facets of Elephant Husbandry, Care, Animal Welfare and Animal Management principles and protocols by a hands-on facilitator/instructor who will guide the experience and the learning outcomes in a fun and entertaining manner. You will get down and dirty with every facet of an Elephants life in a managed environment. You will become involved in the various physical Facility Management functions on a day-to-day basis inclusive of repairs and maintenance and general operational requirements through your day. You will be required at close of day to report back on your experience and provide feedback to your participating peers as to what you have experienced for the day. Each day you will be tasked with individual and group research assignments. The core focus during this week is as follows:-

Animal Management Principles, Procedures, Operations and Protocols

Research Initiatives

Facility Management

Elephant Knowledge

Accommodation is at the Elephant Sanctuary or alternate venue in the Crags 20km from Plettenberg Bay based on availability.

2- Day Weekend is where participants can experience the region with Optional activities for their OWN ACCOUNT


Much of what you experienced and learnt during the first week will be carried over to this module with continued application practically of what was learnt. Participants are guided through the use of various tools, techniques and mechanisms to record, monitor and note interesting behavioural observations and features pertaining to each of the Elephants on a daily basis in a fun and informative way.  We use three key principles in behavioural monitoring – Observation, Interpretation and Deduction. 

Each day participants will be required to provide feedback to the group as each participant compiles their own account of our resident elephants life through photographic accounts, written accounts and recorded research data which not only is a living memory of your experience at the Elephant Sanctuary but also a data contribution to the daily management.  This week’s core focus is as follows:-

African Elephant Physical Behavioural Traits

General Elephant Behaviour

African Elephant Monitoring

Accommodation is at the Elephant Sanctuary or alternate venue in the Crags 20km from Plettenberg Bay based on availability.

2- Day Weekend where participants can experience the region with Optional activities for their OWN ACCOUNT.


Participants will continue with workshops initiated relating to the elephants being addressed as well as additional group tasks being undertaken where all observations found within managed elephant populations observed on our Elephant journey so far are brought together in a group project based outcome. Individual experiences and interesting facts pertaining to elephant life, ecology, behavior and adaptability are collated. Each day participants will be required to compile their own account of an elephants life in a managed environment through photographic accounts, written accounts and recorded research data which not only is a living memory of your experience with the African Edu-Eco Wizard team at the Elephant Sanctuary but also a data contribution to the daily management. Other elephant encounters may be added to this dynamic account from time-to-time.

During this week you will be exposed to a variety of localised Conservation Projects & Conservation Research Initiatives over the duration of your stay with us and more particularly this week. This region, due to its diversity of habitat and endemic species accounts are a favoured research zone. Additional core focus includes exposure to the following :-

Conservation Projects – These include clearing of Invasive and Alien plant species; Monitoring Estuarine Ecosystems; Clearing Hiking paths and trails; Beach debris clean ups and documenting debris found; etc.

Conservation Research Initiatives - These include Bird Ringing; Fish monitoring; Fynbos Research initiatives; Bird monitoring; Marine Animal research initiatives, Reptile & Snake Handling initiatives; Macro Invertebrate Research; and Seabird Research, etc.

Accommodation is at the Elephant Sanctuary or alternate venue in the Crags 20km from Plettenberg Bay based on availability.

2- Day Weekend where participants can experience the region with Optional activities for their OWN ACCOUNT.


Edu-Eco Participants will be taken to Addo Elephant National Park near Port Elizabeth for a 5-Day Elephant Observation, Interpretive and Facilitated SAFARI experience where Wild Elephant Behavior is observed, monitored and accounted for on a daily basis. During this phase we will look at the effects Elephants have on the greater ecology of an area with many interesting facts being communicated as we journey through the park on a daily basis. During our stay we will also observe all the other representative animals in Addo and how they relate to one another with their unique niche habitats and survival success opportunities in African Safari Style presented in a fun and informative manner. We depart for Addo National Park on the Monday morning and return late Friday afternoon of the same week back to the Elephant Sanctuary. The core focus includes the following:-

Wild Roaming Population Dynamics – Each morning and afternoon participants will be taken on a guided interpretive Elephant safari where all the behaviours that have been observed and noted can now be applied to wild roaming animals. We use the powers of observation, interpretation of that observable behaviour and make deductions and draw conclusions as to behavioural outcomes. During these daily outings we will encounter other species and discuss ecosystem dynamics and the natural balances.

This component of the program will be presented in Addo Elephant National Park.

During this module participants will be accommodated in traditional camping style – in shared dome-tented accommodation.

On the final Friday we will return to either the Elephant Sanctuary or an alternate venue (subject to availability) in the Crags or Plettenberg Bay to do a complete debriefing regarding your experience and present Certificates and Special awards to participants. This evening we will have an organised dinner function. Saturday is used for packing and onward journeys.

Each component of the program gives you the opportunity to experience the Elephant Sanctuaries resident Elephants and Wild Elephants in Addo National Park in close quarters daily. In addition to this you will throughout the program be exposed to localised Conservation Projects and Research initiatives.

If it is an Edu-Eco Learning experience you seek and an African Elephant Adventure like no other then this program is for you.

NOTE: From time to time rescheduling in the weekly schedule as outlined above may occur due to the programs dynamic nature.

 The Programming format is divided into FIVE Key areas –

Theoretical Modules – Comprise Lectures, Presentations, Workshops & Interactive Participant Feedback Sessions.

Practical Modules – Comprises Formal Practical half/full day sessions per program and numerous Informal Practical sessions daily of varying duration. These practical sessions compliment the awareness training specific to the program.

Practical Research Projects and Assignment Presentations are allocated personally and for feedback sessions to the group.

Presentations comprise Peer Reviews, Peer Evaluations and Peer Points Allocations for Projects & Presentations undertaken.

Program Outcomes, Assessments and Evaluations take place individually during the final week of the program.

Typical day


The Programs are presented from a Monday to a Friday. Weekends are free for you to explore the region. Daily Schedule starts at 08h00 and concludes at 16h30 unless otherwise specified. Addo components have early starts and late afternoon sessions.

The Morning Session is from 08h00 to 12h00. Lunch is from 12h00 to 13h00. The Afternoon session is from 13h00 to 16h30.

Meal times are: Breakfast 7h30 – 8h00 am. Lunch 12h00 – 13h00 pm. Dinner 18h30 – 19h30 pm

Free-time activities

Full and comprehensive activity profiles are given to participants on arrival so as to budget accordingly for exploring the region and the incredible variety of activities and adventures on offer in the Garden Route region.

One can expect adventures to be mild to wild. From Bungy Jumping, to Skydiving, to Sea Kayaking, to Canoeing in Wilderness sections of various rivers, to Black Water Tubing, to Paragliding, to Swimming with Seals, to Great White Shark encounters, to Walking or Hiking a number of the most scenic routes available on the Garden Route, to Mountain Biking, to Trail Running. You name it we have it. African Edu-Eco Wizard will assist in organizing your extra-mural activities. This list is not comprehensive by any means and can be embroidered on extending all the way from Mossel Bay to Oudsthoorn to Jefferies Bay to Port Elizabeth to Addo Elephant National Park and the Sundays river.

African Edu-Eco Wizard facilitates and manages many of these adventures and only suggests and utilizes reputable adventure operators in the region which conform with the legal requirements to operate such adventures. AEEW also offers a transfer service to and from adventure activity.

Upon booking, participants will be provided with a comprehensive list of activities in the region.

Water Sports


In order to join the program you need to be at least 18 years old on the program start date. There might be exemptions if you can provide the permission of your legal guardian(s) or if your are accompanied by your parents.
Language Skills
You need to speak English (intermediate level)
Education Requirements
Biology, Geography, Science, Wildlife, Nature Science, Wilderness at Matric or Post Matric or University or Life Experiences level
Required Documents
CV, Completed Application Form, Copy of Passport and Medical and Insurance Cover
Nationality Restrictions
No restrictions. Helping hands from all over the world are welcome.
Other Skills
We like our Eco-Learners to exude energy, enthusiasm, commitment, passion and a willingness to learn and explore, We would like to encourage anyone who is highly motivated, can work independently and have a flexible approach.
We like our Eco-learners to be trustworthy; have integrity, be dedicated to tasks at hand and have a sense of responsibility not only to you personally but to other participants and the organisation.
Time Commitment
Your helping hand will be required on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 08:00 - 16:30

What's Included

Services by African Edu-Eco

Program Costs Include

All arrival and departure transport components for your program. This is for arrival and departure from George airport.

All accommodation for the duration of the program.

Tea and Coffee will be available throughout the day at the respective bases.

Fresh linen is given weekly – Includes bedding and towels.

A washing machine is available. Students are required to do their own personal washing. Laundromats are available.

A Workbook, Tuition, Professional Instructors, Facilitation and outcome based experiential learning components.

Comprehensive Public Liability, Professional and Passenger Liability cover for each participant for the duration of the program.

The full-time service of a qualified Professional Instructor/Facilitator who is your Program Leader.

A Certificate of Attendance with Certifiable aspects highlighted

Program Costs Exclude

International flights to and from Oliver Tambo (Johannesburg) International or Cape Town International airports.

Domestic internal flights to and from George airport.

Visas – Visa applications and Visa requirements.

Personal, medical and travel insurance that must cover you for the duration of your Learning program stay with us and should include cover for repatriation, medical evacuation and any additional activities which you may wish to undertake including working with wild animals.

Items of a personal nature: drinks, refreshments, gifts, curios and additional food and snacks not supplied.

Stationary requirements for the duration of your program specified in your Kit List which forms part of your Enrolment Pack.

Personal entertainment and excursions into Plettenberg Bay or surrounding Towns.

Medical expenses and Personal medication.

Additional spending money for the duration of the program.

Airport Pickup at George Airport

We collect our Eco-Learners from George Airport ONLY. The approximate travelling time between George and our Elephant Sanctuary Base in the Crags is about 2-hours. It is advised that you arrive on the day prior to the commencement of the program and depart on the final Saturday of your scheduled program date. Should accommodation extensions be required this will be for your own account.


All accommodation is on a SHARING basis 

2 in a room with bathroom on suite. All accommodation is comfortable, up-to-date with necessary amenities. 

During Week 4 we will spend time at Addo for 5-days 4-nights in SHARED DOME-TENTED accommodation.

Eco-Learners are expected to keep their rooms and/or tents and personal belongings tidy at all times and participate in any chores as required for the cleanliness and operation of the shared facilities, vehicle

Bedroom (Double)
Food & Beverages

You will be provided three balanced meals per day. A basic breakfast, brunch or lunch or packed lunch and dinner daily.

Meal times are: Breakfast 7h30 – 8h00 am. Lunch 12h00 – 13h00 pm. Dinner 18h30 – 19h30 pm

Breakfast Format – Help yourself to breakfast; cereals, fruit, yoghurts, toast and spreads

Lunch Format – Lunch will be in the form of a packed lunch on excursion days or help yourself to lunch – with breads, fruits, cold meats, salad of the day and spreads.

Dinner Format – A hot meal will be served every night such as traditional BBQ (Braai), stews (Potjies), casseroles, fresh vegetables and meats being the order of the day. All dinners will include a meat, starch and vegetable.

Tea and coffee are available throughout the day.

All other drinks are for your own expense though the tap water is safe to drink.

A generous amount of wholesome food will always be given. If snacks are desired there are grocery stores nearby. There will be refrigeration available for personal foods and soft drinks.

Participants are required to be involved in the preparation of meals and to clean up after themselves after meals.

Important reminder – Participants must advise us on their Application form of their dietary needs (Vegetarian or have allergies) prior to their departure. Anyone with very specific dietary needs may be required to supplement their meals at their own expense.

Internet Access
Good access at the project site
What's NOT included?
Visa, flights, travel insurance or vaccinations are NOT included in the program fees.
Flight Tickets
The nearest airport is George Airport (GRJ) in George. We assist you to find cheap flights to South Africa.
Travel Insurance
Going abroad is an adventure and it is always best to be prepared. Sudden illness or injury, cancellation or theft - a travel insurance for South Africa provides security and is a plus to have.
If you are intending to volunteer in South Africa you should seek medical advice before starting your social journey. Check your required vaccinations for South Africa.

Dates & Fees


Details on arrival

We have scheduled dates for our programs.

The 2018 dates are as follows:

19th March – 13th April 2018
4th – 29th June 2018
15th October – 9th November 2018

This program is paused due to COVID-19

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
4 - 4 weeks

Program fees

Costs: Prices in USD
4 weeks (min. stay)
4 weeks (max. stay)
Average fees
$750 /week

Please note that the above shown program fees are estimated. African Edu-Eco will let you know about the final price during your application process.
Deposit (15%)
The deposit is simply to reserve your volunteer placement. Payments are handled by PayPal, our trusted global payment provider. If you don't have a PayPal account, you can also pay using a credit card.
Final Payment (85%)
Your final payment will be agreed with African Edu-Eco during the application process. Common solutions are either via bank transfer or a cash payment at the project site.

Why book with Volunteer World

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Quality Assurance
High ethical standards & transparent social impact
Flex Option
Change your reservation at no extra costs
Refund Guarantee
We refund your fees if African Edu-Eco cancels your trip
Support & Mediation
We cover your back no matter what happens
Our services are free of charge!
All program fees are charged directly by African Edu-Eco.

What are people saying about Volunteer World?

African Elephant Conservation & Education

This 4-Week Program takes Edu-Eco Learning Participants on an exciting journey through Husbandry, Welfare, Care, Management, Research & Behavior of Elephants.


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