African Wildlife Researcher Assistant

founded in 2005
Khaya Volunteer Projects
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Coordinator | Martijn
Coordinator | Martijn
Book with Flex Option! Choose new departure dates or change to a different volunteer program at no extra costs.
Experience adventures in all areas of conservation at this fascinating project situated in Limpopo. This volunteer program is especially suitable for:
Age 18+

Situated in Northern Limpopo, the African Wildlife & Research Project will give you a unique opportunity to assist with the protection of endangered animals and the restoration of the reserves ecosystem. This Project is an enriching and unforgettable experience for people that truly desire an up-close and personal experience in the world of conservation.

As a volunteer at this project you will contribute to the reserve in a meaningful way by assisting the reserve in essential research, important species monitoring and reserve tasks.  This creates a rewarding experience for the reserve, volunteers and staff.  Volunteering at this project will not only provide an unforgettable experience in the wilds of Africa but also provides biological students with vital field experience for their future careers.

All activities are ethically minded for the protection of the community and the fauna and flora of the area.


You will work with qualified field guides, a conservation manager and the resident scientist. 

Other volunteers

This project is specifically selected to give you a unique and personal experience. Khaya believes in smaller projects with a limited number of volunteers to guarantee this uniqueness. Volunteer numbers therefore differ from 1-10 and as volunteers come and go numbers can differ. Most volunteers are from the UK, USA and Western Europe.

Need for Volunteers

The project is in the process of rewilding the land to create optimum biodiversity and to be a centre for endangered species conservation.  We need volunteers to assist in all forms of research and monitoring of important species, without whom we would not be able to know whether the ecosystem is healthy and sustainable.  Volunteers will provide baseline data on the species, ecology, interactions of all organisms in the area.  The baseline data is essential in knowing that we are creating a safe, enriching and efficient space to protect endangered species.

Volunteer Tasks and Activities 

As a volunteer you will have adventures in all aspects of conservation such as:

• Researching leopard population

• Cheetah and elephant monitoring

• Bird and ecological surveys

• Analysing game transects

• Possibly translocations and releases

• Hands-on work projects of restoring fauna

• Recording and evaluating data

• Sustaining the habitat

Survival Course

Experience the raw, untamed South African bush when you take part in a hands-on survival training course.

Learn what it takes to be like the original San people in the area!  Throughout the centuries the San people kept alive by having a close relationship with their natural environment and mastered the skill needed to survive in the harshest of conditions.  You will be taught skills to exist in the wild without any modern conveniences.

You only need a backpack with essentials:

• Learn how to track animals

• Learn how to navigate your way to your camp site

• Locate the rock art of the San people and be inspired

• Eat the traditional foods of the area, including mopane worms

• Find water

• Find firewood

• Light a fire with a flint (no matches or firelighters allowed)

• Create shelter for the night by making your own rope from the plant fibres

• Camp out under the stars

• Learn hunting and gathering skills

• Cook your food on the fire

• Take turns to be on guard during the night to protect all from dangerous animals that may approach the camp.

You will be supervised by qualified and experienced staff at all times for your safety, but all survival activities are up to you! Once complete, you will be rewarded with a certificate of achievement proving you have the skills, experience and mental strength to make it on your own in the wild.

Course available.

Basic survival level: one night, two days training

NB:  Please not that this course is subject to weather conditions, number of volunteers and staff.  

Typical day

Every day you will explore the reserve, a pure African wilderness, whilst providing valuable assistance to animals and habitats. Our aim for your visit is to not only ensure you enjoy every minute of the African bush, but to also provide you with experiences and education so that when you leave, you will have the knowledge to save endangered species, to manage a game reserve and conservation.

If you are interested in booking as part of a specialist group, for example veterinary students, we can cater the schedule for you to obtain skills and experiences that will fit in with your interests.

Students doing thesis projects we may adapt the schedule, when possible, to suit your data collection needs.

5:00am Breakfast and prep for the morning
6:00am Early morning activities to take advantage of the cool weather, it is the most optimum time to see more elusive animals
10:00am Continue with research data entry, check camera traps, free time, use Wi-Fi
12:00pm Prep for lunch and enjoy a meal
13:30pm Free time, play games, whatever you feel
15:00pm Research activities
19:00pm Prep for dinner and enjoy the remainder of the evening.

Free-time activities

Mapungubwe National Park and Kaoxa bushmen paintings, can be arranged with the lodge that is based on Mapesu at an extra cost.



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 (basic level)
Nationality Restrictions
No restrictions. Helping hands from all over the world are welcome.
Time Commitment
Your helping hand will be required on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday

What's Included

Services by Khaya Volunteer Projects
What is included?                                                                                                

  • All food (except snacks, soft drinks and alcohol)
  • Accommodation
  • All linen (except towels)
  • All training for assistance with our research
  • All travel within the reserve
  • Assistance to organize travel in the local area

What is excluded?    

  • Flights to South Africa
  • Transfers not included (refer to transfer fee) 
  • Transfers out of set dates are charged an extra fee please inquire when booking 
  • Personal insurance
  • Towels
  • Entrance fee to local attractions
  • Other personal items such as alcoholic drinks, soft drinks or snacks

Airport Pickup at Polokwane Airport
Pickup from airport

Pick up from Polokwane airport in a Toyota Quantum (minibus)
All collections and drop offs of volunteers are done on every 2nd Wednesday of the month throughout the year so please arrange your travel to coincide with this. If you are unable to do so, please advise us promptly and alternative transport can be arranged for you at your own expense.

Transfer from Polokwane (one way) € 135.00 $ 160.00 £ 120.00



You will stay in the research house, which has shared bedrooms for up to 10 people in single beds and 2 bathrooms.

One room has 6 beds with an air-con unit, the other two bedrooms have two single beds with an electric fan available.

There is a fully equipped kitchen. All linens for the beds are supplied.

Food & Beverages

All food to be provided to the volunteers, however, volunteers will need to rotate and take turns preparing cooking and cleaning, as needed.

Water, coffee and tea are free. Weekly menu and any food issues need to be determined prior to enrolling.

‘Luxury’ items are not provided such as fresh bread for example, or green tea, snacks, soft drinks and alcohol. 

Volunteers will be given an opportunity to buy other items on the weekly shop.  Fresh fruit and vegetables are only bought once a week.

Internet Access
Limited 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 Polokwane Airport (PTG) in Polokwane. 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

All collections and drop offs of volunteers are done on every 2nd Wednesday of the month throughout the year so please arrange your travel to coincide with this. If you are unable to do so, please advise us promptly and alternative transport can be arranged for you at your own expense.

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2 - 12 weeks

Program fees

Costs: Prices in USD
2 weeks (min. stay)
3 weeks
4 weeks
5 weeks
6 weeks
7 weeks
12 weeks (max. stay)
Average fees
$705 /week

Please note that the above shown program fees are estimated. Khaya Volunteer Projects 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 Khaya Volunteer Projects 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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We refund your fees if Khaya Volunteer Projects cancels your trip
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All program fees are charged directly by Khaya Volunteer Projects.

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African Wildlife Researcher Assistant

Experience adventures in all areas of conservation at this fascinating project situated in Limpopo.


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