from 1,610€

Brilliant 4.7rating (42)

Big 5 Monitoring, Conservation, Sustainable Living

location
2 - 12 weeks  ·  Age 18 - 50+

rating  Brilliant 4.7  · 
  Verified by Volunteer World
  Very high response rate

Volunteer project with the highest quality. This project sets unprecedented standards in quality - an unparalleled level of excellence.

Highlights

  • Live as a ranger: join two monitoring drives per day, spending up to12 hours in the field, assisting with Big 5, hyenas, cheetah and endangered species monitoring and conservation activities
  • Your contribution is key! You will join our rangers in vital conservation activities, ensuring a healthy environment for the survival of these incredible species
  • Gain incredibly valuable experience in real conservation, data recording, wildlife observation, tracking, anti-poaching and camera trap processing
  • Join our rangers in unique activities, such as daily bush walks to monitor key species in their habitat, sleep outs, microlight flight over the reserve, quad bike rides and so much more
  • Embrace sustainable living practices and make a difference by reducing plastic, adopting zero-waste habits, while utilising solar energy at camp.

Especially suitable

Age 18+
Singles
Couples
Groups
50+

About the program

Give your contribution towards wildlife conservation! Learn about animal behaviour, reserve management and anti-poaching while living a lifetime experience! 🇿🇦

The aim of the LEO Africa research project is to provide park wardens and ecologists with detailed information about wildlife within Abelana Game Reserve. This information is used to evaluate the impact of re-introduced animals and to maintain balanced, stable, and sustainable ecosystems.

Your time ...

About the program

The aim of the LEO Africa research project is to provide park wardens and ecologists with detailed information about wildlife within Abelana Game Reserve. This information is used to evaluate the impact of re-introduced animals and to maintain balanced, stable, and sustainable ecosystems.

Your time at LEO Africa 

At LEO Africa you will live a truly African Experience guided by expert field guides and rangers, all really passionate and active about conservation. Our commitment towards nature and animals is really serious and we are out on the field every day to make a difference. We wait for you, come joining us and give your vital contribution to real conservation!

Our volunteer wildlife monitoring programme records and monitors the movements, behaviour, numbers, kills, and habituation of lions, white rhinos, leopards, elephant, buffalo, cheetahs and hyena. This research will play a vital role in the management of reserves and conservancies throughout South Africa.

Broadly speaking, volunteers help on the two daily monitoring drives which are sent out to monitor the animal populations in the reserve, and  also help with management work such as alien plant removal, bush clearing, road repair, or game capture. When on drives, volunteers help track and identify animals, and observe and record data about the key species monitored and conservation work done. Volunteers can also take part in excursions to local attractions such as the Kruger National Park, the Panorama Route and activities in the reserve such as sleep out in the bush for anti-poaching purposes.

During the monitoring drives, LEO staff will also provide informative guiding about the local flora and fauna, identifying and explaining the wildlife encountered on drive. Longer-term volunteers will gain a significant insight into both practical conservation as well as the ecology of the Lowveld.

Volunteer with LEO to gain wildlife management experience in your gap year or simply to have an amazing lifetime experience.

Doing volunteer work with LEO Africa in South Africa, you will:

  • Determine and monitor predator numbers in the reserve including lions, leopards, hyenas, and cheetahs
  • Monitor the feeding behaviour, prey selection, kill frequencies, and the ecological impact of lion and other predators in the reserve
  • Monitor the social dynamics of the resident lion, leopard, hyena, rhino, elephant population
  • Monitor the spatial movements and territories of predators and mega herbivores
  • Monitor elephants and assist us developing their identification kits
  • Specifically monitor the white rhinos in the Reserve
  • Monitor and habituate resident leopards to be able to monitor them more efficiently
  • Collect and analyze data with the goal of creating monthly reports for the reserve managers to maintain the balance and general health of the reserve's ecosystem

Your volunteer work will have a significant positive impact on the conservation practices of the reserve and your presence as a volunteer, will make our work possible! Without volunteers, LEO Africa can't operate.

Work Focuses 

Our work focuses on collecting, analyzing data and monitoring of the Big 5, cheetahs and hyenas. We closely collaborate with the reserve managers and veterinary, setting priorities for the benefit of fauna and flora. Our work on the Reserve is really important for different aspects: We monitor the animals and take care of other aspects such as the flora and the land itself, the base of the circle of life.  A balanced ecosystem grants a quality life to the animals. For this reason, you will also help the team with some reserve management activities such as bush clearing, road re-opening and alien plants removal. The reserve has a great biodiversity.  We have a great respect for the wild animals and their behavior; we try to avoid any interference with the animals’ lives when we monitor them and any sort of ‘hands on’ interaction is only done if completely unavoidable and usually only in medical emergencies. 

Field Conditions

As a conservation volunteer working with LEO Africa, your interests will be in wild animals, nature conservation, and research.

You must be reasonably fit and be prepared to spend many hours tracking and observing animals behavior, taking photos to create ID kits and help with conservation work while enjoying breathless landscapes of the Abelana Game Reserve.

Life revolves around the animals' movements and most activity takes place in the early mornings, late afternoons, and frequently well into the night. The middle day is usually spent at the base entering data, equipment maintenance, house duties, cooking and just relaxing, reading a book or chatting with your friend volunteers. (Note: those prone to heat exhaustion are recommended to plan their visit for cooler months, discuss their trip with their doctor, and take proper measures to avoid dehydration.)

As a LEO volunteer you will receive training on all aspects of the conservation and monitoring work that we do. Most days follow a similar pattern: morning and afternoon drives during which you track, spot, observe, and record the behaviour of the monitored animals and will take part into conservation activities. BUSH WALKS are also a big part of our daily monitoring routine, tracking key species in their habitat and getting a visual, making sure that they are healthy and safe.

While out in the bush, you will have the chance of seeing some of the park's resident wildlife population like giraffe, eland, kudu, zebra, nyala, impala, bushbucks, and many more.

The Bush

The bush gives us a lot of satisfactions and surprises, even if, of course, we can’t expect to see the Big 5 every day! There can be very intense and lucky days, others more quiet. Everything depends on a lot of variables which are outside our control (such as climate, animal interactions, water sources, and so on). Wild animals can’t be controlled! They are fascinating because of this unpredictability and it is fantastic to study them and their behaviour in their natural habitat!

Economically

LEO Africa is financially sustained only by the volunteers as we provide a free service to the Reserve. All the money from the volunteers is used to run the entire project, namely to buy and maintain vehicles, petrol, monitoring and research tools, computer, camera traps, batteries, salaries, food and accommodation etc.



Typical day

Being a volunteer at LEO Africa means contributing towards wildlife monitoring and conservation, meeting new people, having a great time, learning about nature, conservation and having a lifetime experience!

The experience at LEO Africa is unique, special and exclusive, as we are located in the 15000 ...

Typical day

Being a volunteer at LEO Africa means contributing towards wildlife monitoring and conservation, meeting new people, having a great time, learning about nature, conservation and having a lifetime experience!

The experience at LEO Africa is unique, special and exclusive, as we are located in the 15000 hectares Abelana Game Reserve, adjacent to Kruger National Park, in the Limpopo Province, South Africa. LEO’s role on the reserve is very important as we are responsible of all the work on the field as well as data and ID kits of the key animals that we monitor. We provide a free service to the Reserve and the operation is entirely funded by the volunteers, who have the privilege of being part of a very select group of people who can spend time in the reserve and work towards conservation, making the experience genuine and more valuable. 

The other people who can see Abelana are the guests of the 5 star lodge. Working for such a low impact reserve is a real privilege! The reserve is stunning and contains a high variety of fauna and flora... We work very hard towards conservation, our mission. We love our work and we are proud to be the monitors of the animals of the reserve, providing the management with valuable data and ID kits of the most important species.

Volunteers have an important role in our research, as they help us on different aspects:
On the field
  • collecting data on the species monitored;
  • taking photos of the animals for ID purposes;
  • Bush Walks to monitor Key and Endangered species in their habitat
  • bush clearing; 
  • animal tracking, 
  • animal spotting and recognition; 
  • see how we set up camera traps; game capture and veterinary actions such as animal darting (when requested by the reserve Vet); 
  • observation. 
  • bush walks when necessary to replace camera traps and conduct conservation work
  • sleep out under the stars to be an active presence in the bush at night (organized according to the weather and need). 
At base
  • inserting data, 
  • providing the photos for ID kits
  • assisting with sorting out camera trap photos
  • see the camera trap processing to create ID kits; 
  • Once or twice a week you will spend a half day at base to assist with house duty. This is on a rotation basis with the other volunteers to assist with cooking and house duties.
Financially:
  • We only rely on the income from our volunteers to conduct our important conservation work. Without volunteers, there would not be a dedicated monitoring and conservation team on the reserve.
  • We provide a free service to the reserve: thanks to our volunteers, we can do our vital job!

Typical Day
Volunteering at LEO is an amazing experience, as you have the opportunity to actively contribute towards conservation, learn about animals, nature, reserve management and meet people that come from different part of the world.  A "normal day" at LEO consists of 2 game drives/activities per day (departure time in the morning 5.00/5.30 in the summer and 6.00 in winter, coming back around 11.00/12.00; the afternoon drive leaving at 15.00/15.30 and coming back around 20.00), or you can stay out the entire day, according to the work that needs to be done and the priorities set by the LEO and reserve manager. Our monitoring work focuses especially on tracking and monitoring lions, white rhinos, elephants, leopards, buffalos spotted and cheetahs, reserve management activities and anti-poaching.

All the data collected is used to write monthly reports for the Reserve Management. We also organise some activities in the central hours of the day such as FGASA lessons (on request by the volunteers), to learn more information about mammals, reptiles, birds, amphibians and much more, data insert; each volunteer will stay back at base on a rotary basis to help with general maintenance work, cooking, cleaning, and analysis of the photos collected on drive with the staff members, that are used to produce ID kits as well as camera traps photos. The duty day can be also seen as a break to recover from the early wake up on a daily basis. Volunteers will also have some free time that can be used according to your needs; we have a library with some books and some board games to keep you company too!
 
LEO is very active in the anti-poaching and protection of our rhinos. That’s why we have a lot of camera traps placed in the bush that are used both for ID purposes of the key species but also for security reasons, to detect eventual suspicious activities. The LEO Team reports also on suspicious tracks, low flying helicopters and airplanes and we do some observation from strategic points as well as sleep out to support the work done by the anti-poaching teams.


Free-time activities

Activities for the free time: reading, data analysis/Camera Traps (in depth, at the volunteer discretion), see ID kits, educational FGASA Talks on request, excursions, relax, watching movies.

Volunteers also have the opportunity of visiting the surrounding areas taking part in some excursions that ...

Free-time activities

Activities for the free time: reading, data analysis/Camera Traps (in depth, at the volunteer discretion), see ID kits, educational FGASA Talks on request, excursions, relax, watching movies.

Volunteers also have the opportunity of visiting the surrounding areas taking part in some excursions that we are happy to organise for you accompanied by a LEO guide (all the excursions are not included in the price). The excursions available are to the Kruger National Park, Panorama Route and Blyde River Canyon Boat trip.


Requirements

Requirements

Minimum Age: 18 years

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)

Required Documents

medical form and terms and condition form that will be sent to you within the application process

Nationality Restrictions

No restrictions. Helping hands from all over the world are welcome.

Other Skills

Enjoy Wildlife and nature, be patient (nature is not in a hurry and wild animals move where they want!), be willing to work and contribute towards our conservation efforts; photography and video making, appreciate the bush for what it has to offer! We work really hard for conservation and we are very happy to share our knowledge and experience with you! Volunteers are encouraged to join our pledge to reduce our plastic consumption to the benefit of wildlife and environment. Welcome to our Team!

Time Commitment

Your helping hand will be required on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday

What's Included

What's Included

Services by LEO Africa

Volunteers represent the only income of our project as we provide a free service to Abelana Game Reserve. 

The money is used to run the project including 
  • vehicles purchase and maintenance 
  • fuel
  • food and accommodation
  • maintenance of the house
  • research material
  • monitoring equipment
  • salaries
  • solar panels
  • bills etc.
  • Camera Traps
  • Batteries
  • SD Cards
  • Hardware
  • Maintenance of the Microlight and drones
  • Insurances
  • Transfers
  • Any other cost necessary to support the project

Airport Pickup at O.R. Tambo International Airport

According to the arrival and departure day, you will either travelon a private minibus shuttle transfer or we will come to pick you up/drop you off at Hoedspruit Airport (the flight from Johannesburg OR Tambo to LEO Africa takes 50 minutes).

Before booking any flight, please get in touch so we can advise on the transfer option for the weeks of arrival/departure.

Transfers on land are organized directly by LEO Africa for the volunteers with either our minibus or with a third party private transfer company.We suggest volunteers to land in Johannesburg OR Tambo already on Saturday, stay overnight in a recommended and safe guesthouse to be ready for pick up on Sunday morning. On the departure day (saturday), flights to return home should be booked AFTER 20.00.

Please write us for more detailed info on transfers, as you could even fly to Hoedspruit airport and we can come to pick you up (in the weeks in which our minibus does not run to Johannesburg OR Tambo for pick up and drop off).


Accommodation

LEO Base is immersed in nature. The view is great: every morning you can admire a beautiful sunrise, listen to many birds calling and sometimes you will be able to see antelopes just outside our garden while having breakfast! Volunteers sleep in shared rooms (usually male and females are separated); bathrooms are also shared. Each room has 2-3 beds and a shared bathroom.

Available on request is a couples/private room with a private bathroom at a small additional extra cost per week (subject to availability).

Food & Beverages

Basic breakfast, lunch and dinner included. On the arrival day volunteers can also buy some extra food/snacks and cold drinks if they would like at a local supermarket. Volunteers can store food in a dedicated fridge and boxes. We cater also for vegetarians however we recommend for people with a strict diet to supplement some extra food as it can be difficult to find.

Please bring your reusable water bottle, preferably in metal (we do not use single use plastic). Water from the tap is perfectly safe to drink.

Internet Access

Good access at the project site

What's NOT included?

What's NOT included?

Flight Tickets

The nearest airport is O.R. Tambo International Airport (JNB) in Johannesburg. We assist you to find cheap flights to South Africa. FIND CHEAP FLIGHTS

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. GET A QUOTE

Vaccines

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. VACCINE CHECKER

Details on arrival

Our weeks run from Sunday to Saturday, so we kindly ask volunteers to arrive in Johannesburg OR Tambo preferably on saturday night at Johannesburg OR Tambo and spend the night in a guesthouse close to the airport. You can start any Sunday of the year according to availability. For the Saturday of departure, volunteers need to book a flight that leaves Johannesburg OR Tambo on Saturday evening after 20.00.

We provide airport pick-up/drop-off in in Johannesburg with our minibus/with a third party private transfer every second week. When we do not organise our transfer, volunteers can reach LEO Africa with a plane to Hoedspruit (we will then pick you up in Hoedspruit). For details about transfers, please contact us!  

Transfers on road are included in the price!

Should you wish to self drive, this is possible but please consider that the rental car should be kept for the duration of the stay as the closest car rental place is Johannesburg OR Tambo itself.

Availability
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

Program fees

2 weeks (min. stay) 1,610€
3 weeks 2,210€
4 weeks 2,800€
5 weeks 3,380€
6 weeks 3,950€
7 weeks 4,500€
8 weeks 5,048€
9 weeks 5,549€
10 weeks 5,999€
11 weeks 6,489€
12 weeks (max. stay) 6,990€
Average fees 693€/week

Program fees

693€ per week 2 - 12 weeks Age 18 - 50+

Payment methods

Visa Master Card Maestro American Express PayPal

NO CREDIT CARD FEES


Duration

2 - 12 weeks

Deposit

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

Your final payment will be agreed with LEO Africa during the application process. Common solutions are either via bank transfer or a cash payment at the project site.


Meet your organization

LEO Africa

Brilliant 4.7 rating (42 reviews)

Agency - founded in 2005

Verified by Volunteer World

  Very high response rate

Coordinated by

Sabrina

Spoken languages: English, Italian, French

About the project

LEO Africa is a wildlife monitoring, conservation & sustainable living volunteer project based in Limpopo, South Africa. Come join us and live a truly African experience!

Meet your organization

Limpopo Eco Operations (LEO) Africa, is based in the Limpopo Province of South Africa. 

LEO Africa project began in 2005, to assist the reserve in monitoring the lions that were re-introduced. With the years, the project expanded its range of operations, and currently, we are responsible for the monitoring of the key species (Big 5, cheetahs, hyenas) and a great part of conservation work for the reserve where we operate. Alongside with this, we are very active in sustainable living and green energy. We educate our volunteers and people on the importance of putting the environment first, as without a healthy environment, wildlife (and humans) would not thrive.

Leo Africa's rangers and conservationists have years of field experience; we are very dedicated and passionate about real conservation and we strive to make a difference and educate people so that also the future generations can admire the beauties of nature and live on a healthy planet. The work we do links ecology with the practical aspects of running of a nature reserve, providing a rewarding and educational wildlife volunteer experience. Further, Leo Africa's conservation efforts are not only based on animals, but also on their environment, promoting and using green energy and material recycling.

LEO Africa offers a free service to the reserve in which we operate, and the solely way of funding our project is through the volunteers contribution. Without volunteers, we would not be able to do our work and the park would not have a dedicated team to monitor wildlife and assist with valuable conservation work.


Volunteer Program

LEO Africa conservation volunteer program provide vital monitoring services for this reserve.  The information is obtained through an intensive predator and wildlife monitoring program, which offers you, the volunteer, an opportunity to learn about and contribute to conservation in one of the most diverse wildlife reserves in South Africa.The data collected on the field and through camera traps is processed by our staff members to compile monthly reports for the park managers. The information gained is used to be able to evaluate the impact of the animals and to maintain balanced, stable, and sustainable ecosystems.

Reserve management in South Africa is a complex and evolving subject. It involves everything from ecology to road maintenance, from species reintroduction to alien plant removal. One of LEO's goals is to expose volunteers to the complicated subject of conservation in the 21st century.

The aim of the LEO Africa research project is to provide park wardens and ecologists with detailed information about wildlife within the reserve as well as contributing with some active conservation work to keep a balanced eco-system. 

LEO Africa's volunteer wildlife monitoring and conservation programme records and monitors the movements, behaviour, numbers, kills, and interactions of the Big 5 and hyenas. This research will play a vital role in the management of park section and possibly the data analysed could be used to compare these eco-systems with other conservation areas throughout South Africa.

42 reviews · rating4.7

good guiding from Rangers with a huge Knowledge - great area and Landscape - very interresting work. not so easy for aged peole - the younger people are more interrested on online activities (watching Smartphones ) in the evening not for people over 60 Years - to much pasta dishes in the camp ...
It's great to experience the wild animals so close and also the work in the game reserve and nature conservation. But it is also exhausting and four weeks were really ...
Staff is overworked which make the ambiance heavy, there is absolutely nothing to do most of the time and you can’t get out of the little reserve. You don’t really work most of the time you stay in a truck for 5 hours doing nothing and often times seeing nothing. *** Project Statement below ...
It is impossible to describe in words the experience I just had and unfortunately already finished, it was my first volunteering trip and I could not have chosen a better place, thanks to Leo africa for the fantastic experience and thanks to Sabrina who made the whole group feel at home, I hope to ...
Volunteering at Leo Is without doubt one of the most interesting & rewarding experiences you could ever imagine. I have recently returned after 2 short weeks & in that time went on numerous game drives which involves tracking wild animals to make sure that they have made it through the night & are ...

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