from 744€

Perfect 4.6rating (191)

Big Five Conservation Assistant

location
1 - 12 weeks  ·  Age 18 - 50+

rating  Perfect 4.6  · 
  Verified by Volunteer World
  Very high response rate

Especially suitable

Age 18+
Singles
Couples
Groups
50+

About the program

Join this volunteering project in South Africa's beautiful Eastern Cape and help aid in the conservation of lions, elephants, rhinos and many more amazing animals!

About The Project

The Big 5 Volunteering Project in South Africa has grown from humble beginnings back in 1999 through to the impressive conservation project you see before you today. The reserve upon which the project is based is measures 7,500 hectares and it consists of sprawling savannah and ...

About the program

About The Project

The Big 5 Volunteering Project in South Africa has grown from humble beginnings back in 1999 through to the impressive conservation project you see before you today. The reserve upon which the project is based is measures 7,500 hectares and it consists of sprawling savannah and bushveld which is home to a whole host of exciting African animals. You'll could see everything from a small springbok right up to an awe-inspiring elephant during your time on this project, so what are you waiting for!

Located in South Africa's incredible picturesque Eastern Cape, this project will present you with the opportunity to really get stuck in to the ongoing volunteer efforts whilst living in a beautiful area. You will play a role in protecting the local environment and its animal inhabitants through a whole host of direct and indirect activities. 

These include crucial tasks such as reserve maintenance as well as fast paced and exciting tasks like game capture and predator monitoring! You will even get the chance to spend one night in the four-star luxury lodge, and here you may be able to spot Norman the resident elephant as he comes down to take a drink from the watering hole. 

There is always something exciting happening on this volunteering project, so learn more and create some lifelong memories! 

Prior to Arrival

Holders of UK, most other EU countries, Australian, Canadian and USA passports do not require a Visa for South Africa. Upon entry, you will be issued with a 3- month permit (at no cost). Make sure the correct date and length of stay in the country is entered onto your visa when at immigration. 

If you are travelling from Albania, Belarus, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Croatia, Hungary, Poland, Russian Federation, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Algeria, Angola, Comoros, China, Egypt, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Mexico, Madagascar, Morocco, Mozambique, Paraguay, Rwanda, Tanzania, Thailand, Tunisia or Vietnam, you will require a Visa and should consult your South African embassy.

Please note that the South African immigration policy states that you will need at least two empty pages in your passport and at least six months validity to enter.

Fitness

We recommend that you come with a moderate level of fitness as the days are busy and you will be involved in a whole host of activities! In terms of skills, all we ask is that you arrive with a willingness to get involved with tasks and a dedication to the ethos of the project, as well as a respect for the enchanting wildlife, as well as for the committed project staff with whom you will be working.



Typical day

First Day 

After arriving from Port Elizabeth Airport you will be given time to settle in to your new volunteer accommodation and have the chance to meet your fellow volunteers. 

Project Days

On an average day on the project you will be working from around 7am until 4pm and activities will vary from ...

Typical day

First Day 

After arriving from Port Elizabeth Airport you will be given time to settle in to your new volunteer accommodation and have the chance to meet your fellow volunteers. 

Project Days

On an average day on the project you will be working from around 7am until 4pm and activities will vary from day to day depending on what needs completing on the reserve. Tasks could include:

Game Drives

As well as giving you a great chance to see all of the amazing animal life that Africa has to offer, game drives present volunteers with a fantastic opportunity to monitor the wildlife found on the reserve and help to ensure that the populations remain healthy. 

Reserve Maintenance

A reserve of this size needs a lot of upkeep, and as a volunteer you will play a crucial role in helping with tasks such as fence repair, reburying electricity wires that have been dug up by naughty elephants, and road repair. These tasks give you a fantastic chance to see how a game reserve is run behind the scenes. 

Game Capture

Occasional animals on the reserve need to be captured to be looked at by the vet or moved to another part of the reserve to manage population numbers. You may be able to assist with this task when the need occurs, but please note that it is not guaranteed as the animals will only be captured when it is completely necessary. 

A Night At The Luxury Lodge

One night during your stay on the project you will have the chance to spend a night at the four star luxury lodge. This gives you the chance to relax in style and enjoy a prepared dinner! (Please note that this is only included in your project fee if you are joining the project for a minimum of two weeks.)

A Visit To A Local Community Centre

It's not all about the animals on this project as you will also have the chance to spend time at a local community centre, playing with the children and getting a lot of pictures of their happy faces! 

Bush Camping And Night Drives

Remember to wrap up warm as you will be heading out on night drives to see the wildlife that comes to life in the bush after the sun goes down. There is also the chance to venture out and camp beneath the stars, but this is weather dependent.

Alien Plant Control 

Foreign plant species are a big problem on the reserve and without the help of volunteers they have the potential to completely kill off the endemic flora that is so crucial to the local food chain. You will work to remove these invasive species and ensure that they do not grow back.

Canoeing And Boating On The Local River (seasonal)

One of the more relaxing activities, you will gently glide down the local river and take in the birdlife you see as you pass. This is a fantastic opportunity to grab some pictures as well so don't forget your camera!


Free-time activities

In the evenings you will be free to relax in the volunteer house or out by the pool. There is also a local pub very nearby where you can have a drink and game of pool after a hard days work. 

The weekends are yours to do with as you wish, so please speak to your volunteer coordinator on arrival to ...

Free-time activities

In the evenings you will be free to relax in the volunteer house or out by the pool. There is also a local pub very nearby where you can have a drink and game of pool after a hard days work. 

The weekends are yours to do with as you wish, so please speak to your volunteer coordinator on arrival to discuss options for additional activities. 


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 (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 from 07:00 - 16:00

What's Included

What's Included

Services by The Great Projects

WHAT'S INCLUDED IN THE PRICE OF THE PROJECT?

  • Accommodation during your time volunteering
  • All meals and juice, tea and coffee.
  • Full-time English speaking ground staff
  • Towels
  • Activities

WHAT'S NOT INCLUDED?

  • Travel insurance
  • Flights
  • Airport transfers and from the project site (available at an additional cost)
  • Weekend excursions
  • Alcoholic beverages, personal snacks etc.

Accommodation

Throughout your time on this project, you will be staying in a renovated railway station building which has now become the very comfortable and unique volunteer house. The house can hold up to 8 volunteers at a time and this is in a mixture of twin share and solo rooms. Room allocation will be done on arrival and will be based on a same-sex sharing basis when applicable. 

The volunteer house is extremely comfortable with 2 bathrooms shared between the volunteers, a communal living area with wireless internet and television, and an outdoor braai area beside the pool. There is also a small community pub locally which is a fantastic place to relax of an evening.

Food & Beverages

Whilst food is provided on this project, volunteers will be cooking for themselves which presents a fantastic opportunity to try different foods from all around the world! Generally, volunteers will take it in turns to cook dinner, with breakfast and lunch being prepared by yourself. The food is always fresh so this is a good chance to show off your culinary skills! Drinking water should be purchased from the small shop located just next door to the project site for a minimal cost. One night every two weeks you will also have the chance to enjoy a braai outside and taste this traditional South African style of cooking.

Internet Access

Limited access at the project site

What's NOT included?

What's NOT included?

Airport Pickup at Port Elizabeth International Airport

An airport pickup isn't included within the program fees either.

Flight Tickets

The nearest airport is Port Elizabeth International Airport (PLZ) in Port Elizabeth. 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

The easiest way to get here is to arrive into Johannesburg (O.R. Tambo International Airport), then taking a domestic flight from Johannesburg to Port Elizabeth. The project is approximately 1 hour (75 kilometres) from Port Elizabeth Airport.   

Airport transfers are not included in the price of the project, you can either organise your own transport to and from the reserve or we can organise this for you. There are two types of airport transfer available, the first is a shared transfer from Port Elizabeth Airport to the project on your start date which departs at 3pm, with the return transfer departing at 7am this costs £50 each way. We recommend your departing flight leaves from 10:00 onwards. Alternatively, we can arrange private transfers anytime between 9am and 5pm for a cost of £100 each way, and the transfer costs must be paid in advance.

This project starts on a Monday so you will need to book flights to arrive on the day. If there are no suitable flights on the day you can choose to arrive early, stay in Port Elizabeth and make your way back to the arrivals hall of the airport on Monday, ready for the shared transfer.

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

Program fees

1 week (min. stay) 744€
2 weeks 1,244€
3 weeks 1,869€
4 weeks 2,494€
5 weeks 3,119€
6 weeks 3,744€
7 weeks 4,369€
8 weeks 4,994€
9 weeks 5,619€
10 weeks 6,244€
11 weeks 6,869€
12 weeks (max. stay) 7,494€
Average fees 684€/week

Program fees

684€ per week 1 - 12 weeks Age 18 - 50+

Payment methods

Visa Master Card Maestro American Express PayPal

NO CREDIT CARD FEES


Duration

1 - 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 The Great Projects during the application process. Common solutions are either via bank transfer or a cash payment at the project site.


Meet your organization

The Great Projects

Perfect 4.6 rating (191 reviews)

Agency - founded in 2003

Verified by Volunteer World

  Very high response rate

Coordinated by

Lauren

Spoken languages: English

About the project

The Great Projects work with organisations worldwide to establish high standards in animal welfare and conservation within the responsible tourism sector.

Meet your organization

Looking to volunteer abroad with animals? Here at The Great Projects we believe that there is a better way to holiday. Our award-winning wildlife volunteering abroad with animals projects and signature tours are not only designed to provide truly unique and life-changing experiences for volunteering worldwide, but our donation and conservation pledges ensure that your travel will have a lasting and sustainable impact on some of the planet's most incredible and endangered species and the local communities which live alongside them.

It all began with The Great Orangutan Project in Malaysian Borneo and after a number of years working with local authorities, passionate project facilitators, and hard-working volunteers to create a sustainable, progressive, and effective project - The Great Projects decided to use the experiences and knowledge we had gained to expand our expertise to other projects in Asia, Africa, South America and Europe!

Now with over 35 projects, you can be confident in the fact that you’ll be able to volunteer with some of the world's most incredible wildlife species in completely breath-taking environments. From orangutans in the Bornean rainforest to whale sharks in the Indian Ocean; you’re sure to find something suited to your interests. What’s more, The Great Projects make sure that with us, volunteers are completely immersed into the heart of the matter, at site, delivering an experience like no other as you become familiar with the life of an animal keeper, game ranger, or wildlife conservationist.

Plus, every time someone volunteers with The Great Projects  in addition to their fee which covers accommodation, food, and transfers, we donate up to £350 to the project visited to help the project itself. Therefore, our ecotours and projects are not only designed to be an experience that you will remember for the rest of your life, but you will also join a project knowing that your travel truly does help to save endangered animals and the local communities with which they live alongside.

Here at The Great Projects, we believe that we should practice what we preach. We send volunteers to worldwide destinations on a range of truly unique and thoroughly worthwhile projects that make a real, sustainable difference to their causes. What’s more, The Great Projects provide them with dedicated UK-based staff that ensure volunteers have informative and friendly help throughout all stages of their experience, from initial enquiry to their return.

Through this, we can show volunteers that there is a better way to holiday. Our award-winning wildlife volunteering abroad with animals projects and signature tours are not only designed to provide truly unique and life-changing experiences for volunteering worldwide, but our donation and conservation pledges ensure that your travel will have a lasting and sustainable impact on some of the planet's most incredible and endangered species and the local communities which live alongside them.


Further, The Great Projects does not only aim to provide travel destinations that hold responsibility for animal welfare, but also to the environmental, economic and social impact of our conservation projects as a whole.

HEALTH AND SAFETY

Here at The Great Projects, we are completely dedicated to providing our volunteers with the utmost protection with regards to health and safety.

Adventurous travel always involves some degree of risk. Our priority is to keep you safe and protect you as much as possible whilst still giving you an authentic experience of life in your chosen destination.

We conduct extensive risk assessments to make sure we have identified potential hazards and done everything we can to reduce them and we make sure you have the information you need about the destination you are visiting and how to stay safe and healthy while you are out there. We also are partnered with Endsleigh Insurance who are able to offer volunteers comprehensive insurance for all of our projects.

191 reviews · rating4.6

Justin Sams rating5

2023 at Big Five Conservation Assistant

I stayed at the camp for 3 weeks. The volunteer coordinator Nici was always very helpfull with planning weekend activities or helping the guests. The work in the park and community outreach were well organized and it felt like we experienced new things every day. I can only recommend this project ...
Nico Andri rating4.6

2022 at Big Five Conservation Assistant

I spent three weeks at The Great Projects in December 2022. My stay was an unforgettable experience in which I was able to meet many nice people from all over the world. During my stay, I had the chance to participate in two rhino and one elephant procedure. Thereby I could get close to these ...
Maeni Kaiser rating4.8

2022 at Big Five Conservation Assistant

I had an amazing time at this project. Interacting with younger people was also a great experience for me. Highly recomended also to others in the age of 60 and even more ...
Godelieve Meuris rating5

2024 at Orangutan Wildlife Center

Een ongelooflijke ervaring om deel te mogen uitmaken van dit centrum waar de nood voor hulp zeer hoog is, de hitte de vochtigheid, de regen het soms harde werk is snel vergeten bij de belevingen die men heeft, een fijne groep vrijwilligers maakt het geheel af ...
Patrick Bloomfield rating5

2024 at Wildlife Reserve Big Five Conservation

As per the title, what an amazing & rewarding experience! Our day-to-day work included clearing alien plants, removing fencing from an old corral, community involvement such as re-building a jungle gym, revitalising a vegetable garden (& playing with the local kids!). We were also privileged enough ...
Bente van Veggel rating4

2024 at Harnas Wildlife Sanctuary

I had the best time at Harnas. I met the most amazing people and I learned a lot in the 2 weeks I was there. I truly recommend spending time here for anyone who loves animals. ..

Location

Africa > Southern Africa > South Africa > Port Elizabeth

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