Big Five Wildlife Supporter

founded in 2011
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Coordinator | Guillaume
Coordinator | Guillaume
Book with Flex Option! Choose new departure dates or change to a different volunteer program at no extra costs.
You'll be helping in the Marataba section of the Marakele National Park, a Big Five reserve. This volunteer program is especially suitable for:
Age 18+
If you are interested in conservation volunteer opportunities, this is the program for you. As a wildlife conservation volunteering in South Africa, you will be involved in a wide range of exciting activities required to ensure that the animals native to Marakele National Park are able to survive. Environmental changes, as well as continuing poaching, have seen many of Africa’s animals face huge challenges in a changing environment. Some of the nature reserve volunteering projects that you will assist in during your stay include: 

Animal Monitoring
Assisting in the tracking and monitoring of lions, white & black rhinos, elephants, leopards, cheetahs, buffalos and hyenas. It is vital for the reserve to understand their movements and behavior, and you will have the opportunity to get close to these amazing animals on a daily basis. Together with monitoring drives, you will assist the project rangers in processing camera traps to monitor and record sightings, and then analyze the data you've collected. This, in turn, will give you the opportunity to learn a great deal about the animals' behavior.  

During your animal conservation volunteer work, you will be involved with anti-poaching, looking out for suspicious tracks, reporting any low flying aircraft, joining the sleep outs, and even having the unique possibility to fly on a microlight to check the reserve from above. 

Park Management
Helping out with alien plant removal, road restoration, rubbish removal, fire control, game capture, and bush clearing. A balanced eco-system grants a greater quality of life for the animals, so you'll be working to keep all flora and fauna happy! 

Typical day

In one sense there is no ‘normal’ day volunteering as a wildlife conservationist in South Africa! Each day will bring different challenges and opportunities set by both the Park manager and the animals themselves!

A typical week however might consist of a combination of volunteering with wildlife and going on exciting activities. Every day will bring something new and give you the chance to get up close and personal with some of South Africa’s amazing wildlife. Depending on the volunteering needs, you might be up at the crack of dawn removing alien invader plant species, doing game monitoring or having to go out in the evenings to do some game captures.

You will also be involved with a major tracking project in our local area which is currently monitoring the movements of many leopards and hyenas by the means of camera traps. Volunteers are needed to check these cameras frequently and record the sightings.

You will see what it takes to run a game reserve by taking part in day to day jobs like fence patrolling, path clearing and physical eradication of foreign plants. These tasks involve physical labour and will be hard work but they are essential to help maintain the reserves and the animals within them.

In general, the day will be split into two sections. You’ll go on two game drive per day (unless on house duty), the first starting at 5.30/6am and returning around 11.30am, the second leaving at around 3pm and return at around 8pm.

The volunteering done with the wildlife is really needed. You will feel like you have contributed to the conservation of these amazing animals and we are sure this will be a meaningful experience you will never forget.

Free-time activities

Our trips in South Africa are included in our itinerary and include river safaris, beach trips and other projects related to your placement. Please ask your trip adviser for full details.



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)
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, Friday and Saturday from 06:00 - 20:00

What's Included

Services by Agape Volunteers

Your fees include:
Agape insurance – the most comprehensive travel insurance provided as standard in the industry, accommodation in a hosted volunteer house, three meals a day - seven days a week, airport pick up and drop off, orientation, all agape admin and registration, in-country support from our experienced South African staff, a donation towards Agape’s projects, pre- and post-program support from your trip adviser and all wildlife conservation activities – your itinerary is all-inclusive.

Airport Pickup at O.R. Tambo International Airport

You will arrive at the airport in Johannesburg and be met by one of our staff in South Africa. You will then be driven to your accommodation in Marakele, around three and a half hours drive away.


You will live and work in the Marataba section of the Marakele National Park. The Marataba is a 24,000 hectare area only accessible to other volunteers and a few tourists resident at one lodge.

You will be staying with the other volunteers and staff in a large, comfortable and sprawling ex-farmhouse which also acts as headquarters for the conservation work undertaken. As the house is in the Park it is half an hour’s drive from the nearest large town with full amenities, so you’ll need to plan ahead for any shopping. 

Accommodation is in dorm-style rooms, so you’ll be sharing with other volunteers. There is also a private room available for an extra cost, please ask your trip adviser for further details and availability.

 There are sofas, facilities for tea and coffee, and some wildlife books. The house itself is situated right between breeding camps, allowing you to wake up every morning and see antelopes, zebra, and other game. But don’t worry - there is a fence so you’ll be fully protected from any potentially dangerous animals!

Dorm Room
Food & Beverages

Breakfast will be a continental spread. Lunch will be provided each day of your placement. This will usually consist of pasta, risotto, burgers, eggs or salads.
Dinner is also provided every weekday and will consist of a variety of meals including stews, pastas as well as more traditional South African meals. There is also occasionally the opportunity of BBQs under the stars as a special treat.

Sundays are days off for our partners, so duty volunteers get the chance to cook for the group.

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 O.R. Tambo International Airport (JNB) in Johannesburg. 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

Your trip adviser will take you through the arrival procedure. They will also provide a checklist covering all the necessary preparation for your trip (vaccinations, visa, etc.), as well as a list of contact numbers to take with you in case of difficulties.

In general, our South Africa program runs from Tuesday to Tuesday. So you’ll need to schedule your arrival and departure for Tuesdays. This is to ensure all volunteers get the same opportunities to experience all of the activities and projects available.

Upon arrival in your accommodation you will be met by the staff and other volunteers, and get a chance to make yourself at home. You’ll then be given a full orientation, including a safety briefing, introduction to the local area, and a more thorough idea of your itinerary for your stay.

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
$770 /week

Please note that the above shown program fees are estimated. Agape Volunteers 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 Agape Volunteers 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
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Change your reservation at no extra costs
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We refund your fees if Agape Volunteers cancels your trip
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Our services are free of charge!
All program fees are charged directly by Agape Volunteers.

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Big Five Wildlife Supporter

You'll be helping in the Marataba section of the Marakele National Park, a Big Five reserve.


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