Community & Wildlife Assistant Combo

founded in 2007
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Coordinator | Dayne
Coordinator | Dayne
Book with Flex Option! Choose new departure dates or change to a different volunteer program at no extra costs.


Experience the best that South Africa has to offer with this community & wildlife combo!
Visit 2 of South Africa's most beautiful destinations -the Garden Route and Limpopo Province
Join our community volunteer projects and help us to empower local people, make a difference and have fun doing it!
Work on the frontline of wildlife conservation by helping prevent the extinction of endangered species and their habitats
Boost your resume with new skills and experiences that will help you stand out from the crowd!
Experience it all with this 8 week combo! Spend 4 weeks assisting with meaningful community projects and 4 weeks enjoying an unforgettable conservation experience! This volunteer program is especially suitable for:
Age 18+
About the Program

You will spend 4 weeks in Knysna in the Garden Route, Souh Africa assisting with meaningful community outreach projects that make a tangible difference in the lives of the local people. Projects include conducting social surveys in the local township; building eco-friendly greenhouses; assisting with afterschool programs; helping at an elderly care centre; as well as running a weekly recycling exchange initiative for children. 

You will then travel to the Limpopo Province where you will enjoy an enriching and unforgettable 4 week conservation experience! You will have adventures in all aspects of conservation including researching leopard populations; cheetah and elephant monitoring; bird and ecological surveys; analysing game transect; possibly translocations and releases; hands-on work projects of restoring flora; recording and evaluating data and sustaining the habitat; and so much more! 

More about the Community Projects

Community Survey:

This community volunteer project focuses on an ongoing Community Survey. This survey is aimed at giving us a better understanding of how the local people feel about their community; as well as highlighting issues that our projects are already tackling and areas where we may be able to develop new projects.

Volunteers go house-to-house and conduct questionnaires. The content of the questionnaires varies depending on the current aims of the project.

Through this project we have been able to gain insight into unemployment rates; living conditions and access to services; skills that local people have; projects/classes that locals are interested in; and animal welfare issues.

TB Screening:

Our TB Screening South Africa Project uses a non-invasive questionnaire based method to identify people who are presenting symptoms of TB and refer them to local health clinics.

With the assistance of our volunteers we go house-to-house and conduct a questionnaire – if it is apparent that someone is potentially infected with TB we provide them with a referral letter and advise them to visit a local health clinic for formal testing and treatment where necessary.

House-to-house screening is considered by the World Health Organisation to be a highly effective method for active case finding.

Please note: This project is carried out within the general population – it is not specifically aimed at people with TB and therefore there is no increased risk of contracting TB.

Support for the Elderly:

Volunteer for Elderly residents who live at a care home in Knysna, South Africa. This project is aimed at providing company and support to the residents of a local old age centre.

Our volunteers provide an opportunity for residents to enjoy a range of different programs, including exercise programs, arts and craft activities, group games, story reading, gardening and more! They especially love a game of bingo and making cards for their loved ones.

Through this project we are able to keep the residents mentally and physically active, provide them with emotional support, and provide an opportunity for many hours of fun they otherwise wouldn’t have. Many of the residents do not have family members that visit often. Not only do we help to break up some of the long days but it is a great opportunity for cultural exchange.

Recycling Swop Shop:

Help us run a project teaching kids the value of looking after their community and the concept of using recycling to meet their immediate needs through a recycling exchange incentive scheme. Our swop shop also creates an effective means of cleaning up the local environment.

Local children collect plastic, paper, tins and glass which they bring once a week to the Swop Shop. Their recycling is weighed by EDGE of AFRICA volunteers and depending on the amount and type of recycling the child receives a certain amount of points which they can then spend in the ‘Swop Shop’.

The shop is filled with clothes, toiletries, toys & stationery (and the list goes on!) all donated by Knysna locals and International volunteers. There is no money involved in this scheme and the Recycling Swop Shop is entirely reliant on donations and volunteer participation.

The recycling that is collected through this project is put to good use, for example we use 2 litre plastic bottles to create eco-friendly greenhouses (see our Food Security Project); and we are developing a business empowerment project that will employ local people to create functional products out of “waste” materials!

Food Security:

Our Food Security Project is aimed at providing locals with the assistance and education that they need in order to be able to grow food for themselves and their families.

The current focus of this project is to assist community members in building eco-friendly greenhouses. There has been a constant battle with developing vegetable gardens that are exposed to local animals in the informal areas of our Knysna Community. There is also an on-going problem that 2 L plastic bottles block drainpipes causing many houses and streets to flood. In order to tackle these issues we began constructing greenhouses using a wooden frame (making use of alien wood wherever possible) and rows of 2 litre plastic bottles (collected via our Recycling Swop Shop and through local competitions).

We have begun by creating greenhouses at local schools, both to assist the schools in providing food for their students and also to serve as prototypes for the wider community. Our long term goal is to assist individuals in creating their own greenhouses and to develop opportunities for food exchange and business empowerment opportunities.

We also run our “Ipana Banye” (“sharing together”) project once a week, where we prepare and distribute nutritious soup. Each week we rotate around different areas of our local community to try to reach as many people as possible.

HIV/AIDS & TB Awareness:

These workshops are aimed at local children aged 12-18 years old and play an important role in the fight against the HIV epidemic.

In Sub-Saharan Africa nearly 1 in 20 adults are living with HIV and this region accounts for 71% of the people living with HIV Worldwide. Around 29.5% of South Africa’s population is infected with HIV.

Through our years of experience of working with children in Knysna’s township areas it has become increasingly apparent that although many of the children have heard about HIV/AIDS, their understanding is very minimal.

Our fun and interactive workshops cover all aspects of HIV/AIDS & TB:

  • How HIV/AIDS works and the facts about transmission
  • The link between HIV/AIDS & TB
  • Prevention
  • HIV testing and treatment
  • Effects of prejudice

In order to assess the effectiveness of our workshops, participating children complete a short quiz before they begin the workshops and the same quiz after they have finished the workshops.

Support Group for Teenagers:

Volunteer with Teenagers through our weekly Support Group. This project is aimed at providing local teenagers with an opportunity to discuss and learn about issues important to them; and to build their self-esteem through positive reinforcement.

This is an 8-part workshop covering the following topics:

  • Bullying
  • Peer Pressure & Gangs
  • Body image, Self-esteem & Puberty
  • Relationships & Sex (2 parts)
  • Effects of alcohol
  • Communication skills
  • Personal Development

As well as discussing these important topics we also encourage the participants to set personal goals and to consider how the choices they make affect their ability to achieve their goals. Many of the children we work with come from backgrounds that aren’t always able to provide the direction that they need to lead the best life possible. We hope that through our workshops we inspire the children we work with to make responsible decisions and be the best they can be!

More about the Wildlife Research Projects:

Mammal Species Surveying:

As a wildlife research volunteer you will help with conducting mammal species surveys. Set routes are driven regularly on the reserve and all animal species are observed and recorded. This information is useful to know the health and population of animals are stable.

Game transects are a really good way of exploring the reserve and spending time observing animals.

Leopard Population Research:

You will help to set up cameras and create an ID kit of individual leopards from the photos. This will help the Reserve know the density of leopards on the property, incorporating the information for a global catalogue as well as helping establish more accurate knowledge of the predator-prey balance on the reserve.

Leopards are listed as vulnerable according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) list of threatened species and their populations are decreasing throughout Africa. Actual numbers of leopards are difficult to obtain through traditional aerial census, so using camera traps is a common method implemented by conservationists.

Ecological Surveying:

You will conduct habitat surveys to help gain a sustainable carrying capacity for each species on the wildlife reserve.

As part of the process of restoring the reserve to its full ecological potential, research needs to be conducted on the plant life on the reserve and the ways to increase biodiversity. The reserve also needs to ensure that the food source for herbivores is sufficient.

Cheetah Monitoring:

You will help us to monitor out 2 cheetahs. The cheetahs were released recently onto the wildlife reserve as part of the process of re-wilding the area and due to their endangered status. It is important for the reserve to know how they are adapting to their new environment and volunteers play an important in helping us to monitor the cheetahs on a regular basis.

Cheetah are listed as vulnerable in IUCN’s list of threatened species and this is mainly due to loss of habitat.

Bird Surveys:

You will conduct bird surveys to see whether the reserve has a varied range of habitats to sustain a good population of birds and other animals.

Birds can be used as an indicator for biodiversity. To put it simply, where there is high diversity of birds then the ecosystem is providing various habitats for the birds and therefore other animals.


Community Volunteering:

Stay in Knysna, South Africa's favourite town, built around a beautiful lagoon, close to beaches and surrounded by indigenous forest. Live in a historical home from home, walking distance from the bustling town centre.

Wildlife Volunteering:

Live alongside 46 mammal species, including 3 of the famous Big 5. Enjoy visiting the neighbouring National Park where you will be able to see the other 2 of the Big 5! Live on a private game reserve in a comfortable farm-style house.

Typical day

During your Community Volunteering, your day will generally begin between 8.30-9.00 and finish 16.00-16.30. You will usually come back to the lodge for lunch, but if you are out for the day you will be provided with a packed lunch.  At the Wildlife Reserve your day may start as early as 5.00.  You will take a break during the hottest part of the day (around 12.00-15.00), and then continue with research activities until about 19.00

You will always be accompanied by an EoA Co-ordinator who will ensure your safety and will make sure you know what you need to do.

Free-time activities

When you arrive in Knysna, EDGE of AFRICA has some great opportunities lined up for your stay including: visits to various food and craft markets; Whale & Dolphin boat trips; shark cage diving; wildlife sanctuaries including getting close to various cat, elephant and monkey species; highest bungee jump in the world; canoeing, hiking and climbing; and visits to numerous breath-taking beaches and beautiful rivers.
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 (basic level)
Criminal Background Check
Nationality Restrictions
No restrictions. Helping hands from all over the world are welcome.
Other Skills
If you want an all round volunteering experience then this is the program for you!
You need to be hard working, motivated and able to show initiative. Good health and physical fitness are also required.
You also need to be confident with speaking English.
Time Commitment
Your helping hand will be required on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday

What's Included

Services by EDGE of AFRICA

What's Included?:

  • All project costs, equipment, tools and resources 
  • Pick up from George airport or Knysna bus stop (bus ticket from Cape Town, Jo'burg or PE to Knysna is included free of charge!) 
  • Transfer from Knysna to Polokwane 
  • Transfer from Polokwane to reserve (and back to Polokwane upon departure) 
  • 24/7 emergency support 
  • Orientation & Training 
  • Accommodation throughout your program 
  • 3 meals a day (in Knysna meals will be prepared for you during the week. On the weekends in Knysna and at the reserve you will be provided with ingredients) 
  • Project Related Transport 
  • Project T-shirt 
  • Dedicated coordinators to assist you daily 
  • Free, unlimited Wi-Fi at the accommodation
  •  Post-project involvement, and an exclusive return volunteer discount

Airport Pickup at George Airport

Your program will begin with 4 weeks of Community Volunteering in Knysna, in the Garden Route. You can fly into Johannesburg, Cape Town or Port Elizabeth and catch a connecting flight to GEORGE (GRJ), which is our nearest airport (where we will we be waiting to welcome you!) 

You can also get the bus from Johannesburg, Cape Town or Port Elizabeth which is a good way to see the area if you have time before your arrival date. If you decide to take the bus, a bus ticket is included FREE of charge and we can help book this for you.

After your 4 weeks in Knysna, you will then travel to Limpopo Province for your 4 week Wildlife Volunteering Experience. The transfer from our Knysna accommodation to the wildlife reserve is included in the cost of your program.

On departure, we will transport you back to Polokwane and/ or assist with any further travel arrangements.

 If you are travelling further through Africa we are more than happy to provide any advice or support in planning your onward journey. We will provide you with a comprehensive Pre-Travel Advice pack when you confirm your booking with us that will outline all our recommendations for flights, packing and in-country advice

Knysna Accommodation:

The EDGE of AFRICA lodge is a beautiful Victorian House, perfectly situated on a slope, overlooking the Knysna Lagoon. A place where you can put your feet up and admire the view or take a two minute stroll to town and explore the hotspots of Knysna. 

As well as providing a home for our volunteers, our lodge also accommodates other International travellers, so there will be no shortage of new people to meet!

Facilities Include:
  • Hot Water Showers & Electricity
  • Communal Kitchen
  • Communal Lounge Area with TV/DVD Player
  • Comfortable Dorm Style Sleeping Arrangements
  • Unlimited Wi-Fi and computer access
  • Outdoor braai (barbeque) area 
  • Limited Private & Family Rooms Available on Request.
Accommodation at Wildlife Reserve:

You will be staying in a comfortable farm style house based on a 7,200 hectare reserve. The house is fully equipped with shared bedrooms, a communal lounge and kitchen; as well as an outdoor braai area where you can enjoy relaxing under the trees.

Facilities include:
  • Hot Water Showers & Electricity
  • Fully equipped Kitchen (you will be provided with ingredients to prepare own meals)
  • Dining area
  • Communal lounge area
  • Comfortable Dorm Style Sleeping Arrangements
  • Unlimited Wi-Fi 
  • Outdoor braai (barbeque) area 

Dorm Room
Food & Beverages

In Knysna we provide 3 meals a day. Breakfasts include a choice of cereal, toast, and fruit; Lunches include sandwiches, soup or traditional cuisine; and Evening meals include pasta, curries, stews etc. 

At the Wildlife Reserve you will be provided with ingredients to prepare your own meals

We are happy to cater for specific dietary requirements as best we can!

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

2019 Arrival/Departure Dates:

  • 23rd January - 20th March
  • 20th February - 17th April
  • 3rd April - 29th May
  • 1st May - 26th June
  • 10th July - 4th September
  • 7th August - 2nd October
  • 4th September - 30th October
  • 2nd October - 27th November

This program is paused due to COVID-19

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
8 - 8 weeks

Program fees

Costs: Prices in USD
8 weeks (min. stay)
8 weeks (max. stay)
Average fees
$659 /week

Please note that the above shown program fees are estimated. EDGE of AFRICA 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 EDGE of AFRICA during the application process. Common solutions are either via bank transfer or a cash payment at the project site.

Why book with Volunteer World

Extra security layer by 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 EDGE of AFRICA cancels your trip
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We cover your back no matter what happens
Our services are free of charge!
All program fees are charged directly by EDGE of AFRICA.

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Community & Wildlife Assistant Combo

Experience it all with this 8 week combo! Spend 4 weeks assisting with meaningful community projects and 4 weeks enjoying an unforgettable conservation experience!


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