Elephant Research

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

High­lights

Spot African elephants in the wild while volunteering to assist with wildlife conservation efforts.
Live and work alongside Field Guide Association of South Africa, FGASA, qualified guides, growing personally and professionally by learning from their experiences.
Go on a wildlife safari adventure in a private South African nature reserve.
Listen to the quiet hush of the wild open spaces, waking each morning to a chorus of savannah birds and drifting off to the nighttime hum of endemic frogs and crickets.
Sleep under the star-filled Southern night sky, its beauty enhanced by the lack of light pollution, and wake to a golden African dawn.
Witness African bush elephants in the wild while working with an international team on ongoing wildlife conservation efforts. This volunteer program is especially suitable for:
Age 18+
Singles
Couples
For many, witnessing a herd of elephants in the heart of the Southern African landscape for the first time is a life-altering experience. However, unlike a conventional safari tourism trip, this program allows you to contribute directly to ongoing elephant research and conservation, in partnership with Elephant’s Alive, an organisation that has been actively involved in elephant conservation for over two decades. In addition you will live and work with participants and GVI field staff from all over the world on a wide range of other long-term conservation initiatives.  

Elephants are incredibly important to the health of the ecosystem, ensuring the distribution of plants throughout a habitat and uncovering water sources in dry times that other animals can use later. However, they can also be destructive to a habitat if their populations are not well managed, due to their habit of pulling up roots of plants to eat them. 

You will work with a trained GVI researcher, to track elephants through the bush on safari vehicles, noting the number of individuals, their age and sex, as well as their behaviour and any identifying factors. In addition, you might also contribute to an ongoing project by Elephants Alive focused on mitigating the impact of elephants on unique native plant species at risk like the famous baobab, marula, and star chestnut trees.

Further Program Details:

You will also have the opportunity to collect data on a variety of animals, including elephant, lions, leopards and cheetah. This information is used by reserve authorities to build up an accurate picture of the impact of predators on prey populations, determine the movement of animals, their health and social structures. The collated data helps them them maintain a healthy balance of these natural resources within the reserve, assisting with the conservation of some of Africa’s most important ecosystems. Other research project you might get involved in involve studying cheetah feeding behaviour, eradicating invasive vegetation in the area, and conducting environmental education presentations. Throughout your time on this project you will develop an in-depth understanding of complex South African ecosystems as well as current, local conservation issues and strategies. 

No special skills or qualifications are required to join this program as all training will be provided by our trained and experienced field teams. Before being fully immersed in the inner workings of GVI’s research, you will undergo training that will cover how to carry out extensive radio tracking skills to locate our focus animals, all while learning a variety of new skills, including mammal and bird identification. This training will allow you to effectively contribute to the overall program, as you familiarise yourself with the wildlife on the reserve and the techniques used to conduct research key to ensuring their longevity.

Typical day

-Rise each morning to the sounds of an authentically African birdsong at dawn, and head out in open-topped safari vehicles to conduct research vital for the conservation of key predators species, like cheetahs and lions. 

-Head back to camp, when the sun is at its height, input data, study, assist with cooking or tidying, or relax with other participants in our shared outdoor social space. 

-When the African sun starts to set over the Drakensberg mountains at dusk, head out again to conduct further research. 

-Return when the stars in the Southern night sky are at their brightest and share a meal and the day’s stories with fellow participants. 

-In your free time, explore Kruger National Park, a 45-minute drive from your accommodation, or the Panorama Route, including the magnificent Blyde River Canyon.

Free-time activities

During the expedition you will have 1 day off a week. In this time you could visit the stunning local mountains (Karongwe), go curio shopping, or just spend some time wandering around the local town. At the end of each 4 week cycle volunteers have the opportunity to take 4 days off, during which they are free to arrange their own trips if they wish. Before and after your program you could visit Kruger National Park, the Blyde River Canyon, go bungi jumping or canyoning at Sabiethe possibilities are endless! 
Sightseeing
Climbing
Safari/
Zoo
Hiking
Sports

Require­ments

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, Friday and Saturday

What's Included

Services by Global Vision International (GVI)

WHAT'S INCLUDED

  • 24-hour emergency phone
  • 24-hour in-country support
  • Access to Alumni Services and Discounts
  • Airport pick-up (unless otherwise stated)
  • All necessary project equipment and materials
  • All necessary project training by experienced staff
  • Location orientation
  • Long term experienced staff
  • Meals while on project (except on work placements for long term internships)
  • Safe and basic accommodations (usually shared)
  • Welcome meeting

WHAT'S NOT INCLUDED

  • Additional drinks and gratuities
  • Extra local excursions
  • Flights
  • International and domestic airport taxes
  • Medical and travel insurance
  • Personal items and toiletries
  • Police or background check
  • Visa costs (where necessary)

Airport Pickup at Hoedspruit Airport
We will ensure, whenever possible, that one of our dedicated staff will be available to meet you at the airport. We will arrange with you prior to your departure that, should you arrive in the agreed upon pick up window, a member of our staff will be there to welcome you, easily identifiable in a GVI t-shirt or holding a GVI sign and wearing a friendly smile. This means there will be someone there to greet you as you land, and from there you will be transported to your GVI base to start your adventure and meet the rest of your team.
Accommodation
Live in the heart of the South African savannah sharing a renovated farmhouse with Field Guides Association of Southern Africa qualified guides, other GVI staff, and participants hailing from all four corners of the globe. Lodgings are large dorm-style rooms with shared bathrooms. The base is solar-powered to ensure less impact on the natural environment.

Dorm Room
Food & Beverages
Most breakfasts feature cereal, oats, and fresh fruit, and or lunch, it’s usually sandwiches and salads. Dinner might be anything from a traditional South African ‘potjie’ stew to pastas and stir frys.

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 Hoedspruit Airport (HDS) in Hoedspruit. 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.
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.

Dates & Fees

NO CREDIT CARD FEES

Details on arrival

Due to the current situation you have the flexibility of changing the destination and start dates for this program at no extra cost. This added flexibility can be utilised until 31 December 2020.

Set Start Dates with Guaranteed Departures:

2020

  • 13 Jun 2020
  • 27 Jun 2020
  • 11 Jul 2020
  • 25 Jul 2020
  • 08 Aug 2020
  • 22 Aug 2020
  • 05 Sep 2020
  • 19 Sep 2020
  • 03 Oct 2020
  • 17 Oct 2020
  • 31 Oct 2020
  • 14 Nov 2020
  • 28 Nov 2020

2021
  • 09 Jan 2021
  • 23 Jan 2021
  • 06 Feb 2021
  • 20 Feb 2021
  • 06 Mar 2021
  • 20 Mar 2021
  • 03 Apr 2021
  • 17 Apr 2021
  • 01 May 2021
  • 15 May 2021
  • 29 May 2021
  • 12 Jun 2021
  • 26 Jun 2021
  • 10 Jul 2021
  • 24 Jul 2021
  • 07 Aug 2021
  • 21 Aug 2021
  • 04 Sep 2021
  • 18 Sep 2021
  • 02 Oct 2021
  • 16 Oct 2021
  • 30 Oct 2021
  • 13 Nov 2021
  • 27 Nov 2021

This program is paused due to COVID-19

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

Program fees

Costs: Prices in USD
2 weeks (min. stay)
$2,724
4 weeks
$3,894
6 weeks
$4,854
8 weeks
$5,814
10 weeks
$6,834
12 weeks (max. stay)
$7,794
Average fees
$1,006 /week

The organization charges its fees in EUR. The price table in USD is subject to currency fluctuation. Global Vision International (GVI) 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 Global Vision International (GVI) 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
Flex Option
Change your reservation at no extra costs
Refund Guarantee
We refund your fees if Global Vision International (GVI) cancels your trip
Support & Mediation
We cover your back no matter what happens
Our services are free of charge!
All program fees are charged directly by Global Vision International (GVI).

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Elephant Research

Witness African bush elephants in the wild while working with an international team on ongoing wildlife conservation efforts.

$838/week

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