Khaya Volunteer Projects

Kruger Big 5 Experience

Limpopo, South Africa show on map
Camping and wildlife adventures in this amazing conservation project in the heart of the African bush. This volunteer program is especially suitable for:

The Kruger Big 5 Project offers you the possibility to be part of conservation efforts and participate with on-the-ground, hands-on monitoring of some of Africa’s endangered species; Rhino, African Wild-dogs,Cheetah and Southern Ground Hornbills.

This is the ideal program if you want to truly experience the “wild” side of Africa. The camp is based in a Limpopo wildlife reserve next to Kruger National Park which is home to the 'Big 5'. This means you will get to encounter, and live close to elephant, lion, leopard and buffalo while working with a variety of other animals.

During your stay, your days will be spent mostly on foot walking through the reserve, learning how to track the animals.  You will be approaching endangered species on foot and recording their behaviour, location and condition.  You will, quite literally, be walking in their footsteps!

This is a unique experience for people who want to get more out of visiting a game reserve in South Africa.  Everyone who joins us on this exciting program will get to experience the African bush in its extremes, from elephants strolling through camp to the tropical heat or the surprisingly cold winter nights.

If you have a love of nature and want to participate in helping to save Africa's endangered species, this is the project for you.  Come enjoy the simple life and let the bush seep into your soul!


Monitoring forms the basis for the majority of the research assistance. You will go out on monitoring drives in the mornings and afternoons. The monitoring is done at those times that animals are most active and that is early in the morning and late in the afternoon. 

We also spend time on foot tracking the more elusive animals, which is an amazing way to experience the bush.  During the drier winter months, we have several hides based at waterholes which allow you to observe the various animals and their interactions at close quarters. Our time is also spent attending to habitat management requirements on the greater reserve.

Game (the word used for wildlife in Africa) drives are a great way of covering distance within the reserve in order to see the larger African wildlife, observing their behavior, movements and habits along the way.  After dark, they also enable the possibility of sighting the nocturnal animals such as African civet, black-backed jackal, large spotted genet, porcupine and aardvark to name but a few.

The nearby orphanage provides a home for children affected by HIV.  We visit them every two to three weeks and spend some time playing with the children.  They love the attention and it is a wonderful feeling to be able to bring a smile to their faces with just a hug.  As well as basic moral support, we also support them with some provisions.  We will often buy them some food and special treats when we visit, and volunteers are asked for a small donation to cover these donations.

Typical day

Monday: Project start day. Town trip to collect new volunteers and restock supplies

Tuesday—Friday: Mornings will consist of monitoring walks to locate rhino and cheetah. You will learn how to identify and age their tracks and how to record this information. Once the animals have been located you will monitor their behaviour, environment and interactions in order to better understand them.  Meanwhile, you will also learn how to track other big game such as elephant, lion and hyena in order to better understand utilisation of the areas covered.   At all times you will also be on the lookout for potential sightings and nest sites of the Southern Ground Hornbill.

On return to camp, you will enter the data collected onto the computers.  You'll also get the chance to work through your bush knowledge work books to help improve your tracking skills.  During the week there will be a series of talks on Endangered Species, data collection, bush skills and maybe even a Zulu lesson!

In the afternoons, you will set out on monitoring drives in order to cover more ground to determine new areas to locate rhino, cheetah and Southern Ground Hornbill. Once signs of activity and tracks have been located you will continue on foot to discover more. Whilst driving through the reserve you will also get the chance to see some of our other resident Big 5—elephant, lion and buffalo.

In conjunction with Makalali Research, all sightings of leopard will also be monitored and recorded - the more eyes the better when trying to monitor this elusive animal!

Saturday: In the morning you will help out with some habitat work, either bush clearing, erosion control or road maintenance. On return from the afternoons monitoring drive, we may head out to the local pub or have a typical South Africa Braai (BBQ)

Sunday: Either an outing will be planned or it will be a free day for volunteers to relax or head out on their own tour.

Details on Arrival

All collections and drop offs of volunteers are done on Mondays throughout the year so please arrange your travel to coincide with this. If you are unable to do so, please advise us promptly and alternative transport can be arranged for you at your own expense.

Free-time activities

Outings will be planned on Sundays to interesting local attractions outside of the reserve.  (entrance fees to be paid by volunteers.)

Volunteers can also choose to relax and enjoy the beauty that nature on the reserve has to offer.  


Program 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

Included Services

Extra security layer by Volunteer World
Volunteer World is the world's leading comparison platform for international volunteer opportunities. We guide you through a safe and easy application process - including all necessary payments. Planning your next meaningful trip with Volunteer World gives you free access to our:
Quality Assurance
High ethical standards & transparent social impact
Flex Option
Change your reservation at no extra costs
Refund Guarantee
We refund your fees if Khaya Volunteer Projects 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 Khaya Volunteer Projects.

Before your journey

Profound consulting and ongoing support (free)
Khaya Volunteer Projects (your host organization) provides consulting and is keen to answer all your questions. Once you reserved your spot, you will receive the contact details of your volunteer project.
Online preparation course (optional, from $49)
Prepare yourself and become a confident and well informed traveler. Global Travel Academy takes you on a journey before you leave home, helping you to become one of the world's greatest travelers. Our trusted partner for online learning offers courses in "International Volunteering", "Travel Health & Safety" and "Travel Safety Abroad".

On-site services

Services by Khaya Volunteer Projects
Transfers for arrivals and departures on Mondays to/from Hoedspruit
All food (except snacks, soft drinks and alcohol)
All linen (except towels)
Monday to Friday housekeeping service
All training for assistance with our research
All travel within the reserve
Assistance to organise travel in the local area
An outing every two weeks to interesting local attractions outside of the reserve (entrance fees to be paid by volunteers)


Flights to South Africa
Transfers to town Tuesday to Sunday if required
Personal insurance
Internet (small fee payable for access at camp)
Entrance fee to local attractions
Other personal items such as alcoholic drinks, soft drinks or snacks.
Airport Pickup at Hoedspruit Airport

All collections and drop offs of volunteers are done on Mondays throughout the year so please arrange your travel to coincide with this. If you are unable to do so, please advise us promptly and alternative transport can be arranged for you at your own expense.


The tented Endangered Species Camp consists of four double, comfortable and spacious walk-in tents with twin beds. They are all built on wooden decks in the heart of the bush where you enjoy a beautiful view. Each tent has its own ablution facility with flushing toilet and a bush shower. To heat your shower, you will find large kettles to heat over the fire, making even a shower an adventure on its own.

The communal area next to the fireplace is made up of wooden decks, one which has the kitchen.  The other has a tented roof where you can sit to enjoy your meal in a open air dining area, playing cards or just reading your book while you are listen to the African wild life.

There is no electricity at the camp, but plenty of paraffin lamps are used for all lighting in and around the camp and it gives a true African romantic feeling in the bush. Sometimes the paraffin lanterns can be challenging while you are reading your bedtime story, so a headlamp and torch is recommended for this purpose.

The kitchen offers cooking facilities for volunteers to prepare their breakfast, lunch and dinner. The gas fridge is always filled up with fresh veggies and fruit, cheese and a variety of meat. Volunteers help themselves with tea, coffee, cereal and toast in the morning. For a late brunch you can do sandwiches or salads or have a tasty fry up.  In the evening, after game drive, the volunteers cook a delicious meal together or just braai (South African BBQ) over the fire.

Food & Beverages

Cordial fruit drink, tea and coffee are provided. Soft drinks, alcoholic beverages (beers and ciders) and snacks like chocolate are not available in camp but you can buy them on the weekly town trips.  All food for breakfast, lunch and dinner is provided, as well as fresh fruit.  However, food is only re-stocked once a week so once it’s gone it’s gone!  If you have any special dietary requirements, please inform us before your arrival so that we can accommodate them if possible.

Internet Access
Limited 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.
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.
Costs: Prices in USD
2 weeks (min. stay)
$ 1,635
3 weeks
$ 2,395
4 weeks
$ 3,135
5 weeks
$ 3,895
6 weeks
$ 4,655
7 weeks
$ 5,415
12 weeks (max. stay)
$ 9,215
Average fees
$ 793 /week

You can volunteer at the project site in Limpopo/South Africa between 2 weeks and 12 weeks. Please note that the above shown program fees are estimated and subject to exchange rate fluctuations. Khaya Volunteer Projects will let you know about the final price during your application process.
Crowdfunding Service
Generally, volunteering abroad involves certain costs. In case you need financial support, we will assist you to fundraise your volunteer program in South Africa.
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 Khaya Volunteer Projects during the application process. Common solutions are either via bank transfer or a cash payment at the project site.

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