Local Wildlife Conservation & Research

High­lights Require­ments What's Included Dates & Fees Rev­iews
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founded in 1997
Bella
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Coordinator | Bella
Coordinator | Bella

High­lights

Go on a wildlife safari adventure in a private South African nature reserve while contributing directly to conservation efforts
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.
Learn to identify predators, like lions, cheetahs, and leopards, as well as megaherbivores like elephants and rhinos.
Master radio telemetry techniques and learning how to track and record animal movements.
Live and work alongside Field Guide Association of South Africa, FGASA, qualified guides, growing personally and professionally by learning from their experiences.
Travel to a private reserve in South Africa, home to lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo, and rhino, and become part of an international research team This volunteer program is especially suitable for:
Age 18+
Singles
Couples
Groups
50+
Witness nature unfiltered, from a lion taking down its prey, to newborn cheetah cubs playing for the first time, or even a stand-off between two massive elephant bulls. Experience the African savannah landscape on safari. Unlike a conventional safari trip, this program allows you to play an active and meaningful role in the research and long term conservation of South Africa's natural resources. 

No special skills or qualifications are required to join this program, as all training will be provided by our experienced team in the field. 
Please note you can spend up to 12 hours a day collecting data which can be tiring, in the heat of the African sun. This program offers durations up to 24 weeks. 

Role of the volunteer

Before getting fully involved in the inner workings of our research, you will undergo training that will cover how to carry out extensive radio tracking and monitoring of all the collared predators on the reserve, all while learning a variety of new skills, including mammal and bird identification, ecology and bush first aid. This training will allow you to effectively contribute to the overall program, as you get to know animals on the reserve individually and following their progress and monitor behaviour.

A typical expedition may involve the detailed monitoring of predators (lion, leopard, cheetah, hyena); herbivore sex/age ratio and its effect on predator movement; elephant impact vegetation surveys to monitor impact on sensitive areas of the reserve; community projects that teach the importance of conservation.

Other activities and ecological studies can also include darting/fitting radio collars to predators or invasive vegetation species eradication.
From a personal perspective, you will increase your knowledge of the South African environment, its importance and the threats to it, and help to increase both local and global knowledge and awareness, while contributing to our overall goals and objectives.

How this project makes a difference
 The data collected is used by reserve authorities and conservation organisations to develop an accurate picture of predator impact on prey populations, determine the spatial movement, behaviour, social structure and genetics of specific species. This information helps authorities maintain a healthy balance of natural resources in the reserve, helps conservation organisations further their objectives, and ultimately assists with conserving important African species and habitats. 
You will also have the opportunity to participant in our environmental conservation program which we run in the local community. 

Typical day

A typical day involves spending time out in the reserve tracking the wildlife and conducting research from the game vehicles. This usually happens during the cooler weather at dawn and dusk when the wildlife is more active. Most of the research is on predators such as lions, leopards, cheetahs and hyena but we also monitor other wildlife, including elephants.There is a daily schedule and if not assisting on game drives then you may be working on data entry or helping with camp and cooking duties.

We can spend up to 12 hours a day collecting data, so you should expect some long days. All this will do is  develop a baseline and holistic understanding of all aspects of the bush.

Another aspect is our community work, where you will be expected to participate in educational days with local communities, highlighting the importance of conservation.

On this program  you can expect to participate in:

  • General predator monitoring - Hyaena and Leopard (Leopard also has tracking implant)
  • Monitoring their distribution, feeding ecology, competition, sustainability 
  • Hyaena and Leopard Elephant monitoring 
  • Distribution, feeding focuses Rhino monitoring  and general game counts
  • Sustainability, distribution and sex and age ratios

Free-time activities

Joining a program not only allows participants to collaborate with communities or work toward preserving unique ecosystems but it also offers plenty of opportunities to explore the surrounding area or travel further to see what other parts of the region have to offer.

Long term field staff are a great source of advice, and have helped us put together the following information on local travel options. Many decide to travel before or after their experience (subject to immigration restrictions), solidifying the lifetime friendships established on program.


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! 

Water Sports
Swimming
Sightseeing
Shopping/
Souvenirs
Climbing
Safari/
Zoo
Hiking

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 (intermediate level)
Criminal Background Check
required
Required Documents
Medical Form
Nationality Restrictions
No restrictions. Helping hands from all over the world are welcome.
Other Skills
Language requirements: English essential. No additional languages required

Fitness Requirements: Reasonable fitness is required
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
  • First Aid & CPR training
  • Location orientation
  • Long term experienced staff
  • Meals while on project (except on work placements for long term internships)
  • Research training
  • Reserve fees and permits
  • Safe and basic accommodations (usually shared)
  • Telemetry training as relevant
  • Welcome meeting
  • Wildlife identification techniques
What's Not Included:
  • Additional drinks and gratuities
  • Airport and reserve transfers
  • 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
Airport pick up available the day of program start (Saturday) from Hoedspruit Airport at 14:00.
Accommodation
Accommodation is in shared (mixed sex) rooms with shared bathroom facilities. There is cold running water available for showers. Flush toilet facilities are available, and participants share base duties, including cleaning and other chores. If you are joining our long term internship, accommodation during work placements will vary depending on location. Accommodation will not be provided on breaks between program phases, you will be responsible for making your own arrangements.
Dorm Room
Food & Beverages
Participants take it in turns to prepare meals for the group. Food is very basic with about two thirds of the meals vegetarian. Breakfast could be cereal, fresh fruit, rusks etc., lunch is typically sandwiches, salads and a typical evening meal may include rice, fresh veg, etc. 
All three meals are included 7 days a week if staying on base on your off day. 
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.
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

The hub is closed for one month from mid December through to mid January.

Specific starting dates with guaranteed departures which are listed below: 
  • 2019
  • 06 Apr 2019
    20 Apr 2019
    04 May 2019
    18 May 2019
    01 Jun 2019
    15 Jun 2019
    29 Jun 2019
    13 Jul 2019
    27 Jul 2019
    10 Aug 2019
    24 Aug 2019
    07 Sep 2019
    21 Sep 2019
    05 Oct 2019
    19 Oct 2019
    02 Nov 2019
    16 Nov 2019
    30 Nov 2019
  • 2020
  • 11 Jan 2020
    25 Jan 2020
    08 Feb 2020
    22 Feb 2020
    07 Mar 2020
    21 Mar 2020
    04 Apr 2020
    18 Apr 2020
    02 May 2020
    16 May 2020
    30 May 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

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

Program fees

Costs: Prices in EUR (USD)
2 weeks (min. stay)
€2,270 ($2,565)
4 weeks
€3,375 ($3,814)
6 weeks
€4,315 ($4,876)
8 weeks
€5,245 ($5,927)
10 weeks
€6,180 ($6,983)
12 weeks (max. stay)
€6,130 ($6,927)
Average fees
€823 ($930) /week

Please note that the above shown program fees are estimated and subject to exchange rate fluctuations. 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

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 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).

What are people saying about Volunteer World?

  Africa Southern Africa South Africa  Limpopo, Karongwe Game Reserve

Local Wildlife Conservation & Research

Travel to a private reserve in South Africa, home to lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo, and rhino, and become part of an international research team

$823/week

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