Eco Volunteering - Nature and Coastal Conservation

Overview Requirements What's included Dates & Fees Reviews
founded in 1
Sibuya Wilderness Experience
Coordinator | Pablo
Coordinator | Pablo


No standard safari holiday: Get an authentic, impactful and hands-on experience together with like-minded people from all over the world!
Be more than a tourist: play an active role in the protection of our Wildlife and Nature by contributing to our research and conservation efforts!
By combining Wildlife and Marine Conservation in one program, you will uncover the whole big picture of our Eco-System for a better understanding of Nature and why it works the way it does!
Quality over quantity: in order to guarantee an educational and impactful experience for each volunteer, we will work in small groups with a maximum number of 8 participants!
High standard accommodation at Intaka Lodge with happy family vibes: everyone coming to us will be part of the family in no-time, providing a safe, comfortable environment while being abroad!
Eco Volunteering in Wildlife & Marine Conservation. Uncover the whole big picture of our Eco-System for a better understanding of Nature & learn how to make a difference! This volunteer program is especially suitable for:
Age 18+

The Sibuya Wilderness Experience offers volunteers, as part of a gap year, sabbatical or eco traveling, the unique and exciting opportunity to get behind the scenes and involved with the Conservation efforts of Sibuya Game Reserve.  

Volunteers will take part in short and longterm projects which are intended to create sustainability for generations to come. Tasks may vary from physical work to interesting and interactive lecture-based content. Our volunteer program will run from 1 to 4 weeks. In order to guarantee an educational and impactful experience for each volunteer, we will work in small groups with a maximum number of 8 participants

Together with the team, the volunteers will be accommodated and hosted by Retha and Paul at the beautiful Intaka Bird Lodge (situated close to the Reserve). Happy family vibes, expansive grounds to explore and a large swimming pool with BBQ area make it the perfect spot to relax and unwind from the adventures of the day. Participants will share comfortable twin-bedded rooms with en-suite bathrooms, including full board (3 meals a day). 

This is the perfect eco volunteer program for you, if you are looking for a meaningful travel opportunity abroad that put – together with like-minded people from all over the world - your passion for nature, environment and wildlife to good use, trying to make a difference. 


Much of our Conservation work will take place at the nearby Sibuya Game Reserve itself as well as at the nearby rivers and beaches. The Reserve is located in Kenton-on-Sea, along the Sunshine Coast of the Eastern Cape in South Africa, about 120 km from Port Elizabeth. This renowned Reserve is home to a wide range of different species of Flora and Fauna, with the stunning Kariega River Estuary meandering through it. 
  • Wildlife Tracking & Monitoring: Spend your time immersed in Nature, on the trails of Africa's Big Five. Regular monitoring and observation enable us to identify individuals, compile information about the family/ herd structure and determine feeding habits. Activity includes: Game Drives, Game Counts, Game Captures, setting up camera traps and track stations, learning Bush Skills.
  • Rhino-Watch/ Anti-Poaching Support: Play an active role in the protection of our Rhino by performing Anti-Poaching night-patrols and learn more about their importance and protocol through night drives and sleep-outs on the Reserve that assist in Sibuya’s Anti-Poaching Unit efforts.
  • Reserve Sustainability Projects: Volunteers will assist in the development of a grey-water filtration wetland to further minimize our ecological footprint and will learn hands-on about the benefits of Permaculture and help manage our indigenous tree nursery.
  • Alien Plant Control & Botanical Surveys: Alien plants were introduced to the land by the farmers of old for different reasons and uses. Today these invasive plants need to be removed to increase the natural biodiversity and to decrease fire risk. Volunteers take part in Vegetation transects and data collection for monitoring and calculation of Game carrying capacity.
  • Marine Explorations, Research & Surveys: The nearby Rivers are being monitored on a regular basis to provide research with much needed information about species population densities, occurrence of critically endangered species, salinity levels and water temperatures. Regular trips to the beach for exploration and learning about the coastal Eco-system and how it works will open eyes to the diversity of life that is so close, yet often unnoticed.
  • Community Engagement: Conservation does not stop at conserving Nature alone, but also includes a responsibility to uplift local and impoverished Communities. This responsibility includes environmental education of the Community as to the role and benefit of conserving biodiversity and further stresses the importance of conserving our natural resources. Regular trips are made into the local Community to raise awareness and assist in various Community Projects.

Please note: We say NO to any kind of interaction with wild animals and we strongly dissociate ourselves from so-called sanctuaries, parks or rehabilitation centers that promote Cub petting, Lion walking or interacting with Elephants. These organizations mislead visitors to believe that they're promoting conservation while the truth is that they keep wild animals in captivity and use them for commercial exploitation. 

We are a team of passionate and experienced conservationists working tirelessly to save our endangered and threatened wild- and marine life from extinction - eager to inspire future generations!

Pablo Reufer 
“My first visit to South Africa was back in 2014, when I became a Nature and Marine Guide with Ulovane Environmental Training. That’s also when I met Retha and Paul at Intaka Bird Lodge for the first time and since then, it was like home from home. Shortly after completing my course, I started working at Sibuya Game Reserve and I found a passion in understanding Nature better and why it works the way it does. Now I want you to experience Nature our way and understand how to help conserve it.” 
Scott Clarke 
“Wilderness and my place in it have guided my life’s journey. I grew up in Cape Town where I completed my FGASA Marine and Nature field guide training at De Hoop Nature Reserve after which I gained a National Diploma in Nature Conservation. While working as a field guide at Sibuya Game Reserve I furthered my studies to become a FGASA specialist field guide and completed my postgraduate degree in Environmental Conservation. By exposing people to our conservation work and transferring our hands-on mentality, I know that we can make a difference.” 
Shaun Marais 
“Although I started my career in the container shipping industry, I had always had a love for all things ocean and bush. In 2016 I realized that corporate life was not for me and set out on a journey to live the life I always dreamed of and that journey has led me here. I am currently studying to complete FGASA Level 1 and will be focusing my future studies on Marine life Conservation. I can’t wait to share my experience and knowledge and to show everyone where I finally feel at home now.” 

We look forward to taking you on this unique, impactful and adventurous journey full of unforgettable experiences. 

Typical day

Conservation work runs from Monday to Friday – Weekends are off for relaxation.

Please find in the following not binding examples for typical days:

Example - Day 1:
07.30-08.00 Breakfast
08.00-08.30 Introduction / Orientation
08.30-13.00 Game Drive
13.00-14.00 Lunch
14.00-16.00 Alien Plant Control
16.00-18.30 Free Time
18.30-20.00 Dinner

Example - Day 2:
07.30-08.00 Breakfast
08.00-08.30 Marine Conservation Presentation
08.30-13.00 River Research & Study
13.00-14.00 Lunch
14.00-16.00 Beach Exploration
16.00-18.30 Free Time
18.30-20.00 Dinner

Example - Day 3:
07.30-08.00 Breakfast
08.00-08.30 Anti-Poaching Presentation
08.30-13.00 Community Project
13.00-14.00 Lunch
14.00-16.00 Learning Bush Skills
16.00-18.30 Free Time
18.30-20.00 Dinner
20.30- open Rhino-Watch / Anti-Poaching Patrol


Free-time activities

There are several adventure and leisure-based activities in and around the area that can be arranged on weekends – at an additional cost – including horse-back beach rides, whale watching in Algoa Bay, deep-sea-fishing at Port Alfred or surf and river fishing, skydiving and paragliding in Grahamstown, bungee jumping at the world-famous Bloukrans Bridge, arranged game drives or boat cruises on Sibuya Game Reserve and many more. 

Water Sports

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 (intermediate level)
Nationality Restrictions
No restrictions. Helping hands from all over the world are welcome.
Other Skills
Volunteers need to be in good health and have a moderate level of fitness.
Time Commitment
Your helping hand will be required on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday

Included Services

Services by Sibuya Wilderness Experience

  • All program-based activities 
  • Orientation & 24h support on-site by program coordinators 
  • Shared accommodation (private room at an additional cost) 
  • Full board (3 meals a day) & Laundry Self-Service 
  • Free Wifi 
  • Free transfers to and from Port Elizabeth Airport on Sundays  
  • Rhino Conservation Levy (for Sibuya Game Reserve)


  • Air flights – International/ Local 
  • Visa 
  • Gifts 
  • Weekend entertainment activities 
  • Drinks (unless otherwise specified) 
  • Stipend 
  • Medical expenses 
  • Travel insurance 
Airport Pickup at Port Elizabeth International Airport
Please book your flight to arrive at Port Elizabeth Airport (PLZ), South Africa.
(Usually you will need to book a flight to Cape Town (CPT) or Johannesburg (JNB) + a connecting domestic flight from CPT/JNB to PLZ). 

We will pick you up at the airport in Port Elizabeth, meeting you at the entrance (arrival) area. Our shuttle to Intaka Lodge will depart from Port Elizabeth Airport no later than 3pm, please book your flights accordingly. 

For departures our shuttle will leave Intaka Lodge no later than 8am (1½ h drive to Port Elizabeth Airport), please arrange your flights for earliest 11-11:30am.  
Together with the team and as a part of the Sibuya & Intaka Family, volunteers will be comfortably accommodated and hosted at scenic Intaka Bird Lodge in Kenton-on-Sea – run by the kindest and most accommodating people: Retha and Paul. This beautiful 58ha property overlooks a panoramic view of deep valleys and rolling hills with the ocean and bush as a magnificent backdrop. Accommodation at the Lodge with its bird-hide and expansive grounds, sparkling swimming pool and outdoor BBQ area, create a great space in which to relax during free time. 

Accommodation includes the following: 
  • Shared double bedrooms (twin beds) en-suite (Private rooms en-suite are available on demand at an additional cost) 
  • Full board (3 meals a day & water, tea and coffee included) 
  • Free Wifi 
  • Swimming pool, BBQ area & entertainment area (communal TV, pool table) 
  • Squash court and table tennis 
  • Laundry Self-Service: washing machines and dryers are available
Bedroom (Double)
Food & Beverages
  • Full board is included (3 meals a day - Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner) 
  • Free Water & Coffee/Tee
  • Vegetarian food available

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 Port Elizabeth International Airport (PLZ) in Port Elizabeth. 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


  • We are offering a 1 to 4 weeks program (with the opportunity to extend your stay after 4 weeks) 
  • Program starts any Sunday every month 
  • All year long except creative break from 15.12.-12.01.
  • We will work in small groups of max. 8 participants  
  • Arrival Sunday: Pick-up, Check-in at Intaka Bird Lodge & Welcome 
  • Monday-Friday: Conservation Work
  • Weekend: Free Time


Please book your flight to arrive at Port Elizabeth Airport (PLZ), South Africa.
(Usually you will need to book a flight to Cape Town (CPT) or Johannesburg (JNB) + a connecting domestic flight from CPT/JNB to PLZ). 

We will pick you up at the airport in Port Elizabeth, meeting you at the entrance (arrival) area. Our shuttle to Intaka Lodge will depart from Port Elizabeth Airport no later than 3pm, please book your flights accordingly. 

For departures our shuttle will leave Intaka Lodge no later than 8am (1½ h drive to Port Elizabeth Airport), please arrange your flights for earliest 11-11:30am.  
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
1 - 4 weeks

Program fees

Costs: Prices in USD
1 week (min. stay)
$ 900
2 weeks
$ 1,700
3 weeks
$ 2,400
4 weeks (max. stay)
$ 3,000
Average fees
$ 825 /week

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

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