Wildlife Research and Conservation - South Africa

founded in 2013
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Coordinator | Amanda
Coordinator | Amanda
Book with Flex Option! Choose new departure dates or change to a different volunteer program at no extra costs.


Make a real difference in the conservation efforts of Africa
Gain valuable field experience in wildlife and biology
Get involved with white rhino behavior research
Real world conservation skills and scientific research
Beach side living whilst helping protect African wildlife
Wildlife Research volunteers, interns and students are involved in various research and conservation initiatives and projects within the game reserves. This volunteer program is especially suitable for:
Age 18+
About the Program

​​The Wildlife Conservation Program is a unique internship and volunteer opportunity that gives wildlife enthusiasts of all ages and backgrounds an opportunity to get involved in the conservation and sustainability of African wildlife and ecosystems. Our volunteers, interns, and students are critical in the continuation of our research and conservation efforts. 

Volunteers, interns, and students spend five days per week assisting in various capacities of wildlife conservation. This can be in the form of field work collecting data, analyzing and entering data into our systems, or in the way of workshops and discussion days with our seasoned team members. We leave evenings and weekends open which allows the chance to explore South Africa and take part in various cultural and tourist activities. Based in the beautiful coastal town of Mossel Bay, South Africa our volunteers, interns, and students have a unique experience of working hands on in conservation on a free roaming wildlife reserve while living within walking distance to our blue flag beaches.

​Operating with the embodiment of Nkonzo Wildlife Research ideals and goals, the mantra of “Educate Act Empower” is nowhere more evident than in the Wildlife Conservation Program. Not only are students directly involved in protecting and studying African wildlife and ecosystems but they also undergo educational sessions where the focus is in teaching the bigger picture through the better understanding of conservation biology, animal behaviour, animal ethics and tourism, human-animal coexistence, and the many areas of conservation. Students of the program are assisting in critical hands on research and conservation initiatives in the field that impact the wildlife and environment in both short term and long term goals and solutions These two areas, Educate and Act, work together to foster and facilitate the most important aspect of these ideals, to Empower. Through hands-on initiatives and education students leave Nkonzo with a better understanding of the problems plaguing African wildlife, the efforts being made to assuage these issues, and how they can continue to work with conservation and make a change for the better of wildlife, ecosystems, and our planet as a whole.

Field Work

When participating in the Wildlife Conservation Program students are involved in various conservation initiatives and projects within the game reserve. Projects and initiatives are based on previously founded ecological and cognitive knowledge to better improve the welfare of current and future wildlife in Southern Africa.  Students assist in all aspects of current reserve needs regarding projects and daily operations. Primary student work will be dedicated to assistance within wildlife management regarding various long-term projects in the way of conservation research. 
​All volunteers, interns, and students rotate through the various initiatives at Nkonzo when participating as a student in the Wildlife Conservation Program, this includes our research. Current work is being done with white rhino social behaviour, elephant habitat utilization of Fynbos, wildlife and roads which is done in partnership with the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT), Cape mountain zebra and territoriality, and large ungulate migration. As a volunteer, intern, or student you will be working alongside us in research to observe, collect data, develop projects, and data entry.

Please keep in mind that time spent on the various projects will be determined by monthly quotas, weather, and animal cooperation. As a volunteer, you will also be trained in some “bush basics” such as survival, track and sign, reading animal behaviour, and ethical approach methods. The team takes great pride in only ethical operations and approaches and finds it important to provide the information and understanding to those involved to why we operate in the field the way we do.

Typical day

The following is a tentative schedule that we follow each week (Monday to Friday). We ask that all volunteers, interns, and students understand that our work is conducted on a free roaming reserve of 11,000ha. and that schedules may change based on animal locations, accessibility, weather, and other factors. Additionally, an average of two days per month are set aside for workshops and academic based coursework that is facilitated in town and not on the reserve.

​​​7:30 a.m. Breakfast

8:00 a.m. Depart for Field Work

9:00 a.m. Begin Data Collection or Training

12:30 p.m. Packed Lunch on the Reserve

1:15 p.m. Continue Data Collection or Training

3:00 p.m. Finish Field Work

Free Time

Free-time activities

​All of our volunteers, interns, and students stay together in the pristine town of Hartenbos in safe 4 Star accommodation. 

Various activities can be booked for weekends. Nkonzo Wildlife Research also leads multiple weekend trips (2 or 3 nights) to lesser known areas of the Western and Northern Cape that are exclusive to our volunteers.

​Please note, these weekend activities are not included and will be available at an additional cost.

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)
Required Documents
CV, medical insurance and registration form
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 and Friday from 08:00 - 16:00

What's Included

Services by Nkonzo Wildlife Research


  • Shared accommodation
  • Cold Breakfast 7 days per week
  • ​Basic Lunch Monday-Friday
  • Conservation fees
  • Daily access to game reserve
  • Work related transported
  • 24/7 emergency standby team
  • Guided research and management activities
  • All training and training material
  • Housekeeping
  • Airport Transfer (GRJ)
  • Free WiFi

​Not included

  • All dinners 
  • ​(fully equipped self-catering kitchen available)
  • Curios and other souvenirs
  • ​Drinks
  • Weekend activities
  • Flights
  • Visa
  • Laundry
  • Anything not state

Airport Pickup at George Airport

Volunteers can be picked up from the George Airport (GRJ) or the Mossel Bay Bus Stop. One of our team members will meet you there and take you to your accommodation for the month.


All of our volunteers, interns, and students stay together in the pristine town of Hartenbos in 4 Star self catering accommodation. The facility is highly secure and safe with restricted access that only allows our students, staff, and fellow travelers staying at the facility to enter. The facility also mandates 24/7 security personnel and is located in the safest town in South Africa.

Students have their included cold breakfast 7 days a week and are provided basic lunches in the reserve on work days. Students are responsible to supply their own dinners.

There are various activities that can be booked for weekends and downtime. Nkonzo also leads multiple weekend trips (2 or 3 nights) to lesser known areas of the Western and Northern Cape that are exclusive to Nkonzo volunteers.

Please note, these activities are not included and are available at the students’ own expense.

As students stay in Hartenbos they are also within walking distance to many restaurants, Hartenbos Seafront, shops, and takeaway places.

Food & Beverages

Cold Breakfast is included seven days per week, basic lunches are included five days per week on the reserve. Dinners are self catering as is weekend lunches. Volunteers are responsible for their own cool drinks and snacks.

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

Students are expected to arrive on the specified date for their given period. Arrangements can be made for an alternative arrival date however, in these instances, students should be aware that field time missed because of late arrivals will not be made up. All students should fly into George Airport (GRJ) in George, South Africa at any time on the specified date. Here students will be met by one of our team members who will transport students to their accommodation which is roughly 30 minutes away. Once at the facility students will be given a tour of the accommodation as well as appropriate introductions and instructions for the remainder of the day. The day following arrival students will partake in our Orientation and Safety Introduction. At this time students will be briefed on reserve operations, living in South Africa, recommended areas such as beaches, restaurants, and shops and other important information regarding safety and daily plans. Students will also go through introductions on the research and conservation work they will be assisting on during their time here including data collection operations, background information, current findings, and why this work is important. Following the close of Orientation and Safety Introductions students will be taken to the local mall where they can purchase food for their dinners and snacks (not included) as well as any items forgotten such as warmer clothing, soap, etc. The next day will begin field operations. 

At the end of a student's time with us, they should have their departing flight scheduled to leave from George Airport (GRJ) in George, South Africa at any time on the specified date. Transportation by Nkonzo staff to the airport is provided to all students.

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2 - 24 weeks

Program fees

Costs: Prices in USD
2 weeks (min. stay)
4 weeks
24 weeks (max. stay)
Average fees
$724 /week

Please note that the above shown program fees are estimated. Nkonzo Wildlife Research 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 Nkonzo Wildlife Research 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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All program fees are charged directly by Nkonzo Wildlife Research.

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Wildlife Research and Conservation - South Africa

Wildlife Research volunteers, interns and students are involved in various research and conservation initiatives and projects within the game reserves.



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