Khaya Volunteer Projects

Assistant at Game Reserve

Hoedspruit, South Africa show on map

Volunteers get to live in the African bush while you work hands-on with many animals, at a well-organised game reserve in the magical landscape of Limpopo.

The Makalali Big 5 African Wildlife project offers you a unique experience in the African bush and gives you the opportunity to observe and be a part of the research and monitoring teams on the reserve.
 
The focus of the Makalali project revolves around some of our key species; elephants, lions, hyenas and leopards.  You will also be involved with monitoring our breeding initiatives comprising buffalo, Livingston eland and nyala. Habitat work also plays an important part of the monitoring process.
 
The wildlife reserve where the project is located is a vast Big 5 nature reserve covering an area of 25000 hectares.  Situated in the Lowveld area, the home of nature conservation in South Africa, your work as a volunteer adds immense value for accurate management of the animals within the reserve.  
 Whether on a monitoring drive, on foot, or observing the wildlife at a waterhole, all of your work will be done under the guidance of our qualified rangers.  As each activity has a pre-determined objective, you don’t just get to view the animals, you get to live with them for a little while.  There’s nothing quite like sitting in the dark next to a lazing lion waiting for it to start its nightly call or being surrounded by a herd of elephants and being able to spend time observing their individual traits and family dynamics.
 
At the end of the day, you return to the camp to share your experiences over dinner around the open fire and then fall asleep to the sounds of the bush. Join us for the experience of a lifetime!

ACTIVITIES 
Monitoring forms the basis for the majority of our research assistance on the Greater Wildlife Reserve. We conduct monitoring drives in the mornings and afternoons to see the animals when they are most active.
 
We also spend time on foot tracking the more elusive animals, which is an amazing way to experience the bush.  
 
Your activities as a volunteer will evolve around several key focus points for this programs;
 
- Elephant monitoring 
 
- Lion monitoring 
 
- Breeding of Buffalo, Eland and Nyala monitoring 
 
- Hyena monitoring 
 
- Leopard monitoring 
 
- Small mammals surveys
 
- Birds and Raptor monitoring 
 
- Habitat conservation 
 
- Local community involvement 

Typical day

TYPICAL PROJECT SCHEDULE

Monday: Project start day. Town trip to pick up volunteers and restock supplies

Tuesday:  Early start setting out on a set route drive as part of our game counting program to determine populations of general game.

In the afternoon we depart for a monitoring drive to locate one of our key species of interest; lion, elephant, leopards or hyena.

Wednesday: Waterhole monitoring in the morning to determine species utilisation of the area. We set off for a drive in the afternoon to the breeding boma to monitor the buffalo, Livingstone eland and nyala.

Thursday: Habitat work; we could be busy with exotic plant removal, erosion control or bush clearing. In the afternoon or evening, we head out on hyena monitoring and night patrol

Friday: Early morning start and we will be out locating the elephants as part of the ongoing research into the elephant contraception program. The afternoon we will set out to monitor bird species.

Saturday: Habitat work in the morning, followed by an afternoon monitoring drive focussing on our lion population. On return in the evening, we may head out to the local pub or have a typical South African 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.

In between activities, volunteers will receive a series of presentations on the work of the Reserve, or how to approach dangerous game on foot, or possibly even a Zulu lesson. This time will also be used to transfer all data collected onto the computers and compile the weekly research report, as well as helping out with vehicle checks and cleaning.

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.  

Sightseeing
Climbing
Safari/Zoo
Hiking

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

Suitable for

Singles
Couples
Groups
50+

Included Services

Extra security layer by 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 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
WHAT IS INCLUDED?        
                                                                                       
Transfers for arrivals and departures on Mondays to/from Hoedspruit
All food (except snacks, soft drinks and alcohol)
Accommodation
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)

WHAT IS EXCLUDED?   

Flights to South Africa
Transfers to town Tuesday to Sunday if required
Personal insurance
Internet (small fee payable for access at camp)
Towels
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.

Accommodation
The Twines camp has no fence around it so you will see free roaming animals and birdlife during the day.  They visit us in the garden and we regularly see the elephant herds coming to drink at the waterhole.  The main building with the office has a large comfortable lounge with a book and movie library where volunteers can spend their free time reading field guides and other books or watching documentaries in the evening.  We also have a volleyball court at the camp, or you can jump into the pool for a cool off!

The volunteer house accommodates a maximum of 10 volunteers in five cosy rooms which has two people shared sleeping arrangements. Each room has a washbasin and an en suite bathroom, which is shared with the adjoining room, consisting of a shower with hot running water provided by eco-friendly solar heaters and flushing toilets. 

Next door is the kitchen with an outside eating area. The kitchen offers cooking facilities for volunteers to prepare their breakfast, lunch and dinner. The 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) in our Boma, where we light up the fire after sunset.

In the evenings we spend most of the time under the South African stars and light up the fire in the boma.  We sit around enjoying a well-earned drink and an amazing dinner, telling stories of the day's adventures.
Guesthouse
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.
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.
Costs (Prices in USD)
2 weeks (min. stay)
$1,800.00
3 weeks
$2,675.00
4 weeks
$3,520.00
5 weeks
$4,365.00
6 weeks
$5,210.00
7 weeks
$6,055.00
12 weeks (max. stay)
$10,280.00
Average fees
$878.00/week

You can volunteer at the project site in Hoedspruit/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.
  Africa Southern Africa South Africa  Hoedspruit, Gravelotte

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