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Khaya Volunteer Projects

Big 5 Wildlife Conservation Assistant

Paterson, South Africa

The Big Five Safari Reserve gives volunteers the opportunity to work in a conservation area with the presence of elephants, lions, rhinos, buffaloes and leopards!

About the Program

The Big Five Safari Reserve began in 1999 as a joint conservation venture. Today the reserve consists of six independently-owned lodges. The lodges are owner-managed by the descendants of the original families who arrived here with the British settlers of 1820.

The Big Five Safari Reserve Volunteer Project is a unique conservation initiative that allows animals to be re-introduced to the area where they once roamed freely and so making a contribution to the conservation of our natural heritage. The challenge has been to re-establish the original flora and fauna species to the area and to return the land to nature.

Gap year students and volunteers can be part of this bigger picture and work and live on this reserve and help with all the aspects of running a safari reserve in Africa.

Guidance and Supervision

The coordinator on site is an experienced game ranger who will take you to and from the volunteer house to the reserve, work together with you and teach you all there is to know about the land, plants and animals.

Typical Tasks

As a volunteer at the Big Five Safari Reserve, your primary responsibility is managing the free roaming lions, with the rest of the day filled with tasks and duties based around the reserve.

The list below provides the details of various projects experienced by past volunteers. Please note that duties may change at any time, which means no week at the reserve will be the same!

Short-term Projects:

  • Game capturing, counting and monitoring
  • Medicinal use of plants and vegetation biomes
  • Guided walks, tracking and trails through the reserve
  • Nocturnal predator monitoring

Long-term Projects:

  • Game counting
  • Animal tracking using telemetry sets
  • Territorial ranges and feeding range monitoring
  • Lion health and breeding monitoring
  • Giraffe movement and breeding monitoring
  • Local community sustainability
  • Assisting vulnerable children and AIDS orphans
  • Birds in reserves project

General reserve Duties:

  • Erosion control
  • Fence patrol and maintenance
  • Alien plant control
  • Bush clean and clear up
  • Road and boma maintenance

Motivation

Working and living on a safari reserve is a dream of many, and this is your opportunity to be a part of the bigger picture of conservation. Don’t forget that although small changes can take a very long time to make an impact on nature, and are difficult to see in a few weeks, your role as a volunteer or gap year student adds immeasurably to the restoration of the land to what it once was. By participating, you do not merely help on a temporary basis on the reserve itself, but you also contribute to the future financially, and impact the environment positively. You have the possibility to see more than just the reserve and can spend some time at the community project in Paterson as well, giving you the chance to see South Africa and its people in a different light.

 

Typical day

Working hours are flexible, but we start early most days, daily activities will include:

  • Lion spotting
  • Researching hunting patterns
  • Checking fences
  • Reserve maintenance
  • Tracking of animals
  • Guided Walks
  • Animal Counting
  • Helping the local community center

Free-time activities

There are different activities to do in and around the area of the projects. However, you do need to have transport but there will always be an opportunity to arrange this transport with other volunteers.

Swimming
Climbing
Safari/Zoo
Hiking
Sports
Riding

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).
Language Skills
You need to speak English (basic level)
Health Declaration
required
Nationality Restrictions
No restrictions. Helping hands from all over the world are welcome.
Other Skills
You will have to have a love for animals and nature – and be physically fit. Openmindedness and flexibility also comes highly recommended!
Time Commitment
Your helping hand will be required on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 07:00 - 16:00

Suitable for

Singles
Couples
Groups

Any questions? Just ask. We at Khaya Volunteer Projects are happy to help you.

Contact Project Coordinator
Contact & Reservation
Jan
Feb
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Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec

Included Services

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We refund your fees if Khaya Volunteer Projects cancels your trip
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Our services are free of charge!
All program fees are charged directly by Khaya Volunteer Projects.
Services by Khaya Volunteer Projects

* Accommodation

* Meals
* Cleaning lady and a once-a-week laundry service
* All the training programs you need for your work at the project 

Airport Pickup at Port Elizabeth International Airport

If you want Khaya to arrange your transfer from Port Elizabeth to the project, this will cost an additional 75 EUR / 85 USD / 70 GBP one way. If you also would like to be picked up at the end of your volunteering period, the total price for both transfers will be double that amount

Accommodation

Volunteers are accommodated in a one-storey, 7 bedroom house; which overlooks a large garden and is within walking distance of the local bar and basic shops. Most of the rooms are doubles or triples and are male or female only. There are 3 bathrooms in total with a hot water shower and toilet.

Dorm Room
Food & Beverages

Your meals are all included when on the reserve and consist of self-service breakfast and lunch and a home-cooked dinner. Volunteers are expected to be independent and proactive and be able to contribute to the household chores. This is not a luxury lodge where you are catered for, but rather your home that you share with other passionate, hard-working, like- minded volunteers!

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 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.
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)
1 week (min. stay)
$640.00
2 weeks
$1,260.00
3 weeks
$1,835.00
4 weeks
$2,425.00
6 weeks
$3,625.00
8 weeks
$4,825.00
12 weeks (max. stay)
$7,225.00
Average fees
$621.00/week

You can volunteer at the project site in Paterson/South Africa between 1 week 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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