Big Cat Wilderness Adventure

Experience life as a Big Cat Conservation Volunteer in the bush of Botswana's stunning Kalahari Desert.

About The Project

This incredible volunteering program, situated next to the Central Kalahari Game Reserve (the world's second largest game reserve), aims to provide volunteers with an educational experience that actively contributes towards conservation efforts in this stunning region of Botswana. This project is situated within 10,000 hectares of farm-like land, and as a result provides wildlife in Botswana with an ideal environment in which to live and thrive, as well as many stunning landscapes and panoramic vistas.

Whilst on the project you will also be offered many opportunities to experience the local culture and to encounter a wide range of animals living within the area through bush walks, including lions, leopards, giraffes and even wild dogs!

As a volunteer you will spend time learning practical information about the environment and surrounding ecosystem. Hands-on work in the bush provides detailed insights into the lives and behaviours of the many different species indigenous to the area, allowing you to gain a vast amount of knowledge about African animals, wildlife management and general facts about wildlife conservation in Botswana from the facilitators.

A thoroughly enjoyable and educational experience; this project will provide you with memories that will last a lifetime!

Prior To Arrival

The easiest way to get to the project is to book an international flight to Johannesburg (or Tambo International Airport), and then book a connecting, domestic flight to Maun International Airport the day before the project start date. You will take a taxi from the airport and be and transferred by road to the Okavango Lodge where you will spend your first night. The next morning you will be transferred to the project site.

Most countries do not require a visa to enter Botswana - you are usually issued a 90 day tourist stamp on arrival. However, if you are unsure please check the Botswana Immigration Website for detailed information.

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Suitable for

Singles
Couples
Groups

Typical day

First Day

You will transfer from Okavango River Lodge to the project site. Upon arrival at the project site you will meet your fellow volunteers and project staff before a quick introduction to the reserve and conservation activities ahead.

Regular Days

The day to day work includes everything from helping in the maintenance of the facilities to cleaning predator enclosures after the animals are fed. 

Mornings on the project are normally spent learning a little more about the practical information you will need to know during your time in Botswana. This will include talks on the environment and the ecosystem and how the two work together, and they will be held out in the bush. During the hottest part of the day you will spend some time in shaded areas learning about the more theoretical aspects of conservation and animal welfare. During these sessions you will also spend some time caring for the animals that live on the projects farm area. 

The afternoon is usually spent out in the bush again, hunting for animal tracks, recording data, or on horseback, checking the physical infrastructure of the site for damage and completing other maintenance tasks. Volunteers often spot wildlife in Botswana whilst out in the bush, including lions, cheetah, wild dogs and giraffe. 

Final Day

On your last day you will transfer back to the Okavango Lodge for your final night. You will then depart the next day to Maun International Airport for your return flight home or to commence onward independent travel plans.

Program Requirements

Minimum Age
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)
Nationality Restrictions
No restrictions. Helping hands from all over the world are welcome.
Other Skills
This project involves a fair amount of manual work. Therefore, a moderate level of fitness is necessary. However, the project aims to give you a balanced mix between physical work, safari experiences and lectures. In terms of skills, no specific skills or experience are required, only a positive attitude and full commitment to the cause. You must be prepared to work as part of a team!
Time Commitment
Your helping hand will be required on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 09:00 - 16:00

Any questions? Just ask. We at The Great Projects are happy to help you.

Free-time activities

There is so much going on on this project that there is not much time left for other activities! However, during your time at this project you can expect to take part in Sleep Outs:

Walks begin in the afternoon, at a beautiful spot on the farm, before a safe place to sleep is located. After, you will practice fire-making skills with a braai. You will also learn about using the night sky for orientation within the wilderness. Volunteers are then split into groups, with each group spending one hour awake for night watch. This allows you to learn how to look out for animals after dark and also how to navigate in the bush at night.

If you wish you will also be able to take part in an additional activity and meet the local bushmen, but please note that this does come at an extra, albeit minimal, cost.

Hiking
Riding

Services

What's included?
What's Included In The Price Of The Project?

  • A monetary contribution to the project itself
  • Full orientation and support from the English speaking project facilitators
  • Accommodation, laundry facilities, meals, and coffee and tea as indicated
  • Wi-Fi - this is free of charge but is ONLY available on Sundays.
What's NOT included?
Visa, flights, travel insurance or vaccinations are NOT included in the program fees.

No worries, Volunteer World supports you in raising funds, checking your visa regulations and travel insurance. We also assist you in finding the cheapest flights for your journey.
Accommodation
For the first night at the project, you will need to stay at the Okavango River Lodge, just outside of Maun. Whilst at the project, you will share single-sex tents at a campsite on the farm - single accommodation may be available on request. Tents are secured by a natural barrier of thorny bushes to protect against animal intruders. Each tent includes four beds, shelves and chairs, as well as linens, pillows and duvets. There is a nearby washing block with fresh, running water, with cold showers and toilets. There is no telephone signal in the camp, but wifi is available to use on Sundays. 

Single accommodation requests can be catered for if requested, but this depends on the size of the group at the project at that time. 
Guesthouse Camping
Food & Beverages
Three meals a day and beverages are provided by the site’s fully-equipped kitchen. The chef at the project ensures the menu has a great variety and the facilities also allow for home cooked meals from the stove or fire. Meals tend to consist of game meat, beef, chicken, vegetables, rice, potatoes and pasta and are usually served with a side salad. Vegetarians are catered for, but if you have any special dietary needs or allergies, you will need to let us in advance. Unfortunately, vegans cannot be catered for on this project. Water here is provided by a natural underground source which provides clean drinking water - you just need to bring your own bottle! Soft drinks, beers and ciders are available for purchase on site.
Internet Access
Limited access at the project site
Costs (Prices in USD)
2 weeks (min. stay)
$1,248.00
3 weeks
$1,810.00
4 weeks (max. stay)
$2,371.00

You can volunteer at the project site in Central Kalahari Game Reserve/Botswana between 2 weeks and 4 weeks. Please note that the above shown program fees are estimated and subject to exchange rate fluctuations. The Great Projects will tell you your final price during your application process.
Average Fees
$608/week
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 The Great Projects during the application process. Common solutions are either via bank transfer or a cash payment at the project site.

Get ready to volunteer in Botswana

Check out first

Visa Regulations
Depending on your nationality, you have to arrange your visa for Botswana. Please check the visa regulations for Botswana.
Travel Seasons
Find out the best time to volunteer in Botswana and receive information on weather and climatic conditions.
Living Costs
Living costs vary with each destination. We give an overview of what you should plan as an estimated budget to volunteer in Botswana.
Budgeting
Generally, volunteering abroad involves certain costs. In case you need financial support, we will assist you to fundraise your volunteer program in Botswana.

What's next?

Airport
The nearest airport is Maun (MUB) in Maun. We assist you to find cheap flights to Botswana.
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 Botswana provides security and is a plus to have.
Vaccine Checker
If you are intending to volunteer in Botswana you should seek medical advice before starting your social journey. Check your required vaccinations for Botswana.
Free-time
What can you do in leisure-time in Botswana while you are not working at your volunteer opportunity?
Maun, Central Kalahari Game Reserve, Botswana

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