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.
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.
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.
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.