Khaya Volunteer Projects

Bush Safari, Research and Survival Experience

Musina, South Africa show on map

Experience adventures in all areas of conservation at this fascinating project situated in Limpopo.

About the project

The Mapesu Private Game Reserve is a 7200ha reserve in the northern part of Limpopo, South Africa which was created specifically to combat the growing endangered wildlife crisis by protecting animals and restoration of the ecosystem by enriching its biodiversity.


The Mapesu volunteer research project is not just a voluntourism project; we envisage that each and every volunteer leaves Mapesu having created a small legacy.  We are hopeful that all our volunteers believe in our ethos of conservation, providing a protected area and to save endangered species.  We have large aspirations for the reserve; the reserve is to become an epicentre for the conservation of threatened species in the wild in South Africa; we have already made a great start, but we still have a long way to go. 

Our volunteers contribute to the reserve in a meaningful way by assisting the reserve in essential research, important species monitoring and reserve tasks. We have created this project because we need the help to achieve our goals.  This creates a rewarding experience for the reserve, volunteers and our staff.  Volunteering at Mapesu will not only provide an unforgettable experience in the wilds of Africa but also provides biological students with vital field experience for their future careers.

All activities are ethically minded for the protection of the community and the fauna and flora of the area. 

Need for Volunteers
Mapesu Private Game Reserve is in the process of rewilding the land to create optimum biodiversity and to be a center for endangered species conservation.  We need volunteers to assist in all forms of research and monitoring of important species, without whom we would not be able to know whether the ecosystem is healthy and sustainable.  Volunteers will provide baseline data on the species, ecology, interactions of all organisms in the area.  The baseline data is essential in knowing that we are creating a safe, enriching and efficient space to protect endangered species.

Role of Volunteer

Conservation is more than just a tourist safari. It is getting
one’s hands dirty protecting the diverse flora and fauna of the
region, absorbing all the senses of what this region has to offer
with its sights, sounds and smells; its being enriched by the
history of the past and knowing that one can make a
tremendous difference for the future by learning and
protecting the vast and irreplaceable ecosystem.

As a volunteer you will have adventures in all aspects of
Conservation such as:
Researching leopard population 
Cheetah and elephant monitoring
Bird and ecological surveys
Analyzing game transects
Possibly trans locations and releases
Hands-on work projects of restoring fauna
Recording and evaluating data 
Sustaining the habitat

Typical day

Every day you will explore the reserve, a pure African wilderness, whilst providing valuable assistance to animals and habitats. Our aim for your visit is to not only ensure you enjoy every minute of the African bush, but to also provide you with experiences and education so that when you leave, you will have the knowledge to save endangered species, to manage a game reserve and conservation.

If you are interested in booking as part of a specialist group, for example veterinary students, we can cater the schedule for you to obtain skills and experiences that will fit in with your interests.

Students doing thesis projects we may adapt the schedule, when possible, to suit your data collection needs.

5:00am Breakfast and prep for the morning
6:00am Early morning activities to take advantage of the cool weather, it is the most optimum time to see more elusive animals
10:00am Continue with research data entry, check camera traps, free time, use Wi-Fi
12:00pm Prep for lunch and enjoy a meal
13:30pm Free time, play games, whatever you feel
15:00pm Research activities
19:00pm Prep for dinner and enjoy the remainder of the evening.

Details on Arrival

All collections and drop offs of volunteers are done on every 2nd Wednesday of the month 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

Mapungubwe National Park and Kaoxa bushmen paintings, can be arranged with the lodge that is based on Mapesu at an extra cost.


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 and Friday

Suitable for


Included Services

Extra security layer by Volunteer World
Volunteer World is the world's leading comparison platform for international volunteer opportunities. We guide you through a safe and easy application process - including all necessary payments. Planning your next meaningful trip with Volunteer World gives you free access to our:
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
Resolution Support
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?                                                                                                

All food (except snacks, soft drinks and alcohol)
All linen (except towels)
All training for assistance with our research
All travel within the reserve
Assistance to organize travel in the local area

What is excluded?    

Flights to South Africa
Any other transfers needed other than the designated day need to be booked in advance so that it can be arranged. 
Personal insurance
Entrance fee to local attractions
Other personal items such as alcoholic drinks, soft drinks or snacks.

Airport Pickup at Polokwane Airport
Pickup from airport

Pick up from Polokwane airport in a Toyota Quantum (minibus)
All collections and drop offs of volunteers are done on every 2nd Wednesday of the month 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.

You will stay in the research house, which has shared bedrooms for up to 20 people in single beds and 2 bathrooms.
There is a fully equipped kitchen. All linens for the beds are supplied

Food & Beverages
All food to be provided to the volunteers, however, volunteers will need to rotate and take turns preparing cooking and cleaning, as needed.
Water, coffee and tea are free. Weekly menu and any food issues need to be determined prior to enrolling.

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 Polokwane Airport (PTG) in Polokwane. 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.
Costs (Prices in USD)
2 weeks (min. stay)
3 weeks
4 weeks
5 weeks
6 weeks
7 weeks
12 weeks (max. stay)
Average fees

You can volunteer at the project site in Musina/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 {} during the application process. Common solutions are either via bank transfer or a cash payment at the project site.
  Africa Southern Africa South Africa  Musina, Horizon 56 R576

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