Khaya Volunteer Projects

Conservation Ambassador Zululand

Pogola, Kwazulu Natal, South Africa show on map

This program at Zululand offers an affordable way to work & live on an conservation reserve. Volunteers are needed to assist in improving the conservation efforts.

About the Program

This unique conservation volunteering program is based on the Somkhanda Game Reserve in the province of KwaZulu Natal in South Africa. The Zululand Bush and Safari Experience offer participants a unique opportunity to learn about practical and challenging fieldwork in the African bush.

This program is not for those who are looking for a luxury experience where they will be entertained, but for those who have a real passion for learning about the bush and conservation, or are considering a career in conservation or wildlife tourism.

The local Gumbi Tribe who lost their tribal land from the years of Apartheid have finally successfully won their claim over a large area of prime Zululand Bushveld. The Gumbi tribe has regained ownership of a conservation area of 12000 hectares which is an ideal habitat for white and black rhino. The conservation area was identified by the Black Rhino Range Expansion Project as being suitable for the introduction of a founder population of this rare and endangered species.

In partnership with a local company, they currently manage the tourism concession over the entire reserve with the objective of developing a range of wildlife experiences that add to financial sustainability of the reserve as well as aiding in the collection of vital scientific data of the fauna and flora.

Rhino, buffalo and illusive leopards are the members of the Big 5 on the reserve but it has a comprehensive range of all the common animals that historically occurred in this region, including hyena and wild dog. This unique situation affords the opportunity for volunteers to get involved in the reserve’s wildlife and environmental management and monitoring programs.

Volunteers are mentored and managed by a dedicated and highly experienced management team. They are regarded as team members and not as tourists and are expected to also respond as such – taking their tasks and duties seriously at all times.  

The specific program depends on the time of the year and involves volunteers in a variety of research, management and monitoring programs associated with a wide range of activities on the reserve. The techniques used are professionally sound and scientifically recognized. All research / monitoring data collected will contribute to the ongoing management decision making of the reserve’s wildlife population.

Typical day

A full 9 hour day is expected from volunteers and can vary from day to day depending on the day’s task and what surprises come up. Volunteers get 2 days off per week and depending on what might be planned these days can be used to join our monthly group outings.

Activities you might be involved in are:

  • Rhino tracking and monitoring
  • Camera trap surveying 
  • Game population monitoring
  • Wild dog monitoring
  • Water management for game
  • Bush craft skills – i.e. field guiding skills
  • 4 x4 driving
  • Community cattle dipping
  • Various research data collecting
  • Alien plant control
  • Road and track maintenance
  • Fence maintenance
  • Working with guests
These are all things that volunteers can get involved with. Together with the people of the rehabilitation you will work on something different every day! Most of the time you will work outside with the animals. 

Volunteers will live and work in the African bush during this memorable experience, assisting with conservation efforts, tracking rhino, putting out camera traps, researching animal behaviour and much more. They will work with people from the reserve. Their surroundings will differ every day. Sometimes they will sit in the car to track and monitor animals and sometimes to find them. Sometimes you'll work close with the animals. 

Free-time activities

Imagine a camp right in the middle of a nature reserve, with the animals that walk through and past, the sounds and smells of the bush, camp fires and starry nights. This project offers volunteers an incredible opportunity to feel as far from modern civilisation as ancient man – but with the added bonus of a few modern conveniences! There are a lot of acitivties to do around Zululand. There are hiking trails, you can make a horseride safari, you can visit the Zulu people and learn about their culture. Furthermore, there are game drives that you can do, visit a brewery or a traditional village or go to the croc restaurant to taste something new!


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)
Health Declaration
Nationality Restrictions
No restrictions. Helping hands from all over the world are welcome.
Other Skills
It is important that volunteers of this program understand the importance of the following:
* To be enthusiastic and independent
* To show respect towards the people and culture of the local community.
* To show flexibility towards responsibilities, tasks and activities.
* This is not a relaxing holiday but an experience where hard work is expected.
Time Commitment
Regular working hours are hardly predicable. It mainly depends on the work force. Get in touch with Khaya Volunteer Projects straight ahead to get more infos about current to dos and objectives.

Suitable for


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
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

Included in the fees are:

  • Pick up upon arrival at Durban International Airport (on set dates)
  • Accommodation in our bush camp
  • Professional rangers to supervise you
  • Use of laundry facilities


Excluded from the fees are:

  • Meals
  • Other personal expenses
  • Insurances
  • Flights
  • Pick up upon arrival at Durban International Airport (outside set dates)

Stay is for 25 nights or 53 nights ONLY

Price for 25 nights is 1680 USD
Price for 53 nights is 3360 USD

(There are specific starting dates)

Airport Pickup at King Shaka International Airport

The reserve is remote and therefore arrivals are coordinated in the following way to save on

transport costs and logistics. The program offered is for 25 nights OR 53 nights only.

Arrivals and departures are on specific dates only (Please see arrival and departure dates mentioned below). You will be met at Durban International airport. Please make sure that when you book your flights, that your arrival at Durban International Airport is before 11:30am and your departure flights need to be late afternoon or early evening.

Please feel free to check with us before booking your flights in order to coordinate any arrivals or departures.

We will then take you directly to the program, which is about a 4 - 5 hour drive. On arrival (depending on the time of day) you will get your first orientation, meet the staff and receive your uniform. Every Tuesday you will be taken on a "town day", this is where you go grocery shopping for your breakfast, lunch and personal snacks. 


During your stay you will be living in our tented volunteer camp right in the bush. Sharing accommodation is provided in traditional tented safari camp supplied with running water, communal showers and eco toilets. Bedding and towels are provided and laundry facilities are available.

Practical working cloths, a comfortable pair of walking shoes and a pair of binoculars are essential equipment for this experience. 

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. Food, snacks or beverages are at extra costs.
Flight Tickets
The nearest airport is King Shaka International Airport (DUR) in Durban. 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)
25 days (min. stay)
25 days (max. stay)
Average fees

You can volunteer at the project site in Pogola, Kwazulu Natal/South Africa between 25 days and 25 days. 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  Pogola, Kwazulu Natal, Pongola

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