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African Edu-Eco

Dwindling Giants African Elephant Eco-Learning

Plettenberg Bay, South Africa

This 4-Week Program takes Eco-Learning Volunteers on an exciting journey through Husbandry, Welfare, Care, Management & Behavior of Elephants.

This 4-week The Dwindling Giants Elephant Management, Husbandry and Behavior Eco-Learning Volunteer Program is an informative, fun yet formalized African Elephant focused Eco-Learning program and comprises learning in a residential, structured and dedicated African Elephant manner which is founded on outcome-based learning objectives with innovative approaches to deciphering observable elephant behavior and applying sound operational animal management, care, husbandry and welfare strategies, procedures and protocols.

Week 1 - 5-Day Elephant Husbandry, Care, Welfare and Management (Animal & Facility) Interactive Module.

Eco-Volunteer learners will be led through the various facets of Elephant Husbandry, Care, Animal Welfare and Animal Management principles and protocols by a hands-on facilitator/instructor who will guide the experience and the learning outcomes in a fun and entertaining manner. You will get down and dirty with every facet of an Elephants life in a qaussi captive environment. You will become involve in the various physical Facility Management functions on a day-to-day basis inclusive of repairs and maintenance and general operational requirements through your day. You will be required at close of day to report back on your experience and provide feedback to your participating peers as to what you have experienced for the day. Each day you will be tasked with individual and group research assignments.

What you the Eco-Volunteer will learn during this week:

Animal Management Principles, Procedures, Operations and Protocols – You will be exposed daily to the Care, Husbandry and Welfare of the resident Elephants. This includes feeding tasks, cleaning stalls, loading waste, monitoring, water management, etc.

Research Initiatives – You will be involved in daily recording of Feed Utilization Analysis and Dung Analysis.

Facility Management – You will be exposed to the daily operations of the Elephant Sanctuary and will be asked to do repairs and maintenance around the sanctuary, assist with the guest interactive component of the business, and general assistance where required. You will be exposed to the guest interactive experience.

African Elephant Knowledge Acquisition – Getting to Know your Subjects. You will be introduced to each elephant through Eley-Identi-Kits, Basic Anatomy and Physiology of Elephants, Anatomical adaptations, Ancestry, and Elephant Postures and Locomotion.

Week 2 - 5-Day Elephant Behavioral Research, Monitoring and Inter- and Intra- Specific Observation & Interpretation.

Much of what you experienced and learnt during the first module will be carried over to this module with continued application practically of what was learnt. Eco-Volunteer learners are guided through the use of various tools, techniques and mechanisms to record, monitor and note interesting behavioural observations and features pertaining to each of the Elephants on a daily basis in a fun and informative way.

We use three key principles in behavioural monitoring – Observation, Interpretation and Deduction.

Each day participants will be required to provide feedback to the group as each volunteer compiles their own account of our resident elephants life through photographic accounts, written accounts and recorded research data which not only is a living memory of your experience at the Elephant Sanctuary but also a data contribution to the daily management.

What you the Eco-Volunteer will learn during this week:

African Elephant Physical Behavior – You will identify intra-specific behavioral traits associated with each animal including Passive and Aggressive behaviors, Agonistic behaviors, Recognition behaviors and Communication behaviors.

General Elephant Behavior – You will do an in-depth study into the Social Organisation, Feeding Behavior, Feeding Ecology, Reproductive Behavior, Parent/Offspring Behavior, Play behavior, Social Hierarchy to name but a few of the general behaviors we will explore and journal on our elephant learning and interactive journey of discovery.

African Elephant Monitoring – Each day you will be tasked with monitoring and documenting different behaviours exhibited through the day, providing feedback of interesting behavioral sequences and traits exhibited by individual elephants to the group.

Week 3 - 5-Day Wild Elephant Behavior & Ecological Adaptability Wilderness Learning Experience Module

Eco-Volunteers will be taken to Addo Elephant National Park near Port Elizabeth for a 5-Day Elephant Observation, Interpretive and Facilitated SAFARI experience where Wild Elephant Behavior is observed, monitored and accounted for on a daily basis. During this phase we will look at the effects Elephants have on the greater ecology of an area with many interesting facts being communicated as we journey through the park on a daily basis. During our stay we will also observe all the other representative animals in Addo and how they related to one another with their unique niche habitats and survival success opportunities in African Safari Style presented in a fun and informative manner. We depart for Addo National Park on the Monday morning and return late Friday afternoon of the same week back to the Elephant Sanctuary.

What you the Eco-Volunteer will learn during this week:

Wild Roaming African Elephant Population Dynamics – Each morning and afternoon you the Eco-volunteer will be taken on a guided interpretive Elephant safari where all the behaviors that have been observed and noted can now be applied to wild roaming animals. We use the powers of observation, interpretation of that observable behavior and make deductions and draw conclusions as to behavioral outcomes. During these daily outings we will encounter other species and discuss ecosystem dynamics and the natural balances.

Week 4 - 5-Day Elephant Behavior Adaptations and Observations Summary and Conservation Research Projects

Eco-Volunteers are once again back at the Elephant Sanctuary with day-to-day chores relating to the elephants being addressed as well as additional group tasks being undertaken where all observations found within wild and captive elephant populations, observed on our Elephant journey so far are brought together in a group project based outcome. Individual experiences and interesting facts pertaining to elephant life, ecology, behavior and adaptability are collated by the group in presentation format. Each day participants will be required to compile their own account of an elephants life in captivity and in the wild through photographic accounts, written accounts and recorded research data which not only is a living memory of your experience with the African Edu-Eco Wizard team at the Elephant Sanctuary but also a data contribution to the daily management. Other elephant encounters may be added to this dynamic account from time-to-time.

In addition to this you will be exposed to a variety of localised Conservation Projects & Conservation Research Initiatives over the duration of your stay with us. This region, due to its diversity of habitat and endemic species accounts are a favoured research zone.

What you the Eco-Volunteer will learn during this week:

Elephant Account – During this module we sum up the whole experience and collate all the information into a single document which will be reproduced as a conclusive account of your experience and taken away with you. You and your group are the editors of your own individualized Experiential Elephant Encounter in Africa.

In addition to these 2- Weeks segments, you will be exposed to localised Conservation Projects and Research initiatives.

Conservation Projects – Conservation projects in the region include clearing of Invasive and Alien plant species; Monitoring Estuarine Ecosystems; Clearing Hiking paths and trails; Beach debris clean ups and documenting debris found; to name but a few. Please note that you will be exposed to 2 of these Conservation projects during your stay with us.

Conservation Research Initiatives - These initiatives include Bird Ringing; Fish monitoring; Fynbos Research initiatives; Bird monitoring; Marine Animal research initiatives, Reptile & Snake Handling initiatives; Macro Invertebrate Research; and Seabird Research, to name but a few. Please note that you will be exposed to 2 of these research initiatives during your stay with us.

You the Eco-Learning Volunteer will reluctantly leave the program enriched with Elephant ‘sense’, Elephant life and Elephant memories which are unsurpassed and friendships forged well into the future. You will be AMBASSADORS for African Elephants today, tomorrow and forever.



6th  June – 1st   July 2016

4th  – 29th  July 2016

1st – 26th August 2016

5th – 30th September 2016

3rd – 28th October 2016

7th November – 2nd December 2016




9th January – 3rd February 2017

6th – 31st March 2017

1st – 27th May 2017

3rd – 28th July 2017

7th August – 1st September 2017

4th – 29th September 2017

2nd – 27th October 2017

Free-time activities

Full and comprehensive activity profiles are given to participants on arrival so as to budget accordingly for exploring the region and the incredible variety of activities and adventures on offer in the Garden Route region.

One can expect adventures to be mild to wild. From Bungy Jumping, to Skydiving, to Sea Kayaking, to Canoeing in Wilderness sections of various rivers, to Black Water Tubing, to Paragliding, to Swimming with Seals, to Great White Shark encounters, to Walking or Hiking a number of the most scenic routes available on the Garden Route, to Mountain Biking, to Trail Running. You name it we have it. African Edu-Eco Wizard will assist in organizing your extra-mural activities. This list is not comprehensive by any means and can be embroidered on extending all the way from Mossel Bay to Oudsthoorn to Jefferies Bay to Port Elizabeth to Addo Elephant National Park and the Sundays river.

African Edu-Eco Wizard facilitates and manages many of these adventures and only suggests and utilizes reputable adventure operators in the region which conform with the legal requirements to operate such adventures. AEEW also offers a transfer service to and from adventure activity.

Water Sports

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). Of course, there is an exception for children that are accompanied by their parents.
Language Skills
You need to speak English (intermediate level)
Health Declaration
Education Requirements
Biology, Geography, Science, Wildlife, Nature Science at Matric or University or Life Experiences level
Required Documents
CV, Completed Application Form, Copy of Passport and Medical and Insurance Cover
Nationality Restrictions
No restrictions. Helping hands from all over the world are welcome.
Other Skills
Energy, enthusiasm, passion, commitment and a willingness to learn.
Time Commitment
Your helping hand will be required on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 08:00 - 16:00

Suitable for


Any questions? Just ask. We at African Edu-Eco are happy to help you.

Contact Project Coordinator
Contact & Reservation

Included Services

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Included: All arrival and departure transport components for your program. This is for arrival and departure from George. Complimentary transport on Wednesday afternoon to town to stock up on supplies. All accommodation for the duration of the program. You will be provided three balanced meals per day. Tea and Coffee will be available throughout the day. Fresh linen is given weekly. A washing machine is available as is an iron. WiFi. A Workbook, Tuition, Professional Instructor. Certificate.

Airport Pickup at George Airport

We collect our Eco-Learners from George Airport ONLY. The approximate travelling time between George and our Elephant Sanctuary Base in the Crags is about 2-hours. It is advised that you arrive on the day prior to the commencement of the program and depart on the final day of your scheduled program date. Should accommodation extensions be required this will be for your own account.


All accommodation is on a SHARING basis – 2 in a room with bathroom on suite. All accommodation is comfortable, up-to-date with necessary amenities.
During Week 3 we will spend time at Addo for 5-days 4-nights in SHARED DOME-TENTED accommodation.
Eco-Learners are expected to keep their rooms and/or tents and personal belongings tidy at all times and participate in any chores as required for the cleanliness and operation of the shared facilities, vehicle

Bedroom (Double)
Food & Beverages

You will be provided three balanced meals per day. A basic breakfast, brunch or lunch and dinner daily.
Meal times are: Breakfast 7h30 am. Lunch 12h00 pm. Dinner 18h30 pm
Breakfast Format – Help yourself - Breakfast; cereals, fruit, yoghurts, toast and spreads
Lunch Format – Lunch will be help yourself to lunch – with breads, fruits, cold meats, salad of the day and spreads.
Dinner Format – A hot meal will be served and will include a meat, starch and vegetable.
DRINKS are for own account

Internet Access
Good 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 George Airport (GRJ) in George. 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)
4 weeks (min. stay)
4 weeks (max. stay)
Average fees

You can volunteer at the project site in Plettenberg Bay/South Africa between 4 weeks and 4 weeks. Please note that the above shown program fees are estimated and subject to exchange rate fluctuations. African Edu-Eco 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 African Edu-Eco during the application process. Common solutions are either via bank transfer or a cash payment at the project site.
Africa Southern Africa South Africa Plettenberg Bay, The Elephant Sanctuary - The Crags

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