Give your contribution towards wildlife monitoring & conservation and learn a lot about nature, park management, anti-poaching, living a lifetime experience!
The aim of the LEO Africa research project is to provide park wardens and ecologists with detailed information about wildlife within the Marataba section. This information is used to evaluate the impact of re-introduced animals and to maintain balanced, stable, and sustainable ecosystems.
Your time at LEO Africa
At LEO Africa you will live a truly African Experience guided by expert field guides and rangers, all really passionate and active about conservation. Our commitment towards nature and animals is really serious and we are out on the field every day to make a difference. We wait for you, come joining us and give your hands on contribution to real conservation!
Our volunteer wildlife monitoring programme records and monitors the movements, behaviour, numbers, kills, and habituation of lions, white and black rhino, leopards, elephant, buffalo and hyena. This research will play a vital role in the management of reserves and conservancies throughout South Africa.
Broadly speaking, volunteers help on the two daily monitoring drives which are sent out to monitor the animal populations in the section, and may also help with management work such as bush clearing, road repair, or game capture. When on drives, volunteers help track and identify animals, and observe and record data about targetted animals. Volunteers can also take part in excursions to local attractions such as the Marakele National Park, Sun City or Pilansberg and activities in the park such as sleep out in the bush for anti-poaching purposes!
During the monitoring drives, LEO staff will also provide informative guiding about the local flora and fauna, identifying and explaining the wildlife encountered on drive. Longer-term volunteers will gain a significant insight into both practical conservation as well as the ecology of the Bushveld/Waterberg Biosphere.
Volunteer with LEO to gain wildlife management experience in your gap year or simply to have an amazing lifetime experience.
Doing volunteer work with LEO Africa in South Africa, you will:
Your volunteer work will have a significant positive impact on the conservation policies and practices in South Africa.
Our work focuses on collecting, analysing data and monitoring of the Bi 5 and hyenas. We closely collaborate with the park managers and veterinary, setting priorities for the benefit of fauna and flora. Our work on the Park Section is really important for different aspects: we monitor the animals and take care of other aspects such as the flora and the land itself, the base of the circle of life. A balanced ecosystem grants a quality life to the animals. For this reason, you will also help the team with some reserve management activities such as bush clearing, road re-opening and alien plants removal. The section of the Marakele National Park on which we operate has a great biodiversity. We have a great respect for the wild animals and their behaviour; we try to avoid any interference with the animals’ lives when we monitor them and any sort of ‘hands on’ interaction is only done if completely unavoidable and usually only in medical emergencies.
As a conservation volunteer working with LEO Africa, your interests will be in animals, nature conservation, and research.
You must be reasonably fit and be prepared able to spend many hours tracking and observing animals behavior, taking photos to create ID kits and help with conservation work while enjoying breathless landscapes of the Marataba Section of the Marakele National Park.
Life revolves around the animals' movements and most activity takes place in the early mornings, late afternoons, and frequently well into the night. The middle day is usually spent at the base entering data, equipment maintenance, house duties, cooking and just relaxing, reading a book or chatting with your friend volunteers. (Note: those prone to heat exhaustion are recommended to plan their visit for cooler months, discuss their trip with their doctor, and take proper measures to avoid dehydration.)
As a LEO volunteer you will receive training on all aspects of the conservation and monitoring work that we do. Most days follow a similar pattern: morning and afternoon drives during which you track, spot, observe, and record the behaviour of the monitored animals and will take part into conservation activities.
While out in the bush, you will have the chance of seeing some of the park's resident wildlife population like giraffe, eland, kudu, zebra, nyala, impala, bushbucks, and many more.
The bush gives us a lot of satisfactions and surprises, even if, of course, we can’t expect to see the Big 5 every day! There can be very intense and lucky days, others more quiet. Everything depends on a lot of variables which are outside our control (such as climate, animal interactions, water sources, and so on). Wild animals can’t be controlled! They are fascinating because of this unpredictability and it is fantastic to study them and their behaviour in their natural habitat!
LEO Africa is financially sustained only by the volunteers as we provide a free service to the National Park Section. All the money from the volunteers is used to run the entire project, namely to buy and maintain vehicles, petrol, monitoring and research tools, computer, camera traps, batteries, salaries, food and accommodation etc.
Our weeks run from Tuesday to Tuesday, so we kindly ask volunteers to arrive in Johannesburg OR Tambo on Tuesday. The transfer from Johannesburg to LEO Africa is organized by us and we either come to pick-you up or we use a private company to come and collect you directly at the airport. Usually the pick-up and drop off time is around 11.00am and the trip to the base is about 3.5 hours. The price of the transfer is not included and it has a cost between R1500 and R2500 per person each way, and it is determined based on how many people share the transfer. The price of the transfer will be communicated no later than 1 month prior arrival if not available at the moment of the booking.
Activities for the free time: reading, data analysis/Camera Traps (in depth, at the volunteer discretion), see ID kits, FGASA Talks on request, excursions, relax.
Volunteers also have the opportunity of visiting the surrounding areas taking part in some excursions that we are happy to organise for you accompanied by a LEO guide (all the excursions are not included in the price and are done on a week day as Sunday is the day off of both staff and volunteers). The excursions available are Marakele National Park and to Suncity (a theme park).
We provide airport pick-up in in Johannesburg at an additional cost for the volunteers (not included in the price). Transfers are organized directly by LEO Africa for the volunteers; we will come and collect you at OR Tambo around 11.00am (same time for the drop off). No public transportation/internal flights available to reach the Marataba Section of the Marakele National Park. Arrival and departures on a Tuesday.
We are based in a spacious farm house among breeding camps of rare indigenous antelopes. The view is magnificent:every morning you can admire a new beautiful sunrise, antelopes eating just outside our garden while you are having breakfast! Volunteers sleep in shared rooms (usually male and females are separated); bathrooms are also shared.
Available on request a couples/private room with a private bathroom at a small additional extra cost per week.
Basic breakfast, lunch and dinner included. On the arrival day volunteers can also buy some extra food/snacks and cold drinks if they would like at a local supermarket. They can store them in a fridge available for volunteers.