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EDGE of AFRICA

Practical Conservation & Elephant Experience

Knysna, South Africa

Join us today for a conservation experience covering the key topics of basic ecology and biodiversity; and experience elephants in close proximity at a local sanctuary!

About the Program

This program aims to provide a world class conservation experience covering the key topics of basic ecology and biodiversity.

You will be living in the famous Garden Route, South Africa, studying a variety of forest species. By the end of the program you will have gained a well-rounded practical conservation experience.

You will also have the exciting opportunity to experience African elephants in close proximity.You will work at a local sanctuary, home to rescued elephants where you will acquire in-depth knowledge of African Elephants and assist with ongoing behavioral research.

Throughout the program you will enjoy a variety of informative lectures, helping you to gain theoretical knowledge of basic ecological principles. You will also assist our conservation team with ongoing research projects based in both the surrounding natural forest and at the elephant sanctuary.

Join this program for 4 weeks or more and you will have the unforgettable experience of visiting Addo Elephant National Park, where you will contribute to ongoing research.

What we expect from our Volunteers

Specific qualifications are not required, although this program would definitely be of interest to and benefit those
studying or working in the field of conservation.You need to have a passion for conservation and nature and a love for working with the community. You need to be hard working, mature, motivated and able to show initiative. Good health and physical fitness are also required.
You also need to be confident with speaking English.

Comfort level - Comfortable

You will have access to all amenities including running water, electricity. Most bankcards work at local banks (VISA, MasterCard, AMEX) and you will have access to the Internet. You will also find that you can purchase almost anything at local shops.

Recommended for those who enjoy having access to restaurants and shops as well as daily communication with friends and family at home.

Location
  • We have some of the most picturesque beaches, lagoons and forests that South Africa has to offer 
  • You will be part of a very close-knit community that will welcome you to the growing volunteer family 
  • Our community is much safer than some of the larger townships in bigger cities, with many friendly locals who know and care about the EDGE of AFRICA volunteers 
  • Knysna town is full of restaurants and coffee shops, as well as a small waterfront with great shops 
  • The area offers every activity you can think of, from beautiful hikes, boat trips, animal experiences and for the more adventurous, is close to the highest bridge bungee jump in the world! 
  • Knysna is only a 4 hour’s drive to Addo National Park; home to the highest concentration of Wild Elephants in the world (we visit Addo approximately once a month and you can join us!) 
  • You can fly into Cape Town, and spend a few days exploring the city before hopping on the Bus and coming to Knysna, seeing more of the Western Cape on your way (this is FREE for all Knysna Volunteers!). 
  • You can combine any of our Knysna initiatives and have a full, unique volunteering experience

Typical day

This schedule may vary because of your time of arrival and time of year, but a typical week would look like this: 
  • Saturday Arrival & Orientation 
  • Sunday Time off to recover from jet lag and explore the area 
  • Monday Orientation & Training/Conservation Workshop 
  • Tuesday Lectures/Elephant Sanctuary 
  • Wednesday Lectures/ Forest Survey /Recycling Swop Shop 
  • Thursday Lectures / Elephant Sanctuary 
  • Friday Lecture / Alien plant eradication 
  • Saturday Optional Excursion

Free-time activities

When you arrive in Knysna, EDGE of AFRICA has some great opportunities lined up for your stay including: 

  • visits to various food and craft markets
  • Whale & Dolphin boat trips; shark cage diving 
  • wildlife sanctuaries including getting close to various cat, elephant and monkey species
  • highest bungee jump in the world
  • canoeing, hiking and climbing
  • visits to numerous breath-taking beaches and beautiful rivers

Water Sports
Swimming
Diving/Snorkling
Safari/Zoo
Hiking
Museum/Opera
Riding

Program Requirements

In order to join the program you need to be at least 16 years old on the program start date. Of course, there is an exception for children that are accompanied by their parents.
Language Skills
You need to speak English (basic level)
Health Declaration
required
Criminal Background Check
required
Nationality Restrictions
No restrictions. Helping hands from all over the world are welcome.
Other Skills
Specific qualifications are not required, although this Initiative would definitely be of interest to and benefit those studying or working in the field of conservation. Volunteers need to have a passion for conservation and nature and a love for working with the community. Volunteers need to be hard working, mature, motivated and able to show initiative. Good health and physical fitness are also required. Volunteers also need to be confident with speaking English.
Time Commitment
Your helping hand will be required on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 07:00 - 16:30

Suitable for

Singles
Couples
Families
Groups

Any questions? Just ask. We at EDGE of AFRICA are happy to help you.

Contact Project Coordinator
Contact & Reservation
Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec

Included Services

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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 EDGE of AFRICA 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 EDGE of AFRICA.
Services by EDGE of AFRICA

  • All project operating costs, equipment, tools and resources
  • Return Bus Ticket from Cape Town, PE or Johannesburg to Knysna
  • Pick up & drop off from arrival points (George airport or Knysna bus stop)
  • 24/7 emergency support
  • Orientation & Training
  • Accommodation in our Volunteer House
  • 3 Meals a day
  • Project Related Transport
  • Project T­shirts
  • Dedicated coordinators to assist you daily
  • Project support and feedback sessions throughout your stay
  • Assistance with optional activities and tours
  • Assistance obtaining a local SIM Card for your phone
  • Additional cultural and outdoor activities on Friday afternoons (and some evenings)
  • Free, unlimited Wi­Fi and computer access in the Knysna volunteer house
  • Post­project involvement, and an exclusive return volunteer discount

Airport Pickup at George Airport

EDGE of AFRICA has a global travel services partner that can assist with all your travel plans! You will either need to fly into Johannesburg or Cape Town and catch a connecting flight to GEORGE (GRJ). It is our nearest airport. You can also get the bus from Cape Town or Johannesburg which is a good way to see the area if you have time before your arrival date. If you decide to take the bus, a return bus ticket is included FREE of charge and we can help book this for you.

We are happy to assist with organising your Cape Town or Johannesburg stay including accommodation and tours!

On departure, your project coordinator will transport you to the airport and/ or assist with any further travel arrangements. If you are travelling further through Africa we are more than happy to provide any advice or support in planning your onward journey.

We will provide you with a comprehensive Pre-Travel Advice pack when you confirm your booking with us that will outline all our recommendations for flights, packing and in-country advice.

Accommodation

The Knysna volunteer house is basic but comfortable and cleaned daily by our hardworking House Manager. It is full of character and has spectacular views

Facilities Include:

  • Hot Water Showers & Electricity
  • Communal Kitchen
  • Communal Lounge Area with TV/DVD Player
  • Comfortable Dorm Style Sleeping Arrangements
  • Unlimited Wi-Fi and computer access
  • Outdoor braai (barbeque) area
  • Private & Family Rooms Available on Request.

Food & Beverages

We provide 3 meals a day. Breakfasts include a choice of cereal, toast, and fruit; Lunches include sandwiches, soup or traditional cuisine; and Evening meals include pasta, curries, stews etc.

We are happy to cater for specific dietary requirements as best we can!

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.
Vaccines
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)
$1,250.00
4 weeks
$1,995.00
12 weeks (max. stay)
$5,955.00
Average fees
$561.00/week

You can volunteer at the project site in Knysna/South Africa between 2 weeks and 12 weeks. Please note that the above shown program fees are estimated and subject to exchange rate fluctuations. EDGE of AFRICA 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 EDGE of AFRICA during the application process. Common solutions are either via bank transfer or a cash payment at the project site.
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