The Mighty Roar

Shamwari Big 5 Conservation

Eastern Cape, South Africa show on map
The Mighty Roar
Coordinator | Michelle
Coordinator | Michelle
Have a once in a lifetime experience by working behind the scenes in one of Africa’s finest game reserves situated in the beautiful Eastern Cape. This volunteer program is especially suitable for:

Your efforts will aid the true conservation work that goes on at the 25,000 hectare reserve and you will help play a vital role in preserving the Big 5 family along with all types of flora and fauna.

You will be exposed to all of the short and long term projects the reserve are currently undertaking, which are intended to create sustainability for generations to come. Your time on the reserve will be diverse and structured, giving you the opportunity to personally experience life as a budding conservationist while adding incomparable value to the project.

Over the past 23 years, a dedicated team of conservationists has returned the once derelict farmland back to its former glory of vibrant lands, where some of the worlds most iconic wildlife now wonder. Thanks to their inspirational conservation efforts and expertise, Shamwari is now a globally recognised and an award winning game reserve.

With a vast selection of tasks to experience first hand, including the Born Free Big Cat Foundation, Shamwari Animal Rehabilitation Centre, Animal Hospital and the Rhino Awareness Centre you can be sure that no day will ever be the same.

You will be working alongside the dedicated wildlife team who will give you the opportunity to track and monitor rare and endangered species such as rhinos, elephants, lions and other predators and you might even get to witness some veterinary procedures should the need occur. You may get to observe game capture, assist in night patrols along with the anti-poaching unit, sleep out under the stars within the Big 5 reserve and liaise with ecologists that are experts in wildlife breeding.

Typical day

Game count and monitoring – Regular monitoring of the animals, including rhino, elephants, lions, leopards and antelope are carried out to compile information about family structures and to determine feeding and special ecology data. Annual game counts are conducted to establish the carrying capacity of the reserve, the movement of animals to and from the area, as well as predator to prey ratios. All of the data collected is used to assist in the managing decisions for the reserve.

Telemetry tracking and research – Tracking some more of the elusive animals like cheetahs and leopards is done by using remote sources such as wire or radio. The information acquired can then be used to help avoid human-elephant conflict with neighbouring properties that house livestock.

Born Free Big Cat Sanctuary – Throughout the week you will be given the amazing opportunity to help with the lions and leopards at the Born Free Big Cat Sanctuary. Your time here may involve a personalised behind the scenes tour, assisting with maintenance and cleaning of enclosures and at times even feeding and other tasks required to ensure that the cats enjoy the peaceful existence they deserve.

Animal Rehabilitation Centre – Setup to aid in the rehabilitation of injured animals found on the reserve and surrounding areas, where you may get to assist with any work that needs doing. The aim of the centre is to provide short-term care for the animals until they are healthy enough to be released back into the wild. Depending on the needs of the centre, you may gain different types of exposure such as assisting through to observation, to a more hands on animal care and husbandry.

Management of the breeding centre – The reserve is an important natural breeding centre, which therefore requires a lot of management and data collection on the health of the surrounding environment. Information gathered on veld (open country or grassland) conditions assessment, mapping of the breeding areas, mapping of alien vegetation, monitoring animal numbers and managing water points all contribute to the conservation of the animals.

Restoration of the reserve – To continue the success of reviving the once pristine lands with help to reintroduce all types of flora and fauna and restore the flourishing ecosystems. Duties will include collecting and removing old fence lines and rehabilitating degraded and overgrazed land.

Alien plant control – Introduced to the land by previous famers, these invasive plants are hampering the efforts of the reserve. Controlling this vegetation increases the natural biodiversity, removes potentially poisonous plants and decreases the risk of fires.

Community projects – An important step to ensuring the conservation efforts continue well into the future is through educating the local communities about the benefits of conserving biodiversity and preserving natural habitats. Weekly trips are made into the local communities to assist in various projects that range from creating and maintaining vegetable gardens, recycling projects, painting classrooms and building jungle gyms.

Research projects – Often undertaken in conjunction with both local and foreign research and academic institutions, the information gathered provides vital understandings of the most appropriate ways to preserve the wildlife. These exciting projects may range from elephant fertility testing through to capturing data on the lesser-known species such as the brown hyena.

Details on Arrival

Every Monday

You should arrive to Port Elizabeth Airport (PLZ) on your selected start date, being any Monday. You will be met by one of our local team members who will be holding a named sign and will then transport you to the project site.

Free-time activities

Weekends are free days where we actively encourage you to go and explore this beautiful country. We can help arrange all kinds of trips to game reserves, beaches and more.

Program Requirements

In order to join the program you need to be at least 17 years old on the program start date.
Language Skills
You need to speak English (fluently)
Criminal Background Check
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

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 The Mighty Roar cancels your trip
Support & Mediation
We cover your back no matter what happens
Our services are free of charge!
All program fees are charged directly by The Mighty Roar.

Before your journey

Profound consulting and ongoing support (free)
The Mighty Roar (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 The Mighty Roar

Fees include accommodation, meals and the registration fee of $180

Airport Pickup at Port Elizabeth International Airport

You should arrive to Port Elizabeth Airport (PLZ) on your selected start date, being any Monday. You will be met by one of our local team members who will be holding a named sign and will then transport you to the project site.

On the last day of your programme you will be taken back to Port Elizabeth Airport. Please note, that neither airport transfer is included within the programme fee.


This highly rated accommodation will allow you to comfortably relax after a hard days work. You will be sleeping in one of fifteen spacious en-suite bedrooms, sharing with one other volunteer. There is plenty of cupboards to store all of your belongings and also a safe for your valuables. There are western style bathrooms that provide hot water.

There are several communal areas where you will get to unwind and socialise with other volunteers. There is a TV with a DVD player, a pool table, table tennis table and lots of other things to do during the evenings such as volleyball. You can sunbath around the pool or sit and watch the sun go down in one of the many outdoor areas.

Dorm Room
Food & Beverages

Three meals are provided on a daily basis and will either be served at the facility or taken as a pre-packed serving – depending on the days plan. If notified in advance, vegetarians and other dietary requirements can be catered for. There are no facilities to service Kosher or Halaal requirements, but these meals can be supplied at an extra cost.

Once a week, usually on Fridays, a cooked breakfast is served.

Meals are prepared with the intention of exposing participants to an array of local dishes and are generally taken on a self-service basis with the option of juice, tea and coffee. Still water, spring water and soft drinks are available on site and with greater selection available from local trading stores.

You can expect some of the following meals:

Breakfast – cereal and toast, muesli and yoghurt, muffins and toast, cooked breakfast

Lunch – sandwiches, wraps and potato salad, quiche and pasta salad, burgers and chips

Dinner – macaroni cheese with green salad, roast chicken with vegetables, traditional meals eg braai and potjie

We can cater for:

  • Vegetarians
  • Vegans
  • Gluten Free

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 Port Elizabeth International Airport (PLZ) in Port Elizabeth. 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)
$ 1,300
3 weeks
$ 1,870
4 weeks
$ 2,440
5 weeks
$ 3,010
6 weeks
$ 3,580
7 weeks
$ 4,150
12 weeks (max. stay)
$ 7,000
Average fees
$ 617 /week

You can volunteer at the project site in Eastern Cape/South Africa between 2 weeks and 12 weeks. Please note that the above shown program fees are estimated and subject to exchange rate fluctuations. The Mighty Roar 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 The Mighty Roar during the application process. Common solutions are either via bank transfer or a cash payment at the project site.
  Africa Southern Africa South Africa  Eastern Cape, Shamwari

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