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Nkonzo Bush Academy

Wildlife Conservation Experience

Mossel Bay, South Africa show on map

Make an active difference in the future of free-roaming megafauna in Africa. Spend your days working in the bush and live at the beach; all while making a difference.

About the Program

The Wildlife Conservation Program gives wildlife enthusiasts of all ages and backgrounds an opportunity to get involved in the conservation and sustainability of African wildlife and ecosystems. Our volunteers, interns, and students play a critical role in the continuation of our research efforts, without whom we would be unable to continue our work in understanding and protecting wildlife. Volunteers, interns, and students spend five days per week assisting in various capacities of wildlife conservation. This can be in the form of field work collecting data, analyzing and entering data into our systems, or in the way of workshops and discussion days with our seasoned team members. We leave evenings and weekends free for all volunteers which allows them the chance to explore South Africa and take part in various cultural and tourist activities. Based in the beautiful coastal town of Mossel Bay, South Africa our volunteers, interns, and students have a unique experience of working hands on in conservation on a free roaming wildlife reserve while living within walking distance to our blue flag beaches.
Operating with the embodiment of Nkonzo Wildlife Research ideals and goals, the mantra of “Educate Act Empower” is nowhere more evident than in the Wildlife Conservation Program and the African Desert Conservation Program. Not only are students directly involved in protecting and studying African wildlife and ecosystems but they also undergo educational sessions where the focus is in teaching the bigger picture through the better understanding of conservation biology, animal behaviour, animal ethics and tourism, human-animal coexistence, and the many areas of conservation. Students of the program are assisting in critical hands on research and conservation initiatives in the field that impact the wildlife and environment in both short term and long term goals and solutions These two areas, Educate and Act, work together to foster and facilitate the most important aspect of these ideals, to Empower. Through hands-on initiatives and education students leave Nkonzo with a better understanding of the problems plaguing African wildlife, the efforts being made to assuage these issues, and how they can continue to work with conservation and make a change for the better of wildlife, ecosystems, and our planet as a whole.  

Schedule and Tasks

When participating in the Wildlife Conservation Program students are involved in various conservation initiatives and projects within the game reserve. Projects and initiatives are based on previously founded ecological and cognitive knowledge to better improve the welfare of current and future wildlife in Southern Africa.  Students assist in all aspects of current reserve needs regarding projects and daily operations. Primary student work will be dedicated to assistance within wildlife management regarding various long-term projects in the way of conservation research. 
All volunteers, interns, and students rotate through the various initiatives at Nkonzo when participating as a student in the Wildlife Conservation Program, this includes our research. Current work is being done with white rhino dominance, wildlife and man made barriers, elephant habitat utilisation of Fynbos, wildlife and roads which is done in partnership with the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT), endangered amphibians habitat distribution, and wildlife health and safety. Please feel free to click on the appropriate link to learn more about each project. As a volunteer, intern, or student you will be working alongside us in research to observe, collect data, develop projects, and data entry.  
          Please keep in mind that time spent on the various projects will be determined by monthly quotas, weather, and animal cooperation. As a volunteer you will also be trained in some “bush basics” such as survival, track and sign, reading animal behaviour, and approach methods. The team take a great deal of pride in only ethical operations and approaches and find it important to provide the information and understanding to those involved to why we operate in the field the way we to. This teaches and encourages a higher level of respect for the wildlife as we remember the we are only visiting them in their home.

Typical day

​Students are expected to arrive on the specified date for their given period. Arrangements can be made for an alternative arrival date however, in these instances, students should be aware that field time missed because of late arrivals will not be made up. All students should fly into George Airport (GRJ) in George, South Africa at anytime on the specified date. Here students will be met by one of our team members who will transport students to their accommodation which is roughly 30 minutes away. Once at the facility students will be given a tour of the accommodation as well as appropriate introductions and instructions for the remainder of the day. The day following arrival students will partake in our Orientation and Safety Introduction. At this time students will be briefed on reserve operations, living in South Africa, recommended areas such as beaches, restaurants, and shops and other important information regarding safety and daily plans. Students will also go through introductions on the research and conservation work they will be assisting on during their time here including data collection operations, background information, current findings, and why this work is important. Following the close of Orientation and Safety Introductions students will be taken to the local mall where they can purchase food for their dinners and snacks (not included) as well as any items forgotten such as warmer clothing, soap, etc. The next day will begin field operations. At the end of a students time with us, they should have their departing flight scheduled to leave from George Airport (GRJ) in George, South Africa at anytime on the specified date. Transportation by Nkonzo staff to the airport is provided to all students. 

The following is a tentative schedule that we follow each week (Monday to Friday). We ask that all volunteers, interns and students understand that our work is conducted on a free roaming reserve of 11,000ha. and that schedules may change based on animal locations, accessibility, weather, and other factors. Additionally, an average of two days per month are set aside for workshops and academic based coursework that is facilitated in town and not on the reserve. age diving, sand-boarding, bungee jumping, sky diving, and much more!

Free-time activities

Volunteers have the opportunity to choose from more than 50 activities, day trips, and over night trips to keep busy on the weekends. All of these can be booked upon arrival and will give volunteers an amazing opportunity to experience the true South Africa. Volunteers can make use of over night tours on the weekends to explore a greater area in South Africa, such as wine country, back country hiking, visit penguin colonies, or climb through historic caves.

There are also a multitude of day trips or half day activities available. Want to learn to surf? You can. Want to learn to sand-board? You can. Ever dreamed of riding a horse on the beach? You can do that too!

Of the many options available, the most popular are White Shark Cage Diving, watching the sun set on the beach after the day, surfing, viewing the local heritage sites, hiking, going to the local markets, bungee jumping, and horseback safaris.

Water Sports
Swimming
Concert/Music
Diving/Snorkling
Climbing
Safari/Zoo
Hiking
Museum/Opera
Sports
Riding
Yoga/Meditation

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
required
Required Documents
CV, medical insurance and registration form
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 from 08:00 - 16:30

Suitable for

Singles
Couples
Groups

Included Services

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We refund your fees if Nkonzo Bush Academy cancels your trip
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Our services are free of charge!
All program fees are charged directly by Nkonzo Bush Academy.

Before your journey

Profound consulting and ongoing support (free)
Nkonzo Bush Academy (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 Nkonzo Bush Academy

Included

Shared accommodation (dorm style)

Breakfast 7 days per week

​Lunch Monday-Friday

Conservation fees

Daily access to game reserve

Work related transported

24/7 emergency standby team

Guided research and management activities

All training and training material

Nkonzo Wildlife text book

Housekeeping

Airport Transfer (GRJ)

Free WiFi


​Not included

All dinners 

​(fully equipped self-catering kitchen available)

Curios and other souvenirs

​Drinks

Weekend activities

Flights

Visa

Laundry

Anything not state

Airport Pickup at George Airport

Volunteers can be picked up from the George Airport (GRJ) or the Mossel Bay Bus Stop. One of our team members will meet you there and take you to your accommodation for the month.

Accommodation

Volunteers stay in a shared dorm room (separated by gender) in backpacker style accommodation. Bathrooms are either ensuite to the room or down the hall. A fully stocked kitchen is available for cooking dinner and extra snacks.

The accommodation facility is extremely safe with gated and 24/7 security, outdoor swimming pool, fully equipped in house park, daily cleaning service, self catering kitchen, adventure center, and is only a five minute walk from the local beach!

Dorm Room
Food & Beverages

Breakfast is included seven days per week, basic lunches are included five days per week on the reserve. Dinners are self catering as is weekend lunches. Volunteers are responsible for their own cool drinks and snacks.

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)
$1,399.00
4 weeks
$2,599.00
24 weeks (max. stay)
$4,199.00
Average fees
$437.00/week

You can volunteer at the project site in Mossel Bay/South Africa between 2 weeks and 24 weeks. Please note that the above shown program fees are estimated and subject to exchange rate fluctuations. Nkonzo Bush Academy 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 Nkonzo Bush Academy during the application process. Common solutions are either via bank transfer or a cash payment at the project site.
  Africa Southern Africa South Africa  Mossel Bay, 39 Louis Fourie
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