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Modisa Wildlife Project

Wildlife Protector

Experience Africa like never before and become part of our day to day work in the African bush with some of the worlds most iconic animals!

Modisa Wildlife Project has developed a unique volunteer program, allowing you and other volunteers from all over the world to get firsthand, real-life experience in the African bush. Whether you come to Modisa Wildlife Project for your studies or simply a holiday — it’s a unique way to make a real difference.

About the Project

Modisa’s vision is to develop a sustainable project which can stop conflict and unite local farmers with wildlife.  During the past few decades, wildlife in Botswana has experienced a significant decline – a drop of more than 60 percent – caused by people taking over wild land, the decline of prey species, and poaching. Lack of attention to the problem locally and internationally has also contributed to this severe decline.  Modisa aims to use education and awareness campaigns to implement sustainable changes in the area.

Modisa Wildlife Project is located on the 25,000 acre Grassland reserve, thirty kilometres west of the Central Kalahari Game Reserve (CKGR ) in Botswana. Grassland provides a beautiful landscape for Kalahari’s diverse wildlife. The wide open space and untamed wilderness provide ideal conditions for a wide range of animals to thrive. The space also offers incredible wildlife viewing.

Modisa and the Grassland Safari Lodge are working together towards a common goal of protecting Botswana's big cats and surrounding wildlife.  Grassland is situated between many cattle farming areas, where the farmers are still allowed to shoot predators like big cats.  All the captive predators at the Modisa Wildlife Project were relocated out of farming areas around the reserve, after conflict with farmers protecting their livestock and property.  Rather than getting shot or poisoned, the predators were relocated to Modisa.  At Modisa, they are given the best possible life with as natural an environment as possible.  They have space to roam while they serve as "ambassadors" for educational and awareness purposes. Modisa’s long-term goal is to find suitable locations for these animals to be relocated and released. 

Modisa Wildlife Project runs exclusively on natural power, sustainable materials and products from local suppliers. 

Volunteer Experience

The Modisa program offers a truly authentic learning experience for people who want to make a difference in wildlife preservation and experience the habitat and culture firsthand. 

During your stay at Modisa you will participate in a mix between daily work on the game reserve and a variety of activities and lectures. Daily work includes everything from helping to build and maintain facilities to cleaning predator enclosures after the animals are fed. Activities include game drives, bush walks, and basic tracking in pristine African bush. These experiences will bring you up-close and personal with African wildlife. These trips and adventures will allow you to truly experience the Kalahari.

All experiences at Modisa – from farm work, bush walks and lectures to feeding full-grown lions, leopards, and African wild dogs –will challenge you both physically and mentally. You will have a more unique and adventurous time in the African bush than you can imagine.

Highlights

  • Lectures on Botswana's history, wildlife, and ecosystems 
  • Camp maintenance 
  • Walking in the wilderness with specialized guide. 
  • Camping in the African bush under the breathtaking Kalahari sky* 
  • Up-close encounters with big cats and other local predators 
  • Feeding lions, leopards, and African wild dogs 
  • Cleaning the enclosures and fence maintenance 
  • Basic tracking training on bush walks 
  • Animal viewing 
  • Game drives 
  • Enjoying the adventure with like-minded people from all over the world

*Once a month during the dry season (May - October) depending on weather. To be guaranteed this experience you need to books minimum 4 weeks.

During your stay at Modisa you will participate in a mix between daily work on the game reserve and a variety of activities and lectures. Daily work includes everything from helping to build and maintain facilities to cleaning predator enclosures after the animals are fed. 

Activities include game drives, bush walks, and basic tracking in pristine African bush. These experiences will bring you up-close and personal with African wildlife. These trips and adventures will allow you to truly experience the Kalahari. All experiences at Modisa – from farm work, bush walks and lectures to feeding full-grown lions, leopards, and African wild dogs – will challenge you both physically and mentally. You will have a more unique and adventurous time in the African bush than you can imagine.

Bush Walks: Instead of experiencing the Bush in a game drive car as many regular tourists would do, you will instead get to walk in the wild and get close to different species of antelopes, zebras, wildebeests, giraffes and many other mammals. During every walk, our guide will explain interesting facts about the vegetation, point out animal tracks and give you an idea of what kind of things you have to watch out for in the environment. Walking through the Kalahari, with animals roaming freely around you, will give you a much deeper sense of this unique environment and provide a better learning experience as well.

Game Counts & Grass Surveys: When we get ready to conduct game counts and surveys, the first thing you will learn is why we are doing game counts. We will answer questions such as: Why do we need to know how many animals there are on the farm? What do we do if there are too many or not enough? Why do we need to do grass surveys? 

Once you have a basic knowledge on the topic, we start by packing up the car to do a practical game count. On the drive, everyone keeps an eye out for animals in the area, equipped only with binoculars. You will count every individual in herds and individual species from giraffes to springbok. You will learn to differentiate between males and females, as well as judge their condition and estimate their age. On our grass surveys you will learn how to measure the grass cover on the farm, how to tell whether grass is palatable and how to use this information to determine the number of animals that can live in the area. 

Learn to track wildlife with professional trackers: Tracking is an ancient skill, which is slowly getting lost, but is of so much use and importance in the wilderness of Africa. When you join our professional trackers for a day of tracking in the bush you will see how a few marks in the sandy soil can be read like a book. Stories of what happened the night before and what kind of species were walking around, male or female, old or young and so much other information can be gathered from the tracks of an animal. Every time you join the tracking we ask you to keep a record of the stories that the trackers are telling. This way, their knowledge is put down on paper and can be kept in our database.

On our tracking activities, you will learn how to identify many different animals and how to interpret the tracks and signs that are everywhere around you. Furthermore, you will learn how to determine their age and get a clear picture of what has happened in their lives.

The tracking activity will mainly involve many walks among the breathtaking Bush, where your focus will be on finding tracks and identifying tracks. During track walks, there are always animals around you, allowing you to get close to wild animals and observe their behaviours. The part of the Bush we track may look on its surface to be relatively unremarkable, but once you learn how to read the signs you will be able to read the bush like an open book at any time. This knowledge alters the perception that many have of their surroundings in a lasting way.

Animal Feeding: Animals held in captivity on the farm have all been “problem animals” that ventured into cattle farming areas to kill livestock. Unfortunately, farmers in Botswana are allowed to shoot these predators. To save them from certain death, they were captured and relocated to Modisa where they are now used for education and research. As part of Modisa Wildlife Project, we are in the process of creating a program to secure the gene pool of all cats. Captive wildlife can contribute greatly to this mission, since many populations in the wild are isolated from others. We are now looking at a situation where the gene pool in these smaller groups is weakening. The genes of captive wildlife can easily be monitored, and if needed, new genes can be brought to problem areas in the wild through the reintroduction of the healthiest captive animals to these areas. 

Not all of our animals will get the chance to roam wild again, which is why we work to give them the best possible living conditions for their retirement. We are also fundraising to secure the outside fence of the 25,000 acres to keep lions in the reserve perimeter so the young and capable animals can be reintroduced into the wild in the Grassland reserve. 

Fence patrols and maintenance :Assisting with the maintenance of fences, mainly the lion-proof fence. This gives Sirga the lioness the ability to be a free lion. The fence merely ensures that she cannot get to areas where she might cause a fatal incident involving people. Therefore the daily patrols and maintenance along her fence are of utmost importance to us.

Camp work: Assisting with the work around the camp area is important in order to keep things neat and to make sure that wildlife does not get a chance to pick up trash or leftover food. Proper garbage disposal is important as well as the removal of vegetation, mainly grass, around the camp area during the rainy months to ensure the safety of everyone (potential fire hazard and home to snakes). Furthermore, washing dishes and other household tasks are a normal part of the daily routine around the camp.

Road Maintenance: Roads need to be cut open and maintained regularly. Game viewing tracks need to be established, in order to give us the opportunity to drive around to monitor the area and enjoy the wildlife sightings. They also act as important firebreaks in case a bush fire breaks out within the area, to ensure that the devastating bush fires in the Kalahari are not going to burn down the remaining biomass, which is important dry season feed for the herbivores.

Camera traps, data download & processing: Our camera traps give wonderful insight into the wildlife activity, mainly the nocturnal species, which are otherwise hard to record. Such could include Pangolin, Aardvark, Cheetah, Leopard, Brown and Spotted Hyena and many more. The camera traps will help us establish a long-term database of nocturnal species and other wildlife that we can capture on the image and will thereby create proof of their existence in the area as well as in the long term an understanding of how many individuals there are, how they breed, etc.

Regular downloads of the images and filing them on the computer with the right labeling is important, as it otherwise just becomes a big mess of unorganised images. You will be given the task of checking the camera traps on a drive with the staff, replace the SD cards, download the data, label and save the images correctly and wipe the SD cards for the next application. Besides a beautiful and interesting drive to the traps, where one might encounter wildlife, it will also give you the opportunity to see plenty of images of our nocturnal wildlife. It is a very exciting job to go through every single image without knowing what might surprise you.

Water point maintenance: Establishing of watering points, maintaining, cleaning and regular checking is important in order to ensure clean water supply and necessary moisture requirements for the wildlife during the dry months. During these tasks there are always opportunities to see plenty of wildlife.

Firebreak Upkeep: Uncontrolled bush fires pose a serious threat to wildlife and the vegetation, which they depend on. The upkeep of firebreaks is therefore of utmost importance for the protection of the area. The simple removal of vegetation along the established lines (fence lines and cutlines though the reserve) is an on-going job and the more hands we have to help, the easier the task is done.

At Modisa we aim to bring you closer to wildlife and nature conservation. We would like to inform everyone that in our opinion this is not achieved by petting or handling wild animals. Wild animals are supposed to be wild and that is how we would like to observe them, watching their natural behaviour and enjoy them being free. We focus on keeping wild areas wild and creating and maintaining habitat, which wild animals can live and thrive in.

Furthermore, as part of our pledge to ethical tourism, our aim is to develop a sustainable camp operation in the long run. Making use of sustainable resources and minimising the use of scarce resources such as water and unsustainable resources is our priority.

Field Conditions

The Modisa campsite is 4 km from the Grassland Safari Lodge. We have safari tents for volunteers, which hold four beds each and are separated by gender. At the camp, you will live side-by-side with nature and its inhabitants, an experience that is hard to find in the increasingly busy world we live in. At night, lions can be heard roaring accompanied by the patter of herds of animals roaming outside your tent. The campsite has two bathrooms and showers, with hot water and a great view into the Bush. The facilities, coupled with the chance to live with nature in the truest sense, will give you the ultimate African experience.

In our roofed sitting area you will have three meals a day from our fully equipped kitchen and be sheltered from the burning sun or the occasional rain storms in the wet season. The space has wide-open sides so you can still enjoy the outdoors while keeping cool or dry. Animals might be grazing within a few meters, and honey badgers, along with other smaller mammals, occasionally pay a visit after sunset. 

At our camp fire you will enjoy braai (barbeque) evenings. During the cold winter nights, you will be able to watch the amazingly clear African sky while the soothing heat of the campfire provides enough warmth to keep you comfortable. 

Every evening, the group will meet to watch the sunset over the Kalahari and sit together to share their personal stories and experiences. 

Electricity is provided to our camp through solar panels and will therefore only be available during the day for charging cameras, computers, flashlights and other assorted goods. The tents do not have electricity so we recommend a good head torch for reading at night. 

The entire camp is set up to make you feel safe and comfortable without changing the nature around you. This allows you to experience the African Bush and animals every second of your stay without harming them or disturbing their natural habitat.

Suitable for

Singles
Couples
Families
Groups

Typical day

This schedule represents the planning for a week. Please note that depending on weather, group size and availability of activities, the management reserves the right to change this schedule according to the possibilities. Certain events such as for example a bushfire, heavy rains or big breaks in our fence lines or the possible appearance of a new predator in the reserve might require much of our attention or will force us to slightly change the schedule.

Monday: Work / Departure Day

This is the departure day for the guests leaving. For the ones staying, this will be a workday. The entire group will work alongside our staff on our fence lines or roads, clearing fire breaks or cut open our road network. This task requires as many hands as possible and your help is very much needed. Depending on the outside temperature and mood of the group we might take a long lunch break at the camp or take a short break directly at the fence where lunch would be served at the work site in order to get as much work done as possible.

Tuesday: Reserve / Camp Arrival Day

This will be a day with different activities around the reserve. It is also a transfer day from the airport to camp for the newly arriving guests. Arrival in camp will be around noon, followed by the introduction talk and first look around the area to familiarize with the camp and the reserve. Afterwards dinner and the first evening at the bonfire with introducing yourself to the others as well as getting to know the rest of the group.

Wednesday: Split Day

The group will be split into smaller groups, which will be given certain tasks. This may include among others: Camera trap checking, Vulture Observation, Camp work, Fence patrols, Meerkat visit, Sirga experience. Every day where the group is split like this we will ensure that you experience a new activity. If your stay with us is longer than two weeks you may find yourself more in a role of leading the new arrivals through the activity and it gives you the possibility to experience again whichever activity you enjoy the most, such as for example the meerkats or visiting Sirga.

Thursday: Camel Park / Reserve Day

Every other week, we will visit the Tshabong Camel Park. This day is a great support for the community and their project with the camels as well as a nice day for everyone to enjoy, socialize and have fun. People who are with us for more than 14 days have the option to stay in camp and perform tasks there or join the trip again. It is also possible to spend the day in the town of Tshabong for some personal shopping and to have a look around (the day in town activity is not supervised by the Modisa team and is at your own risk). On the way back everyone ends the day with a stunning sundowner from the elevated position of the top of a hill. For the week we do not visit the camel park, this will be a day with different activities around the reserve.

Friday: Tracking Day

This day will be for the entire group to go on a tracking experience with our trackers. You will spend the day learning to identify tracks and experience how the trackers are able to interpret the signs of the bush and read you a story about the happenings of the previous hours or days.

Saturday: Fun Day

This day starts with an early game drive for the whole group to simply enjoy the wildlife sightings and experience the reserve in all its beauty. This is a perfect day for photography, leisure and pleasure. On return to camp lunch will be served and for the rest of the afternoon wedo some team building and bonding with the whole group by playing games such as football, volleyball, card games, board games, and in the meantime relax at the pool. There is also time and space to read articles regarding conservation of the Kalahari or simply a book to relax and reflect on your experiences. In the afternoon, we will start the braai (BBQ) and after dinner, everyone meets up for a bonfire night.

Sunday: Day Off

This day is our off day. We will ask you to cook meals on this day and it is free to you as a group to decide who will be doing the cooking. Otherwise the day is there to relax and enjoy the atmosphere of the desert. Whether you decide to sit at the pool or to lay in the shade with a good book is entirely up to you. This day also gives you time to do your laundry and other personal things. For the guests leaving, this will be your last day in camp.

Details on Arrival

Travel Logistics

Volunteers should fly into the Maun International Airport (MUB) in Botswana on the Sunday before their scheduled Monday start date.  Most volunteers fly to Maun via the Johannesburg (JNB) or Windhoek (WDH) International Airports.

On arrival to Maun Airport, the Okavango River Lodge will arrange your airport pick-up and transfer to the Lodge for Sunday night stay (+/- $40 for food and accommodation). 

On Monday morning, a 4x4 minibus shuttle will pick you up at the Okavango River Lodge and transport you straight to the Modisa camp (departing Lodge at 8am, arriving Modisa mid-day). The shuttle costs +/- $50 each way, and payment can be made directly to the Modisa team on arrival. 

On the returning Monday, you will depart Modisa mid-day by shuttle, back to Maun by around 6-7pm for another night at Okavango River Lodge. We strongly recommend that you book your return flight on Tuesday (NOT Monday evening) as road delays are common.

Some volunteers choose to arrive earlier than Sunday to relax for a few days before the program starts.  Just let us know your arrival date so that we can arrange transfers accordingly.  Volunteers can exchange currency to Botswana Pula at the Maun airport.

Please note

The transfer to and from Modisa Wildlife Project departs from Okavango River Lodge in Maun every MONDAY morning. It is crucial that you book your flight with arrival in Maun airport on a SUNDAY (latest) and departure from Maun on a TUESDAY (earliest). However if you can’t make it to the beginning of a program and still want to join us, we would be happy to accommodate you.  Please be aware that an extra charge for transportation will apply.  You will receive a special orientation so you can join the rest of the group as soon as possible.

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 (basic level)
Nationality Restrictions
No restrictions. Helping hands from all over the world are welcome.
Time Commitment
Regular working hours are hardly predicable. It mainly depends on the work force. Get in touch with Modisa Wildlife Project straight ahead to get more infos about current to dos and objectives.

Any questions? Just ask. We at Modisa Wildlife Project are happy to help you.

Contact Project Coordinator

Free-time activities

We do have a volleyball field you and your fellow volunteer's are welcome to use. Riding can sometimes also be possible, but not guaranteed due to weather and their health.

Sun downers on top of one of our beautiful dunes

The unique landscape of the Kgalagadi area offers so much to see. One which makes it very special are the sand dunes, most of which have trees and grass growing on them. For sundowners, you will go for a short drive with the guide to one of the larger dunes and watch the sun set over the open acacia savannah.

Bonfire evenings under the Kalahari night sky

Part of being in the bush in Africa has to be to finish off the day with a small bonfire. It creates a special and cosy atmosphere where one can share the day’s experiences and discuss what has been seen and learnt. But it is also an opportunity to listen to the noises of the wildlife around you or simply the silence of the Kalahari with the star filled sky above you, all with the cosy crackle of the fire in the background. 

Star gazing in the evenings

Most nights the sky is open and clear. Due to the clean air, low moisture and zero light pollution the night sky in the Kalahari offers some of the best star gazing one could imagine. Any patient observer can see shooting stars and it creates a magical feeling to watch a sky lit up by millions of stars. A good time to reflect on the experience in the bush and our planet in general. For the keen photographer this is a chance to get some of the most stunning night sky photography possible.

Visiting the meerkat colony

Meerkats are a very common and iconic resident of the area. During your stay you will get time to experience them by visiting them at their colony and spending time watching them. Seeing these little comical creatures is absolutely heartwarming and beautiful. The typical standing on the hind feet to look out for potential danger is such a cute pose and will give you ample opportunity for great photography.

Experiencing Sirga the lioness

Sirga the lioness and her bond to her caretaker Valentin Gruener have created a lot of online and other media attention. Through the hard work of many people together we are finally able to move Sirga into an area large enough for her to be free and hunt her own food, but still within the safety of a fence which prevents her from getting to people and people from getting to her. You will get the opportunity to observe Sirga as a free wild lion in her new territory on a game drive through her park. Monitoring her condition, hunting success and interaction with other wildlife is important and because of her being very habituated it will give plenty of opportunity for stunning photographs.

Sports
Riding
Contact & Reservation
$584
/week
$584
/week
2 - 12
weeks
2 - 12
weeks
18+
age
18+
age
Airport Pickup
Housing
Food
Internet
Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec

Included Services

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Refund Guarantee
We refund your fees if Modisa Wildlife Project cancels your trip
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Services by Modisa Wildlife Project

Accommodation , All meals (Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner), 24 hour support, Game Drives Bush Walks, Washing powder (for doing own laundry), Internet (available on Sundays, only). The only additional spending money required will be for personal purchases, social excursions away from Modisa, and pre/post project travel. We do not have discounted rates for partial weeks.

Airport Pickup at Maun

We do provide airport pick up, but it is not included in the program fee. Calculate 10USD for airport transfer to and from Okavango River Lodge.

Accommodation

We use dome tents in double occupancy. Single tents are subject to availability. Mattress, pillow, duvet, blanket (during winter months) and bed sheets are provided. Please bring your own towel. Once your tent is zipped and closed you are protected from unwanted bed guests. However, we do ask you to always double-check your beds, sleeping bags, shoes etc. for ‘intruders’ as we operate in the wilderness. Our tents also provide an authentic experience in the African bush and are divided by gender, unless requested otherwise.

Each tent is equipped with four beds, along with linens, pillows, duvets and comforters. The washing block is nearby with fresh, running water from the borehole. Toilets and showers are fully equipped and hot water is provided. Washing powder is provided for washing clothing by hand.

The camp is complete with flush toilets, bucket showers, a fully equipped kitchen, a dining area, and a bar. Hot water will be available from solar geysers. As geysers offer a limited amount of hot water at one time, we would like to ask you to think of the people who need to shower after you. Electricity comes from solar panels that provide power to the entire camp. 

Laundry: Everyone washes his or her own laundry by hand. We provide washing powder and basins. Do not worry; your clothes will dry quickly in the African sun.

Internet & Phone Reception: There will be one desktop computer with Internet access available to send emails and check e.g. facebook. We have decided to keep Internet access to a minimum, as we would like our guests to experience the bush and join activities. Please be aware that we are in the bush and therefore phone reception is not available. Urgent contact to e.g. family members is possible via the management.

Dorm Room
Food & Beverages

We make sure to offer delicious and varying dishes throughout your time with us. We provide three meals a day. When working on e.g. the fence, we will have a picnic in the bush and on Saturdays we braai (BBQ). In addition the kitchen is equipped with snacks free of charge and complimentary tea and coffee during your stay.

Other snacks and candy will be available for purchase as well as beer, soft drinks and cider. We will provide occasional trips to the nearby city of Ghanzi, where many goods are available for purchase including more snacks and traditional cloth.

We are happy to accommodate vegetarians. If you have any special dietary needs or allergies, please let us know in advance and upon arrival. 

Water, tea, coffee and hot chocolate is available for free. We would like to ask you to bring your own water bottle to keep waste to a minimum. 

Please note that is difficult to cater for a vegan or gluten-free diet, however we will try our best. Should you be vegan, it would help tremendously if you let us know in advance or bring some of your own food. Vegans will be charged extra due to the added cost of providing such meals.

Internet Access
Limited access at the project site
What's NOT included?
Visa, flights, travel insurance or vaccinations are NOT included in the program fees.

No worries, Volunteer World supports you in raising funds, checking your visa regulations and travel insurance. We also assist you in finding the cheapest flights for your journey.
Costs (Prices in USD)
2 weeks (min. stay)
$1,295.00
3 weeks
$1,791.00
4 weeks
$2,287.00
5 weeks
$2,783.00
6 weeks
$3,279.00
7 weeks
$3,775.00
12 weeks (max. stay)
$6,255.00
Average fees
$584.00/week

You can volunteer at the project site in Maun/Botswana between 2 weeks and 12 weeks. Please note that the above shown program fees are estimated and subject to exchange rate fluctuations. Modisa Wildlife Project will let you know about the final price during your application process.
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 Modisa Wildlife Project during the application process. Common solutions are either via bank transfer or a cash payment at the project site.

Get ready to volunteer in Botswana

Check out first

Visa Regulations
Depending on your nationality, you have to arrange your visa for Botswana. Please check the visa regulations for Botswana.
Travel Seasons
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Living Costs
Living costs vary with each destination. We give an overview of what you should plan as an estimated budget to volunteer in Botswana.
Budgeting
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What's next?

Airport
The nearest airport is Maun (MUB) in Maun. We assist you to find cheap flights to Botswana.
Travel Insurance
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Vaccine Checker
If you are intending to volunteer in Botswana you should seek medical advice before starting your social journey. Check your required vaccinations for Botswana.
Free-time
What can you do in leisure-time in Botswana while you are not working at your volunteer opportunity?
Maun, Maun, Botswana zoom="6"
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