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Your Volunteer Adventure: Whale and Leopard Research in South Africa

Organisation: NATUCATE

Country: South Africa

Type: Environment & Wildlife Conservation

Your Volunteer Adventure: Whale and Leopard Research in South Africa

The project

After your arrival at Richards Bay airport you will be picked up for a fee of 115 EUR and taken to the city of Mtubatuba. There you will meet a team member of our project partner who will take you to your accommodation.

As a volunteer you will either take part in whale monitoring activities on the South African Eastern Shores coastline or support our partner's team by installing and evaluating the leopard project's camera traps. At the beginning of the project your team of at least six volunteers will be divided into smaller subgroups rotating between the whale observation sessions and the work involved on the leopard population survey, which is being conducted at the same time. For whale monitoring, volunteers are involved in five hours of observations each day – which is always weather dependent. Both observation towers at the beach of Cape Vidal will be manned between 7am and 5am each day. These observation units are broken up into two and three-hour observation sessions. During these survey blocks you are instructed to watch out for Humpback Whales and collect information about the animals’ speed of movement, their distance offshore, their location as well as weather and environment conditions. The collected data will be compared to the results from the last whale survey which took place in 2002, to gather new knowledge about the current development and growth of the populations.

For the leopard survey, volunteers will help downloading images from the camera traps, recording the captured data, managing the camera-trap sites and creating identikits for each animal if necessary. While the team roams the Eastern Shores wilderness to perform routine checks to the camera sites, they will be able enjoy the excitement of local wildlife that they may encounter en-route. After all tasks are done participants will have some free time.


During your time as a volunteer you are accommodated in a volunteer house with four double bedrooms, a shared bathroom, a kitchen, a lounge and an outside seating area plus barbecue. You and your team are responsible for preparing your daily meals; you are provided with basic food items for three healthy meals per day, though.

  • Age limit: Minimum age 18 years
  • Start dates 2018: June 18, July 02, July 16
  • Project location: Eastern Shores / South Africa
  • Accommodation: shared bedroom in volunteer house, shared bathroom, daily meals (volunteers receive food items, but need to prepare the meals on their own)
  • Language requirements: English (a good level of school English is sufficient)
  • Suitable for: volunteer work, sabbatical
  • Certification: upon request


  • Price for 2 weeks:      500 EUR
  • Price for 4 weeks:     1.000 EUR


  • Placement in the project
  • Assistance with travel arrangements
  • Assistance with selecting travel insurance
  • Assistance with booking flights
  • Pre-departure information pack
  • Accommodation during the project
  • All meals during the project – volunteers help to cook
  • Drinking water
  • On-site orientation and project training
  • English-speaking support by long-term experienced staff
  • 24/7-support throughout the project

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