About the Limpopo Lipadi Project
Set on the banks of the famous, beautiful Limpopo River, and one of the most beautiful wilderness locations in the world, Limpopo-Lipadi Game Reserve is easily accessible and remote at the same time. Botswana has a strong conservation imperative, and is working to improve the livelihood of the peoples who live alongside the wildlife. You can play a part in that journey….
Limpopo Lipadi is 20,500 hectares in size and contains 40 different mammal species and 372 birds with only 10 volunteers at a time making it a meaningful small group experience.
Wildlife at the Limpopo Lipadi Reserve
5 African Lions
The game reserve has five resident lions. Volunteers help out with monitoring their movements, social interactions and diet.
35 African Elephants
With a breeding herd and several bull elephants on the reserve, Limpopo Lipadi is able to better preserve the natural eco-system.
16 African Wild Dogs
The game reserve is home to a healthy pack of the incredibly endangered African Wild Dogs. The pack is continuously monitored by volunteers.
With more than 20 identified individual leopards, volunteers will learn how we identify each one and aid in monitoring their behaviour.
** IMPORTANT ** – There are many unscrupulous ‘volunteer’ experiences in Africa, usually allowing touching of orphaned animals, which seem like great experiences, but contribute little to conservation and can be ethically and morally dubious. Our animals are wild, and we like them that way.
Volunteer Activities at the Limpopo Lipadi Game Reserve
Volunteers can expect to see plenty of game on the work drives, and we offer regular extra drives, rhino walks and night spotlighting.
Listed below are some of the activities that you may take part in as a volunteer.
In addition, we can also devise a research internship for anyone wanting to carry out research for their University, for example on carnivore counts. If you are interested in joining the project as an intern, please email us.
Scientific Volunteer Projects
- Wild Dog tracking, identifying individuals and other observations.
- Introduction to the on-going Leopard Research and lecture on identifying big cats, taking photographs of lion, leopard and cheetah for research purposes.
- In house lecture on field data collection, using the cybertracker and other systems, early morning vehicle trip using the cybertracker unit to collect tracks of animals on the road spoor survey.
- Night spotlight drives.
- Day trip to collect vegetation data on trees and grasses, with emphasis on bush encroachment management techniques.
- Birds survey sighting vs calling survey.
Reserve Management and farm to wild rehabilitation
- Field trip with the anti-poaching unit, large animal tracking.
- Fieldwork on the construction of burms to slow erosion.
- Weed control (seasonal :queen of the night, prickly pear, thorn apple, water hyacinth, grass by electric fences).
- Inspection of beehives and other measures to protect infrastructure from elephants.
- Repair of infrastructures such as game fences and waterholes.
- Removal of fence posts, wire and farm ruins and repair of damaged roads.
Community Volunteer Projects
- Lecture on Community conservation and poaching, identifying weeds
- Village cultural and school visit – Tsetsebjwe or Mathathane. Education programme.
- San Bushman experience, walk and spoor tracking introduction and lighting a fire etc.
- Lecture on elephant monitoring – focus ethology and feeding ecology, elephant monitoring exercise.
Day to Day Schedule
Volunteers can expect to work 7 days a week from 07:30am –05:00pm, or upon the demand of the reserve with a break from 12:30am to 14:30pm. Activities are planned for the weekend, but tend to be of a less arduous nature, including lectures, visits to the local village, a rhino walk and game drives for general observation of wildlife. You will be allocated assignments/jobs to do during the time period that you are here. The most arduous tasks will be similar to about four hours of gardening per day. The work can range from observing rare and endangered species, farm to wild rehabilitation, noxious weed control, collecting data for scientific projects, community work, manual labour and maintenance work. At the end of your stay, we would request that you submit a written report outlining the work done whilst here as well as a short one-page letter outlining your volunteer/student experience with Limpopo-Lipadi. This is to help us make the programme better and to ensure that both students/volunteers and Limpopo-Lipadi benefit the most from your time in the Reserve.