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Shamwari Big Five Game Reserve Volunteer Programme, South Africa

1 - 12 weeks from

minimum age

  • Become part of the team at Shamwari Game Reserve and work amongst Africa's Big Five.
  • Receive one to one training with a world renowned Wildlife Vet when you join our Vet or Pre-Vet programme
  • Track and monitor predators (Lions and Leopards) and large herbivores (Rhinos and Elephants)
  • Visit the Born Free Big Cat Sanctuary and the Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre as part of your programme

Volunteer bedroom at Madolos in Shamwari

Food, Lodging and Travel

Conservation volunteers live in any one of our three varying accommodation facilities which have dining and common and/or lounge areas, and most of the time, you will be hosted in an area locally known as Madolos, which is on the northern side of the reserve, but is predator-free allowing for total freedom for volunteers.  General game including zebra, kudu and waterbuck can be found along with buffalo on the adjoining property.  Shared rooms with twin beds or three beds.  Plunge pool, DVD facilities, Internet access (you have to buy WIFI vouchers) with shared computer for volunteers, outdoor boma and fireplace available at Madolos.  Although any room or facility changes are averted, participants may be moved during their stay.

Volunteer lodging at Shamwari is high standardThree meals are provided on a daily basis. Meals will either be served at the facility itself or taken as a pre-packed serving, depending on planned or as result of unscheduled activities. Vegetarians and other dietary requirements can be catered for, if notified in advance. Cooked breakfasts are served once weekly – generally Fridays.  Meals are prepared with exposing participants to an array of local dishes in mind and are generally taken on a self-service basis with the option of juice, tea or coffee. Still and spring bottled water is available for purchase from local trading stores.

Working hours & Free Time
Swimming pool at Madolos Shamwari volunteersOur conservation work generally runs in-week from Monday to Friday fron 08H00 to 17H00 daily or as is required by the operations of the reserve’s conservation efforts, therefore participants may be asked to assist and conduct related weekend activities from time-to-time.  Evenings are at leisure with any need for early morning or late night activities dependent on the tasks at hand.

There are several adventure and leisure based activities in and around the Eastern Cape and bordering Western Cape districts. These range from seasonal whale watching in Algoa Bay, surfing J-Bay’s world-renowned Super Tubes, to bungy jumping at the Bloukrans Bridge and exploring the forests and coastline of the Tsitsikamma National Park.

Volunteers sit around a fire learning about wildlife conservationConservation volunteer requirements:

  • Age 16 yrs and upwards to 80 years old! We accept a vast range of ages as well as parents with children over 16 years old.
  • Interest / field of study: conservation, environmental science, wildlife management, ecology or wildlife biology, wildlife journalism, wildlife photography, veterinary science, animal behaviour studies.
  • Personal qualities of flexibility and adaptability.
  • Self-motivated: a carefully structured full programme is provided each week, but volunteers need to be adaptable to some programme changes depending on variables in the running of the project. Free time is also factored in, and volunteers need to be independent and mature enough to make constructive use of such recreational time.

How to get there
You need to arrange to fly to Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape of South Africa – connecting flights from Johannesburg.  The Game Reserve is a one hour drive from Port Elizabeth and transfers to the project can be arranged from there. 

Shamwari Big Five Game Reserve Volunteer Programme, South Africa

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