Wildlife conservation and community volunteer projects and internships worldwide

Wildlife Reserve Volunteer Programme, South Africa

2 - 12 Weeks from

minimum age

  • Gain hands-on experience working at a game reserve in South Africa
  • Work and live alongside a team of conservation volunteers from around the world
  • See a range of magnificent species including giraffes, antelopes and hyenas
  • Family Special experiences offered including rhino horn trimming activities

About the Wildlife Reserve in South Africa

Giraffe at wildlife reserve in South Africa at sunsetFirst established in 1982, this nature reserve in South Africa has developed into an area of exceptional diversity with 50 species of large mammal including buffalo, sable, giraffe, greater kudu, tsessebe and zebra. Smaller species include mongoose, honey badger, aardvark and spring hare.  Predators include brown hyena, black-backed jackal, caracal, serval, and the occasional leopard. The reserve is also host to 30 species of reptile, 15 species of small mammals and 68 species of dung beetles.

Please note you will also have the opportunity to work with researching some endangered species, they are not named online for anti-poaching reasons, but please email us if you would like a list of all the species found at the reserve.

About the Wildlife Volunteer Programme

Impala in South Africa

The volunteer programme was started 14 years ago, to give participants the opportunity to gain hands-on experience on a working reserve. The volunteers assist the reserve management team in all aspects of wildlife management, including bird surveys, camera trapping, giraffe monitoring, anti-poaching patrols, large mammal transects, nocturnal surveys, and reserve management.

You will gain experience in different research methods while you assist management and visiting scientists with long term research projects carried out on the reserve. Student volunteers are also able to gather data towards dissertations and theses. All volunteers are accommodated in our rustic but comfortable camp in the heart of the reserve. You will have the opportunity to work with like-minded people whilst gathering valuable work experience. On completion, all volunteers are issued with certificates.

Night sky at wildlife reserve in South AfricaFor the past twenty-eight years, our policy has been to utilize all the reserve’s natural resources on a sustainable basis and to maintain and, if possible, increase the wide diversity of fauna and flora which occur naturally.  In order to achieve these objectives, the following volunteer activities have been directed to support the reserve:

  • Reserve Management – This requires helping the reserve staff with everyday activities around the reserve. It’s where volunteers will be needed the most and where they can also gain experience from a very capable and experienced reserve team. Reserve management includes: Fire Management (seasonal), Large Mammal Counts, Patrolling the fence line, Foot patrols, Game capture (seasonal), managing soil erosion, managing bush encroachment, fixing roads and fences and general camp maintenance.
  • Scientific Research – Volunteers will be involved in long term research projects that are part of the reserves management plan. Volunteers will work alongside PhD and Masters students assisting them in data collection and collation. Research activities include; Veld Condition Indexes, Water Bird Surveys, Brown Hyaena Monitoring by camera trapping, Endangered Species behavior monitoring, Invert Surveys, Rhino Behaviour and dung collection/analysis and any other research a volunteer may be interested in doing.
  • Student Hospitality – The reserve facilitates university ecology based field courses, and volunteers are involved in assisting students with personal projects and field exercises. It will enable them to meet diverse groups of people from all over the world and gain experience in education.

Volunteers have opportunities to become involved in all activities. The actual involvement will depend on seasonal factors and the priorities of management during the period of the volunteers stay. Every effort will be made to give volunteers as much hands-on experience as possible.

family volunteering in NamibiaFamily Game Reserve Programme

Three times a year, in early February, May/June and November, we offer a bespoke family volunteer experience for conservation minded families with mature children 10 years and older to take part in family special programmes with exciting jam packed itineraries including rhino monitoring, anti poaching patrol, giraffe ID, setting camera traps, game drives, bush walks and birding all whilst living inside the bush camp within the reserve.  Durations are one week to 10 days, and in May/June, families can also assist Wildlife Vets with rhino horn trimming, as an anti poaching deterrent. Places get booked up fast!  Please email victoria.mcneil@workingabroad.com if you are interested and would like further details!

We strive to manage a healthy ecosystem where all species of fauna and flora are studied, researched and protected. Future generations will have the task of managing and repairing the damage done to the environment by previous generations and this can only be accomplished through education and awareness.  – Mission Statement of the Reserve

Wildlife Reserve Volunteer Programme, South Africa

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