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

"It was cool to see how a reserve runs and the importance of conserving the animals."

5 Star Icon

I spent 2 weeks in April 2022 on the Wildlife Reserve Volunteer Programme, South Africa. We lived in cabins on site, meeting in the volunteer base every morning. The roles I participated in were recording data on wildlife in reserve, and recording and identifying rhinos. We used GPS and compasses. We surveyed the wildlife from the vehicle and on foot, including on night drives. I assisted with the maintenance of the reserve, including maintaining water sources. I observed and then partook in scent dog training walking through the bush with a walkie-talkie and pedometer. We met the anti-poaching patrol unit who were all lovely and learned of the work they do. It was cool to see how a reserve runs and the importance of conserving the animals. I am fortunate that I got to help assist in a veterinary procedure with a rhino and her calf. The volunteers and staff cook and eat together, taking turns which is a great way to meet everyone. I loved that the data we collected was collected went to the associated universities and agencies for research purposes. The workers were helpful, lovely and full of information.

"Situated in the middle of the bush, the views were amazing"

5 Star Icon

Whilst there I took part in a range of activities including; controlled burns to ensure there is fresh grass for the wildlife, I assisted staff on game drives with students staying at camp on field trips. My favourite activity was visually monitoring and filling out Ethograms on certain animals. I also helped out with data entry, we carried out scientific research on the grass quality on the reserve and input the data onto the digital spreadsheets. On less busy days we carried out camp maintenance. We did things like clean the communal areas, paint cabins and clean/garden the campground.

The staff that work there are so welcoming and friendly, it feels like you’re joining the family. The staff are available 24 hours a day and are extremely supportive of any issues you may have. It is very social, you are likely to make friends for life. There’s communally cooked dinner every night and special occasions call for a braai, a South African style BBQ around the campfire. Living in the bush is very unpredictable but this program runs smoothly due to the effort of the staff.

Situated in the middle of the bush the views were amazing and sometimes animals like giraffes and antelope come into or near camp to graze. I would 100% recommend this program to anybody, it is life changing.

"This volunteer programme has been one of the best things I have ever done"

5 Star Icon

During my stay I was involved with lots of management and maintenance – fixing road signs, clearing areas, carrying out VCIs (Veld Condition Index to assess the veld grass composition), helping with student groups and their activities, going on day and night patrols, assisting with game capture, body indexing animals and so on.

The programme is very well organised. They have set tasks that they need help from volunteers with so you feel like your presence is appreciated and not a burden, but they also let you have a say in what you would be interested in participating in. The staff are incredible, not only are they friendly and welcoming, but they are also remarkably supportive, caring and patient.

This volunteer programme has been one of the best things I have ever done. It not only showed me that conservation was what I wanted to spend my life working on at the young age of 17, but it is also where I have met some of the most inspirational, beautiful, kind, strong and down-right sensational people in my life. It will forever have a place in my heart, along with the incredible people who make it possible.

Wildlife Reserve Volunteer Programme, South Africa

You may also be interested in these projects