Project starts: Monday
Location: 65km North-West from Hoedspruit and 75km South-East from Tzaneen, Limpopo
Minimum duration: 2 weeks
The Endangered Species Project allows you to participate in hands on monitoring of some of Africa’s most endangered species such as Rhino, Cheetah and Southern Ground Hornbill. This project is ideal if you want to truly experience the “wild” side of Africa. Our bush camp is based in a Limpopo game reserve which is home to the ‘Big 5’. This means you will get to encounter, and live among, elephants, lions, rhino, leopards and buffalo while working with us. We will teach you basic bush survival skills and how to navigate your way through the African bush!
During your stay, your days will be spent mostly on foot walking through the reserve, learning how to track the animals. You will be approaching endangered species on foot and recording their behaviour, location and condition. The collected information is then used by the reserve management and anti-poaching teams, as well as national conservation efforts to help save these endangered species. Furthermore, you will take part in vehicle based monitoring to see the amazing Big 5, as well as habitat work to help with the monitoring process.
This is a unique experience for people who want to get more out of visiting a game reserve in South Africa. Everyone who joins us on this exciting program will get to experience the African bush in its extremes, from elephants strolling through camp to the tropical heat or the surprisingly cold winter nights.
If you have a love of nature and want to participate in helping to save Africa’s endangered species, this is the project for you.
Volunteer tasks are focused on monitoring, which forms the basis for the majority of our research assistance on the reserve. We conduct monitoring drives in the mornings and afternoons. The monitoring coincides with times of increased activity of the specific animals we are observing. We also spend time on foot tracking the more elusive animals, which is an amazing way to experience the bush. During the drier winter months, we have several hides based at waterholes which allow you to observe the various animals and their interactions at close quarters. The volunteers will also spend time attending to habitat management requirements on the properties and the greater reserve.
- Return Transfer from Johannesburg Airport
- All meals
- Certificate of completion
- 24 hour support and supervisor
- Donation to the project
- 2 day Johannesburg orientation
We have a bushcamp that has been set up especially for the volunteers on this project. Here, you will be staying in comfortable twin shared tents set up on raised platforms. There are bush showers, flushing toilets and a kitchen available at the camp.
There are washing machines available for use at camp, washing powder is supplied. Clothes are line-dried, no dryers available.
All food for breakfast, lunch and dinner is provided, as well as fresh fruit. However, food is only re-stocked once a week so once it’s gone it’s gone! If you have any special dietary requirements please inform us before your arrival so that we can accommodate them if possible. Cordial fruit drink, tea and coffee are provided. Soft drinks, alcoholic beverages (beers and ciders) and snack foods are not available in camp but you can buy them on the weekly town trips. Important reminder: Participants must advise SAVE of their dietary needs. Volunteers with very specific dietary requirements may be required to supplement meals at their own expense.
Please note: This project will be closed from December 1st 2019 to February 1st 2020.
The reserve is nestled between the Drakensburg Mountains and the Kruger National Park in the heart of the Lowveld. Its is 65km North-West from Hoedspruit and 75km South-East from Tzaneen.
- Shops/Grocery Stores: You will receive weekly transport into town so that you can purchase essentials and food items
- ATMs: There are plenty of ATMs in Johannesburg where you will have your orientation. Once on project you will have the chance to visit the local ATM on your visit to town.
As the nature of the work varies we will place volunteers under the supervision of various staff members. We will have one member of our team assigned as “team leader” to facilitate the smooth operation of the volunteers stay.
Winter in South Africa
Please note that May through to September are our winter months and it can get quite chilly with an average temperature ranging from 5 degrees Celsius at night to 15 degrees Celsius during the day. So, please make sure to pack enough warm clothes if you plan your trip in that period.
Johannesburg (a.k.a. The City of Gold) is the largest city in South Africa. Home to the hipster-friendly neighbourhood of Maboneng which is the most successful urban-renewal projects in the world. The city has many museums such as the Apartheid Museum, offering insight into South Africa’s troubled past. Click on the button below and select the Johannesburg tours option to see what The City of Gold has to offer.
Animal Interaction level
- Learning about South African wildlife conservation
- Helping out in saving endangered species
- Going on game drives and seeing wild animals up close
- Experiencing what it is like to live in the bush
- Medium level of fitness
- Basic level of competency in English
- 18 years of age or older
Project start day. Town trip to pick up volunteers and restock supplies.
Mornings will consist of monitoring walks to locate the rhino and cheetah. You will learn how to identify and age their tracks and how to record this information. Once the animals have been located you will monitor their behavior, environment, and interactions in order to better understand them. Meanwhile, you will also learn how to track other big game such as elephant, lion, and hyena in order to better understand the utilization of the areas covered. At all times you will also be on the lookout for potential sightings and nest sites of the Southern Ground Hornbill.
On return to camp, you will enter the data collected onto the computers. You’ll also get the chance to work through your bush knowledge workbooks to help improve your tracking skills. During the week there will be a series of talks on the project, data collection, bush skills and maybe even a Zulu lesson!
In the afternoons, you will set out on monitoring drives in order to cover more ground to determine new areas to locate rhino, cheetah, and Southern Ground Hornbill. Once signs of activity and tracks have been located you will continue on foot to discover more. Whilst driving through the reserve you will also get the chance to see some of our other resident Big 5—elephant, lion, and buffalo.
On Friday afternoon, your drive will meet up with the research group for a sleep out under the stars.
In conjunction with research, all sightings of leopard will also be monitored and recorded – the more eyes the better when trying to monitor this elusive animal!
A.M: You will help out with some habitat work, either bush clearing, erosion control, or road maintenance.
P.M: Monitoring drive.
In the evening we may head out to the local pub or have a typical South African Braai (BBQ).
Either an outing will be planned or it will be a free day for volunteers to relax or head out on their own tour.
In between activities, volunteers will receive a series of presentations on the work of the project, or how to approach the dangerous game on foot, or possibly even a Zulu lesson. This time will also be used to transfer all data collected onto the computers and compile the weekly research report, as well as helping out with vehicle checks and cleaning.