Volunteer in South Africa and work on incredible rhino, elephant and big cat research and conservation in Kruger, home to the Big 5. The Greater Kruger area is home to lions, elephants, buffalos, rhinos and leopards, as well as over 400 species of birds. This project aims to share data with large scale projects, conservation agencies and the authorities to protect habitats and species and to help with education of humans to reduce their impact. Game drives are an important aspect of this placement. You will have the opportunity to be involved in research about reptiles, as well as other project initiatives relating to the Big 5, including:
- The rhino population has dropped from 100,000 (1960s) to around 3,500 today and a reintroduction programme has taken place in the park to protect and monitor this species.
- Elephants are suffering because of the conflicts with humans in the region and the project monitors the elephant’s environment and behaviours in an effort to secure their futures.
- Big cat populations have seen a 80% decline in numbers in the last 30 years, due to illegal poaching, a lack of prey and reduction in habitat.
- Buffalo continue to be vulnerable; so tagging and recording data about them is important to their survival.
Learn or develop your research knowledge and skills to help the project team protect and conserve these magnificent species for future generations.
Why choose this project?
Join this fabulous project to protect Africa’s Big 5 and support local communities with their conservation efforts through providing hands on help, collecting and analysing data, and discussing projects. You will learn about local history and be culturally immersed as you study rhinos, elephants, big cats and so much more! If you are studying animal welfare or wildlife conservation, you will be able to complement your studies by learning about research techniques actually taking place to protect wild animals who are at risk from climate and habitat change and human interaction.
Role of the volunteer
As a volunteer living and working in the heart of a Big 5 Game Reserve, you will be actively involved in carrying out research on the population of the wildlife, as well as helping with the maintenance of the habitats of the animals. Your placement will be determined by the needs of the local project at the time of your placement. You will be supported by an experienced local team while:
- Gathering information in the bush, captured from a number of species, such as elephant herds
- Observing hunting practices, as well as, noting social, breeding and territorial behaviour
- Recording the nighttime movements of the rhinos
- Collating and recording research data; participating in office based conservation project work
- Contributing to habitat maintenance and conservation initiatives, such as creating waterholes, road clearing, soil erosion prevention, and litter collection
- Participating in conservation education
You must have a genuine love and concern for animals and the environment to join this project. Due to the physical nature of the work, a reasonable level of fitness is required. Enthusiasm, openness and the ability to be flexible and cooperative is vital. Awareness of research skills, knowledge and experience in African wildlife is helpful, but not necessary, as you will learn this on your placement. If you are studying and wish to gain credit, speak to a Kaya Placement Advisor. Please bring a laptop to help with data and project activities.
WHY JOIN THE PROJECT
To improve your knowledge of South African wildlife
To develop your research skills
To gain a greater understanding of human impact upon wildlife
You will be based in a beautiful private game reserve in the Greater Kruger area of stunning South Africa. Days will be spent on the reserve, where you will have plenty of opportunities to see the animals in their natural environment. At night, enjoy sitting around the fire listening to the sounds of the wild, while gazing at a clear and breathtaking sky. You can also relax by the pool in your time off. At weekends. there are a range of excursions that you can join to complete your true African adventure.
Details & Costs
- Duration: 2 -12 weeks
- Cost: £1378 / $2412 for 2 weeks
Additional weeks’ costs can be found in the drop-down menu
- Requirements: age 16+
- Location: Greater Kruger, South Africa
- Project activities: research, data capture, monitoring wildlife, maintaining habitats
- Working Hours: Monday – Friday; 6:00 – 17:00 (schedules vary, depending on the time of year of your visit)
- Project Availability: project runs every second weekend. Contact a Kaya Advisor to confirm exact dates.
- Arrival day: Sunday
What is included
- Accommodation: shared twin accommodation within the game reserve with outdoor area and swimming pool
- Food: 3 meals per day
- Airport pick up and drop off on Sundays into Nelspruit Airport (after August 2016, OR Tambo Johannesburg beforehand)
- Weekly laundry service, for a small fee
- Training: pre-departure information pack, on-site orientation and project induction
- Research drives and transfers relating to your project during your stay
- Support: 24 hour support from on-site coordinator.
- Activities: Staff help organise weekend activities (activity price may be extra)
What is not included
- Wifi (available for a fee, you will need your own device)
- Police/Government Background Check: US and UK citizens will be processed through Kaya (admin fee applies); all other nationalities must provide local police check.
Easy 3-step application process
APPLY ONLINE Click here to apply online and pay your deposit to secure your space on your chosen project. Our advisors will then contact you to guide you through the next steps.
TELEPHONE INTERVIEW Once we’ve received your application, we’ll be in touch to arrange your informal telephone interview with your Kaya Placement Advisor.
GET PREPARED When you’ve been accepted onto your project we’ll send you your Welcome Pack and lots of other helpful information to assist you with preparing for your placement.
HAVE A QUESTION?
We pride ourselves on providing you high quality placement information throughout your application process and whilst on the ground. Connect with us if you have any questions.