Long-term wildlife volunteer

The projects included in our long-term wildlife volunteer placement focus on protecting endangered species of animal such as cheetah, wild dog and rhino through a variety of different conservation methods. 

Volunteers will be expected to take part in these projects and assist the reserve's ecologists and safari guides, helping achieve a number of goals in terms of monitoring, researching and protecting these animals. 

These long-term projects are ideal for anyone considering conservation or zoology as a career and hoping to gain practical experience and real world knowledge, or anyone looking for an authentic African adventure

Become a volunteer
Volunteer information
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How volunteering can help you

As a volunteer, the personal satisfaction you will gain from playing an active role in the protection of endangered wildlife and habitats will be immeasurable. Equally, for those of you who will join us as part of a gap year or adventure tourism experience, working with and alongside iconic African wildlife such as elephants, rhino and big cats will be nothing short of an adventure of a lifetime.


We hope that the new transferable skills you will gain will prove equally valuable. For some, volunteering with these projects will provide knowledge relatable to your academic studies. Practical experience will also boost your conservation or animal-related careers, offer a better understanding of how conservation and environmental work actually operates, give you an idea of the next steps you can take to get involved, and  even show you how to develop and grow your own original conservation programmes and ideas.  
 
We want this experience to support and inspire you, so that when you are finished you will be closer to understanding and achieving your own personal ambitions.

Developing volunteer ideas

We encourage our volunteers to try out and develop their own projects wherever possible. This could be invaluable for those studying the environment or hoping to pursue a career in conservation. If you have an idea, talk to your guides during your placement. They will help support your ambitions and do their best to make your ideas a reality.

Long-term wildlife volunteer projects
Wild dog population monitoring
 

Wild dogs are the most endangered large predator in Southern Africa. Sadly, the total population in the wild is now fewer than 4000 individuals.

You'll use a variety of methods to monitor and observe the reserve's population. You will ensure  that they are healthy, look for breeding activity, and collect data on their behaviour and movements. 

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​What will you be doing?

  • Tracking on foot

  • Radio collar tracking

  • Monitoring animal behaviour

  • Tracking and plotting animal routes

  • Checking for injuries or illness

  • Assisting with any emergency vet work

 
Animal reintroduction 

The reserve itself, although an established wildlife haven, is looking to expand. Additional land and new species of wildlife will be added in coming years. 

You will help with various reintroduction projects, where animals are brought onto the reserve to add a new species or encourage genetic diversity in order to keep existing populations healthy.

This exciting project is a great hands-on way to get up close with some iconic African animals. 

​What will you be doing?

  • Assisting with handling animals

  • Getting sites ready for introduction (helping with site clearance or maintaining holding areas)

  • Monitoring newly introduced wildlife

  • Assisting vets with procedures 

K9 anti-poaching patrols

Work with the local anti-poaching team to patrol the reserve and look for snares and other signs of poaching. Help handle the K9 members of the anti-poaching team. An invaluable asset, dogs dramatically improve the effectiveness of any patrol. They are also great fun to work with!

What will you be doing?

  • Patrolling the reserve

  • Removing snares or traps

  • Looking for signs of poacher activity

  • Working and handling trained dogs

  • Helping injured animals

Rhinoceros
 

Habitat and reserve management

 

Understand what goes into running and maintaining a working reserve. From combating soil erosion, managing fire risks, repairing fences, to removing invasive plant species and introducing new ones. 

What will you be doing?

  • Removing encroaching species of plant

  • Clearing fire breaks

  • Combating soil erosion

  • Reserve maintenance on fences or roads

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Cheetah

Radio collar tracking

Using VHF hand-held radio tracking equipment, you will track and monitor the reserve's cheetah and wild dog populations. This is important for monitoring the behaviour of these animals. A fantastic opportunity to get practical experience with this important tool, for any professional ecologist studying large animals in the wild.

What will you be doing?

  • Tracking movements of wildlife

  • Using VHF radio tracking equipment

  • Monitoring behaviour of wildlife

  • Checking for injuries or breeding activity

 

Veterinary work

Help the resident vets on the reserve with any duties they need to carry out to ensure that the local animal populations are happy and healthy. This could be routine inoculations, check-ups, or responding to emergency callouts.

What will you be doing?

  • Assisting vets with their work

  • Getting hands on with wildlife during activities

  • Performing check ups

  • Learning about veterinary work

 

Track and sign

On foot with your guides and fellow volunteers, you will explore the bush and attempt to uncover which animals have been active in the area. You will  look for signs from footprints or dung, and for more subtle clues such as rubbing marks on trees. You may potentially follow the trail to try and physically locate the animals responsible.

What will you be doing?

  • Searching for tracks and signs of animal activity 

  • Recording any unusual tracks or signs

  • Attempting to locate rare or endangered animals.

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Bush walks

Exploring the reserve on foot is a fantastic way to monitor and learn about the environment and some of the smaller, more secretive animals that call it home.

Bush walks offer a great perspective and experience of the bush and an up-close way of understanding and approaching wildlife.

 

What will you be doing?

  • Discovering the reserve 

  • Learning about the environment 

  • Learning to approach wildlife on foot

 
 

Game drives

Monitoring the populations and behaviour of larger species such as antelope and lion is usually done through visual means. This generally means patrolling in a vehicle and recording crucial data such as the apparent health of the animals, breeding status and behavioural habits.

This allows us to observe any unusual or concerning behaviour, possibly indicating injury or disease. We can then help minimise problems before they develop, or become aware of new developments in breeding success.

What will you be doing?

  • Monitoring behaviour of species

  • Monitoring breeding status

  • Checking for signs of disease

  • Learning about animal behaviour

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