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Wildlife volunteer - 12+ projects

The diversity of projects to discover during your wildlife volunteer placement is incredible.

Volunteer and work on projects at every level of conservation. From hands on work with live animals during vet or community outreach work. Researching and surveying animal in the wild, habitat restoration preserving nature and developing rural communities promoting sustainability and preventing poaching. 

The projects have been carefully selected to safeguard nature at every level while giving you as an much opportunity as possible to gain new transferable skills and knowledge that match your personal interest and ambition... all during a placement that day to day is full of excitement and 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 protecting 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 or 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. 
To some, volunteering with these projects can provide knowledge relatable to your academic studies, practical experience boosting your conservation or animal-related careers, a better understanding of how conservation and environmental work actually operates, an idea of the next steps you can take to get involved, or even how to develop and grow your own 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 our projects

We currently operate a variety of different projects, and are continuously adding and developing programmes. These depend on environmental factors and the behaviour and habits of the animals in the areas in which we work.

Developing volunteer ideas

We also encourage our volunteers to try out and develop their own projects where possible. This could be invaluable for those studying relating to the environment, during your placement talk to your guides and they'll help support your ambitions. 

4 week wildlife volunteer projects
Behavioural Research on White Rhino

This long-term flagship project is designed to monitor the movements and behaviour of the threatened white rhino population.

Using a variety of techniques such as camera trap monitoring and tracking both on-foot and from a vehicle, this project aims to increase our understanding of how white rhino move through their home range.

Led by Hamba Africa's resident ecologist, as a volunteer on this project you will learn a lot and have great fun.

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​What you'll be doing

  • Surveying sample sites

  • Placing and installing camera traps

  • Monitoring animal behavior

  • Tracking animal routes

  • Mapping sites of social importance

  • Recording and plotting data

  • Analysing recorded data

Human-Wildlife Conflict

In order to protect wildlife, natural environments need champions. Working alongside Hamba Africa, you and local groups may put on wildlife presentations for animal ambassadors from nearby organisations.

Volunteers that are confident and comfortable will also get a chance to handle and introduce these animals to the local community, giving kids and adults the opportunity to get to know the animals first-hand. This will hopefully inspire those living alongside these animals to take pride in their natural heritage and surroundings.

The animals you will get to work with will vary from reptiles to birds, mammals and insects.

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Wildlife handling and presentations

​What you'll be doing

  • Handling and presenting animals

  • Engaging with locals to champion wildlife

  • Working with and assisting expert animal carers

Ringing and Surveying Birds

Ringing and surveying birds helps ornithologists collect data on a local and global scale that helps them to understand bird species better. This helps ensure that the populations are healthy and also sheds light on their behaviour and migratory habits.


Volunteers will be conducting these surveys through sight and sound, looking specifically for endangered species such as the Ground Hornbill.

We'll also help local bird ringers capture birds, record data, tag or "ring" them with a unique ID, before releasing them back into the wild.

This is an ideal way to gain experience relating to identifying birds and providing new insight into these often overlooked animals.

What will you be doing?

  • Learning to identify species

  • Monitoring areas for breeding sites

  • Recording endangered species locations

  • Plotting and recording data

  • Assisting handling birds

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Anti-Poaching Patrols


You will helping the local reserve in their ongoing battle against poaching. Activities will include anti-poaching patrols, searching for and removing common traps such as snares that are a continuous problem for protected areas.

Snares trap and kill animals, wreaking havoc since they indiscriminately target anything. Additionally, you will look for any holes or access points in the fence that poachers might use as an entrance.

What you'll be doing

  • Patrolling the bush for illegal snares

  • Helping remove traps and other equipment

  • Searching for access points in fences

  • Searching for signs of poacher activity

  • Helping any injured animals

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Camera Trap Research

Recording and monitoring elusive and nocturnal species, such as leopards or the endangered pangolin, often requires the use of remote camera traps.

With maps and your guide's knowledge of the bush, as a team we will plan where best to place the cameras, depending on the habitat and animal's behaviour. Upon collection we will analyse our findings, again recording the data and plotting the animals habits to gain a better understanding of their needs and movements.

What you'll be doing

  • Planning placement of camera traps

  • Placing and installing camera traps

  • Recording and plotting data

  • Analysing recorded data


Community Outreach Programmes

One of the most effective ways to help ensure the long-term wellbeing of any habitat is through raising awareness and supporting the education of the people who live and work in the natural environment.

We will visit and work with local communities to help  remove any stigmas and misconceptions they may have regarding their surroundings, and show them the benefits of protecting these natural environments.
We will do this in a multitude of ways, from simple discussions and educating them as well as improving and developing their livelihood to promote a more sustainable future for them and the environment.

What you'll be doing

  • Interacting with rural communities

  • Raising awareness of local animals and conservation practice

  • Assisting with self-sufficient and agricultural projects such as animal husbandry or hydroponics

  • Helping develop community facilities such as accommodation or libraries.

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Invasive Species
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Invasive Species Management

With any conservation and in any natural environment, management of flora and fauna is important routine work that supports biodiversity.

As a volunteer, you can assist with this project by helping remove specific plant species that are detrimental to the ecosystem, as well as managing encroaching species and clearing dry and dead material to prevent unwanted bush fires.

What you'll be doing

  • Identifying target species

  • Removing invasive or encroaching species

  • Helping stimulate growth of wanted species

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Assisting Vets and Wildlife Centres

You will have the chance to assist rural and reserve vets, and wildlife breeding and rehabilitation centres with whatever tasks they need. These task will be varied and they tend to change constantly depending on animal needs. They may include routine health checks, the vaccination of animals, and responding to emergencies as they arrive.


Equally varied will be the animals you may work with, such as birds, small game, rhino or elephant. This will provide you the chance to gain invaluable first-hand knowledge on various animal and wildlife practices.

What you'll be doing

  • Interacting, feeding and handling animals

  • Assisting experts with their work

  • Getting a behind-the-scenes look at facilities

  • Helping with tasks, equipment storage and site maintenance.

Small animal

Small Animal Survey

Monitoring the population of smaller game, such as rodents, is vitally important. It provides an overall indicator of the health of the environment, as these animals are a food source for many other species.

Volunteers will help place humane traps in different locations to capture these animals. This will allow us to accurately record information such as species, size, health and any other observations. Once we have recorded the data, the animal will of course be returned to the wild unharmed.

What you'll be doing

  • Placing and setting traps

  • Handling and removing animals

  • Recording information about the captured species

  • Assisting inputing results into databases

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Tree Surveying

Trees play a vital role in any ecosystem. Older and mature trees support a greater diversity of wildlife, due to various physical and biological responses.

As a volunteer you will help with mapping, plotting and recording various data from various notable and Veteran trees around the reserve, for a more accurate understanding of their roles in the ecosystem.

What you'll be doing

  • Mapping and plotting trees

  • Measuring and recording data

  • Using software and apps as a data capture tool

  • Looking for evidence of what species use these trees

  • Monitoring for diseases.

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Conservation managment
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Conservation Management

This broad programme involves helping manage the reserve's environment, keeping it healthy through an assortment of different tasks and activities instructed by the head ecologist.

This can include helping to prevent soil erosion, limiting flood damage, preventing bush fires, and clearing areas for new plant growth. The volunteer work and roles are often seasonal and can be in response to environmental factors and changes.

What you'll be doing

  • Clearing areas for new plant development

  • Managing and combating erosion

  • Minimising wild fire risk

  • Control burning of the environment

  • Repairing and maintaining reserve fences



Tracking is a skill as old as humans walking upright, and a brilliant method for recording which animal species are present in a habitat long after they have gone from the immediate area. 

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

What you'll be doing

  • Searching for tracks and signs of animal active in the area

  • Recording any unusual tracks or signs

  • Attempting to locate rare or endangered animals.

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Insect and Moth Surveying

Moths and insects are an oft-forgotten and overlooked part of any healthy ecosystem. With global populations diminishing, a better understanding of how different species thrive is imperative.

Volunteers will help deploy insect traps, primarily at night, and use lights attract insects and collect various data or photographs.

What you'll be doing

  • Setting up equipment

  • Identifying species

  • Recording data

  • Looking for invasive species

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Visual survey

Visual Surveys

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

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

What you'll be doing

  • Monitoring behaviour of species

  • Monitoring breeding status

  • Checking for signs of disease

  • Learning about behaviour of animals

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