volunteer wildlife experience lion south africa

Long-term wildlife volunteer

Work with endangered species and wildlife vets

Placement summary

Who should join this placement?
Anyone wanting to gain conservation experience, skills and knowledge. You will volunteer with long-term projects focused on habitat restoration and the protection of endangered species such as cheetah, wild dogs and rhino.

Location: 30,000 acre reserve, Waterberg, South Africa
Length: 6 week min. - 3 months max.


Group sizes
Groups are typically made up of 1-7 volunteers, and are led by safari guides and industry experts.


Volunteer role and duties

Life as a volunteer
Work with rural vets and field ecologists. Get involved with conservation projects focused on protecting endangered animals such as rhino, cheetah and wild dogs, all the while exploring the African bush.

Monday to Friday

During weekdays you will be working on various conservation projects. Typically, you'll start the day early and continue working until sundown.

Work on foot with projects such as K9 anti-poaching patrols, or from a safari vehicle during projects where you need to cover more distance.

Weekends and free time

Relax back at camp with the other volunteers, or take part in activities on the reserve or in the local area. On weekends you will also go to town to stock up on supplies.

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The Waterberg

This beautiful region is known for its river systems and mountain escarpments, that overlook rolling savannahs teeming with a variety of wildlife.

What you'll be doing:
  • Cheetah radio collar tracking

  • K9 anti-poaching patrols

  • Bush walks

  • Wild dog population monitoring

  • Safari drives

  • Track and sign

  • Vet work with animals

  • Transporting and moving wildlife

  • Habitat management

Join any time

Placements are available throughout the year. Please contact us to arrange your dates.

Long-term placements

6 weeks


12 weeks

Join from a minimum of 6 weeks and stay up to 12 weeks.

What is included? 

We have taken care of all the details so you can focus on the adventure of a lifetime!

The placement includes:

  • Airport transfers to and from the reserve

  • Accommodation during your stay

  • Transportation and guides for all confirmed excursions and group activities

  • Food and drink (excluding any personal extras)

  • Entry for any visits to external sites

  • All itinerary/activity equipment is provided

  • Wi-fi access

  • Conservation projects and activities

  • Meet and greet event in the UK

  • Fellow volunteer contact list, to be sent out prior to departure

  • 24-hour emergency onsite support

  • 100% financial security with your booking

What is not included?

Please note, we do not book, manage or coordinate the following:

  • Flights

  • Travel insurance

  • Visa and Immigration requirements

  • Vaccinations and health screening/checks

  • Personal travel insurance

  • Optional activities (any booked during your stay)

  • Must be above 18

  • Must have valid travel insurance

  • Must have booked return flights

  • Must organise any relevant travel and immigration documents

  • Must undergo any relevant medical checks and vaccinations

These are your personal responsibility and proof that all requirements have been met must be sent ahead of your arrival.

What you can expect
K9 anti-poaching patrols
Wildlife reintroduction

Work with the reserve's anti-poaching unit and their specialist dogs that are trained to track poachers through the bush. You will head out on foot, looking for snares and traps to remove, or any other signs of poacher activity.

You will help introduce wildlife onto the reserve. Work with vets on this fantastic contribution to conservation, releasing animals into a new environment and giving species a brighter future.

Safari drives and walks
Wild dog population monitoring

Get up close and personal with Africa’s magnificent wildlife. This will be a life-changing experience. Explore this beautiful reserve via safari viewers and on foot and learn about these incredible animals and their secret stories.

Track and monitor the wild dog population and learn about these endangered animals. Get to know the techniques that ecologists use to protect these animals, working from vehicles with radio collar transceivers or tracking the animals on foot looking for signs of spoor or print.

Big game vet work
Breathtaking landscapes

This varied work depends entirely on the needs of the animals. Help with medical checks, emergency callouts, nursing, feeding and handling wildlife; interact with and help rehabilitate orphaned or injured animals.

Prepare to be amazed by the beauty of the South African sunset, the magical night sky, breathtaking natural landscapes, and the sights and sounds of this unique, wild, exotic continent.

Radio collar tracking
Discover nature

Radio collar tracking and VHF telemetry systems are vital for ecologists to monitor endangered species accurately and ensure that they are healthy. Get to know these invaluable tools and technologies as you search for wild dogs, cheetah and other newly released animals.

Learn about animals big and small, from antelope to zebra; study the local flora and fauna; learn about the behaviour, biology and intriguing relationships in the animal kingdom. Learn to track animals in the wild and take home a new understanding about their complex ecosystems.


Optional activities 

During free days you will have the opportunity to get involved with other activities, both on-site and in the local area beyond the boundaries of the reserve. 

Your own projects

You might be a passionate conservationist or studying a subject related to the environment. Whatever your background, you can work with the reserve staff to implement your own projects.