Conservation and Community Gap Year Program

Quick Facts

South Africa

Hoedspruit Airport

5 February 2023

8 weeks

Impact: Combination Project

$9000

Gap Year participants will support African Impact conservation programs in the Greater Kruger area of South Africa, as well as our community development programs in Cape Town.

There is also plenty of opportunity to travel and explore all that South Africa has to offer.

When it comes to incredible wildlife encounters in South Africa, the Greater Kruger Area is simply unparalleled. Sharing a fenceless border with the iconic Kruger National Park – often considered one of the best game parks for wildlife viewing in Africa – the Greater Kruger Area is a sprawling expanse of over 20 private game reserves. This exclusive region allows you to embark on exhilarating game drives throughout the African bush to experience up-close encounters with some of the area’s most iconic wildlife. Roaming freely from the Kruger National Park, you can expect to see Africa’s big five – lions, leopards, rhinos, buffalo, and elephants – among other stunning wildlife, without the crowds that often fill the neighbouring national park.

The Cape Town part of the Gap Year programme allows you to participate in our community projects, which are developed alongside local communities to ensure the work we do is ethical, responsible, and relevant to the needs of their communities. Our teams live and work alongside these communities, which allows us to offer sustainable and transformative experiences that provide real value where it is most needed.

Project Highlights

Spend your time in the wild, researching Africa’s ‘Big 5’ – Lions, Elephants, Rhinos, Leopards, and Buffalo

Collect information that will influence wildlife conservation by protecting wildlife from threats such as poaching and habitat loss

Offer much needed assistance with removing invasive plant species and going on anti-poaching snare sweeps

On your free weekends, explore the spectacular Blyde River Canyon, go on a safari in the Kruger National Park, or experience the fascinating culture of the people in Eswatini

Experience the real, un-cut Cape Town as a responsible traveler and volunteer daily in the township communities surrounding the city

Give children the opportunity to access one-to-one educational opportunities that would otherwise not exist in severely over-crowded and under-funded facilities

Work alongside local teachers at community pre-schools, empowering them to be better able to educate the children in their care

Take advantage of the once-in-a-lifetime activities this city has to offer, including cage-diving with Great white sharks, whale watching, visiting Nelson Mandela’s prison cell, or snorkeling with seals.

The Destination

The Greater Kruger Area encompasses over 20 private wildlife reserves on the west side of the world-renowned Kruger National Park in South Africa. These private reserves come together to create one big reserve. A significant contribution to wildlife conservation efforts, helping to protect and preserve one of the world’s last remaining wildlife strongholds.

Cape Town is officially one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Framed between oceans and mountains, it’s surrounded by incredible natural beauty, with Table Mountain, one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, an absolute highlight. Cape Town is also a place of huge diversity, lively cultures, and a vibrant nightlife. Living here is dynamic and interesting, and weekends will give you a huge variety of exciting activities.

Greater Kruger Area:
Situated on the banks of the Olifants River your home during your time with us will be at a private base camp which is open to the Kruger National Park. You will experience a safari-style camp with everything you need for a comfortable stay, including a swimming pool, viewing deck, WiFi, hot showers, and an outdoor area for star gazing and socializing.

Cape Town:
Volunteers live in a shared volunteer and intern house in Muizenberg, just 3 minutes away from one of the most popular beaches in Cape Town’s South Peninsula. Aside from being one of the best surfing beaches around (ready to get suited up?), it’s an area filled with vibey bars, cafes, and amazing restaurants. Our team of international and local staff members live and work with you, so expect to see and do more than most tourists could ever dream of.

Three delicious meals a day.

At the lodge there is free WiFi to enable you to make contact with home through WhatsApp, Zoom etc. It is also easy to purchase a sim and add data credit to allow you to use your own phone to stay in touch.

Greater Kruger Area:
The project is situated in the Lowveld – a semi–arid region. We are blessed with good weather all year round. Summer season (October to March) can be wet and hot. The hottest months are usually December, January and February. Winter Season (April to September) is dry and sunny. The coolest months being June and July when it does get cold at night and early mornings.

Cape Town:
Cape Town has a Mediterranean-style climate: wet and cool winters, dry and warm summers. The annual average temperature in Cape Town is a delightful 17 degrees celsius. During the months of March, April, May, October, November, and December you are most likely to experience good weather with average temperatures that fall between 20 degrees Celsius (68°F) and 25 degrees Celsius (77°F). The months of June, July, and August have a high chance of rain. Cape Town has dry periods in January, February, November, and December. The warmest month is January with an average maximum temperature of 26°C (78°F). The coldest month is August with an average maximum temperature of 17°C (62°F).

Project Impact Areas

wildlife conservation interns in Greater Kruger Area

ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY

Across Africa, wildlife is under intense threat. Negative interactions with humans and environmental dangers like climate change have put South Africa’s impressive species in a precarious situation, with many at risk of extinction within the century. From the Black Rhino to the African Elephant, Africa’s iconic wild residents could face devastating consequences if we do not act now. When you join our wildlife conservation efforts in South Africa, you will work to support sustainable conservation efforts that put the lives of African wildlife and communities first. Embarking on game drives into the heart of the African bush, your work will focus on conducting valuable field research on the local wildlife’s health, behaviour, and populations. This research will be integral to informing conservation decisions in the area, ensuring long-term wildlife preservation aims across the Greater Kruger Area are met in the best way possible. Your teams could be involved in one of the following conservation programs.

DATA COLLECTION AND RESEARCH

Our data collection programmes take you on game drives into the heart of Africa’s landscapes, where you will have unforgettable encounters with African animals and wildlife. Here, you will record essential data on their health, migration patterns and behaviours. Working with our research team, you will add your observations to databases that are foundational to informing sustainable conservation efforts.

On our projects there are always plenty of rewarding opportunities to practice physical wildlife conservation techniques. These modest conservation tasks, such as removing invasive species, significantly improve wildlife habitats and support healthy populations.

environmental-conservation-ecobricking-volunteer-zambia

COMMUNITY EDUCATION

Our wildlife conservation programmes often include opportunities to participate in community education campaigns. Through these programmes, volunteers will collaborate with locals to raise awareness of the importance of wildlife conservation.

teaching volunteer in africa

COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT

We partner with pre-schools caring for children between the ages of 6 months and 7 years. These schools offer children from disadvantaged backgrounds an invaluable head start to their education and future, with a specific emphasis on helping them to prepare for their next step to primary school.

Unfortunately, understaffed and lacking in essential resources, these schools struggle to meet the needs of the children. Students help the classes come alive, assisting teachers with lesson planning, and making real progress for the next step to enter school.
At an after-school care program set up to provide a safe space for children in the vulnerable hours after school finishes, students can help to plan and implement fun and educational games. These always have an emphasis on developing important life skills, such as teamwork and leadership.

Groups will rotate through activities, so may also be involved in providing homework support, craft-making, gardening, or holding a reading session. Your input and ideas are always welcomed as new inspiration, so this is the perfect place to share any unique skills and ideas you have.

Recent Reviews

Other Activities

With the world-famous Kruger National Park right on our doorstep, going on safari will be at the top of your list of things to do during your stay in South Africa. It is the largest game reserve in South Africa, and by far, the best.

Mountains, savannahs, rivers, and tropical forests make up the landscape of Kruger National Park. The Big 5 – lion, leopard, rhino, elephant, buffalo – are the most well-known residents. But hundreds of other animals call the Kruger National Park home, so keep your camera ready!

The Panorama Route is a must-do during your time in South Africa. A weekend road trip along the Panorama Route gives you a chance to explore its wonders, including the spectacular Blyde River Canyon. It is the third-largest canyon on Earth. Two of the best ways to experience the canyon is on a white river rafting trip or microlight flight. If you prefer to keep your feet on the ground, Three Rondavels and God’s Window are the best viewpoints.

Waterfall chasing is another highlight of the Panorama Route. The most impressive waterfalls are Berlin Falls, Lisbon Falls, and Lone Creek Falls.

Cape Town has many iconic sites that make for great photograph opportunities. Take a boat trip to Seal Island, visit the celebrated Robben Island and of stand on top of the world-renowned Table Mountain, reaching it either by foot or cable car. A convenient and fun way to see more of what the city has to offer is to take the Hop-on, Hop-off City Tour bus. You will also have a chance to do some shopping and enjoy fine dining at the V&A Waterfront or at one of the many local food markets.

The famous surfer’s town of Muizenberg, where the volunteer house is based, has a buzzing main street with coffee shops, bars and restaurants, as well as a beautiful beach just a few minutes away. The house is comfortable and a great social gathering place for volunteers and interns – there is always something on the go. It also provides a relaxing environment should you just wish to unwind with a good book or movie in the evenings.

Apply Now

Once you have submitted your application, a Destination Specialist will be in-touch to discuss the project with you.

Step 1
Select your Start Date
5 Feb 2023

STEP 2

Select your Duration
8 weeks $9000

Project Fee Includes

  • Airport pickup and drop-off
  • Shared Accommodation
  • Return flights JHB/Hoedspruit to Cape Town
  • Private daily program transport
  • All meals, except lunches during Adventure Week
  • Group leader and tour guides
  • 24/7 emergency support
  • WiFi

Project Fee Excludes

  • Flights
  • Travel insurance
  • Visa-related costs,
  • Weekend trips or tours not on the itinerary
  • Snacks, soft drinks, gifts, and souvenirs
  • Mandatory contribution of US$25 that is donated to the African Impact Sustainability Fund