AFRICAN BIG 5 & WILDLIFE CONSERVATION
Join our field guides and wildlife conservation research team in the most beautiful game reserves in the Greater Kruger Area for the ultimate African safari and encounters with Africa’s iconic ‘Big 5’.
This volunteer program is ideal for wildlife lovers, nature enthusiasts, and aspiring conservationists or zoologists.
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.
The whole area comprises almost 5.5 million acres of unfenced land where animals roam freely across wild savannah. The Greater Kruger Area is a major hotspot for wildlife conservation and offers endless opportunities for wildlife encounters with iconic animals such as elephants, lions, rhinos, and wild dogs. Many of these animals are endangered or vulnerable.
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.
2 cooked meals a day and a help-yourself breakfast
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.
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.
PROJECT IMPACT AREAS
Wildlife Research Game Drives
Venture into the bush on daily game drives in search of the Big 5 and other iconic African wildlife. You will monitor animals and collect vital data. Your observations are essential for providing critical information that will influence wildlife conservation strategies that protect endangered and vulnerable wildlife.
These game drives will also give you a chance to experience the wonders of the African bush and go on safaris in the most beautiful reserves in Africa.
Physical conservation work is a vital part of wildlife conservation (and a lot more fun than you would think it would be), so you will have plenty of opportunities to get your hands dirty.
Whether you assist in getting rid of snares or removing invasive species, the work you do is key to the survival of wildlife and the success of wildlife conservation in the area. It transforms the land back into a healthy habitat where wildlife can flourish.
You don’t have to be particularly fit for this kind of work – we have a role for everyone.
Research & Analysis
You will work alongside our wildlife conservation research team to compile data into reports, maps, and up to date profiles (ID kits). Some of the techniques you will learn about include analyzing whisker patterns, scars, and ear notches to understand and distinguish individual animals.
These research sessions will teach you about data collection and compilation techniques that are used to influence wildlife conservation strategies. Conservationists and field guides can use this data to monitor the movements and health of wildlife for years to come.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Volunteer in South Africa: Big 5
Big 5 volunteer role: What will I be doing?
Joining our Big 5 and Wildlife Conservation volunteer project in South Africa is the adventure of a lifetime. You'll spend your days immersed in the stunning Greater Kruger Area, conducting valuable research on the iconic African Big 5 and other incredible wildlife. Venturing out on regular game drives, your analysis of these creatures' health, behaviour, and populations will inform conservation strategies in the park, ensuring wildlife in South Africa are protected in the best possible way.
Where will I be volunteering?
You'll be volunteering in South Africa's Greater Kruger Area, a sprawling expanse of over 20 private game reserves. Sharing a fenceless border with the Kruger National Park, The Greater Kruger Area hosts the same iconic beauty and African wildlife that the neighbouring national park is world-renowned for, but without the crowds. On this volunteer conservation project, you'll be swept away in the exclusive and unforgettable wildlife encounters that only lucky travellers in the area get to experience.
What are the Big 5 in South Africa?
The Big 5 makes up some of the most stunning and iconic wildlife of South Africa. They are the African elephant, lion, buffalo, leopard, and rhinoceros.
Why should I choose to volunteer in South Africa?
If you're searching for a volunteer conservation project that allows you to get lost in the magic of South Africa, look no further. One of our most popular volunteer projects, joining us in the Greater Kruger Area, is an unmatched opportunity to experience the wild side of South Africa while making sustainable, measurable impacts for local wildlife and communities.
What are the benefits of volunteering in South Africa?
There are simply too many to list! We can't cover them all in this short space, but we can promise you the following: - You'll walk away from your volunteer experience in South Africa as a transformed individual, with adventures and memories to last a lifetime. - Joining a volunteer conservation project in Africa is a great CV booster, regardless of if you are going into an ecology-related field or something completely different. - Lastly, you'll be making real, tangible impacts on the protection of endangered and vulnerable African wildlife, which is, perhaps, the greatest benefit of all.
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.
After the day’s excitement, you can relax beside the pool, have a drink at the bar, watch a movie, or enjoy a games night with the other interns and volunteers. We often have presentations by guides and staff members, which is a great way to learn more about the African environment and its inhabitants. You can also get involved in fundraising events such as games and quiz nights. Dinners on our viewing deck are a highlight at Olifant's River Camp. As are the marshmallow roasting get togethers around the fire!
Once you have submitted your application, a Destination Specialist will be in-touch to discuss the project with you.