The South Africa Wildlife Volunteer programme provides you with the opportunity to be actively involved in the tracking, capture, feeding, protection and monitoring of some awesome animals.
Work as part of a team to achieve the daily goals of a working reserve or conservation programme and after a hard days work, relax with new friends, a cold drink and watch animals come to the watering hole.
We try to keep the application process simple. To register for a project simply complete the online application form and make your deposit payment.
We will liaise with the project to confirm your place (if for any reason the project is full we will look to recommend a similar alternative, if a suitable alternative isn’t available we will provide a full refund)
We will discuss the programme with you by telephone and be on hand to answer any questions during the application process.
Your programme balance is due no less than 6 weeks before your programme start date.
We will provide comprehensive information regarding flights and insurance.
We will put you in contact with any other UK/Irish originating volunteers.
Yes! However, as space on each project is limited we suggest that you apply at the same time. We will do all we can to get you placed together and will discuss availability with you to make sure your needs are met.
There isn’t an upper age limit and we are pleased to accept applicants aged 19 years and above. However, all applicants must be physically fit and able to contribute to the daily tasks on the reserve. The majority of volunteers are likely to be aged 19 – 30 and as accommodation is shared you may be lodging with some younger volunteers. For most this isn’t a problem and they enjoy the youthful energy of their fellow volunteers!
These projects provide volunteer experiences to applicants from around the world. You are likely to be volunteering among a truly international group of like minded people. If there are other UK/Irish volunteers starting a project at the same time we will offer to make email introductions prior to your departure.
There are limited places on each project. They are allocated on a first-come first-served basis based on receipt of your complete online application and deposit. We recommend that you apply early to secure your preferred place.
No, the Deposit is part of the overall Programme Cost. Having made your online application and paid the Deposit, the outstanding balance will be the Programme Cost less Deposit.
It is important that you budget carefully for your trip. When travelling such a long way, you want to be sure you have sufficient spending money to allow for any extras (whale watching trips, bungee jumping, additional safari trips, exploring other parts of South Africa, etc..).
We suggest that you budget for the following:
2 weeks from £995
Return flight from approximately £500
90 days insurance from £130
This is dependent on your individual post volunteer travel plans. As a guide we suggest that you budget approximately £100 for each week you’ll be in South Africa (although you’ll spend very little while at the project).
Police check (only required for Community Group Volunteering programme) £45
Medical/Inoculations: costs vary. Note: anti-malerials can be costly; check with your GP
This is ideal for anyone with a genuine love for animals, wildlife, conservation and the environment. It also appeals to amateur photographers seeking a unique opportunity to practice their wildlife photography skills.
While you will have the chance to monitor and track wild animals, please remember that there will also be less exciting (but equally important) tasks. For example, clearing areas of bush and repairing fences. These are “hands-on” projects and everyone is expected to muck-in and contribute to all of the daily tasks. Team players only please!
In principal, you shouldn’t have to pay to volunteer. However, if you are looking for a structured placement with support before and during your trip then using a support organisation can be extremely valuable. However, the extra services offered cannot be provided without charge.
Your programme cost contributes to many different aspects of arranging this type of experience.
It affords access to our knowledge and expertise. We are on hand to answer any questions you have and to help you prepare for the trip.
A portion of the cost is paid to the project. In most cases, while the project will benefit from your commitment and energy, they will also need to provide an appropriate infrastructure to support your stay. This may include provision for accommodation, staff supervision, meals and kitchen staff. They will redirect some of their resources to make sure that you have an educational and worthwhile experience. In many cases they employ extra staff so that they can provide the volunteer experience. A portion of the costs will contribute toward the running and operation of the reserve or centre.
We choose to work with a local partner organisation so that we can provide you with additional support and resources in-country. They provide meet and greet at the airport, 3-day orientation, transfers to your project and are on-hand throughout your stay to answer any questions or queries that you may have. Part of the cost covers their staffing and office overheads
Finally, there are local overheads: office space, staff, marketing, administration, website management/hosting, etc.
The programme costs includes:
- Help and support during your pre-departure preparations
- Meet and greet at Johannesburg airport and transfer to downtown
- 3 nights backpacker style accommodation in Johannesburg during the arrival orientation
- City tours, training and information sessions
- Transfer from Johannesburg to the placement
- Accommodation at the placement
- Meals at the placement
- Supervision and support
- Transportation within the reserve
- Return to Johannesburg
- Help and support locally for the duration of your time on project
A representative of our partner organisation will meet you at the airport and transfer you to the arrival accommodation. They will explain the itinerary and make sure that you settle in well.
The orientation has been designed to help you become accustomed to your new host country, to learn about cultures, customs and laws; to be introduced to our local partner organisation and support team and to understand how to be safe. It also includes some local tours and social opportunities and is a great way to meet other international volunteers.
During the orientation you will stay in a backpacker hostel in downtown Johannesburg. Rooms are dormitory style with shared bathroom facilities and a communal area. Most meals are provided. The hostel is well located and in close proximity of the local shopping mall.
Your programme is inclusive of domestic travel (normally bus) from Johannesburg to the project location.
Numbers vary but in most cases you can expect to be among 3-6 other volunteers. Your group can be multi-national (including Netherlands, Germany, New Zealand and UK) so you will be part of a very diverse group. We will introduce you to other UK participants who are attending the same project as you.
UK and Irish passport holders are eligible to enter South Africa on a visit of up to 90 days without the need for a visa. You will need a passport valid for at least 30 days from the date that you are due to exit South Africa with 2 blank pages.
On entry to South Africa you may be asked to present any of the following:
- Proof of funds – evidence that you have access to spending money while away (copy of a bank statement)
- Return or onward flight ticket, leaving within 90 days
- Evidence of commitments in the UK. Work or study commitments or statement of intent to return.
During the period of your first 90 days, it is possible to apply for an extension. Alternatively, if you know from the outset that you want to visit for longer you will need a specific entry visa. You can read more about visa options for South Africa on the South African High Commission website.
SAFETY AND RISK
Our Wildlife Conservation projects involve observing and working with wild animals. You will be given very clear guidelines regarding how you should behave when among the animals and if you follow these you will be at minimal risk. However, despite every precaution, these are wild animals and by their nature, they are unpredictable. In applying to this programme you are accepting of these risks and you are agreeing to follow all of the guidelines and instruction given to you.
As with any country, things in South Africa will be different to home (and this is one of the reasons you’ve chosen to travel!). It has a reputation for being a country with high crime statistics and you need to be cautious and exercise common sense when you travel there. However, if you take sensible precautions you can minimise any risk. We will provide comprehensive advice regarding safety and security.
The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office provide comprehensive information relating to trips to South Africa.
Some of the work may be physically demanding (clearing vegetation, building/fixing fences, animal capture). All applicants must be physically fit. Use of hand tools may be required and care must be taken when working with any tools or machinery. Rangers may carry fire-arms to protect against animals. Volunteers are prohibited from any access to or use of fire-arms.
Malaria is prevalent in many parts of South Africa. While there are some exceptions we recommend that you take anti-malarials.
Before starting your trip we recommend that you discuss your travel itinerary with your local GP, Medi-Centre or Travel Clinic. They will be able to give advice regarding any inoculations that you should have.
Equestrian Development and Conservation
The equestrian project is based in the Lowveld of the Limpopo Province of South Africa. It is approximately 430km north east of Pretoria and in close proximity to Kruger National Park.
Volunteers will live in shared chalet accommodation on a neighbouring Big 5 reserve. Each room can accommodate 3 – 5 volunteers and each has its own en suite bathroom. There is a separate kitchen which overlooks a waterhole. The kitchen is fully stocked for self-service breakfast. Lunch and evening meals are prepared for everyone. There is a swimming pool nearby. Internet and laundry facilities are available for a small fee paid locally.
Big 5 Conservation
The Game Reserve is situated in the heart of the Waterberg and the Waterberg Biosphere Reserve. It is a breathtaking destination which is approximately 2.5 hours drive north of Johannesburg.
The project provides permanent, semi-rigid luxury tents for the volunteers to sleep in (on a shared basis). There is a separate block with kitchen, bathroom and communal living area (with internet access) along with lab and research facilities.
Awesome Work and Travel
Established in 2002, Awesome Work & Travel is a South African organisation based in Johannesburg. They coordinate projects in South Africa for international volunteers and offer overseas work experiences to young South Africans. They use a network of international partners help promote the experiences. On the ground, they are responsible for managing the volunteer experience, providing on-going 24/7 support and not least liaising with the projects to ensure that they continue to offer a safe and worthwhile volunteer experience.
If you would like to find out more about these programmes. Please visit the Awesome Work & Travel website: https://www.awesometravel.co.za/inbound-south-africa/