South Africa, Wildlife and Game Reserve Conservation Expedition in KZN

Company : Budget Volunteering
Activities: Animal Volunteer Projects / Conservation Volunteer Projects
Location : KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
Duration: 2 weeks to 6 months
Approx Costs: 1000 to 3000+ £ Pound (UK)

Get involved with exciting, endangered and priority species conservation work in the heart of Africa. You'll work across up to 4 different Game Reserves.

This project is very popular and gets booked up quickly, so we strongly advise early booking!

Work on one, two, three or all four of the Game Reserves, depending on how long your placement is for. You'll gain a wealth of conservation knowledge and experience working under qualified conservation experts and on location out in the bush on a daily basis. You'll experience Africa in a way that no mere tourist can!

You can join the expedition for a minimum of 2 weeks: For every 2 weeks spent on this expedition, you will experience a different game reserve.

  • 2 weeks = you’ll experience 1 reserve.

  • 4 weeks = experience 2 reserves.

  • 6 weeks = 3 reserves. 8 weeks = all 4 reserves.

  • If you come for 4 or 6 weeks you can choose which reserves to join.

The experience you'll gain on this project is varied and fascinating. You'll be the Wildlife Monitor's right hand, assisting with all aspects of their conservation activities. As one of only 4 team members, you form an agile and efficient team, working out in the bush every day:

  • Daily tracking and locating of Priority Species wildlife from an open 4x4 vehicle, via radio telemetry.

  • Mapping the sightings using GPS equipment. You will be taught how to use the equipment.

  • Observing animal behaviour (e.g. Wild Dog pack dynamics) for research purposes.

  • Photographing and creating identity kits for any reintroduced/relocated animals.

  • Periodically setting up camera traps at watering holes and game trails.

  • Assisting with ongoing game counts.

A typical day would look something like this:

Rise with sun and head out (seated on the back of the open 4x4 tracking vehicle) to locate the Endangered Species animals that the wildlife monitor has earmarked for the morning, using radio telemetry equipment that receives radio signal from the collars which are fitted onto the Priority Species animals.

You will usually be back by late morning to prepare some lunch and have a little time to relax, read, have a nap or watch the abundant bird and animal life which occurs around the camp.

You head out again on the vehicle between 2-3pm to follow up on those animals which were not located in the morning, such as Elephant and Rhino.

You should be back in camp shortly after sunset, to start preparing supper and sit around the fire listening to the sounds of the bush and discussing the day’s events. Usually you will be in bed early, but on some nights volunteers may go out to track species like the Hyaena, which are active at night.

At least once a week you will have an afternoon or day set aside for administrative work: (data capture and analysis). Appropriate supervision and instruction will be provided for all elements of your practical experience.

Activities that you could participate in, that occur when the need arises, are:

  • Radio collaring of animals.
  • Notching (identity marking) of animals such as Rhino.
  • Night-time tracking excursions – for example Hyaenas
  • Relocation or re-introduction of Endangered Species.
  • Assisting with feeding and data recording of animals being held in temporary bomas prior to release
  • Vulture counts and nest surveys.
  • Bird ringing & alien plant control

Please note: Activities such as collaring, relocation/ reintroduction, identity marking, snare removal, tranquilisation for treatment, etc., happens throughout the year, strictly as the need arises. While the project does plan and follow basic schedules, the nature of the work being done here dictates that the animals and their environment are our first priority, and therefore our schedules do occasionally have to be altered due to unforeseen circumstances or incidents, as we have little control over the dynamics of wild animals and their environment.

There is always a lot going on here and you will have the opportunity to be a part of a professional conservation team, make a real difference and contribute towards important conservation work and research in Africa!

You can join this project in multiples of 2 weeks (2,4,6 all the way to 12 weeks). If you stay for 2 weeks you will work on one reserve. If you get to stay for 4 weeks you will get to spend time on 2 reserves, 6 weeks, 3 reserves and if you stay for longer you will get the opportunity to join the team on all 4 reserves. Start and end dates are every second Monday.


Each volunteer camp is situated within the Reserves on which we work. The accommodation camp is basic but comfortable, with electricity, running warm water and flushing toilet. A bed, mattress, pillows and bedding are provided for each volunteer, but we ask that you please bring your own towels. Please be aware that you may have to share a room with another volunteer during your stay.

There is a separate shared toilet/shower and kitchen, as well as an outside seating and dining area, and a barbecue area where you can sit by the fire under the stars. (With the absence of artificial light, stargazing at the Reserves is phenomenal!). Some camps are partly fenced but some are not, so you can expect visits from Baboons, Monkeys, Antelope, Bushbabies, Elephant and Hyaena on occasion.

The camp has a communal kitchen where everybody joins in to prepare their meals. Everything you need is provided including an oven, stovetop, microwave, solar cooker, and of course a fire, to cook on. Most of the time volunteers take turns preparing meals, or one person becomes the "chef" and the others help with chopping, peeling and cleaning. Basic food items are provided for within our food budget, enough for 3 healthy meals a day, including fruit. We do provide for vegetarians. 


Start Dates

Starting every second Monday - 2014 dates below:
9 or 23 June
7 or 21 July
4 or 18 August
1, 15 or 29 September
13 or 27 October
10 or 24 November
8 December

Costs / Benefits

Costs vary depending on length of placement, but starts at £1195 for two weeks. You can participate for up to one year, subject to visa requirements.
Included is full support from the moment of booking and throughout your placement to your return home. There are support staff 24/7 in all our destinations worldwide and a 24 hour emergency international telephone line direct to the Head Office. All meals are provided, unless otherwise stated. Accommodation is provided (whether a rented house, a hotel/hostel, homestay, apartment or flat).
You’ll be met at the nearest airport on your arrival by our in-country manager who will take you to your accommodation and give you a full induction into the area. He/she will also be on call 24/7 and you’ll see them frequently.
Pre-departure you’ll receive comprehensive information about every aspect of your placement and necessary preparations, ranging from what to pack, to visa information, to what to do on your weekend travel in the country. Your safety, well being and happiness throughout your placement are our primary concerns and we will keep in touch with you throughout. International flights not included.


No qualifications or previous experience are necessary, just a good dose of enthusiasm! Everyone is welcome on a BVOL programme, whether gap year, undergraduate, on a career break - or even retired! From 17 years old upwards, and all nationalities. This placement would suit anyone who wants to make a real difference, wants first-hand experience of a different culture and has initiative.

Booking / Enquiry

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