Gap Year Conservation: Volunteer with elephants in South Africa

Company : Oyster Worldwide
Activities: Career Break / Animal Volunteer Projects / Conservation Volunteer Projects
Country: South Africa
Location : Plettenberg Bay, South Africa
Duration: 3 weeks to 3 months
Approx Costs: 1000 to 3000+ £ Pound (UK)

Ever fancied really getting to know the gentle giants that roam South Africa's plains? Get up close and personal with African elephants as a volunteer in a stunning park along the popular Garden Route.

Join a team of committed conservationists at an elephant park in South Africa, home to a family of twelve resident elephants. The elephants roam freely and safely in the extensive park, recovering from any stress or trauma that their previous lives dealt them.

The park was established in 1994 to offer a safe environment to elephants that were victim to human cruelty. These gentle giants live in a controlled free range environment. The elephants walk in the fields as they do in the wild but are under the constant eye of experienced guides as they are living amongst humans. They are never asked to perform tricks or behave in a manner that is not natural to them.

The great thing about this project is that it gets you close to the elephants in a way that you would never be able to experience on safari. You will get to know them and, incredibly, find that they also get to know and trust you as well. It is perfect for anyone who has a passion for these magnificent animals and wants to help safeguard their future.

 

What will I be doing?

You will immediately become an important member of the team, helping to prepare the elephants food, feeding the baby elephants, assisting with vet care and helping with maintenance around the park. Research and educational tours are another essential volunteer task. You will help to raise awareness amongst the general public of the issues elephant populations are facing from the threat of poaching and loss of habitat. The research involves working with elephants first hand to examine the relationship between them and humans. You will inevitably form a very real bond with these incredible creatures.

 

What can I do in my free time?

Your accommodation is right at the heart of the park which is situated about 15 minutes drive from Plettenberg Bay on South Africa's scenic Garden Route. Plettenberg Bay is a popular tourist resort based with excellent beaches, restaurants and nightlife.

 

Start Dates

All year round

Costs / Benefits

3 weeks = £1289 (excluding flights)
Additional weeks = £259 p/w

Full support is provided throughout and accommodation is included at the elephant park.

Booking / Enquiry

Apply Online Visit Website

Oyster Worldwide Gap Year Conservation: Volunteer with elephants in South Africa Reviews

Beautiful Elephants

It's hard to put into words but this has been the most wonderful experience of my life and has been life changing for me. It gives you a great sense of achievement knowing you have made an impact in some small way, gaining knowledge, gaining confidence. Be prepared to work hard, listen to people, respect all the staff, don't expect glamour just be yourself, immerse yourself in the knowledge that's passed on to you, be reliable, enjoy the experience. I wish I could have stayed longer as its very hard to live a normal life this whole experience has brought me peace within myself and was a dream come true.

By: Linda
Nationality: UK
Age: 48

I volunteered with Elephants in South Africa

The placement is very true to what is described on the website. The park, staff and guides are amazing and the bunkhouse accommodation exceeded expectations.

There's no better feeling that working alongside the most amazing animals in the world. It is a chance to experience the best of South Africa and make friends from all across the world, with the peace of mind that you are contributing to a unique and vital research project.
If you go with an open mind, a willingness to learn and a love of the outdoors you will have the time of your life. Make the most of spending time with the guides - they can teach you so much. The longer you can stay, the better.

Thanks so much Oyster Worldwide for all your help!!

By: Janie
Nationality: UK
Age: 22

South Africa and working with Elephants

It is such an unbelievable experience that allows you to see up close how these elephants have been rescued and trained using positive reinforcement. This is a perfect experience for anyone who loves elephants as you work so closely into researching them.
Definitely go for a month or more as this goes so quickly! Especially with the first week being training so those going for two weeks really regretted not going for longer. Also, you do not need to pack as many clothes as you may think! You get given a top and coat as uniform from the team which you wear everyday you work! Lastly, plan your weekends because they go so quickly and there is so much to do. Especially skydiving, visiting the markets and all the other animal sanctuary's in the area which are either free or offer discounts due to being a volunteer.

By: Alex
Nationality: UK
Age: 19

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