Zululand Wildlife Conservation

Company : The Great Projects
Activities: Animal Volunteer Projects / Conservation Volunteer Projects / Expeditions / Safari Tours
Country: South Africa
Location : Zululand
Duration: 2 weeks to 2 months
Approx Costs: 1000 to 3000+ £ Pound (UK)

Help research rhino, elephant, cheetah and wild dog on South African game reserves.

This project provides the perfect opportunity for volunteers to assist in the vital conservation efforts of a number of endangered species, which includes the highly endangered black rhino, as well as a chance to view an unmatched diversity of South African wildlife.

Participants will work closely with wildlife monitors at some of the top game-reserves in the country, where they will track and observe all manner of endangered species. The project currently focuses on three significant species; the African wild dog, cheetah and critically endangered black rhinoceros, but do also monitor the populations of elephant, white rhino, lion, hyena, buffalo, and leopard within the reserves (though this takes place on a more ad hoc basis).

Volunteers on this project operate in small teams, usually with a maximum of 4 to each reserve, which helps to develop intimate relationships with monitors, in order to gain a true conservation experience. It is the only wildlife volunteer programme in Africa which is supported by and works with high profile conservation organisations including WWF, Wildlands Conservation Trust and Endangered Wildlife Trust.


Getting There

We recommend arriving into Richards Bay the night before your project begins as otherwise you will need to arrive on the day before 7.30am. If arriving the day before you will need to stay in a B&B near the airport and then return to the airport for a 12pm meeting and transfer with the project coordinator. 



Day 1
If you have arrived into Richards Bay the day before the project starts then today you will make your way back to the airport for a 12pm pick up and transfer to the project site. Once settled in, volunteers will then spend the afternoon taking a tour of the site - keeping their eyes peeled for the Big Five of course - and meeting fellow volunteers also present on the project.

Day 2-14
Leave camp at sunrise (seated on the back of the open 4x4 tracking vehicle) to locate the endangered species that the radio telemetry equipment records from the collars which are fitted onto the priority species animals. Once observed, you will record the data from these animals. You will then return to camp to relax and have lunch. You will then head out again on the vehicle between 2-3pm to follow up on those animals that were not located in the morning. Arrive back at camp shortly after sunset, prepare supper and sit around the fire listening to the sounds of the bush (including hyenas)! At least one day a week is set aside for administrative work (data capture and analysis). This information is supplied to the local conservation authority, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, as well as well-known organisations including the WWF, the Black Rhino Range Expansion Project, Wildlands Conservation Trust, the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) and the KZN Wild Dog Management Group.

Day 15
Sadly, today is your last day and you will transfer back to airport for your return flight home or will commence your onward independent travel plans. For those who have booked for a longer time, you will rotate to the next reserve for the next two weeks work.


Project Activities

On this project you will get the chance to take part in a wide variety of exciting activities. Below are examples of some of those included in this project.

Wildlife Monitoring and Tracking
Volunteers work side by side with professional wildlife monitors, assisting them with all monitoring activities. As one of only five team members, each volunteer is part of an agile and efficient team.

work will include daily tracking and locating of priority wildlife species (including black rhino, wild dogs and leopard) from an open 4x4 vehicle via radio telemetry.

Data Collecting
All volunteers are taught how to use the radio telemetry equipment as sightings will have to be mapped the using GPS equipment. Volunteers will also need to record behavioural and feeding patterns for research purposes along with vulture-counts and nest surveys. Depending on the time of year, you will also be able to assist on game counts.

Wildlife Photography
Volunteers are also asked to photograph the animals and where necessary create identikits for reintroduced/relocated animals. Also camera traps must be set up at watering holes and game trails to help with data collecting and observing animals in specific areas.

Time Dependent Activities
Depending on how long a volunteer works at the project, and the time of year, the following activities may also be a part of your volunteer programme: radio collaring of animals, notching (identity marking) of animals such as the critically endangered black rhino and the relocation or re-introduction of endangered species.

Night Tracking
At least one night a week will be dedicated to night tracking excursions, where volunteers will have the opportunity to spot leopards, spotted hyenas, and some of the bushveld's more elusive creatures. Keep your eyes (and ears) peeled! Notching Occasionally, volunteers will also be able to help with 'notching' - or identity marking - priority species including the critically endangered black rhino.

Start Dates

Start and end dates are every second Monday. Please enquire for dates.

Costs / Benefits

14 nights from £1,195

What's included in the price of the project?
• A monetary contribution to the project itself
• Transfers to and from the airport
• Full orientation and support from the project managers
• Accommodation and meals as indicated

What's not included?
• Any flights
• Travel insurance to include cover for repatriation (we can provide this for you at a cost of £16.49 per week. Please contact us for more details).
• Visas if required
• Wines and spirits
• Trips undertaken other than in the planned itinerary


This project does not involve a large amount of manual work, mainly data collection and tracking. However, there are regular walks during the programme, in order to track species and so a moderate level of fitness is necessary. No specific skills or experience are required, only a positive attitude and full commitment to the cause. You must be prepared to work as part of a team.

Booking / Enquiry

Booking Enquiry

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