How to Volunteer in Botswana

There are so many amazing programs available and it’s not every day that you get to live and help in a country that is awash with exotic wildlife and natural beauty.

Many people that participate are forever changed by their experience - not only because you get to take part in inspiring projects that help, but because you are able to soak up the lifestyle, culture and environment that you are in.

A lot of projects are operated in the capital Gaborone and the Northern Tuli Game Reserve and allow you to give back and really make a difference. So no matter what your experience in the past and what you want to do in the future there is always an excuse to get out to sunny Botswana and take part in a life changing experience. 


Free Volunteer Opportunities in Botswana 

Search the featured organisations listed on our directory and find low cost and free volunteer programs in Botswana. Apply today for a life changing experience today.


Conservation & Animal Volunteer Projects in Botswana

Apply to join projects where you can help wildlife and the environment. Working with animals like elephants and leopards and keeping them safe from poachers is a magical experience. You can partake in hands-on conservation in the African wilderness. Days are spent out in vehicles or on foot tracking and monitoring the area's amazing wildlife, and evenings in true bush style, by a camp fire under the star-lit sky in a wonderful, rustic river-side camp.

These projects offer a truly rustic African experience. Based in the Northern Tuli Game Reserve, bordering the great Limpopo River in the eastern part of Botswana, and home to more than 1800 elephants, the isolated location and sheer size of the area means little is known about the wildlife within. You will get the opportunity to study wild animals in this wilderness environment including eland, zebra, giraffe, wildebeest, kudu, impala as well as the predator population of lion, leopard, cheetah, wild dog and spotted and brown hyena and to collate scientific data to be used in other research projects in Africa and beyond. 

Expect a really hands-on experience, during this experience you will be given practical instruction in wildlife tracking, animal behaviour, bird and plant identification and astronomy and will spend their days out in vehicles or foot tracking and monitoring the amazing African wildlife in this area. Projects are also actively involved with local schools and operates week camps for the local children, helping them to develop an interest in conserving these fragile ecosystems in the future.

Some volunteering projects focus on two main areas: elephant behaviour and predator activity. Days are planned by the project co-ordinator and volunteers may venture out on foot or in the game viewer vehicle to track and observe the animals and collect data on them as well as on birds, vegetation and tree population and growth to meet specific project needs. Volunteers will learn bush skills such as identifying animals and birds by their behaviour, plant identification and tracking.

Telemetry is used to locate the lions, leopard and wild dog and provides excellent viewing opportunities. Volunteers may also get the opportunity for bush sleep-outs - what an experience! The data collected is added to the camp database, which is shared with ongoing research projects to further knowledge of the wilderness areas and the animals. You might also like to view our volunteer programs in South Africa for more options.

"I joined a wildlife conservation program helping elephants and baobas in in Botswana with Projects Abroad. I loved every minute of the trip and found the whole experience really exciting especially being able to contribute to conservation. I would really recommend this project to anyone, just apply!" - Martina, Italy


Community Volunteering Projects in Botswana

Botswana has a lot of people infected with HIV and Aids, many children have been left without parents and orphanages are run to house the young population. Children often live in really harsh conditions and you can do a bit to help if building projects don't interest you. Many orphanages and community development initiatives in Botswana are really understaffed and could do with skilled and un-skilled volunteers to help with daily activities and teaching programs.

You could work with children in a small rural town like Maun where you will be able to certainly see and experience more than just your average holiday experience. There are various teaching placements to apply for, education standards in this destination are not high and you could work with local teachers improving children's English or helping with fun games. There are also various conservation initivies available where you can help, track, monitor and help animals living in the wild.

Every project is different but if you are working on a wildlife or community program this is what to expect:

  • Volunteers usually wake and meet at around 8am 
  • From 8.30 hrs volunteers do a bush walk 
  • At 9.00 hrs you have breakfast. 
  • Teaching lessons start from 9.30 hrs till 12.00 hrs. 
  • Then you have lunch and everyone is off till 2 o'clock. 
  • At 2.00 hrs the lessons start again and will go on until 4.30 hrs.
  • At 4.30 hrs volunteers feed animals again  
  • Dinner is around 7 o'clock at night. 

All volunteers usually work 5 days a week, from 7-8h in the morning until dinner time with a break at lunch time, when you will be able to enjoy the swimming pool. You will have time off on Friday afternoon, Saturday and Sunday and will be able to take this opportunity to visit the surroundings. A trip to town is organised every Saturday and volunteers will enjoy meeting up with the local community. 



On wildlife and conservation projects dedicated volunteer camps are set up by the riverbed consists of rustic huts (shared, single-sex) with communal outdoor bathrooms and a central kitchen/dining area. There is usuall a separate braai (barbecue) area to make a fire each evening.  Power, lighting and hot water is available.

Camp are generaly unfenced and in the heart of the wilderness so different wildlife visits the camp on a regular basis. It may also be possible to spend time at a tented safari camp (also unfenced) at the floodplain of the Limpopo River. All tents have two single beds, fans and both electric and hurricane lamps. On community projects you will usuall stay with other participants in shared housing. 



To be eligible most projects will require you to be aged 18 and over but there are special summer taster 2 week volunteer trips available for teenagers aged 16 and 17. You will need to be able to speak basic English to communicate with local staff and also be outgoing, adaptable and be able to fit into a new schedule. Only medical placements working directly with people will require you to have specific skills / experience. 


How to Apply

Some programs will require you to pay a fee to participate, this usually form part of a structured package which includes:

  • Return transfers to and from the airport
  • Accommodation and Food
  • All transportation and equipment required to carry out project work
  • Support and guidance from the project management team
  • Orientation on arrival

There are some free / low cost volunteer opportunities in Botswana, you will need to be independent and apply to local NGO's. Sometimes you will need to give a donation which goes to the running of local projects which usually have no funding especially when it comes to working with animals, charities and wildlife organisations rely on donations/fees to pay staff and keep projects running. 

You might also like to view our guide to volunteering in Africa.