Volunteer on a Big Five Game Reserve in South Africa

Limpopo, South Africa Wildlife & Environmental Conservation

Program

Description

Travel to a private Big Five game reserve in South Africa and volunteer alongside an international team assisting in vital conservation work. Learn to track animals through the bushveld, study their behavior and get acquainted with charismatic game species such as lion, leopard, elephant and rhino.

Witness nature in its simplest form, from watching a lion take down its prey or newborn cheetah cubs playing, to a stand-off between two elephants. In the African bush you can never tell what you will find just around the corner...

Travel to the home of the Big Five in the South African bush, assisting our team's important conservation research.

This project gives you a real and unfiltered look into Africa's incredible iconic wildlife. But unlike a tourist safari, you play an active and meaningful role in the research and long term conservation of South Africa's natural resources in this stunning region of the world.

You will volunteer alongside an international team to collect vital behavioural data on reintroduced predators and large herbivores on a private game reserve. In order to assist with this vital conservation work you will be trained to use research equipment to help locate predators in the reserve and you will receive invaluable training in large animal identification, tracking and behavioural study skills.

No special skills or qualifications are required to join this program, as all training will be provided by our fully qualified field teams. All we ask is an enthusiasm to learn and become fully involved and immersed in this unique opportunity.

Please note, this program offers durations up to 24 weeks. Speak to your Country Expert for more details of extending your stay in-country.

Highlights Include:

– Experiencing a unique African bush adventure at the heart of a spectacular game reserve.

– Be woken by a dawn chorus and sent to sleep by the roar of lions.

– Mastering radio telemetry techniques and learning to track animals through the bush.

– Getting acquainted with big game and all the main predators, including lion, cheetah, leopard, elephant and rhino.

– Exploring nearby regions to experience such breathtaking views as from the Blyde River Canyon in the Drakensberg Mountains.

– Living and working alongside FGASA qualified South African Guides getting constant learning and inspiration.

– Having the chance to sleep out in the bush under the spectacular African stars and wake up to a beautiful sunrise.

Volunteer in Limpopo

Our hub here is host to some of the most remarkable wildlife, landscapes and conservation opportunities South Africa has to offer, making volunteering abroad here a spectacular event.The province of Limpopo offers every imaginable setting, from the towering Drakensberg mountains and the famous Kruger National Park in the lowveld to the oldest Big 5 game reserve in South Africa. Volunteering here is a truly unforgettable experience.

Impact

How this project makes a difference

GVI spends up to 12 hours a day collecting data on large predators such as lions, leopards and cheetah. The information gathered is used to give an accurate picture of the predators impact on prey populations, determine social structure, genetics, and spatial movement. This vital information helps maintain a healthy balance of these natural resources and ultimately conserve some of Africa’s important ecosystems.

By our research teams normally bring the first to locate the focus animals we monitor, we are able to call in their locations to the commercial safari guides at the nearby lodges. By improving the quality of wildlife viewing for the tourists, we help to ensure that the lodges remain competitive in an already saturated market. This in turn this contributes to the sustainability of the reserve by bringing in the much-needed capital to keep it up and running.

Limpopo's short, mid, and long-term objectives

All of our programs have short, mid and long-term objectives that fit with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. This enables us to report on our collaborative impact across the world in a streamlined manner, measuring which UN SDGs we are making a substantial contribution to. Furthermore, this will help our local partners and communities measure and visualize their contribution to the UN SDGs.

 

Upon arrival to base, you will be educated about the history of the UN SDGs. You will learn about the specific goals of your location, the long-, mid- and short-term objectives, and also clarification of how your personal, shorter-term involvement contributes to these goals on a global level.

Our aim is to educate you on local and global issues, so that you continue to act as active global citizens after your program, helping to fulfill our mission of building a global network of people united by their passion to make a difference.

Learn about the long-term objectives you will be contributing to in Limpopo:

1. To provide long term and consistant data for Karongwe Reserve Management to assist with Reserve Management decisions based on scientific data

2. Increase local awareness of GVI's purpose and impact on Karongwe PGR

3. Increase scientific output

4. Contribute to three large scale reserve management projects alongside the Warden in accordance with the Reserve's Management Plan

5. Increase our in-country capacity by providing environmental and conservation education and training

6. Increase our in-country capacity through community upliftment projects

Field conditions

So what does Life on the Project actually involve? See below for an idea of what to expect on a day to day basis…

A typical day involves spending time out in the reserve tracking the wildlife and conducting research from the game vehicles. This usually happens during the cooler weather at dawn and dusk when the wildlife is more active. Most of the research is on predators such as lions, leopards, cheetahs and hyena but we also monitor other wildlife, including elephants. There is a daily schedule and if not assisting on game drives then you may be working on data entry or helping with camp and cooking duties.

We can spend up to 12 hours a day collecting data, so you should expect some long days. All this will do is develop a baseline and holistic understanding of all aspects of the bush.

Another aspect is our community work, where you will be expected to participate in educational days with local communities, highlighting the importance of conservation.

Arrival and orientation

Before getting fully involved in the inner workings of our research, you will undergo training that will cover how to carry out extensive radio tracking and monitoring of all the collared predators on the reserve, all while learning a variety of new skills, including mammal and bird identification, ecology and bush first aid. This training will allow you to effectively contribute to the overall program, as you get to know animals on the reserve individually and following their progress and monitor behaviour.

Your stay

Accommodation

  • HousingVolunteer house

  • Provided mealsBreakfast, dinner

Accommodation description

Camp is basic but comfortable, the old fashioned African way. Situated deep within the game reserves, you will be in dormitory-style sleeping arrangements, with shared bathrooms, a kitchen and outdoor social areas.

Location

Volunteers will be staying in a camp that is furnished with sleeping arrangements, bathrooms, and a kitchen.

Cost

from $1195 USDper week

from $1195 USDper week

Costs...

What’s included

  • Wildlife identification techniques

  • Welcome meeting

  • Telemetry training as relevant

  • Safe and basic accommodations (usually shared)

  • Reserve fees and permits

  • Research training

  • Meals while on project (except on work placements for long term internships)

  • Long term experienced staff

  • Location orientation

  • First aid & cpr training

  • All necessary project training by experienced staff

  • All necessary project equipment and materials

  • Airport pick-up (unless otherwise stated)

  • Access to alumni services and discounts

  • 24-hour in-country support

  • 24-hour emergency phone

What’s not included

  • Visa costs

  • Police or background check (where necessary)

  • Personal kit

  • Medical and travel insurance

  • International and domestic airport taxes

  • Flights

  • Extra local excursions

  • Airport and reserve transfers

  • Additional drinks and gratuities

Start dates

Select Saturdays Year Round

Founded in 1997, Global Vision International (GVI) is an award-winning organization that provides volunteer and internship opportunities in Africa, Asia, Australasia, Europe, Latin America, and North America. GVI has sent more than 25,000 volunteers overseas on programs ranging from construction, to animal care, to education, and beyond with 95% of past volunteers stating they would want to travel again with them again.

GVI has been featured by National Geographic, CNN, the Daily Telegraph, and the BBC. Their university partners include Duke University, Stanford University, Northeastern University, and Ohio State University.

Since 1998, GVI has been running multiple-award winning, high quality and high impact conservation and community development programs worldwide. At the core of who we are and what we have managed to achieve is of our team of passionate individuals.

We are committed to our mission of making a difference because we believe in what we do and have seen the impact we make in the field first-hand. With most of our staff having started out as GVI volunteers themselves, they have confidence in our projects and are dedicated to ensuring you have the same amazing experience that they did.

Partners

All our projects are directed by our local partners and we ensure all rights and credits stay in the country.

Through our various partnerships with prolific organisations such as Save the Children, The Red Cross, WWF, SANParks and The Jane Goodall Institute, to smaller community based organisations on the ground, we are able to provide quality programs that provide aid when and where it is needed the most. So you can be assured that our projects are legitimate and are making a difference.

Impact

GVI supplies funding and manpower to multiple grassroots initiatives in developing countries all over the world.

Some of our biggest achievements to date have been awarding over 3,865 education scholarships; providing support to over 380 organizations worldwide; investing over 35,000,000 USD in our projects and running over 900 environmental sustainability initiatives in over 350 locations, including over 100 protected areas covering more than 12 million hectares.

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