The Endangered Species Project allows you to participate in the monitoring of some of Africa’s most endangered species.
This project is ideal if you want to truly experience the wild side of Africa. The bush camp is based in a Limpopo game reserve which is home to the ‘Big 5’. This means you will get to encounter, and live among, elephants, lions, rhino, leopards and buffalo while working with this project. You will be taught basic bush survival skills and how to navigate your way through the African bush. During your stay, your days will be spent mostly on foot walking through the reserve, learning how to track the animals. You will be approaching endangered species on foot and recording their behaviour, location and condition. The collected information is then used by the reserve management and anti-poaching teams, as well as national conservation efforts to help save these endangered species. Furthermore, you will take part in vehicle-based monitoring to see the amazing Big 5, as well as habitat work to help with the monitoring process.
Details about the project
Upon arrival you will be collected from the airport and driven to your accommodation for the orientation. Once the orientation is complete you will be transferred to your project location.
Details about the project
Endangered Species project details
- Arrival Day – Saturday
- Time – Your flight can land anytime on Saturday
- Airport – O R Tambo (JNB) International Airport
- Orientation – Saturday – Sunday
- Project Starts – Monday. You will travel by shuttle to the project site in Hoedspruit. Alternatively, you may fly JNB – HDS in order to skip the shuttle (at your own expense).
- Departure Day – Monday
- Departure Time – You must take a late evening flight out of JNB as the shuttle will only arrive back to JNB at approximately 18h00. Alternatively, you may fly HDS – JNB should you wish to skip the shuttle (at your own expense).
- Min Duration – 2 weeks (including 2 day Orientation)
- Min Age: 18
- Max Age: N/A – Medium level of fitness
NOTE: You can also be collected at any hotel or place of accommodation on your arrival day, should it be within close radius of the city center or airport
Volunteer tasks are focused on monitoring, which forms the basis for the majority of the research assistance on the game reserve. Monitoring drives are conducted in the mornings and afternoons. The monitoring coincides with times of increased activity of the specific animals that are being observed. Time is also spent on foot tracking the more elusive animals, which is an amazing way to experience the bush. During the drier winter months, several hides visit the water holes which allows you to observe the various animals and their interactions at close quarters. The volunteers will also spend time attending to habitat management requirements on the properties and the greater reserve.
Project start day. Town trip to pick up volunteers and restock on supplies.
TUES – FRI
Mornings will consist of monitoring walks to locate the rhino and cheetah. You will learn how to identify and age their tracks and how to record this information. Once the animals have been located you will monitor their behaviour, environment and interactions in order to better understand them. Meanwhile, you will also learn how to track other big game such as elephant, lion and hyena in order to better understand utilisation of the areas covered. At all times you will also be on the lookout for potential sightings and nest sites of the Southern Ground Hornbill. On return to camp, you will enter the data collected onto the computers. You’ll also get the chance to work through your bush knowledge work books to help improve your tracking skills. During the week there will be a series of talks on the project, data collection, bush skills and maybe even a Zulu lesson! In the afternoons, you will set out on monitoring drives in order to cover more ground to determine new areas to locate rhino, cheetah and Southern Ground Hornbill. Once signs of activity and tracks have been located you will continue on foot to discover more. Whilst driving through the reserve you will also get the chance to see some of the other resident Big 5—elephant, lion and buffalo. On Friday afternoon, your drive will meet up with the research group for a sleep out under the stars. In conjunction with research, all sightings of leopard will also be monitored and recorded – the more eyes the better when trying to monitor this elusive animal!
Either an outing will be planned or it will be a free day for volunteers to relax or head out on their own tour. In between activities, volunteers will receive a series of presentations on the work of the project, or how to approach dangerous game on foot, or possibly even a Zulu lesson. This time will also be used to transfer all data collected onto the computers and compile the weekly research report, as well as helping out with vehicle checks and cleaning
In the morning you will help out with some habitat work, either bush clearing, erosion control, or road maintenance. Upon return from the afternoon monitoring drive, you may head out to the local pub or have a typical South African Braai (BBQ). Sunday is handy day (camera traps, chop some wood). When you have free time, it’s not recommended to stay at the camp because the rangers have their off duty.
Please note that from time to time there can be unavoidable changes to projects. These can be caused by weather, conservation priorities, materials supply, or because ongoing projects have progressed more quickly or slowly than originally planned. We ask you to accept the changes – we are sure that you will enjoy the replacement projects just as much.. This routine is kept as best as possible; however, working with animals requires a flexible schedule. The above outline is subject to change.
- Completed application form
- Basic level of competency in English
- Copy of return flight itinerary
- Medium level of fitness
- Travel Insurance
Your home during your stay will be in an eco-friendly tented camp set amongst the trees which overlooks a water course. There are large, comfortable twin share tents set on raised platforms, ensuring each has its own unique view of the African bush! There are shared ablution facilities with flushing toilets and bush showers. Your evenings will be spent hearing tales from your experienced ranger, listening to the sounds of the bush, before you fall asleep under the African sky