Volunteer Abroad FAQ Volunteering South Africa

Wildlife Protection

Prior to departure to South Africa

Do I need specific requirements or abilities to apply for this project?

In order to apply for this project you need to be over 18 and have sufficient English skills to follow the course contents. We need a doctor’s certificate confirming your state of health and physical fitness, since you will undertake long walks in extreme temperatures. Furthermore, you might need a Visa for your volunteering work. Depending on the duration of your stay and your destination the requirements might vary. You might check out the foreign department’s website for the Visa standards or ask the NATUCATE team directly.

What services are included?

Prior to your departure we will support your organization and help you arrange a flight and the transfer to your destination. Accommodation, bedding and blankets, food and transfer during the project are also included.

Do I need certain medical precautions or requirements?

Since there are plenty of poisonous or dangerous insects and animals in South Africa and this course deals with wild animals in general – a certain kind of attentiveness is advisable. You will need a travel insurance to start your volunteering work with NATUCATE. We can provide you with all the necessary information. In general you need to talk to your doctor and make sure you are vaccinated against Morbilli, Mumps and Rubella. We advise you to get vaccinated against Hepatitis A and B, Polio and Tetanus. There is also a mediate risk of Malaria and you might want to get preventive medicine. For current information and warnings regarding your destination you should check out the homepage of the foreign department and inform yourself beforehand about possible risks.

What kind of equipment should I take with me?

You don’t need special clothing for the work, but you should pack outdoor clothes that are without attracting attention. You can expect high temperatures; therefor it is advisable to pack light clothes that cover a lot of skin for the day. For the nighttime longs sleeved shirts and long pants are necessary to protect you from the cooler temperatures and mosquito bites. Furthermore you will need hiking boots, gloves, raining clothes, a headpiece, sunscreen, insect repellent and a water bottle. You should also pack a sleeping bag or additional blankets for the colder nights and towels. Furthermore you need some general camping gear like a headlamp.

Arrival in South Africa

How do I arrive at my destination, do I have to organize it myself?

We will support you during your organization and planning process, but you will have to book the flight on your own. It’s easiest to get a ticket to Johannesburg and get a domestic flight to Richards Bay airport. There you will be picked up for an extra charge of about $100.

What happens after my arrival?

During the project you will stay at the reserve. You will cover distance by foot or by an off-road vehicle.

Durin the project in South Africa

What is the project’s procedure?

Your work is influenced by the daily animal behavior and weather conditions. Your day starts before the sun rises. In the early morning hours the volunteers will monitor endangered animals and document their eating habit and general behavior. Around midday you will have some time off and take a break. In the afternoon you will go on another excursion with the off-road vehicle and explore the African bush to study different animals. When the sun sets you return back to the camp.

What is my main function? Can I choose my tasks and will I be working independently?

You will be actively involved in the conservation and protection of species during the project. One of your main tasks will be monitoring and tracking of endangered animals. You will learn how to identify different animals and read their tracks. You will also deal with data entry and data analysis. You might also be involved in maintaining camera traps. Your task may vary a lot and always depend on the current demand.

How big is the group?

Generally the group consists of five people to ensure high learn quality and sustainable process within the project.

Life on site in South Africa

What is the accommodation like?

The accommodation is basic but comfortable. Most volunteers will share a twin room with separate shared ablutions and a living/eating area at a camp site in Zululand. You will have electricity, running warm water and flushing toilets. You will be provided with a bed, mattress, pillows and bedding. Volunteers will have to keep the camp clean and tidy. There is also an outside seating area where you can sit by the bonfire. There is no fencing around the camp and it is visited from antelopes, monkeys, baboons, bush babies and hyena.

Is it possible to get placed with a partner or friend?

It is possible to get placed with your friend, but always depend on the current booking occupancy. Let us know if you want to get placed with a partner before applying.

Are there any important rules to obey during the project?

During your stay you should never leave the camp, especially not at night. In the the camp it is important to wear head lights at night. You should be aware of the fact that you live in the nature, amongst wild animals, therefore it is essential to follow all the instuctions of your team leader who has a broad knowledge about the surrounding area and its risks.

How is the food provided?

Participants will take turns in cooking and cleaning. All food will be provided for the volunteers. There will be three healthy meals daily including fruits, vegetables and reginal meat. You can buy drinks or use the water at the camp.

Is it possible to receive vegetarian meals?

Yes, it is possible to eat vegetarian during the project. Just let us know about your diet beforehand.

How are working hours and free time divided?

Your day divides into working and free time. Every day has a slightly different schedule. After the project you can start to travel through South Africa or work on another project.

How can I spend my free time?

Usually volunteers don’t leave the camp during the project. You can use your free time at the camp to relax, get in contact with the other volunteers and enjoy the silence of the wildness.

Do I have a contact person on site?

On site you will be working with a team of volunteers and project leaders. The supervisors will be responsible for you and may help you with your problems.

What kind of cost do I have to expect during the project? Can I withdraw cash on site and do I have to pay in local currency?

In general you don’t need a lot of money during the project. You might spend money for additional snacks, beverages or free time activities, as well as extra transfers besides the project. You won’t be able to withdraw cash while you are at the camp. Make sure you have enough money before getting to the camp. You can easily withdraw cash at the airport or any other bigger city.

Is it possible to withdraw money on site?

We recommend to change currencies already before your travel or at the airport in Johannesburg. At the airport in Richards Bay there are no facilities to change money. Generally you will find ATMs in every larger city. Before your journey you should check if your credit card is accepted by ATMs in South Africa.

How can I contact family and friends at home?

Once a week you have the opportunity to use internet at the bureau. You might also have a good telephone signal around the campsite. It is advisable to get a local prepaid card.

What’s the weather like?

The climate in Zululand is hot and humid during the summer month from October until April. The winters from May to September are dry and mild. During the raining season the temperatures can rise over 40 °C. It can get colder during the winter. Usually the temperature fall down to 20 °C and

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