Two recumbent and two sedentary African wild dogs roam the savannah together.

Your trip at a glance


  • Join a real wildlife conser­va­tion project in South Africa’s Zululand
  • Dedicate yourself to protecting nature and wild animals
  • Work together with an inter­na­tional volunteer team
  • Observe wild dogs, elephants, lions and other wildlife in their natural habitat
  • Experi­ence the fasci­nating biodi­ver­sity of South Africa from up close



Plan your trip

  • Included in the programme fee
    • Placement in the programme
    • Assistance with travel arrangements
    • Assistance with selecting travel insurance
    • Assistance with booking flights
    • Risk coverage certificate

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Terry, your travel agent for Southern Africa

You would like to learn more about this trip? Don't hesitate to contact me! Our service doesn't end with your departure: I answer all of your questions and support you before, during and after your stay abroad.

Two Natucate volunteers from the species conservation project in Zululand set up a camera trap in the bushes. The camera is attached to a small wooden pole, which is knocked into the ground with a stone.
Close-Up of a Cape Buffalo in the South African savannah sunset
Volunteering in South Africa: Two zebras in Zululand
Conservation work in Africa: A lion is roaming the South African savannah
One of the five camps of this volunteer project in South Africa has round-built huts with bluish outer walls and a peaked thatched roof as accommodation for the volunteers.
Volunteers in our wildlife conservation project in South Africa dedicating themselves to telemetry
A lion chases an African buffalo
Wildlife in Africa: An elephant herd in the South African savannah
Volunteering in Africa: Close up of a zebra in South Africa
This conservation project focuses on a variety of African wildlife in South Africa.
Three collars with GPS trackers for wildlife are on the 4x4 vehicle and are used in the conservation project to locate wildlife.
A baby elephant stands between adult elephants in South Africa
This portrait shows a southern hornbill, also known as a red-cheeked hornbill, which is well adapted to its life on the ground and has black feathers, red coloured tales and a long hornbill. The bird is a turkey-sized character bird and is found in the South African short-grass steppe.
The volunteers have a variety of tasks related to species conservation
A South African cheetah lies flat in the brownish, flat grass, illuminated by the sun and keeping its eyes open only as small slits.
A volunteer checks the fence
A single African elephant walks through the savannah in the Zululand region.
An African wild dog sits with its back facing the viewer, while another wild dog walks past it on the left with its tail raised.

Volunteering in South Africa

As a volunteer in South Africa’s wild nature you dedicate yourself to wildlife censuses, bird watching, camera trap management and reserve maintenance – this way you receive unique hands-on training in conservation work.

Close up of an African wild dog in the South African savannah

Arrival and orien­ta­tion in Zululand

You will book a flight to Johannesburg airport and an onward flight to Richards Bay airport, where your adventure will begin. Our partner's transfer service will pick you up from the airport and take you to your camp in the reserve.

Sitting on the back open part of a white 4x4 vehicle, two volunteers and a volunteer use telemetry while being looked at by an experienced guide standing on the ground next to the open passenger door.

Volunteer activ­i­ties during your stay abroad in Africa

A typical day starts in the early hours of the morning (approx. 4 am). Accompanied by the other volunteers and an experienced supervisor, you will set off before sunrise seated on the back of an open off-road vehicle to watch the animals. In order to locate them various gadgets, such as tracking collars, are used. You will learn how to monitor these gadgets and so be able to work more independently. Once the animals have been located, the sighting and the behaviour and food patterns of the animals will be recorded and documented for research purposes.

A volunteer in our species conservation project in South African is observing wild dogs in a boma

Moreover, you will learn about the traditional methods of animal identification and tracking and develop an understanding of nature conservation issues and objectives with regard to the endangered species in Africa.
One day searching for animals turns out to be a success, another day you might not spot any animals at all.
You will return to camp late in the morning and have time to relax as you wish. In the late afternoon it is time for the second trip into the bush.

A wide underwater drinking area in one of the five camps has two hammocks in front of the blue-framed glass doors of the accommodation with a tree in the foreground.

Accom­mo­da­tion as a volunteer in Zululand

The project works in three different reserves, each with its own type of vegetation and animal species. It depends on the duration of your stay how many camps you will see.
You will share accommodation with the other volunteers, at a research camp within the reserve. There is electricity, warm water and toilets. You will be supplied with everything except towels and mosquito nets. You can use the internet in the office once a week. Depending on the area mobile phone reception can be limited. The communal kitchen is well equipped with an oven, microwave, a hob and a solar cooker and contains everything you might need for cooking. You can prepare your meals here, together with the other international volunteers.

A volunteer participant in South Africa uses binoculars to observe animals.

Leisure time during the wildlife conser­va­tion project

Each day you will have some time off during the midday period when it is hot and most animals are inactive. During these few hours over the midday period you are welcome to read, sleep, eat, play cards or board games, or simply enjoy the animal activity around your accommodation.

FAQ – Learn more about this trip

Learn what others say about their Natucate adventure.

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Review Volunteering South Africa Zululand – Greta

“Among all these animals you get to see, the landscapes and sunrises in the park are simply stunning.”

Read more
Review Photos Volunteering South Africa Zululand – Celina

Celina joined our conservation project in South Africa and helped protect endangered wildlife species. Here we would like to share some of her wonderful impressions with you.

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Auslandsaufenthalt in Suedafrika: Blick auf ein Tal mit einer Herde Elefanten
Volunteering in Suedafrika: Ein Zaun mit einem Gatter in der Wildnis
Review Volunteering South Africa Zululand – Judith

“All in all I had two amazing weeks, during which I learned a lot about South Africa’s beautiful nature and an ecosystem which was totally unknown to me before.”

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Review Photos Sabbatical South Africa Zululand – Silvia

During her sabbatical Silvia also joined our endangered species project in South Africa. Here you can enjoy her amazing images and become part of her journey:

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Review Volunteering South Africa Zululand – Tim

“It was an incredibly beautiful time with countless animal sightings. To experience the wildlife and landscape of Africa in this intensity as a volunteer is a unique experience.”

Read more
  • reiseorte-suedafrika-kwazulu-natal-buffalo-herde-natucate
    1. KwaZulu-Natal

    KwaZulu-Natal is a province in the northeast of South Africa. From the megacity of Durban, situated on the Indian Ocean, to the picturesque Drakensberg Mountains – KwaZulu-Natal is home to many of South Africa's most fascinating sights. Last but not least, there are countless national parks and protected areas in KwaZulu-Natal, all of which are characterized by a diverse flora, a species-rich fauna and varied landscapes.

    During your stay in KwaZulu-Natal, you will get a fascinating insight to the wilderness and wildlife of beautiful South Africa.

    Learn more

Purpose of the conser­va­tion project in Zululand

South Africa is renowned for the variety of species that live there. Together, the Zululand region, the famous Kruger National Park, and the southwestern province of The Western Cape are home to more than 300 mammal species, 500 bird species, 100 reptile species, and numerous species of insects. They are also home to the rarely seen African wild dog and the big five animals (rhinoceros, elephant, Cape buffalo, lion, and leopard).
National and international efforts have established many nature and species conservation projects that carry out research using tracking technology in some areas, such as populations and movement patterns of endangered wild dogs. Mapping (monitoring) of animal and plant species helps to monitor wildlife populations and plan future conservation measures.


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