South Africa
Volunteering South Africa: Elephant and his herd in South Africa

Volunteer Abroad South Africa

Support aid projects in South Africa as a volunteer and contribute to nature and species conservation

Volunteering in South Africa

Volunteering in South Africa with animals: Spend an enriching time abroad with Natucate and volunteer in South Africa to protect endangered wildlife.

You always wanted to travel to South Africa and experience the golden savannah landscapes and their wildlife up close – and at the same time contribute to conserving this fascinating habitat and thus gain an enriching insight into the work of a conservationist? By participating in one of our Natucate volunteer projects in South Africa you can experience exactly that. While volunteering in the research and conservation of the unique flora and fauna, with a bit of luck you can also experience the wildlife of Africa at close range, including the impressive Big Five.

Volunteering with animals in South Africa: Zebras and wildebeest at a waterhole in Zululand
Volunteering South Africa: Elephant and his herd in South Africa
Volunteering South Africa: Conservation volunteer installing camera traps

Whether it is a two-week or four-week stay or even a whole year abroad in South Africa – as a volunteer in this impressive country surrounded by untouched landscapes you will experience a life-enhancing stay abroad in the field of species and animal protection. Make an active contribution with Natucate to the preservation of Africa's unique ecosystems and endangered species! In the following you can learn more about our aid projects in South Africa.

Keyvisual

Highlights of your volunteer work in South Africa

Protecting South Africa's animals as a volunteer
Meeting elephants, lions and cheetahs in the wild
Gaining valuable knowledge in species conser­va­tion
Living and working together with an inter­na­tional team

Why volunteering in South Africa?

South Africa is characterised by an enormous diversity of species. In places like Zululand, Kruger National Park or the Western Cape Province, true biodiversity hotspots can be found. The regions are home to hundreds of species of birds, reptiles, insects and mammals, including the "Big 5" – elephant, lion, buffalo, leopard and rhino – as well as the rare African wild dog.

Volunteering South Africa: Volunteer camp of the conservation project in Zululand
Volunteering with wildlife in South Africa: Conservation volunteers practicing telemetry
Volunteering in South Africa: Utensils for conservation measures

However, many species are now considered to be highly endangered, in some cases due to poaching, climate change, the human-wildlife conflict and other factors. Therefore, it is absolutely essential to set up ethical nature conservation and species protection projects that research the populations and movement patterns of species, monitor populations and use the data obtained to develop protective measures to ensure the conservation of the species-rich flora and fauna.

South Africa Volunteering: By involving national and international volunteers, these projects are provided with the necessary support and, by imparting knowledge about country-specific species conservation issues, an increased awareness of the necessity of species conservation is created.

Volunteering with animals in South Africa

Species and animal protection in South Africa: As a volunteer in one of the Natucate projects in South Africa you will help protect endangered wildlife and their habitats. In one of our wildlife projects in Africa you can actively work to preserve endangered habitats and species and at the same time experience places of untouched natural beauty up close – look forward to an unforgettable and meaningful time abroad. Find out more about animal welfare volunteering in Africa.

Volunteering in South Africa: Volunteers crossing the KwaZulu-Natal savannah in a pick up truck
Volunteering South Africa: Conservation volunteer practicing telemetry
Conservation work in South Africa: Wild dog in South African Zululand

Volunteering Zululand: Protecting endangered wildlife

In South Africa's Zululand, located in the province of KwaZulu-Natal and known as the heartbeat of Africa and the birthplace of African nature and animal welfare work, an incredible variety of different wild animals and plants awaits you. Natucate's project in Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park is about the effective protection of Africa's endangered species, such as black rhinos, cheetahs, vultures and African wild dogs. During your time in the project you will travel out into the savannah every day with a crew of international volunteers and experienced professional coordinators to observe and analyse the behaviour of various animal populations. Experience animal and species conservation at close quarters in the heart of Africa!

Volunteering Western Cape: Protection of endangered wildlife

South Africa's picturesque Western Cape Province offers an incredible variety of wildlife and endless expanses of unspoilt nature. The volunteer project based here is about the effective protection of endangered species of Southern Africa and the preservation of the region’s unique ecosystems. During your time as a volunteer, you will be part of a crew of international volunteers and experienced conservationists. You will go into the wild every day to contribute to the development of sustainable conservation measures by means of comprehensive data collection and analysis. In addition to gaining insight into the application of basic research methods, you will also gain valuable theoretical knowledge about species conservation as well as bush skills which are essential for life and survival in the African wilderness.

Volunteering South Africa Western Cape: Lion and cub during dusk in the South African savannah
Volunteering Mossel Bay: Volunteers and instructor meeting a giraffe during a bush walk
Volunteering South Africa Western Cape: Volunteers at work in nature

What do I have to consider when volunteering in South Africa?

Lion breeding projects

Getting close to young lions, cheetahs or other wild cats and making a contribution to animal welfare: that's what many people think when going to Africa to do voluntary work in lion breeding stations.
However, the widespread belief of releasing animals back into the wild at a later stage in life proves to be a myth in most cases. For indeed, bitter facts are hidden behind this so-called petting farm business. For this reason, Natucate has decided to not offer any projects that allow direct interaction with wild animals.

Farms like these usually snatch the young lions from their mothers after only a few days and turn them into the "toys" of volunteers and tourists who are led to believe that the young lions are orphaned cubs. In fact, the mother lion is kept in an inaccessible part of the compound before being euthanised when she loses her ability to give birth. Once the cubs have passed the "cuddly age", they are usually used for walks with tourists after injections of a sedative, so-called "lion walks". If they are also too old for this, the adult animals are often released at the end of their lives in fenced areas for trophy hunting and thus released for shooting by wealthy recreational hunters. The truth behind lion breeding farms is nothing more than the unscrupulous greed for profit.

Volunteer projects that allow direct interaction with such wild animals should always be treated with caution and critical questioning and, in case of doubt, should be avoided.

Volunteer abroad South Africa: Looking over the savannah landscape in KwaZulu-Natal

Social projects in South Africa – Orphanages

"How can I help poor children in Africa?" is a question often asked by people interested in volunteering abroad. For a variety of reasons, Natucate treats social projects with caution and does not include them in its programme portfolio. Here we reveal more about the background.

Similar to the situation in South East Asia, in some African countries children are increasingly being bought from their suffering families with false promises of a better future and placed in supposed orphanages. These orphanages, in turn, make calculated use of the compassion of international volunteers and profit financially from their willingness to help.
In addition, the care provided in these institutions by a constantly changing number of volunteers often causes more harm than good and can further increase separation anxieties and attachment problems. The vast majority of volunteers are neither trained educators nor native speakers of the local language – circumstances that may have serious consequences for the time when children should usually learn their mother tongue.

Volunteer projects that develop their work in orphanages should therefore always be critically reviewed.

Volunteering South Africa: Looking over the savannah landscape in KwaZulu-Natal

Volunteering in South Africa with Natucate

Would you like to learn more about our projects? No problem! Our team will discuss our volunteer options in South Africa with you in detail and advise you on project details, local life and country-specific issues. We will tell you what should not be missing in your travel bag and whom to contact regarding vaccination recommendations and other health questions for South Africa. For further information, you can also read the testimonials of former volunteers who have supported Natucate projects in South Africa.

Join Natucate in researching and conserving endangered species and experience an unforgettable stay abroad as a volunteer in South Africa.

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