Volunteer Abroad Wildlife Conservation in South Africa

Questions and answers on your volunteer stay

Prior to departure

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

To join the project you need to be at least 18 years old have good English skills. You also should be physically fit because the project work and the South African climate can be exhausting. Special knowledge or skills are not required – your interest in nature and species conservation, flexibility, open-mindedness and your motivation to be an active part of the team is way more important. You need to have a travel health insurance in order to volunteer in the project. Before departing to South Africa, you should get information regarding visa requirements at the Foreign Office or contact our NATUCATE team directly.

Which services does the price include?

Before your time as a volunteer in the project starts we will support you in planning your travels, secure your placement in the project and, if you wish, help you find the right travel insurance and flights. The airport transfer to the project and back to the airport is organized by our partner. Accommodation and food is provided. Everyday you will participate in field trips to the bush. Flights, travel insurance, visa fees (if needed), soft drinks/alcoholic beverages are not included in the price.

Do I need certain medical precautions or requirements?

In general, we recommend vaccination against measles-mumps-rubella, tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis when travelling to South Africa. Furthermore, it is advisable to take medication from your home country you need because medical treatment in South Africa might sometimes be insufficient. We also recommend getting vaccinated against hepatitis A and hepatitis B (if you are staying for a longer period), typhus and rabies. You should consider bringing medication against infectious diseases like malaria. To prevent a malaria infection there are different kinds of protective measures. Before departing to South Africa, you should visit your doctor and get advice on potential dangers, vaccinations and protective measures. In addition to that, you get information about travel alerts and safety information at the foreign office. Don’t forget to bring a first aid kit equipped with medicine against diarrhoea, pain/headaches and travel sickness. It is obligatory for you to get foreign health insurance to be able to participate in the project.

How long can I participate in the project?

We offer two- to twelve-week stays in the project.

What kind of equipment should I take with me?

For the project you should pack sturdy boots, different layers of clothes as well as long (light) pants for the day, a daypack, a bottle, a sun hat, insect repellent and enough sunscreen. A personal first aid kit should not be missing either. We also recommend bringing longer clothing during the colder months and for the cooler morning and evening hours and also packing waterproof clothing. Make sure that your clothes have “safari colors” like khaki, ochre or beige. Do not forget a headtorch, binoculars, towels, toiletries, sunglasses and an adapter. For your free time you can bring a laptop, books, camera, flipflops, pencil and paper.

Arrival

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

On the day your project starts you arrive (via Johannesburg) at the airport of Polokwane where a staff member of the project will pick you up. Our partner will drive you to the volunteer accommodation which is a two-and-a-half-hour drive away from the airport. When your time at the project is over you will be taken back to the airport.

During the project

How is the project structured?

After arriving at the volunteer accommodation, you can use the evening hours to get used to the new surroundings and to meet the team. In the evening an introduction to the project and important safety regulations takes place. The day after your arrival the project starts. At 5 AM you and the others meet for breakfast in your accommodation. Afterwards the team will head to the reserve, to do research activities. These activities support different species conservation initiatives and will teach you methods in data collection, analysis and storage. At noon you have a break to escape the heat, eat and relax. After the project work is finished for the day everyone returns back to the volunteer accommodation, where you will have the evening for free time activities.

How bis is the group?

The maximum amount of people is 10 volunteers.

Life on site

What is the accommodation like?

Together with the other volunteers you will live in a volunteer house in the middle of a private game reserve, located in the far north of the Limpopo region in South Africa. The group will sleep in dorm rooms and use two common bathrooms. There is also a kitchen, a braai area and wifi which the volunteers have access to.

Is it possible to share room with a partner?

In general, it is possible to be accommodated with a travel partner, but it depends on the structure of the group and the number of participants. We ask you to let us know in advance if you would like to get accommodated with a partner as soon as possible so we have enough time to organize everything. We would like to inform you that it cannot be guaranteed that you can share rooms with a partner.

How is food provided?

You have access to food which our partner is providing. The volunteer team is responsible for preparing the daily meals.

Is it possible to receive vegetarian meals?

A vegetarian diet as well as other special diets can be considered. We ask you to let us know in advance so that our partner has enough time to arrange everything accordingly.

How can I spend my free time?

Wednesdays as well as lunch and evening hours are generally off. During this time, you can relax, read, play games or spend time with the other volunteers.

Do I have a contact person on site?

There is a contact person on site and you can always contact the NATUCATE team if there are any questions or 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?

The South African currency is the South African Rand (ZAR). In most bigger cities it is possible to pay with a bank card. Smaller stores often only accept cash. We recommend taking South African Rand with you and not just exchanging money when you are on site. The easiest way for that is to look for an ATM and withdraw cash. Please consider that there are often transaction fees for each withdrawal. Check with your bank and inform yourself about the best methods.

During your time as a volunteer you should calculate spending money for drinks (besides tea, water and coffee) as well as using the washing service (if you like). We also advise you to have some extra money with you for your time before and after the project and for emergencies.

How can I contact my family and friends at home?

The volunteer accommodation is equipped with wifi – so do not forget your laptop and smartphone to stay in touch with your family and friends. At the airport you have the chance to buy a phone or a South African SIM card.

What’s the weather/climate like?

Temperatures in the morning and evening hours can drop low in the South African winter months (May – September) – down to 3°C – but it is usually very warm during the day, no matter if summer or winter. During the winter months temperatures are around 26°C to 30°C, in summer (October – April) they are often 30°C and can reach 45°C in extreme cases. October is known for sporadic, but heavy rainfalls.

Is there a prohibition regarding alcohol?

Our aim is to support the project with helping volunteers which in return receive a valuable and educational experience. Therefore, alcohol should only be consumed – if necessary – moderately. Excessive alcohol consumption leads to termination of the project with no refund.

What happens in case of sickness or an emergency?

All staff members at the project are trained in first aid. There is a first aid kit for smaller incidents on site and in case of a more serious situation participants will be taken to the doctor which is a one-hour drive away. If a real emergency occurs participants will be taken to the hospital in Polokwane. For your own safety we ask you to follow the safety regulations.

Do you have further questions that you did not find here?

Then do not hesitate to call us at +49 241-91994357 or send an e-mail to info@natucate.com

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