Volunteer Abroad Species Conservation in South Africa

Protecting and preserving endangered wildlife and ecosystems

Your educational volunteer stay

By participating in this fascinating volunteer project in South Africa you get the chance to make an active contribution to protecting and preserving the country’s unique flora and fauna and to acquire essential skills and knowledge in the fields of species conservation and wildlife management. Five times a week you join practical as well as theoretical training units and this way become involved in the protection of endangered wildlife in South Africa. Workshops and group discussions teach you the bigger picture through the better understanding of conservation biology, animal behaviour, animal ethics and tourism, human-animal coexistence, and the manifold areas of conservation. By contrast, practical units allow you to become directly involved in protecting and studying African wildlife and ecosystems and familiarise you with data collection, data analysis and data storage in order to develop long-term conservation measures. Your practical training will take place while on the job in the South African Western Cape wilderness. The project aims at increasing awareness and educating individuals regarding various conservation issues, at involving you in active conservation work and therefore, at preserving the incomparable biodiversity of South Africa.

The southernmost country of the African continent fascinates the world as it is home to magnificent natural landscapes and a unique wildlife diversity – and as part of this dedicated conservation project you get the chance to explore the stunning nature from up close. The project unfolds its work in a free roaming reserve of 11,000 ha, located in South Africa’s impressive province Western Cape in the country’s southwest. Here you cannot only witness an incredibly rich fauna but also the region’s amazing flora as the reserve is situated in the midst of the unique Fynbos Biome, an ecoregion comprising different vegetation types. Learn how real conservation work is conducted and immerse yourself into the pristine wilderness of South Africa’s wonderful Southwest.

Services Our Services at a Glance

Included

  • Placement in the project
  • Breakfast
  • Assistance with travel arrangements
  • Monday to Friday: Lunch
  • Assistance with selecting travel insurance
  • Entrance to the national park
  • Assistance with booking flights
  • Excursions
  • Pre-departure information pack
  • On-site orientation and project training
  • Airport pick up and drop off
  • Project-related transport
  • Project handbook
  • English-speaking support by long-term experienced staff
  • Accommodation during the project
  • 24/7 support throughout the project

Not included

  • Flights
  • Dinner
  • Travel insurance
  • Weekend lunches
  • Visa fees
  • Personal expenses and optional excursions
  • Drinks

South Africa – Western Cape

Start DateDurationCostNATUCATE-ID V.RSA-002
2 Weeks 1.200 €
4 Weeks 2.200 €

Requirements

Requirements

To be able to join this volunteer project you must be at least 18 years old and have a good knowledge of English. Working conditions on the project can be very strenuous, especially because of South Africa’s climate and weather. Therefore, you need to be physically fit – which means you must be able to hike the reserve for full days in all terrain while carrying your drinking water, food and research equipment. This is why we ask you to hand in a doctor’s certificate confirming that you are healthy and fit enough to join the programme. Furthermore, it is important that you are motivated to take part in a dedicated conservation project and are interested in nature and wildlife. You should have a determined work ethic, be able to work in a team and on individual tasks and be open to work with people of different cultures, ethnicities, nationalities and religious beliefs.

Details Volunteering in South Africa

Volunteering in South Africa's province Western Cape

After your arrival at George Airport in South Africa, a staff member of our partner will pick you up and transfer you to your accommodation in Mossel Bay. Once at the facility you will meet your team and be given a tour of the accommodation as well as appropriate introductions and instructions for the remainder of the day. The next day you will partake in an Orientation and Safety Introduction meeting. The third day after your arrival field operations will begin. After you’ve finished the project a staff member will drop you off at George Airport.

A typical day in the project starts roughly at 7:00 am. After breakfast at the hostel at around 07:30 am you and your team will depart for field work in the reserve (usually at around 08:15/08:30 am). Long-term experienced conservationists will teach you valuable research skills or conduct certain training units with you. Around 12:30 pm work will be paused for a short lunch break and siesta. After you have finished data collection, training and data entry in the afternoon, you will return to your hostel in Mossel Bay and can relax for the rest of the evening.

 

As volunteers you will be involved in various conservation activities and initiatives. These are based on previously founded ecological and cognitive knowledge to better improve the welfare of current and future wildlife in Southern Africa. The African bush is a dynamic and constantly changing environment, so that work on the projects depends entirely on the movements and activities of the animals under observation and the prevailing weather conditions. Current projects you will be actively involved in may be:

  • White Rhino Dominance and Territoriality: In this project you monitor and collect data on the endangered white rhino in order to better understand group dynamics, mating behaviour, movement and resource defense, and therefore management of the animals.
  • Reserve Maintenance: Since the land was once used for agricultural purposes you can still find remainings of this “human stage” in the reserve. In this project you help removing these human traces in order to ensure the health and safety of the region’s wildlife.
  • Fence Monitoring: As a critical part of reserve management, fence monitoring ensures that large predators like cheetahs and lions remain in protected areas and do not enter human settlement areas. In order to track the animals’ movements and to check for unsafe fence sections and, thus, to contribute to containing the human wildlife conflict, fences are regularly monitored.
  • Wildlife and Roads: Another project deals with monitoring several sectors of public roads, where fatal collisions between animals and motor vehicles often occur. Data collection is supposed to help prevent these deadly accidents.
  • Amphibian Research: South Africa regularly suffers from critical drought stages and water shortages. For aquatic and semi aquatic amphibians this means a loss in space and important resources. Research work allows for more complete protection measures to be taken to support and help sustain these endangered species.
  • Wildlife Monitoring: This project also aims at developing suitable conservation measures by intense monitoring of endangered wildlife.
 

In addition to the activities listed above you will also receive hands-on training in essential bush skills, such as survival training, animal tracking and methods for safely approaching wild animals. At any stage a group consists of a total of 4 students to ensure efficiency of the project work.

If you’re interested, please note that this project does not involve any direct interaction with wild animals. We are strongly against breeding young lions for canned hunting, and have therefore signed the strict code of conduct of the organisation CACH ( Campaign Against Canned Hunting). We can provide additional information if required. We realise that some of the people on our projects in Southern Africa want to see as many animals as possible in their natural environment. However, this is dependent on a number of factors. Please note that NATUCATE makes no guarantee that you will see a variety of animals, in particular the big five. To make such a guarantee would be unprofessional and against our corporate philosophy.


Accommodation

Accommodation during the project

During your time as a volunteer you and other volunteers will be accommodated in a hostel in Mossel Bay, located at South Africa’s Southern coast. You will sleep in dormitories and share bathrooms. In the hostel you’ll receive breakfast; while being out in the field you’ll be provided with lunch. You’ll be in charge of the weekend lunch as well as the daily dinner – you can either use the self-catering kitchen for meal preparation or enjoy a meal in one of the several beach restaurants. The meals that will be offered to you allow for a vegetarian diet. The facility, which is highly secure and safe with restricted access, is located a short walk from the beach, shops, take-aways, supermarkets, restaurants, hiking trails, museums and cultural activities. It further provides access to free WiFi, a communal TV lounge, a swimming pool, a snack stall and an Adventure Centre for extra activities.

 

Everybody interested in volunteering abroad should be able to adjust to entirely unfamiliar standards of living in their future host country. Therefore, we would like to point out the importance of being flexible and adaptable regarding the accommodation and sanitary facilities provided by the project. Those are very basic and – depending on the project – cannot be compared to European standards. The equipment and furnishings are limited to a minimum; air conditioning is not available. Depending on your host country occasional power blackouts or water outages are quite common. Please contact us if you have further questions about your accommodation. We are pleased to provide you with comprehensive information since we would like you to feel entirely prepared for your time abroad.


Leisure time

Leisure time

In the evening and on the weekend there won’t be any project work and you can use this time for own activities. Since your hostel is located in the centre of Mossel Bay you have the chance to take part in lots of leisure activities such as cultural excursions, tourism activities, local experiences and travel. There are more than 80 different activities that can be booked for weekends and downtime (which are subject to availability and seasonality and include: surf lessons, whale watching, sandboarding, horseback safaris, wine tours, hiking trails and visiting South African national parks


Background

Project background

South Africa is renowned for the variety of species which live there. Apart from regions as the famous Kruger National Park, the southwestern province Western Cape is a true biodiversity hotspot. Our partner’s conservation project aims at preserving the manifold flora and fauna of the country and focuses exclusively on ethical wildlife conservation and research as well as collaborating with local people. Education and information are supposed to contribute to containing the human wildlife conflict and to promote a peaceful co-existence between human beings and animals. By involving volunteers from all over the world the projects gets the support it needs and earns – furthermore, by imparting crucial conservation knowledge, it ensures an increased awareness of the world’s need to be sustainably protected and therefore helps to promote a sustainable and wildlife friendly future.

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