This project is ideal if you want to truly experience the “wild” side of Africa. Our bush camp is based in a Limpopo game reserve which is home to the ‘Big 5′. This means you will get to encounter, and live among, elephants, lions, rhino, leopards and buffalo while working with us.
We will teach you basic bush survival skills and how to navigate your way through the African bush!
During your stay, your days will be spent mostly on foot walking through the reserve, learning how to track the animals. You will be approaching endangered species on foot and recording their behaviour, location and condition.
The collected information is then used by the reserve management and anti-poaching teams, as well as national conservation efforts to help save these endangered species.
Furthermore, you will take part in vehicle based monitoring to see the amazing Big 5, as well as habitat work to help with the monitoring process.
This is a unique experience for people who want to get more out of visiting a game reserve in South Africa. Everyone who joins us on this exciting program will get to experience the African bush in its extremes, from elephants strolling through camp to the tropical heat or the surprisingly cold winter nights.
If you have a love of nature and want to participate in helping to save Africa's endangered species, this is the project for you.
Volunteer tasks are focused on monitoring, which forms the basis for the majority of our research assistance on the reserve. We conduct monitoring drives in the mornings and afternoons. The monitoring coincides with times of increased activity of the specific animals we are observing. We also spend time on foot tracking the more elusive animals, which is an amazing way to experience the bush. During the drier winter months, we have several hides based at waterholes which allow you to observe the various animals and their interactions at close quarters. The volunteers will also spend time attending to habitat management requirements on the properties and the greater reserve.
Project start day. Town trip to collect new volunteers and restock supplies
Tuesday - Friday
Mornings will consist of monitoring walks to locate the rhino and cheetah. You will learn how to identify and age their tracks and how to record this information. Once the animals have been located you will monitor their behaviour, environment and interactions in order to better understand them. Meanwhile, you will also learn how to track other big game such as elephant, lion and hyena in order to better understand utilisation of the areas covered. At all times you will also be on the lookout for potential sightings and nest sites of the Southern Ground Hornbill.
On return to camp, you will enter the data collected onto the computers. You’ll also get the chance to work through your bush knowledge work books to help improve your tracking skills. During the week there will be a series of talks on the project, data collection, bush skills and maybe even a Zulu lesson!
In the afternoons, you will set out on monitoring drives in order to cover more ground to determine new areas to locate rhino, cheetah and Southern Ground Hornbill. Once signs of activity and tracks have been located you will continue on foot to discover more. Whilst driving through the reserve you will also get the chance to see some of our other resident Big 5—elephant, lion and buffalo.
On Friday afternoon, your drive will meet up with the research group for a sleep out under the stars.
In conjunction with the research, all sightings of leopard will also be monitored and recorded – the more eyes the better when trying to monitor this elusive animal!
In the morning you will help out with some habitat work, either bush clearing, erosion control, or road maintenance. Upon return from the afternoon monitoring drive, we may head out to the local pub or have a typical South Africa Braai (BBQ).
Either an outing will be planned or it will be a free day for volunteers to relax or head out on their own tour.
In between activities, volunteers will receive a series of presentations on the work of the project, or how to approach dangerous game on foot, or possibly even a Zulu lesson. This time will also be used to transfer all data collected onto the computers and compile the weekly research report, as well as helping out with vehicle checks and cleaning.
Project wish list
Once a month we take our volunteers to a local orphanage. This place provides a home for children affected by HIV. When we visit them we spend some time playing with the children. They love the attention and it is a wonderful feeling to be able to bring a smile to their faces with just a hug. As well as basic moral support, we also support them with some provisions. We will often buy them food and special treats when we visit, and volunteers are asked for a small donation to cover this. Volunteers are also welcome to bring other donations with them, or to buy them locally.
The most-needed items are as follows
- Educational toys
- Crayons, drawing books, pens, pencils, paints etc.
- Educational posters
- Medical kits