National Park Project in South Africa

Support a national park as a volunteer

The project for your volunteer work in South Africa is in the middle of a breath-taking national park - with hyenas, lions, rhinos, elephants and giraffes! As a volunteer you are actively involved in the protection of animals and nature. On game drives, you'll observe the different species and collect data that you evaluate in the camp!

The Project

South African Wildlife

This program is perfect for wildlife fans, as you get a real close up experience of some incredible animals in their natural habitat! Unfortunately, many species in South Africa are threatened with distinction and humans are mostly to blame; habitat loss, poaching and overfishing are all reasons for the decline in population over the past few years. This project aims to help address these issues! In fact, some of these animals you’ll see on this program are on the Red List of threatened species. This list provides information about our planet, and about the endangered status of around 80,000 species of plants and animals. It is important to note that you will be working hard to help these animals, but they are still wild, so there will only be contact where absolutely necessary.

The National Park

You’ll be working in the middle of a South African national park, spread across 24,000 hectares of protected land. The main focus of this park is to protect the wildlife, and preserve their natural habitats. By collecting data, maintaining the park and taking care of these creatures, you are making a huge difference!

Your Tasks

You’ll be working in two different areas as a volunteer on this program; the national park, and the base camp. During your time spent in the national park you will be collecting data about various species of animal, tracking them with GPS devices, taking photos of them, clearing scrubland and observing their behavioural habits. You may also take part in additional activities such as setting up cameras to catch poachers and monitor the population of certain endangered species. When the weather is nice, you may even get to take part in a camp-out! Back at base camp, you'll be evaluating and archiving the valuable data you have collected. The data is documented for use by scientists and researchers, so they can make observations about the long-term impact the park is having on these animals. In addition to this, you will be helping with everyday tasks such as cooking, cleaning and laundry.

The Hours

The hours you work each day depends on which area you are in. You’ll be working closely with other volunteers and wildlife specialists, and if you’re on park duty that day, you’ll have a very early start - you’ll be up at sunrise (around 5am) to take part in a game drive. If you’re helping on camp, you’ll get to stay in bed a bit longer! On Sundays, usually, you’ll have a free day, where you can spend some time in the park, at the library, or going on excursions.

Accommodation
Meals Included
Full Country Orientation
Volunteer Placement
Airport Pickup Available
Assistance with Travel Preparation
Age

From 18 years.

Requirements

Interest in animal welfare, enjoyment of working outdoors, physically fit, flexible approach, teamwork.

Language

English of a good level.

Location

North of Pretoria, South Africa.

Duration

From 2 weeks to 3 months.

Accommodation

The accommodation is shared. Please see our 'What you get' section for more information.

Meals

Breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Airport Transfer

Airport transfer from Johannesburg to first nights accommodation.

Work Clothing

Clothes that can get dirty.

What You Get

For your trip to the National Park, you fly to Johannesburg. Newcomers start here on Tuesdays, so it would be perfect if you land on a Tuesday morning. We are happy to organise your pick-up service (not included in the initial RGV fees). 

Upon arrival, you will get to know your local contact people. You will also have a tour through the volunteer home and get to know your house mates. On Wednesday morning for half the day, all newcomers will attend a detailed introduction of the project. It will include what role the project plays in the National Park, and what rules you must follow locally. You will then start working on Wednesday afternoon.

A note about Housing & Accommodation...

Our project location in the north of South Africa. In a contrasting mountain landscape, your job site is surrounded by green hills and deep valleys. On approximately 23,000 hectare site, there is much to discover. For example, observe the world's largest colony of endangered Cape Vultures from a safe distance, or one of the 400+ species of birds.

In the adjacent national park, lives the famous Big Five - elephant, rhino, lion, leopard and buffalo - for you to admire. Not far from your place of work is the Waterberg Mountains. In the 150 kilometres long mountain range you can go trekking with other volunteers. After work, you can go for a walk on the grounds of your job site, or let the evenings end comfortably with other volunteers. You also have the opportunity to browse in the well- stocked library and just relax.

In the rustic farmhouse you and a maximum of nine other volunteers will feel right at home. The rooms are in backpacker-style dorms, with two shared bathrooms. The house can accommodate about 10 volunteers, has a spacious kitchen, a dining room and a living room. The area around the house is fenced. The volunteer home is also home to the camp coordinator. The remaining team members live in a separate house, about 300 meters away. Within five minutes you get to the national park from the camp. The house is equipped with solar energy and ordinary electricity. Your laundry is washed twice a week for a small fee. As volunteers, you prepare the meals together from the food provided. Also, the tasks in the house, such as cleaning, is shared amongst the volunteers.

Once a week, you can drive to the city with the others to shop, dine in a local restaurant, or surf the web. Note: You can be accommodated in a private room on request and for a small additional cost.

National Park Farmhouse

What's Included
  • Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
  • Accommodation
  • Volunteer Placement
  • RGV Orientation
  • Personal Contact Person in RGV
  • 24Hr Emergency Number
  • Assistance with Travel Preparation
  • RGV Family T Shirt
  • Participation Certificate
  • Extensive RGV Travel Documentation
Additional fees
  • Flights (request a quote to include flights)
  • Airport Pickup (available for a fee)
  • Visas & Vaccinations
  • Public Transport/Extra Transfers
  • Beverages
  • Tours/Accommodation Outside of Stay
  • Travel Insurance
  • Private Expenses

Cost

Total Cost: £1249 (2 weeks)

Additional Weeks Cost: £425 per week (up to 12 weeks)

Initial payment consists of a £200 deposit, with the remaining balance due 8 weeks before departure. There is also an option to pay the full amount up front at time of booking.

Additional weeks can be added on through the ‘profile’ area of each applicant, which is created upon initial booking.

Types of skills
  • Energetic
  • Friendly
  • Outgoing
  • Adaptable
  • Animal lover
  • Patient
Types of Tasks
  • Monitoring and Observation
  • Maintenance
  • Reporting
  • Joining Game drives
  • Assisting Existing Team

Trust us - The Team

Your local contacts are programme director Koos and programme manager Sabrina. Koos has been working in the bush for more than 7 years and has been the project leader for several years. He is responsible for animal monitoring, game capture, reserve maintenance, alien plant control and conducting walks. He is an expert in tracking and is passionate about it.

Sabrina is from Milan, Italy. She played tennis for 20 years to a high standard and earned her degree in tourism. After working in luxury hotels, she decided to fulfil her second lifelong dream, observing lions and working for nature conservation.

In 2011/12 she joined the project as a volunteer and literally fell in love with the lions and the work with them. She decided to fly back to Italy, work there for a few months and then come back to South Africa to complete her FGASA and become a field guide. She has reached level 1 in the FGASA and level 3 in track and sign. In September 2012, she started working as a local manager. Her passions are sports, nature, nature conservation and more specifically lions, rhinos, trees, flowers and the work of maintaining the reserve.

Reviews

Don't Just Take Our Word For It...

Our programmes have been running for many years now, and we've had countless numbers of happy and inspired applicants join us in making an impact. The best way of understanding our projects are through the words of our previous volunteers, so check out a few of their experiences below!

"My Field Report From the National Park in South Africa"

Maria K.
Maria had an "unforgettable" 7 weeks in South Africa and her field report will show you why.

"A Volunteer Report From a National Park in South Africa"

Susanne L.
From elephants, to rhinos, from cheetahs to leopards and from hyenas to water buffalos, Susanne saw it all and popped it down in her volunteer report.

"Driving Animal Welfare on Game Drives in South Africa".

Aniko S.
Aniko's time with the 'Big 5' is documented here within his volunteer report for you to read.

FAQs

When should I register?

Ideally, you'll need to register at least 4-6 months before your desired departure date. Of course, short-term registrations of 1-2 months before departure are possible - but it may then be that your dream project is already full. In this case, we will try together to find a suitable alternative for you.

Important:

Lead time is especially important for the countries in which a visa has to be applied for in advance.

For medical projects as well as for internships, short term registrations are not possible.

What happens after I sign up?

Our UK team will send your registration through to the Germany headquarters as soon as possible, who will then confirm your booking as soon as possible, after liaising with the relevant in-country team. They will contact you to ensure you’re fully prepared for your stay abroad. Our headquarters in Germany has 20 years experience in organising successful stays in Africa and Asia and are more than happy to answer your questions.

What documents do I need to participate?

You'll need a few documents (which are listed below), but only once you've signed up. Our team will happily talk you through what is needed and when it is needed.

CV with photo, letter of motivation, copy of your passport (identity card is not enough), copy of your extended police certificate (no older than 3 months), simple proof of an existing health insurance abroad (name of insurance and insurance number are required), your signed code of conduct.

Is there an age limit?

You must be above 18 to make a booking through us, but there is no upper age limit set by RGV (however, you must check that you fit the required visa criteria for the country you wish to go to).

Who is my contact person at RGV?

Pre-booking, you have a customer service team in the UK. Once you have booked, you will have a dedicated contact within our RGV Head Office team in Munich.

Before you leave, you are in direct contact with one of our coordinators. You can find out about the program coordinators through our ‘The RGV Team’ page, and there is also a dedicated local team in each country.

Can I plan my volunteer work in a flexible way?

Our organisation works in the countries exclusively with our own RGV teams. That means maximum flexibility and planning freedom for you. You can choose a travel date to suit you, because we are not dependent on collection dates.

If you want to fly together with a further participant, you can inform us about this upon booking.

What is the minimum/maximum stay?

The minimum duration of volunteer work in Africa or Asia is 4 weeks for most projects (with a select few being 2 weeks) and can be extended weekly. This gives you the freedom to adjust your length of stay to what suits you.

Maximum duration of volunteer work is based on visa restrictions (Ghana: 12 months, South Africa: 6 months - up to 12 months through an extensive visa procedure, Thailand: 12 months).

Do I need a visa?

For all our destination countries, a visa is required. However, we distinguish between visas that must be issued before departure and visas that are issued automatically upon entry. Our Head Office team in Munich can guide you through every step of the way.

We have sorted our destination countries by visa type for you:

Apply for a visa before departure: • Ghana and South Africa (for over 90 days stay) • Thailand (for over 30 days stay)

Visa on entry: • South Africa (only up to 90 days) • Thailand (only up to 30 days)

What vaccinations do I need?

The required vaccinations vary widely from country to country. In the tropics, more vaccinations are needed than in the extra-tropical latitudes. In health care we recommend to use several information channels:

Consultation with the doctor, personal counseling of RGV (you benefit from our many years of practical experience in our target countries), forums and travel reports on the Internet

Attention: For the countries Ghana and Togo, you also need the yellow fever vaccination - this is obligatory upon arrival.

Do I need insurance?

The proof of a valid foreign insurance is a basic requirement for all volunteers and trainees abroad.

Can I choose my own project?

In volunteer work, you always have free choice and you can pick your dream project according to the job description - if there are still places available!

If you have signed up for a specific position and we can not offer you this position, then you can either take advantage of an alternative, or you can withdraw from your application absolutely free of charge.

Can I extend my stay when I'm there?

Yes you can, but there may be some additional costs that need to be covered. Our team in Germany can advise you of this in advance.

Can I choose my accommodation?

At locations where both options are available, you can choose whether you’d prefer to stay in a host family or in the shared volunteer house. For some places, however, only one or the other is appropriate due to the distance from the project. We will give you a recommendation as to what fits best in your case.

How are host families checked/selected?

The host families in our target countries are, in most cases, part of the family environment and circle of close friends of our local team leaders. Selection and review is regularly undertaken by our teams.

Can I share accommodation/project with a friend?

We are always happy to give our participants the opportunity to work together with friends in a project, and to also place them in the same shared accommodation. Shared occupancy requests for the project and accommodation must be indicated at the time of registration.

Since some of our countries are traditionally conservative, it is often not possible to accommodate male and female participants in the same room. However, this is country / site specific and our Head Office can talk you through the options.

When do I find out the exact project/accommodation I'm in?

No later than 4 weeks before departure, our Head Office will send you the specific location with description and associated accommodation, provided that we have your exact departure date and all necessary documents have been submitted by you in good time.

In exceptional cases, it may take a little longer to confirm your project and your accommodation - for example, if the internship placement is particularly complicated, for special project wishes or changed conditions on site. You can always ask us for the current status of your placement.

How will I prepare for my time abroad?

In addition to the extensive information material that you receive, our coordination team in Germany is always there to help you with advice and answers.

Do you have a packing list/info sheet?

You will receive a travel ABC (our complete travel guide) from us before your departure. It contains everything you need to know about your trip, specific to your destination country.

Why do I have to call RGV 3 days before departure?

This phone call is important to discuss last points and to coordinate the progress of your trip and arrival in your destination country. For example, it will explain where you will be picked up from your destination airport and brought into your project.

Will I meet other volunteers?

Yes you will! You will generally meet a range of volunteers who come from Europe at each project.

Can I travel on the weekends?

Almost all of our participants are very active in their free time and use the weekends to travel! Nobody should travel alone, there is no need, as at most locations there are always several participants on site, so you can go on tour together. Our local teams have plenty of insider tips for you and are happy to advise you on organisational issues, such as public transport.

Can I travel after my project?

Yes, you should always plan your travel for the time after your project work, so that you can concentrate fully on your work during the placement. You have to pay attention to the expiry date of your visa. This is the perfect time to enjoy breathtaking nature, diverse wildlife and unforgettable experiences.

Do I book additional activities in advance, or in country?

Most additional services can also be booked flexibly on site, as well as in advance.

Is there internet?

Often there is Wi-Fi in our accommodation, but might not be at the speeds you’re used to in western countries. If this is not available, the mobile network is developed enough in order to browse the internet. SIM cards can be bought very cheaply near all accommodations and come with some great data passes (your team leaders can give you tips here).

What happens if I have a problem when there?

In your destination country, our RGV teams will assist you with all your problems. If your problem can not be solved with the help of the team leaders on site, contact the RGV team in Munich.

How much money should I take?

We have already covered most of the costs with your contribution. Nevertheless, you should plan additional costs of an average of 75 to 125 pounds per week. The biggest additional costs usually arise from your own personal expenses, as well as your leisure time activities.

Here is a list of possible additional costs on site:

• Private expenses • Leisure activities • Use of public transport or rental vehicle (during the week to the project and back to the accommodation, or on weekends for travel) • Extension of your visa • Telephone costs (prepaid)

What rules are there?

With your RGV registration, you will receive important behavioral guidelines to follow. You should also adapt to country-specific practices so as not to appear rude. For example, in Africa and Asia, it is particularly important to treat older people with respect.

Will I receive a certificate of participation?

Yes, after your successful participation in an RGV project, you will receive a confirmation of participation.

National Park Project in South Africa
from £1,249 2 weeks

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