National Park Project in South Africa

Volunteer in a national park and contribute to the preserving of endangered species

National parks play an essential role in providing natural, yet protected communities, for wild animals to be able to live freely, without the threat of poachers or other negative actors. Some of these species are now under threat due to over-hunting, and as such, national parks have become even more important to ensure their survival. Volunteers can play a huge part in helping manage and document the life of these animals, for scientists to then use the data and try and prevent us losing these incredible beings due to human nature.

All Accommodation Included (Shared Volunteer House)
Full Volunteer Placement of 2+ Weeks
Every Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner Included
Placements Available from 2-12 Weeks
Airport Pickup & Transfer Available
Complete Pre-Departure Travel Preparation
Full In-Country Orientation
Weekly Start Dates

The Project

The National Park

This program is perfect for wildlife fans, as you get a real close up experience of some incredible animals in their natural habitat! 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 animals, you are making a huge difference! 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.

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.

Skills Required
  • Energetic
  • Friendly
  • Outgoing
  • Adaptable
  • Animal lover
  • Patient
Daily Roles
  • Monitoring and Observation
  • Maintenance
  • Reporting
  • Joining Game drives
  • Assisting Existing Team
Age Range & Requirements

Age Range

We are able to take applicants who are aged 18+, and although we do not set any upper limit on age, it is important to check if you're eligible for a visa with the relevant immigration authorities.

Requirements

You must be an energetic and friendly person, who has a real passion for working with animals. A background or education in working with animals is beneficial, but not essential.

Location

The project is located in the North of Pretoria, South Africa. To get there, you'd look at flying in Johannesburg initially, where we can look at sorting your pickup and transfer for an extra fee.

Duration

Duration

Volunteer placements at the national park are available from 2 weeks up to 12 weeks. If you require longer than the 10 weeks available on the registration and booking form, please speak to our team and we'll happily discuss the duration with you and get it sorted for you.

Availability

Understandably, there are a few 'down' times, where there may be public holidays or religious dates, where no work will happen. This will affect arrival dates, but if you're in the country on project already, it will simply mean that it will result in some down time until the project starts back up.

Accommodation & Meals

Accommodation

The Shared Volunteer House brings the volunteers together to live under one roof, where you can meet other people who are also volunteering. There are multiple bedrooms and the home comforts you'd expect, including electricity, wifi, showers and more.

Meals

You'll certainly fully fed during your stay at either a host family or the shared volunteer house! You'll eat in a similar way to the locals and the local cuisine, so expect to get to know new foods and delicacies! If you do have any dietary requirements, please let us know about them as far in advance as possible, and we will do our best to accommodate them, or we will inform you if the local area can't.

Airport Transfer

We are able to facilitate an airport transfer from Johannesburg to first nights accommodation for a small fee.

Work Clothing

Clothes that can get dirty! You'll be physically active, so be prepared to wear clothes you're comfortable in and ones where you don't mind getting a bit messy. For the wider South Africa area, it's important to bring some clothing that covers knees and arms, which is at times expected in certain areas due to local culture and customs. However, most of the time, you'll be completely fine with shorts and t-shirts.

Documentation - What do I need?

There are certain pieces of documentation that RGV require during the application process, to ensure you're a suitable applicant to work at one of our projects. They are:

  • Copy of Passport - A pretty standard request for all volunteer companies!

  • Letter of Motivation - This is a one page letter stating why you want to do the programme. The people that use these projects need it's support, so it's super important we send committed and determined volunteers, who really want to make an impact.

  • CV - This just gives us a bit of a better understanding of your background and your past work roles, as again, this is a work placement and not a vacation!

  • Criminal Background Check - With nearly all of our projects, you'll interact with either children or wildlife, so an up-to-date (within 3 months of departure) clean, criminal background check is required. We suggest ICPC, as it is internationally recognised.

  • Travel Insurance - Travel insurance tends to be mandatory for most visas, and we also require it to ensure that you are completely covered in case of emergencies.

  • Flight Itinerary - We need to know when you arrive! By having this, we can keep up to date with where you're at. If you need help with flights, we will happily point you in the right direction.

What's Included

Pre-Deperature Prep & In-Country Orientation

Before you even depart, our friendly UK team will take you through every step of the process, from answering your questions about the programme, through to adivsing you where to go for your visa. We are here to help you and to ensure that you feel totally comfortable (and prepared!) before departing.

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 for a small additional cost. 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.

Accommodation & Meals

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.

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. 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. You can also be accommodated in a private room on request and for a small additional cost.

Meet the SA National Park 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.

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.

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
  • Travel Insurance
  • Criminal Background Check

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.

Gallery

National Park Farmhouse

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