Volunteering Solutions provides a great opportunity for volunteers who are interested in having a true African experience while making a difference to the local wildlife and environment. The Wildlife Volunteering Program in South Africa is an exciting opportunity for all wildlife enthusiasts looking to volunteer abroad with animals.
Volunteers under this program are placed at a wildlife reserve area, which is a huge 6000 hectares land, located around 45 minutes outside mainland Port Elizabeth; filled with a variety of game, birdlife and wild animals, including the BIG 5! The wildlife program will capture your imagination, leaving you physically and mentally rejuvenated, soulfully inspired, and delayed in awe of this magnificent slice of South Africa.
When working to volunteer for wildlife in South Africa, a mystical blend of nature and history awaits to awaken the body, mind, and soul. Set in the splendor of the malaria-free Eastern Cape, within the heart of Frontier Country. In addition to the mixture of grasslands, sub-tropical vegetation, fynbos and bushveld, the reserve also has naturally formed pockets of water, amazing rock formations, and splendid flora.
Volunteers must be 18 years or older at the time of joining the project. Participants should have an open mind and flexible attitude for working outdoors and should have a keen interest and love for animals and wildlife. All volunteers must provide a clean criminal background check report prior to joining the program.
Volunteer Roles & Responsibilities
Activities for this programme vary on a day to day basis and are dependent on weather and other factors. There is an itinerary of all the activities which are scheduled for each week. The itinerary is designed in such a way that volunteers are divided into groups of up to 10 volunteers per group, depending on the number of volunteers. Each group will have an outdoor volunteer coordinator as a leader and mentor. The groups will be engaged in different daily activities, but will all do the same type and number of activities by the end of the week. In some cases all the groups might do the same activity at the same time depending on the type of activity e.g. game capture.
Lion Cubs at the reserve will notice that your activities include some but are not limited to:
- Removal of alien vegetation in and around the reserve
- Lion tracking and monitoring
- School feeding schemes (speak to us if you would like to go as this is voluntary)
- Wildlife structures
- Tree planting and landscaping
- Game drives
- Predator interaction and caring
- Elephant sanctuary
- Fauna and flora work in the nursery
- Wilderness trail walks and patrols
- Fence patrol
- Game counts
- Game capture
- Anti poaching efforts
Volunteer Work Schedule
Volunteers joining the wildlife reserve program in South Africa, Port Elizabeth are accommodated at the reserve itself making the daily schedule highly flexible and focused more on volunteer work for animals at the reserve. A typical schedule for volunteers looks something like;
- Monday - Arrival in Port Elizabeth
- Tuesday - Orientation + Introduction to the project. Orientation session will be conducted by the local coordinator, covering topic areas; such as safety, culture, language, places to visit, behaviour, food, and other suggestion over things to do in South Africa, Port Elizabeth.
- Wed to Fri - Volunteer Work
- Breakfast - 09:30 am to 10:00 am
- Working hours - 07:30 am to 04:00 pm (all other activities; such as meals and breaks are adjusted within this time)
- Lunch - 01:00 pm to 02:00 pm
- Dinner - 06:00 pm to 07:00 pm
The same volunteer work schedule continues from the second week onwards
Weekends - Free to explore the city, and do activities such as;
Note: Please note, the schedule may vary depending on the particular project the volunteer is participating on.
Airport Receive/ TransferVolunteers are picked up from the Port Elizabeth Airport. Scheduled transfers are arranged to and from the airport to the reserve. The reserve is approximately 45 minutes from the airport. All volunteers need to arrive at Port Elizabeth Airport on Monday before 4pm, as transfer is provided till that time only.
OrientationThe volunteers would be a given a basic orientation with guidelines and instructions by the project coordinators. A weekly itinerary is also prepared assigning roles and responsibilities to the volunteers.
AccommodationVolunteers are housed in dorm style accommodation. The dorms are alotted on same gender basis. In cases where volunteers want to stay as a couple, this can be arranged at an extra cost and also depends on the availability of rooms unless arrangements were made prior to arrival. Volunteers are more than welcome to socialize in the common area such as the entertainment area, lounge, TV area etc.
Laundry facility is available for two days in a week at an extra cost. Internet service is also available during certain designated hours.
Volunteers are provided with meals on all seven days of the week. Your basic breakfast will consist of cereals, bread, butter, jam, tea, coffee and cheese, but sometimes volunteers are also served eggs, sausages or baked beans, and sometimes a combination of the both.
Please Note: -An application fee of $199 is charged over and above the program fee as an application payment. (A 4% international banking fee is charged at the time of payment) Please Note: -An application fee of £149 is charged over and above the program fee as an application payment. (A 4% international banking fee is charged at the time of payment) Please Note: -An application fee of $259 is charged over and above the program fee as an application payment. (A 4% international banking fee is charged at the time of payment) Please Note: -An application fee of €169 is charged over and above the program fee as an application payment. (A 4% international banking fee is charged at the time of payment)
What are you Paying for?
- Assistance and support from Staff
- Comprehensive Pre- Departure Information
- Return Scheduled transfers from Port Elizabeth Airport
- Guided Wildlife Tour
- 1 Reserve T-shirt
- 1 Reserve Peak Cap
- Food - All Meals
- Accommodation in Shared Dorms in the reserve
- Weekend transport between Saturday and Sunday to either Port Elizabeth, Jeffreys Bay or Grahams Bay.
- Certificate Of Completion (Upon Request)
What's NOT included?
- Visa Fee
- Any personal expenses
Flights and Visa
All participants joining the South Africa volunteer projects for more than 90 days, need to apply for volunteer Visa at the nearest South African Embassy or Consulate. Along with the Visa application, you need to attach the required supporting documents. Volunteers are provided with the necessary supporting document for their South African Visa application. More detailed information shall be provided after you become a Volunteering Solutions’ enrolled participant.
South African Airways, Mango Air, and Com Air have flight options to Port Elizabeth.
Health and Safety
If you already have a valid Travel and Medical insurance, you can email us a copy of the same. It is also advised to bring along the Insurance documents during your trip.
In the case of a more serious problem, you will be taken to the closest doctor or medical center. The cost of all doctors’ visit and medication will be from your own account.
Accommodation and Living
Your basic breakfast would consist of cereals, bread, butter, jam, tea, coffee, and cheese, but at times you will be served eggs, sausages or baked beans, and sometimes a combination of the above.
As for lunch and dinner, you have a wide variety ranging from burgers, chicken and chips, vegetarian dishes, potato casserole and so on (you definitely won’t go hungry!).
You are also free to organize your own excursion, but for this again the expenses will have to be covered on your own.
You are also free to stay behind during the weekends to relax and unwind at the reserve.
However, volunteers need to be flexible, open minded and understand that work requirements can change as well on certain occasions.
Connect with Past Volunteers
To read alumni interviews from past participants, visit the Meet a Volunteer page on our website.
FAQ's Application and Program Details
Volunteer must be at least 18-year-old at the time of joining the project.
Volunteer needs to have an open mind and flexible attitude for working in a new and different environment.
The volunteer should bring energy and enthusiasm to make a difference.
The participant must be in good health.
The Wildlife Volunteering Program in South Africa is an exciting opportunity for all wildlife enthusiasts looking to volunteer abroad with animals.
Please make sure you book your flight to arrive before 4 PM at Port Elizabeth, as the pick up won’t be provided after that since scheduled transfers to the reserve from the airport run only at that time.