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.
Volunteering Solutions arranges and facilitates ease of access, living and volunteering for all its international volunteers. All they have to do is pack their bags and arrive in Port Elizabeth.
Volunteers 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.
The 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.
Volunteers 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.
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 $229 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 £179 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 $299 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 €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)
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 travelers coming to South Africa need to have a valid visa.The citizens from most of the European (including UK & Ireland), African and South American countries as well as the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand do NOT need to obtain a visa beforehand and can stay in the country for a period of up to 90 days. However, you must have a passport valid for at least 6 months period.
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.
There are not many direct international flights to Port Elizabeth - you will probably need to fly to Cape Town or Johannesburg and then take a connecting flight to Port Elizabeth.
South African Airways, Mango Air, and Com Air have flight options to Port Elizabeth.
Health and Safety
Like in any new country, you need to take general precautions for safety. You will be given safety precautions and instructions by the local coordinator team during the orientation as well as in your Pre-departure handbook after you become an enrolled participant.
All participants are recommended to consult their physician or travel doctor before traveling to South Africa. To view the general list of vaccinations recommended for your travel to South Africa, click here.
Yes, for all participants, it is mandatory to have a valid travel medical insurance for their trip. Volunteers have the option to purchase Travel and Medical Insurance at a nominal extra cost from Volunteering Solutions. To provide the best option to our participants, we offer comprehensive insurance coverage in collaboration with a leading insurance provider.
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.
A well equipped first aid box is available at the Reserve and can be accessed by the Lodge Team Leader or the Reserve Team Leader. They do have trained staff on site to see to minor injuries and bruises.
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 accommodation will be close to the project location. Your program coordinator or a member of the local coordinating team will introduce you to everyone after giving you a basic orientation.You will be told about the directions to the project from your accommodation and the mode of transport which you can use.
You will be housed in the dorms at the Reserve. The dorms are gender based, which means, men and women have separate dorms. In case the volunteers want to stay as a couple, it can be arranged at an extra cost and also depends on the availability of rooms unless arrangements were made prior to arrival. You are more than welcome to socialize in the common area such as the entertainment area, lounge, TV area etc. Laundry services are provided two days in a week. Internet service is also available with the accommodations.
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!).
Yes, however, you must inform us in advance and also mention about any dietary requirement in your application form.
On weekends, you will be sent out for excursions which will come for an extra cost. The excursions will either be to Grahamstown, Port Elizabeth, Jeffrey’s Bay, or any other nearby destination. On these excursions, please note that the reserve will only provide you with accommodation and transport to and from your destination. Accommodation will be in dorms and if you would like an upgrade, you are welcome to do so but you will have to bear the expenses.
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.
Volunteers usually work from 07:30 hrs and finish at 16:30 hrs. The activities of the day will be divided into three slots - 7:30 AM - 9:30 AM, 10:00 AM - 1:00 PM and 2:00 PM - 4:30 PM.
However, volunteers need to be flexible, open minded and understand that work requirements can change as well on certain occasions.
Connect with Past Volunteers
How can I connect with past Volunteering Solutions South Africa alumni as well as other former and current volunteers?
We encourage volunteers to get in touch with former Volunteering Solutions South Africa program participants and also other program participants joining our projects. You are recommended to join the Volunteering Solutions Facebook Page or Facebook Group to communicate with other participants.
To read alumni interviews from past participants, visit the Meet a Volunteer page on our website.
FAQ's Application and Program Details
It is advised to apply for the projects once the volunteering/ traveling dates are decided as there are limited spots available. Our service is based on first come first serve basis. As soon as you decide the travel dates, we suggest you apply for the program and hold your spot.
Usually, it takes around 10-12 working days for the application to be processed and placement to be confirmed. After we review your CV and documents, your booking is confirmed and the booking confirmation is updated in your ‘My Account’ and you can view the information in your account. The application acceptance depends on the availability of seats in the project as well as the eligibility criteria of the program (age, skills and experience etc.).
Below are the necessary requirements to participate in the Port Elizabeth, South Africa volunteer projects:
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.
Yes, you are welcome to take part in South Africa Volunteer Program as part of a group. We welcome families, friends, high school students, college/university and corporate groups to volunteer together in the South Africa programs. Volunteering Solutions has hosted student groups as well as families coming to volunteer in the program.
The Wildlife Project is situated only 85 km from Port Elizabeth towards Grahamstown.The reserve is on 6000 hectares of land which is filled with a variety of game, bird life and wild animals including the BIG 5. In addition to the mixture of grasslands, subtropical vegetation, it also has naturally formed pockets of water, amazing rock formations, and splendid fauna.
The Wildlife Volunteering Program in South Africa is an exciting opportunity for all wildlife enthusiasts looking to volunteer abroad with animals.
Yes, most definitely you can, as we believe every participant brings something new to the project. If you do not have previous experience, we offer you the opportunity to have a great start with us. We make international volunteering easy – not only are our Volunteer Abroad opportunities rooted in offering you extensive support, but they are also very affordable.
Yes, we will provide you with the Certificate after successful completion of your program. The Certificate is provided on request.
When do I need to arrive in Port Elizabeth for my program? What will happen once I arrive in Port Elizabeth?
Volunteers working in the Wildlife Reserve Project are picked up by our local representative from Port Elizabeth International Airport (PLZ). The volunteering project in Port Elizabeth begins on every Monday, all volunteers need to arrive in Port Elizabeth on the program starting date, which is Monday, before 4 PM.
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.