Wildlife Conservation Internship in South Africa

Help conserve some of Africa’s most important ecosystems.

Program overview

Imagine spending a majority of your day collecting data on large predators such as lions, leopards and cheetah! As a volunteer on this Wildlife Conservation Program, you'll do just that. The information you help gather is used to give an accurate assessment of the predators' impact on prey populations while also gaining new insights into their social structure, genetics, and spatial movements. This vital information helps maintain a healthy balance of these natural resources and, ultimately, conserve some of Africa’s most important ecosystems.

This internship requires full time commitment, during your first 12 weeks volunteers can take approx 3 to 4 days off every 4 weeks. During your work placement this may vary.

Where you'll stay

Accommodation is in shared (mixed gender) rooms with shared bathroom facilities at base. There is cold running water available for showers. Flush toilet facilities are available, and participants share base duties, including cleaning and other chores. Accommodation during work placements will vary depending on the location. Accommodation will not be provided during breaks between program phases but staff will assist you in making your own arrangements.

Activities & Training

Things to do 

During the expedition you will have one day off each week. In this time, you might choose to visit the stunning local mountains, go curio shopping, or just spend some time wandering around the local town. Depending on your start date, you may have an additional week (or more) off between program phases. Before and after your program you could visit the Kruger National Park, go on a hot air balloon ride, horse riding etc. Popular trips include a vist to the spectacular Blyde River Canyon, the picturesque villages of Sabie, Pilgrims Rest and Graskop and other local activities such as canyoning, rafting, and bungee jumping. The possibilities are endless!


Orientation and Training

Staff in the field will provide training on the skills required, but you may benefit from learning more about local history, culture and customs before you travel.

Good to know

Preparation

All volunteers are encouraged to learn more about local history, culture and customs before travelling. All training will be taught in the field.

Suggested books:

  • The Behavior Guide to African Mammals: by Richard Despard Estes;
  • Field Guide to Mammals of Southern Africa: Chris & Tilde Stuart;
  • A Field Guide to the Tracks and Signs of Southern and East African Wildlife - Chris and Tilde Stuart;
  • The Bushveld including the Kruger Lowveld: Lee Gutteridge;
  • Birds of Southern Africa: Ian Sinclair. Struik (South Africa) or Princeton Field Guides (USA);
  • Wildlife Campus - offers a variety of online study courses.

Application requirements

Volunteers need not have any specific skills just an enthusiasm and passion for contributing to the project and the local partner objectives. Reasonable fitness is required, with 8-10 hours a day on the back of open safari vehicles on rough roads as well as physical conservation work and possible 12km hike. Interns are required to have a valid manual drivers license for the work placement phase.

Health and safety 

A change of environment, climate, food and lifestyle often results in minor, and occasionally more serious, illness. Please inform staff if you feel unwell at any time. The nearest emergency medical facility is located in Hoedspruit, about an hour's drive from base. All staff are trained in Emergency First Response. Detailed Risk Assessments are part of training, as are the Emergency Action Plans, including regular drills to ensure familiarity by all. Karongwe base is located within a malarial area and, as such, anti-malaria prophylaxis should be taken as recommended by your GP or home doctor. Daytime temps at the reserve are very high during the summer months (Oct - March), averaging over 95 degrees on a daily basis. Days in the field are long, so make sure you have a wide-brimmed hat, plenty of sunscreen and a water bottle with at least 1.5 litre capacity.



Logistics

Volunteers will need to fly into Johannesburg International airport and take a
connecting flight to Hoedspruit where our field staff will meet you on your Saturday start date.

Additional Information

Field staff advise that you enter the country using a tourist visa if your stay is 12 weeks or less. For most nationalities this can be obtained upon arrival. For durations longer than 12 weeks, you will require a volunteer visa. For most nationalities this must be arranged in advance.