Duration & Fees
Additional Garden Route Tour Prices
Please note: The currency conversion is an estimate based on today's exchange rates and is to be used as a guide only. All payments to Amanzi Travel have to be made in Pounds Sterling (GBP)
Volunteers can join this project on any Monday throughout the year.
The arrival day for the project is Monday and the departure day is Sunday.
This project is open over Christmas and the New Year
£180 deposit at time of booking – balance of project fee due 12 weeks before departure
- Scheduled transfers to and from the airport and the project
- Orientation programme on arrival
- All food and accommodation (except on weekend excursions) and beverages with meals
- Assistance and support from project staff
- Project t-shirt and cap
- Accommodation and transport for included weekend excursions
What's not included
- Transport to and from Port Elizabeth
- Personal travel insurance for the duration of your placement which must include cover for repatriation
- All items of a personal nature, such as gifts and clothing
- Transportation that is not related to the project
- Any excursions over and above your planned itinerary in South Africa
This project will give volunteers the opportunity to work alongside and be trained by experts in game reserve management and conservation exposing them to all of Africa’s Big Five. Activities at this project vary on a day to day basis and are dependent on weather and other factors - so volunteers should remain flexible and be prepared for the activities to change from time to time. There is a weekly itinerary designed in such a way that volunteers are divided into groups of up to ten volunteers per group, each group having an outdoor volunteer co-ordinator as leader and mentor. Groups are engaged in different daily activities but will all have done the same number and type of activities by the end of the week. Volunteers will be involved in all of the conservation related projects on the reserve and learn many conservation and bush skills during their stay and the work that they undertake makes a very real contribution to the project itself. Volunteer activities may include:
- conservation including eradication of alien plants around the reserve
- rhino and lion monitoring
- caring for any orphaned animals such as lion cubs - as needed
- assisting in the elephant sanctuary
- taking part in game drives and assisting in game captures if required
- predator interaction and caring
- game counts
- tree planting and landscaping
- fence maintenance and anti-poaching patrols
- flora and fauna work in the nursery
- wilderness trails walks and patrols
The project staff comprise volunteer co-ordinators, who look after the activities and welfare of the volunters during their placement; indoor co-ordinators who are responsible for accommodation, transfers, orientation and housekeeping matters; and outdoor co-ordinators with whom volunteer work on a daily basis and who are trained in their field and can answer any questions on wildlife, flora or fauna that volunteers may have. Volunteers should note that the project operates in a dynamic environment and activities vary according to the needs of the wildlife at any time.
Activities may include:
- assisting with the eradication of alien vegetation
- rehabilitation of eroded and other areas
- raising of trees for re-establishment on the Reserve
- re-establishment of vegetation and vegetation management
The predator centre houses a variety of wildlife including cheetah, lions, tigers and wild dogs. Depending upon the stage of the programme at the time of a visit there may be the opportunity to bottle feed and help with raising lion cubs at the predator centre. However, this is not a lion breeding project and the presence of cubs cannot be always guaranteed. There is an active release programme into various game reserves and nothing gives more satisfaction than seeing a grown big cat released into a reserve. Volunteers will have the opportunity to assist with the monitoring and occasionally relocation of wildlife within the reserve.
As tigers are not indigenous to South Africa, the offspring are translocated to their natural habitat such as China and Bangladesh.
The lions that arrive in the centre have been abused, orphaned or injured and the aim is to heal them and re-release them into the wild.
There will be chances to visit the elephants living in the new elephant sanctuary to assist from a wildlife and conservation perspective. The experienced guides can offer invaluable insights into the behaviour and interactions of the wildlife living on the reserve.
An on-going programme for the introduction of additional different African mammal species is underway and a rehabilitation centre has been set up where sick and injured wildlife found on the reserve can be brought back in to be healed and, where possible, re-release. Volunteers help to look after these sick and injured animals and sometimes go out and help with the capture of this wildlife. The new lion rewilding camp is now established and running very well. This area of approximately 300 hectares is where the lions from the rehabilitation centre go before being released into the wild. This is a "half-way house" that eases them into the process and is proving very successful.
The new touch farm area has been increased in size and has expanded into a "plains sanctuary" - a sanctuary for the orphaned and injured non-dangerous wildlife such as zebra, springbok etc. This is proving very popular with volunteers as it is very hands-on.
The project also runs a community outreach programme to assist the local population. Volunteers assist at a local rural farm by providing food to the local community that is provided and prepared by the chefs on the project.
Volunteers will also assist the guides from time to time with guest hosting.
The project has an ongoing programme for the continued introduction of new African mammals appropriate to and suitable for the reserve environment.
Depending upon the time of year and the planned fire regimes, volunteers will assist in the management of this important driving force in the savanna ecosystem.
Veterinary Interns work with the vet and other wildlife experts on this Big 5 Reserve as and when veterinary work is required. At other times interns will take part in normal volunteer actives as detailed above.
Veterinary Intern activities could include:
- Darting of animals
- Treating animals (domestic/ wild)
- Lectures on topical issues
- Game counts
- Field monitoring
This project is ideal for veterinary students, veterinary nursing students, anyone considering a career in veterinary medicine. The project is open to anyone interested in this field as due to the nature of working with wild animals and the need for safety at times the activities and focus is kept at a basic level.
Please note: no activities can be guaranteed as the programme operates in a dynamic environment and activities are dictated by the needs of the animals at the time and the circumstances whilst interns are on site.
As animals are not always in need of treatment, vet participants will work with the vet on average 1-2 times per week, depending on the amount of work required to be carried out at the time. Outside of this, the participants will be engaged in doing general wildlife and conservation work with other volunteers.
Volunteers start their duties at approximately 7.30am and finish their day at approximately 4.30pm, Monday to Friday. Coordinators start work at 7.00am and they will either be feeding the horses, busy in the farm or at the workshop. You are free to join them during this period if you wish. These times are subject to change depending on the activities for the day.
Please note: The activities in which volunteers and veterinary interns will be involved can be affected by the weather, time of year, the animals at the reserve at the time and the temperament of the animals, so please approach the programme with a flexible mind.
This project is also based on a game reserve where alchohol is not permitted. However volunteers can join pre-arranged trips at weekends to local towns and cities where they can relax and socialise with fellow volunteers.
Volunteers will be housed in either the Kubs Quarters or Mafusa Camp dormitories. The dormitories are single sex with either single beds or bunks, with their own bathrooms and both are fully furnished with kitchens, lounges with dining areas, fireplaces and entertainment areas with a television, dvd players and pool tables. There are good sporting facilities such as tennis courts and a cricket field, swimming pools and there are also plans to open a gym on site. There is internet access in the main building at a nominal fee. Take a look on the video tab to see some of the rooms and bathrooms for yourself.
If volunteers wish to stay as a couple, this can be arranged at an extra cost subject to availabililty. Anyone wishing to share as a couple should indicate this when making their booking so that appropriate arrangements can be made if such rooms are available.
Breakfast, which is served from 9.30 am - 10.00 am, consists of cereals, bread, butter, jam, tea, coffee and cheese and sometimes eggs, sausages, baked beans or a combination of all of the above.
For lunch (1.00 - 2.00 pm) and dinner (6.00 - 7.00 pm) a wide variety of meals is available ranging from burgers, chicken and chips, vegetarian dishes, casseroles and so on - so nobody will go hungry! If there are more than 20 volunteers at the project meals will be served in the Mafusa Restaurant, but for less than 20 volunteers, meals will be served in the Kubs Quarters. Selected meals can be served in the on-site 5 star hotel by invitation of the Chief Executive Officer when smart, casual dress would be expected.
Please note, the game reserve is an alcohol free environment but volunteers are welcome to drink during the weekends excursions into Port Elizabeth.
South Africa - Help Local Communities Get Started
Why visit South Africa?
Every country in the world displays some diversity, but South Africa, stretching from the hippos in the Limpopo River to the penguins waddling on the Cape, takes some beating. There’s the deserted Kalahari, Namakwa’s springtime symphony of wildflowers, iconic Table Mountain and Cape Point, Africa’s biggest game reserve - Kruger National Park - boasting the most mammal species of any game reserve, and the magnificent peaks and plunging valleys of the escarpment of Drakensberg.
Cape Town is widely described as one of the world's most beautiful cities. Some of its more famous landmarks include Table Mountain, Robben Island (where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for decades), Cape Point, Chapman’s Peak, Kirstenbosch Gardens and the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront. A combination of historical coastal charm and urbane sophistication, Cape Town has some of the finest beaches and is also the gateway to the lush Cape Winelands, famous for world-renowned wines. From here, it is an easy journey to the Whale Route, where Southern Right whales can be seen (June - November) and humpback whales, Bryde's whales, Minke whales and bottlenose dolpins can be viewed year round.
The Garden Route is renowned for its beaches, indigenous forests, nature reserves, lakes, mountain ranges, adventure opportunities and hiking trails. Plettenberg Bay is a relaxed beach paradise with spectacular walks and hikes where one can watch dolphins and whales on eco-marine cruises. With some of the world's finest beaches, the Eastern Cape's untouched and pristine coastline also has a rich social, cultural and political history. Port Elizabeth is the gateway to the Eastern Cape, and the perfect complement to the Garden Route. Cape St Francis is situated on the Indian Ocean coastline, in and around Africa's largest man made web of canals and waterways, and is renowned for its long, sandy beaches, surfing, rock fishing and tranquil lifestyle.
Kruger National Park is the flagship of South Africa's game reserves, offering an unrivalled wildlife experience over two million-hectares. Private concessions operating within and alongside Kruger National Park feature luxurious, exclusive game lodges with many exciting safari activities. Some of these lodges are unfenced, allowing for the free movement of wildlife. Madikwe Game Reserve, in the North West province, is one of South Africa's largest private Big Five game reserves and features numerous lodges and camps. The Waterberg area in the northwest is also malaria-free and is aptly named for its strong streams that flow even in dry seasons, making for excellent game viewing. Both reserves are great for those seeking an accessible malaria-free wilderness experience.
Durban is a sub-tropical city and the gateway to KwaZulu-Natal. It offers a unique mix of Zulu, Indian and colonial cultures. Visit the Anglo-Zulu battlefields, take a fascinating glimpse into Zulu culture, hike in the beautiful Drakensberg Mountains, dive the reefs, marine and coastal reserves of Maputaland, as well as experience Big Five game reserves. The Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Game Reserve is renowned for saving the white rhino from the brink of extinction, and Phinda Private Game Reserve is well known for its award-winning lodges and conservation initiatives.
Johannesburg meaning "Place of Gold", is South Africa's economic powerhouse. This vibrant and cosmopolitan city is home to many attractions including the Apartheid Museum and Constitution Hill, and also offers shopping from world-class to atmospheric curio markets. Known as the "Jacaranda City", the state capital of Pretoria features beautiful blossoming trees, significant old buildings and fascinating museums, including the Transvaal Museum, home of Mrs Ples, the australopithecine fossil found at the Cradle of Humankind.
Highlights of South Africa
- Breathtaking scenery, quaint coastal villages, cosmopolitan cities, wine routes and exclusive bush lodges.
- Exciting Big Five safaris in unspoilt wilderness areas.
- Malaria-free game viewing and sunshine all year round.
- See Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was held in prison for 27 years.
- Go up Table Mountain by cable car for stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean and beautiful Cape Town.
- Whale watching and great white shark cage diving.
- Beautiful, pristine beaches perfect for swimming and sunbathing.
- The Cradle of Humankind: Sterkfontein is one of the world's most productive and important palaeoanthropological sites.
|Seasons ||Max ||Min
|Summer (September - April)
|Winter (May - August)
|Rainfall: October to March, with November to January heaviest
South Africa has typical seasons of weather for the southern hemisphere, with the coldest days in July-August. The Benguela Current, a cold motion that moves from the lower South Atlantic Ocean, causes moderate temperatures on the West Coast. On the central plateau, which includes Free State and Gauteng provinces, the altitude keeps the average temperatures below 30 °C.In winter, also due to altitude, temperatures drop to freezing point, and in some places, even lower. Heavy snows have fallen recently for the first time in decades in Johannesburg. During winter, it is warmest in the coastal regions, especially on the Eastern Indian Ocean coast and Garden Route, where it has year round mild weather with occasional rain. As winter is cooler and drier, it is more suitable for hiking and outdoor pursuits, and is also a good time for game viewing as vegetation is less dense and thirsty animals congregate around rivers and other permanent water sources.
In summer, South Africa experiences the hottest temperatures and this is generally when most rain falls, October – March. However, there is one exception - the Western Cape, which is a winter-rain area that enjoys a Mediterranean climate (average 26°C).
Christmas to mid-January, and Easter are the height of the peak season for visitors.
Autumn (April/May) and Spring (mid-Sept to November) are ideal almost everywhere.
Population – 50 million
Capital – Pretoria (executive), Bloemfontein (judicial), Cape Town (legislative)
Currency – Rand (ZAR)
Official Language(s) – Afrikaans, English (South African English), Southern Ndebele, Northern Sotho, Southern Sotho, Swazi, Tsonga, Tswana, Venda, Xhosa, Zulu
Time difference – GMT +2 hours
Telephone – country code 27, international access code 00
This was one of the best experiences of my life and I will never forget it! The Rangers on the Reserve are all so friendly and make the experience so much better. Some of the activities included tree chopping, fence clearing, game capturing etc, some of which were physically challenging but still really fun! In terms of the wildlife on the reserve, I saw all the animals I wanted to see within the first day which was amazing and I also went to the elephant sanctuary as one of the daily activities were I rode and fed elephants. For the weekend excursions I went shark diving which was incredible and did the highest bridge bungee jump in the world which was pretty unforgettable! I stayed 2 weeks but really wish I had stayed longer because the atmosphere around the reserve was so enjoyabe and all the people I met were so incredible that I didnt want to leave! I would definitely go back if I got the chance. Thank you so much for everything!
Sophie, Belfast, aged 18 (Big 5 Reserve with Big Cat Conservation and Veterinary Internship)
The volunteer project was extremely valuable to the community and wildlife. The rangers believed volunteers made a great difference and contributed massively in the general maintenance of the reserve.
Jake, UK, aged 17 (Big 5 Reserve with Big Cat Conservation and Veterinary Internship)
It was my ultimate bucket list to volunteer with wildlife in South Africa. I came back from the volunteering at the Big 5 Reserve with Lion and Tiger Conservation at xmas. It was awesome!!!! On my first game drive, I got to see a lioness with a prey in its mouth and she was dragging it behind the bushes. As days go by, I got learn facts about the different animals in the game reserve such as how to identify animal tracks. I also did work like weeding and fence patrolling. I actually mended a fence for the first time ever! Cub sitting is always awesome... I missed Survivor, the brown lion cub!!
Loved the game drives. Loved cub sitting! Loved the scenery at the reserve. I got to watch feeding at the predator center. I went to the elephant sanctuary. Thanks for organizing! I might want to do another volunteering project but maybe other parts of Africa.
Asmawati, Singapore aged 32 (Big 5 Reserve with Big Cat Conservation and Veterinary Internship)
t's an amazing experience that I would like to recommend. The rangers are really friendly and try everything to give you the best experience even if you are volunteering only 2 weeks like I did. I wish I could have stayed longer.
Tanja, Germany, aged 34 (Big 5 Reserve with Big Cat Conservation and Veterinary Internship)
The overall experience was outstanding. The booking experince was hassle free and all questions were answered quickly, thank you Gemma! The staff at the reserve itself were so easy to get a long with and went out of their way to make your trip a wonderful one, they were also very knowledgeable and I learnt some very odd and interesting facts. The work was very conservation based and tough sometimes but you felt like you were really making a difference which made getting up in the morning easy! The accomodation was fantastic and the house keepers were super friendly and went out of their way to make everything clean and comfortable for you. I had a lot of fun, but by far the best was game capturing Blesbok and babysitting the baby white lion cub, she was the most adorable thing in the world. 3 weeks I thought would be enough, but I could have stayed out there longer. The weekend excursions were always fun, and your in house coordinator at the reserve will help you too do anything you wish to do. For instance I did the world highest bridge bungee jump :O went horse riding and great white shark diving. I would recommend trying to experience as much as you can whilst your over there, because South Africa is a beautiful place. It was an amzing experience that has made me eager to volunteer again, I met some amazing people and did some amazing things whilst in South Africa and I will be visiting again.
Emma, UK aged 22 (Big 5 Reserve with Big Cat Conservation and Veterinary Internship)
A fantastic Experience beyond my expectations. I had an amazing time! I learned so much and everyone was very friendly and positive. I loved it.
Hufsah, Canada aged 22 (Big 5 Reserve with Big Cat Conservation and Veterinary Internship)
I loved every minute!! It has been the best month of my life, it has felt like home here and am very sad to be leaving. Would love to return.
Laura, Canada aged 20 (Big 5 Reserve with Big Cat Conservation and Veterinary Internship)
The volunteer project was the without doubt the best thing I have ever done. The wildlife, the people and the place were incredible. I cannot fault the experience at the project or the booking process with Amanzi Travel. It's hard work but you get so much out of it and it is truly needed and massively helpful for the game reserve. I learned a huge amount about the wildlife and the experiences with the animals on the reserve and in the enclosures are unparalleled. I am already planning to go back and cannot wait for it. Thank you!
George, UK, aged18 (Big 5 Reserve with Big Cat Conservation and Veterinary Internship)
This project was excellent for conservation and preserving the environment - from animal rehabilitation to tree preservation/alien plant eradication!!- it did exactly what it said on the tin - fab project, hard work but definitely worth the effort and you feel like you are making a difference.The reserve staff were excellent and constantly trying to keep us busy with plenty of game drives as well as manual labour, there was always something to do....The house was kept immaculate...
Gemma was really helpful and supportive when deciding which project to choose and I found myself well-prepared for departure. MANY THANKS. Excellent customer service, I was guided through the process from start to finish with lots of support if needed!
The staff at the project were really friendly and I feel that the work that we did really made a difference to both the environment and the local community and I would recommend it to anyone who has the time and energy to give - you will know that you have done something worthwhile.
Joanne, UK, aged 35 (Big 5 Reserve with Big Cat Conservation and Veterinary Internship)
I really enjoyed my time in South Africa. The program was great. We did a lot of conservation work which was some tough manual labor at times but it was great knowing what you were doing was helping the environment. All of the game drives were great! We got to see a lot of animals! The dawn drive was the best since we got to see the lions pretty close on the reserve! All of the rangers on the reserve were very knowledgeable and it was great talking to them and learning about the reserve and wildlife. The weekends in Port Elizabeth were fun and enjoyable. It was awesome meeting all of the other volunteers from different countries and they all made the experience more enjoyable!
Ali, USA, Aged 24 (Big 5 Reserve with Big Cat Conservation and Veterinary Internship)
Although it was hard work it was the best time of my life. Seeing so many animals benefiting and in their natural habitat was truly amazing. Everyone was so friendly and passionate about what they were doing. Working so hard was worth it to see how much you were helping. I would have never come home if I didn't have to.
Rebekah, UK, aged 18 (Big 5 Reserve with Big Cat Conservation and Veterinary Internship)
We had a lot of fun, thank you for everything, really enjoyable 2 weeks : )My overall experience was brilliant, got to see and work with a lot of amazing animals. Thank you very much
Laura and Lucy, UK, aged 18 (Big 5 Reserve with Big Cat Conservation and Veterinary Internship)
This place was really nice and everyone there helped make it incredible. The co-ordinators went out of there way to let you see the Big 5 and make some of the activities more enjoyable. The elephant and cub intereaction was fantastic, working with the elephants was just amazing! And playing with the cubs was fun, you just had to watch out for the claws. The whole trip was definitely worthwhile and I would recommend it to anyone.
Kelly, UK, aged 18 (Big 5 Reserve with Big Cat Conservation and Veterinary Internship)
I had a fantastic time in south africa, i got to stroke tiger cubs, ride elephants and go on lots of safari rides. the accomodation both at the reserve and in port elizabeth was fantastic, and at the weekends we organised our own trips to the worlds largest bungy jump bridge and to a horse riding stables, both of which were fantastic. i had an amazing time and met some amazing people, and will never forget my time spent in south africa.
Emily, UK, aged 20 (Big 5 Reserve with Big Cat Conservation and Veterinary Internship)
Everything on the project was like a dream. The staff was really friendly, helpful and a real inspiration! The activities we did during the days was very educational and I've learnt a lot thanks to the experienced staff. It never felt as I was working because I had fun doing anything! I've grown as a person and I have a new perspective in life thanks to everything I got to see and experience. In overall; I had a great time, probably the best time of my life. Will return there soon!
Tilder, Sweden, aged 19 (Big 5 Reserve with Big Cat Conservation and Veterinary Internship)
The best time of my life. Thank you for everything and keep up the good work that you do!!!!
Elina, Sweden, aged 19 (Big 5 Reserve with Big Cat Conservation and Veterinary Internship)
When we first decided to go for 3 weeks we thought it would be enough. That we wanted to go home after, but we were wrong. We didn't want to leave at all! During these 3 weeks I've learned so much, not just about the animals but also about the people and the culture. I feel that I've grown as a person and I feel so much stronger now. I didn't see it as work because it was fun, I liked everything we did. The staff was amazing, and the food was really good. Everybody, both all the volunteers and the staff/coordinators became friends, and it felt like we were a big family! I am definitely coming back!
Elina,Sweden, aged 18 (Big 5 Reserve with Big Cat Conservation and Veterinary Internship)
I had a great time in Africa, I loved all the activities there. I also loved all the people that I met out there which made it that extra bit special. Food is good and varied with plenty to feed young men! I am now thinking of doing the level 1 ranger course next summer… as 2 of the volunteers did it this trip which encouraged me to do it. Thank you again for all your help.
I finished my volunteer work and travelled around for one more week along the Garden Route. I really enjoyed my stay in South Africa especially my time on this project. I liked the work we had to do and got a good impression of how to manage a game reserve. The weekends were always interesting and relaxing. Thank you that we got the possibility to experience so many different situations in your country.
Edward, UK, aged 17 (Big 5 Reserve with Big Cat Conservation and Veterinary Internship)