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Home > Info > FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

If you cannot find the information you are looking for please contact one of our travel advisors on Tel: +44 (0) 117 253 0888 or Email: info@amanzitravel.co.uk


Volunteer Projects

Who Volunteers?

The great news is that anyone can volunteer!

Our volunteer projects attract volunteers from all over the world, of all ages and from all walks of life. In fact it is this diverse mix of people that often provides the greatest value to the projects - students on gap years, professionals taking career breaks, mature volunteers using their retirement to try something different - everyone is welcome, including those who just want to have a holiday with a difference.

Gap Year

Take time out after 'A' levels or a degree to do something totally different and worthwhile, whilst broadening your horizons and gaining valuable skills. After years of study, a volunteer experience can not only provide a well deserved break but also play an important part in any future aspirations. What could be more interesting than to talk about your incredible experiences overseas when at interview - it could just give you that edge!

Career Break

Increasingly organisations are recognising the value of offering the opportunity of career breaks to their staff, realising that there are significant benefits for both the organisation and the employee. By joining a volunteer project you will learn valuable new skills that you can bring to your organisation when you return, re-vitalised and re-motivated, having had the experience of a lifetime. Alternatively it could be just the opportunity you need to get away, take stock, re-evaluate and make decisions leading to a bright new future.

Post-Career Break/Mature Volunteers

Having worked hard all your life, retirement has given you the time to do the things that you have always dreamed about. Now you can use the skills and experience gained over many years to volunteer and make a real difference to the people and the wildlife in Asia and Africa. It is often mature volunteers that have the greatest impact on the projects and the communities in which they are based. Why not combine a volunteer placement with some time exploring and experiencing these diverse and beautiful continents - Amanzi Travel can create the perfect trip for you. Click here to find out more.

Holidays

Bored with the same holiday each year? Want to do something new and entirely different? Amanzi Travel can create an experience that you will never forget. Why not combine a short volunteer placement with an overland adventure trip. There are so many amazing possibilities - let us tailor-make the perfect holiday for you.

Solo Travel

Many volunteers travel alone and this can sometimes seem a daunting prospect. However this does not need to be a concern when volunteering with Amanzi Travel. Indeed solo travellers generally make friends easily and can be more flexible with their travel arrangements. Volunteers on any of our programmes offered can be sure that there will be someone to meet them at the airport and take them to the project. Amanzi Travel understands the concerns that people may have about travelling alone and ensures that customers are supported and looked after every step of the way.

Couple Travel

Embarking on a volunteer or adventure experience with a partner can be an exciting opportunity to spend time together doing something really worthwhile, that can be shared for the rest of your life. Sharing such memorable experiences as the first view of Victoria Falls or the first bottle feed given to a lion cub - is a real gift.

Group Travel

Amanzi Travel welcomes the opportunity to create fantastic travel experiences for groups of friends, classmates, colleagues or families or to provide team building and leadership opportunities for corporate clients. Parents can offer their teenagers a real insight into life in the developing world, where as a family they can make a real difference to a local community - this could be a fantastic family holiday before the children leave the nest to embark on their chosen career or university. Click here to find out more about group travel.

Why Volunteer?

  • A great opportunity to do something really worthwhile
  • A chance to take a break from daily life - take stock and re-energise
  • An opportunity to travel the world and experience new cultures
  • Time to meet new people and make new friends
  • Enhance the curriculum vitae and improve career prospects
  • To promote global citizenship
  • All volunteers have a defined role and purpose in the project
  • Do something totally different - it could be the best thing you ever do!

Amanzi Travel’s comprehensive pre-departure packs provide all the information needed, and staff are on hand to give advice before, during, and after your life-changing trip. Projects are very carefully chosen, ensuring that they are sustainable and of real value to the communities and wildlife they serve.

What volunteer placements can I do and where?

Amanzi Travel offers a wide variety of community, orphan care, wildlife and marine conservation, medical, and educational projects throughout the African and Asian Continent. The company is dedicated to focusing on a small number of integrated projects that combine local expertise and infrastructure with the enthusiasm and skills of volunteers who do not simply have to choose one project – Amanzi Travel can tailor-make the perfect volunteer programme for anyone. Click here to find out more

Below are some examples of the type of projects offered:

Wildlife Conservation Volunteer Projects

Help hand rear lion cubs at Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe; work with researchers on the Big 5 Game Reserve in South Africa; reduce human and elephant conflict in Namibia or help rescue turtles in the Maldives and rehabilitate them into their natural habitat.

Community Volunteer Projects

Help to reshape the lives of orphans in Cape Town or on school feeding programmes which offer one good meal a day to children who would otherwise have no food. Or spend time caring, playing and entertaining the disabled children in Vietnam, whose lives were blighted by the effects of Agent Orange.

Teaching and Sports Coaching Projects

Help to teach underprivileged but very enthusiastic children at nursery, primary and secondary schools throughout Africa and Asia, as well as valuable sport coaching initiatives in schools and clubs, and even teaching English to Buddhist monks in Thailand.

Medical Projects

Work with doctors and nurses in the Bushman Medical Clinic in Namibia; assist in local hospital in Malawi or help at the maternity ward in Livingstone, Zambia.
Want to do it all? - Let Amanzi Travel create an adventure just for you!

Do I need any specific skills to volunteer?

No.  Placements on most of the wildlife and community projects are designed to accommodate all levels of skill and expertise.  Volunteers usually find that regardless of any previous experience they have skills that can be imaginatively applied to the situation in hand.  Some volunteers may be able to juggle or have a particular card trick for the children; they may be able to suggest different songs and games in the classroom; or may already possess medical skills that can be shared.  All that is asked is that volunteers approach their project with an open mind and plenty of enthusiasm, ready for an exchange of information that will enrich their life. Volunteers on some medical and veterinary projects do, however, need to have particular training and skills, before they will be accepted - please check these projects on an individual basis.

How do I decide which volunteer project is right for me?

The first thing to do, is to ask yourself a few key questions to get you thinking about what you really want, and to help you to focus on your dreams:-

What do I want to get out of my time volunteering?
Do you I to visit a specific country, or a specific landmark?
Do I want to help with a specific type of animal? Big Cats, rhinos, elephants, primates or marine conservation?
Is there a peak time to be able to work with the babies of that particular type of animal?
Will I be travelling alone or with others?
Do I want to work at a project with lots of volunteers, or just a few?
Will most of the other volunteers be of a similar age to myself?
What skills do I have?
How much money / time do I have?
Are there any cultural restrictions I need to think about?
Are there many public holidays or school holidays I need to be aware of, when I am planning on doing my volunteer project?
Is the altitude of your destination a consideration?
Is there a level of fitness required?
Are malaria tablets necessary, or immunisations necessary?
Is a visa necessary?
What is the temperature of the country, when I am planning to travel? 

Once you have thought about some of these questions, and your answers, it will be much easier to find the right project, or projects for you.

Our specialist travel advisors have been helping volunteers for many years, and are here to help to make your decision an easier one.

Just phone or email for more advice and to answer any of your questions. 

What is life like as a volunteer?

Volunteers with Amanzi Travel will be expected to be committed to the project they choose and work with staff and other volunteers to undertake the daily tasks of that particular programme.  Although some tasks may be challenging volunteer activity schedules are structured to be enjoyable and fun and include allocated time off for all volunteers.  Evenings are a great time for socialising and relaxing.

Below is an example of a typical day in the life of a volunteer at a project in Zimbabwe:

Lion Rehabilitation/Release Programme

Time Activity
6.00 am Bottle feed the cubs in camp ranging in age from 3 weeks to 7 months
6.30 am Meet the guides and join them for a lion walk, taking cubs from 7 – 16 months out into the bush, all the time monitoring their behaviour.  Alternatively spend the morning working with the elephants or doing a boundary patrol on horseback.
8.00 am Buffet style cooked breakfast
9.00 am Cub feeding time again! They require a lot of care and attention!
9.30 am Be involved in various duties including enclosure cleaning, cub walking, snare sweeping or feeding the older cubs.
12.30 pm Buffet style cooked lunch
2.00 pm Afternoon bottle feed for the cubs
2.30 pm Afternoon duties could include cub walks, mending fences or conducting a game count of the park's many antelope species
5.30 pm Meeting to discuss the following day’s duties
Evening Time to dinner and the opportunity to socialise with fellow volunteers

 

What is the in-country accommodation like?

Accommodation will vary from country to country and will range from a clean, modest but comfortable shared occupancy room with basic amenities to a small shared lodge with en-suite facilities. All accommodation is sited in convenient and safe locations. Many of the sites have their own outdoor pool and common room with a television, tea and coffee facilities and games.  Most projects have a cook who prepares and serves meals.  Please ask our advisors for accommodation details relevant to the project that interests you.   There are also optional upgrade opportunities on many projects.

Why do I have to pay to volunteer and where does my money go?

All short term international volunteer programmes charge a fee that covers their operating expenses but the majority of the money paid goes straight to the particular project chosen, helping to make a difference to the lives of the people and wildlife of that country.

The local organisations and projects that offer volunteer placements overseas have limited resources and are not able to subsidise the costs of housing, feeding, supervising and transporting volunteers. Indeed if they did have available resources it would almost be more beneficial and cost effective to hire a local person instead.

In addition identifying suitable and worthwhile overseas volunteer projects takes time, money and experienced staff here in the UK. Amanzi Travel takes great care in placing and supporting its volunteers overseas.

Some people do manage to find their own volunteer placements independently, but this can take a great deal of time to organise, and from stories in the press, is not always safe.  Paying to volunteer may at first seem a strange concept but take into account the amount of advance organisation involved, all accommodation provided, three meals and day, a laundry service, airport pick up and transfer to the project site at the start and end of placement, full orientation and training at the project, and support provided from local and UK staff, it can be seen in fact that project fees are great value for money. Volunteers can embark on their trip knowing that they are guaranteed to be on a legitimate project that really helps the local people, environment and wildlife as well as knowing that everything is organized to ensure that they get the most out of their volunteer experience.

How much will it cost me to volunteer and what is included?

Volunteer project fees start at approximately £345 depending on the chosen project and length of stay.

The cost of each placement generally includes the items below.  Please note that any differences will be detailed in the “what is included” section in individual project details.

  • Financing that goes directly back into the projects themselves for items such as building materials, equipment, supplies and foodstuffs. These funds are carefully managed to the best advantage of the projects concerned.
  • Comprehensive pre-departure pack and full orientation at the project upon arrival.
  • Airport pick up and transfer to project site at start and end of placement.
  • Daily transfers as required.
  • Full board and lodging including three meals a day.
  • Laundry service during the placement or the facility to attend to this personally.
  • Assistance and supervision by on-the-ground project staff.
  • Support from the UK Amanzi Travel team at all times.

The cost of each placement generally excludes:

  • Air transport from home to your destination.
  • Travel insurance for the duration of the placement (this should include cover for repatriation).
  • Email/Internet and telephone calls.
  • Visas if required.
  • Additional excursions offered whilst at the placement - for example bungee jumping at Victoria Falls, diving in the Maldives and white water rafting in Zambia.
  • Spending money (can be minimal as placement fees cover most costs - Amanzi Travel can advise on this).
  • Personal travel items eg clothes, mosquito net etc.

How can I fundraise for my project fee?

Many volunteers are excited at the prospect of embarking on an Amanzi Travel programme; however, they simply can't afford the costs. All is not lost - there are many organisations, companies and individuals who are prepared to support and sponsor volunteers willing to give up their time to work on worthwhile projects in the developing world.

Fundraising and seeking financial support can often seem a daunting prospect; interestingly, for many, the process of raising the necessary funds can to be extremely satisfying and often great fun. People are very generous if it is for a good cause!

There are so many fundraising opportunities. The important thing is to see it as a challenge, think creatively and clearly communicate the value of the work you will be doing in Africa or Asia.

The first step is to calculate the amount needed including fees, flights and insurance and then the fun begins!

Below are some ideas that have been successful for other volunteers:

  • Gaining sponsorship from friends and relatives for an event undertaken, such as a half marathon, fun run, walk or swim.
  • Organising a raffle, or prize draw at school, university or place of work.  Approach companies to ask for the prizes.
  • Organise a car boot sale or coffee morning.
  • Organise a ticketed event such as a champagne party, fashion show or concert.
  • Approach a local newspaper or radio station to publicise the adventure indicating the desire for sponsorship. It may be possible to write an article for them on the experience abroad.
  • Make a personal approach to local companies, inviting sponsorship - as part of the agreement Company branded equipment or clothing could be used.
  • Research and approach charitable organisations that support deserving causes or approach organisations offering grants.
  • There are so many opportunities - good luck and enjoy yourself!

For further ideas for fundraising, check out our blog http://blog.amanzitravel.com/14-5-top-tips-to-fundraising-for-your-trip-abroad

Can I combine a volunteer project with a course or an overland trip?

Yes, in fact many volunteers decide to embark on an overland expedition straight after their volunteer project. It is a great way to explore another part of the country, or even continent, and a final week or more of excitement and adventure before returning home.  Amanzi Travel can organise all the relevant transfers and advise on some of the best volunteer and adventure travel combinations. One example may be a two-week Field Guide Course in the Kruger National Park of South Africa following a period working at a sustainable Community Project in Port Elizabeth. Alternatively, 4 weeks volunteering as a teacher on Thailand's Koh Samui, followed by a further 2 weeks overlanding and exploring more of Thailand.


Overland/Expeditions

What is it?

Overlanding is a great way of travelling across several countries in an cost-effective way allowing the traveller to become fully immersed in the culture of a country without flying straight over it and missing those mini-adventures that often occur on truck trips.  In countries with minimal infrastructure and expensive flight prices, overlanding is a great option for the adventurous traveller who doesn't want to spend their trip waiting at a series of backcountry bus stands.  It is a guaranteed way to make new friends and see many new sights on the road. Overland expeditions can also be a great way to link up different volunteer projects or courses.

How comfortable are the trucks?

All trucks are fitted with comfortable, spacious seating, big windows, plenty of storage space and an onboard library and sound system. Well-designed trucks are easy to unload and, within half an hour of arriving at a campsite, a comfortable little tent village will be set up with everyone sitting around a fire enjoying that first beer of the evening.

What are my companions going to be like?

Travellers from all over the world and of all ages are welcome as experience has shown that a diverse and open-minded group represents the most important factor in a successful trip. There is no maximum age limit yet the average age is 18 to 35, with the number of 30-plus increasing as more career-gappers discover overlanding. Although most groups consist of a diverse selection of adventurers, groups of friends or families can get together and charter the entire truck.

Do I have to do any unsavoury chores?

Passengers are expected to participate in all aspects of the trip. This means that each passenger is responsible for pitching their own tent, and, on a roster basis, helping with the daily chores such as cooking, washing up and truck cleaning. Virtually all of the trips have a cook although passengers are asked to assist in the food preparation and shopping. The advantages of group travel are achieved when the group works as one - which can often be good fun!

Will I get the chance for some 'me time'?

Following twenty other participants around a rural village is not really how these trips generally work. The group tends to split into groups and wander round at their own pace and there will be opportunities to be alone.  Everybody needs some downtime on their own - but overlanding is essentially a group experience.

How much will it cost to do an overland expedition and what is the "Local Payment"?

Overland trips start from approximately £500 for to over £1,000 depeding on how long your chosen trip is for.   Prices vary depending on the range of activities and stops within a tour, as well as the length of the tour and if it is a camping or accommodated trip. In addition to the tour price some of our overland trips require a 'local payment', which is paid directly to the driver/coordinator in US dollars cash at the beginning of the tour. This is for a food kitty, some accommodation, park fees etc and any day-to-day running expenses. In this way overland companies cut down on their overheads and keep the entire package price as low as possible.

Can Amanzi Travel arrange airport transfers?

Yes. Many of our tours have an inclusive airport pick up on arrival that Amanzi Travel will arrange for you.  Full details of the airport that the transfers is from will be in your pre-departure pack. 

Do I need to go to the Pre-departure meeting?

The pre-departure meetings are optional, but are a great opportunity to meet the trip leader and fellow travellers. The meetings cover a range of topics and important information that should make everyone feel a lot more comfortable with how the trip will operate as well as ways to maximise the experience. The meetings generally take place the afternoon before departure, at the location of departure the next morning.

Arrival on the day before your tour is due to depart is recommended, as the tours leave early in the morning, and to go along to the pre-departure meeting.

Can Amanzi Travel arrange pre-trip accommodation?

Yes. Amanzi Travel will be happy to arrange pre-tour accommodation and it is recommend that you pre-book one night’s accommodation at the departure point before the tour begins – for many of our overland trips there is a nights accommodation in the pre-departure accommodation in a dorm room included in your trip fee.   Please see what is and is not included on your trip details and in your pre-departure pack. 

Can Amanzi Travel arrange post-trip accommodation?

Amanzi Travel can also recommend somewhere for you to stay at the end of the tour. However, experience has shown that most passengers change their minds while en route, preferring to stay with their new friends. Please bear in mind that when travelling during peak season the major centres will be very busy and it may not be possible to book accommodation on arrival. The tour leader can usually recommend somewhere to suit any budget and standard at the end of the journey. The tours generally finish in the mid-afternoon, which gives plenty of time to source suitable accommodation.

How do we pay for any optional activities?

A list of optional activities will be provided for individual tours and need to be paid for locally, generally in US dollars cash.  Passengers can participate in as many or as few as they wish and all activities are booked whilst on the tour.

Is there an inclusive airport transfers on arrival?

Yes, we will arrange to have you picked up on arrival, all you need to do is send us your flight details.


Courses

Who goes on the photography courses?

Travellers who are passionate about photography but with limited experience – all that is needed is an SLR camera and a desire to learn!  The photographic opportunities are incredible in every one of our destination countries.

Who goes on the Field Guide/Game Ranger courses?

  • People wishing to become a professional Field Guide in the safari industry;
  • Adventurous spirits looking for a learning holiday with a difference;
  • Tourists wanting to gain a better understanding of Africa’s web of life and a greater appreciation of conservation;
  • Gap year students or executives taking a career break.

For those not aiming for a career as a Field Guide, but wanting to learn for their own personal growth, the knowledge and experience gained from a 28 day Field Guide course will stimulate any safari and bush holiday and give the experience a whole new meaning.  Many participants who do not want a career in the industry choose not to take the formal FGASA qualifications and just take the in-house examination -  which is absolutely fine.

Are there any requirements to do the courses?

Participants need to be 18 years or older to take a FGASA qualification. However, 16 and 17 year olds may also be accepted on some of the shorter courses, taking the in-house examination only.

No experience is necessary prior to these courses. It is preferable to hold a valid driver’s license and a reasonable level of fitness is essential.  Anyone not holding a valid driver’s license will be able to do the short courses and undertake the assessment but will not be able to work until a driver’s license is obtained. A FGASA Level 1 assessment need not be based on a safari drive, but can also be based on a walk.  The one year course can be started with only a learner’s license but it will be necessary to get the driver’s license in the first break.

What is a PDP and how do I apply for it?

Professional Driver’s Permit – this requires a minimum age of 21 years and is only necessary for anyone wishing to find work in the industry following the course.  Most lodges require their guides to have a PDP.  For anyone undertaking the one year course this will also be an immense help with the lodge placement.  It is necessary to have a South African driver’s license to apply for a South African PDP;  however, an international PDP or the equivalent will be valid in South Africa.

To obtain a PDP, applicants should visit the traffic department and collect the necessary papers. It will be necessary to visit the GP for a general checkup and to complete the medical section of the form.  It will also be necessary to visit the nearest police station for a background check and fingerprinting. The police station will have the necessary details within 6 weeks which can then be collected from them.  Applicants should then return to the traffic department with all the paperwork and ID photos to apply for a temporary PDP.  The permanent document will arrive in about 8 weeks.

Do I need a VISA for the courses?

Many people can enter South Africa with a 3 month tourist visa and this should be adequate for a 28 day course. It is safest to check the South African Home Affairs website or with the South African Embassy website in the home country to see which countries fall within this regulation. This will also apply to the other short courses. However, a one year student VISA will be required for the Professional One Year Field Guide Course. For this, an acceptance letter for the course being attended will be necessary which can be handed in at the SA Embassy in the home country.  As there is a lot of paperwork, administration and time involved in this application, the process should be started in plenty of time.

Why do I need a first aid certificate?

In order to achieve the FGASA level 1 certificate a valid first aid certificate is necessary. No FGASA certificate will be issued until proof of the first aid certificate is shown.  Any course participant with an international first aid certificate should note that in order to be compliant to train first aid in South Africa the training company needs to submit their manuals to the Department of Labour for approval.  The training site also needs to be inspected and then if all is in order the company is given approval. All Department of Labour approved companies in South Africa have a CI Number;  if this is compliant the first aid certificate will be recognised worldwide.

What is the difference between field guide and game ranger?

A Field Guide lives and works at the lodge and takes out the tourists on bush walks and game drives and imparts in-depth knowledge to them about the bush, the animals, the birds, trees, insects, stars etc. He/she has to be good with people as he/she is looking after these tourists morning and evening, talking to them about the bush and the country in general.

A Game Ranger does not work with tourists, but manages a game farm – fixing fences, looking after the boreholes and water supplies, soil erosion and grassland management,  manages the wildlife – darting, veterinary requirements etc. He/she might live on the game reserve but in his/her own house away from the lodge and not have many dealings with the tourists or lodge staff.

What is the difference between field guide and trails guide?

The Field Guide Level 1 course is a short course which will achieve the first level of being a guide. The course is structured to maximize the practical experience of the learners in the bush. Each day allows for hours of time spent in the field interpreting the ecology and enjoying a wildlife experience. Activities alternate between walks and driving. It covers a broad spectrum of subjects and learners are shown how to drive a 4x4 vehicle, how to identify birds, plants, trees and tracks.  Basic bush survival skills are taught and how to navigate and orientate in the bush.  Learners are also shown how to approach dangerous game on foot and how to handle these situations. Learners are also taught how to use binoculars properly and how to position a vehicle for photography and so much more.  On satisfactory completion of this FGASA level 1 course participants would be able to start working in the industry as a junior driver guide.

The Trails Guide Course has been specifically developed to cater for those learners who have completed the Level 1 course or other equivalent qualification and wish to be trained in trails guiding and logging encounters. It is also endorsed by FGASA. The aim of this course is to develop and practice skills and knowledge learnt on the Level 1 course. It is conducted in a different, wilder area and therefore provides a more authentic Field Guide experience. The majority of the time on this Trails Guide course is spent exploring the wilderness on foot. This course gives grounding to conduct bush walks in big game areas.  Please note: Anyone wishing to join this course for the experience and happy to do the in-house examination rather than the formal FGASA examination does not need to have FGASA Level 1 in order to take part.

What is FGASA and THETA and are they recognised in other countries?

FGASA is the Field Guides Association of Southern Africa and THETA is the Tourism and Hospitality Sector Education Training Authority of the South African government. These are the two bodies responsible for regulating standards within the guide training industry in southern Africa.

The basic requirements of becoming a junior field guide in South Africa are:

FGASA level 1
First Aid level 1
PDP

For every level of FGASA it is necessary to take an examination and be practically assessed by a THETA accredited assessor.

Once FGASA level 1 has been achieved it is possible to move up the ranks and become a FGASA level 2 guide. For this 260 days practical experience will be needed (after level 1) in the field before assessment can take place; the examination can be taken after 50 days.

FGASA level 3 guides need an additional 260 days practical experience (after level 2 assessment) before they can take the examination and be assessed. All qualifications are based on practical experience gained over a certain period. After becoming a level 3 guide, it is possible to proceed to become a SKS (specialist) guide, specialising in a certain field ie Dangerous Game, Birding, Trails Guiding, etc.

Alongside the Field Guide Level 1 runs the Trails Guiding which allows learners to get off the vehicle with a rifle and walk with guests in a dangerous game area.  Trails Guiding may be started once FGASA Level 1 has been successfully completed.  As mentioned above anyone can join this course if they decide to take the in-house examinations only;  it is not therefore necessary to have the FGASA Level 1 to join the Trail Guides course.

FGASA is a South African organisation. Each country will have its own guiding organisation for the specific reason that each country’s animals, plants, grass, etc differs from another. FGASA is well known in neighbouring countries as South Africa’s guiding organisation for well trained guides.

How long before a field guide course must I register with FGASA?

This needs to be done well in advance as the training provider needs to order and finalise examinations with FGASA 21 days prior to the start of the course.

What is a typical daily programme?

A typical daily programme at the camp follows a routine of rising early, usually before sunrise, enjoying hot coffee while listening to the bush waking up and then leaving the camp for an outing into the wilderness. These are extremely flexible and determined by the unpredictability of what is found during the outing together with the need to cover certain subjects.  The outing could be a game drive following up on the roar of a lion heard during the night or a walk to learn about the plant species occurring in the area.  It could be a walk following fresh elephant tracks, learning how to track the animal and finding it or it could be a game drive to a waterhole where animals come to drink.

Learners return to camp in the late morning for a hearty brunch which is followed by a lecture on the subject of the day.  Study and rest time is then followed by afternoon tea and another outing into the wilderness until sunset, if walking, or until well after dark if doing a game drive.

Afternoon outings could include night drives looking for nocturnal animals such as owls, bush babies and leopards or it could be a walk looking for and learning how to identify interesting birds.  It could be time spent studying the night skies or it could be a time for learners to test their 4x4 driving skills. It is then back to the camp for dinner, stories around the campfire, discussing the day’s experiences and wondering about tomorrow’s adventures.

The emphasis is on practical day-to-day experiences in the bush.  The daily outings are flexible and may focus on specific subjects such as animal tracks and tracking, birds, plant identification or animal behaviour, or may involve game viewing and learning about the ecosystem in general.

Recommended Books

  • The Behaviour Guide to African Mammals - Richard Estes
  • Sasol Birds of Southern Africa – Ian Sinclair; Phil Hockey; Warwick Tarboton
  • The Wildlife of Southern Africa: a Field Guide to the Animals and Plants of the Region - Vincent Carruthers
  • Field Guide to Trees of Southern Africa - Braam van Wyk & Piet van Wyk
  • Field Guide to Insects of South Africa - Picker, Griffiths, Weaving
  • Starwatching: a Southern Hemisphere Guide to the Galaxy - Anthony Fairall
  • A Complete Guide to Snakes of Southern Africa - Johan Marais
  • Guide to Grasses of Southern Africa - Frits Van Oudtshoorn
  • Tracks and Signs - Chris & Tilde Stuart
  • Mammal Guide - Burger Cillie
  • FGASA Level 1 Manual (for anyone doing the Level 1 Course) - Grant Hine
  • FGASA Trails Guide Manual (for anyone doing the Trails Guide Course) – Grant Hine

Most camps have a library with a copy of each book but if shared amongst learners, they may not be easily accessible.  For those wishing to purchase their own books, it is recommended that they purchase at least their own bird book, tree book and mammal book. That way they can be referred to on drives or in camp without having to wait to use the library copy.

It is also recommended that learners purchase the FGASA Level 1 Manual regardless of whether they plan to take the FGASA examination for a career as a Field Guide. It contains much detailed information that will be needed for the Field Guide Course tests and examinations. 

Can I combine a course with a volunteer project or an overland trip?

Yes, in fact many travellers decide to embark on an overland expeditions straight after their course. It is a great way to explore another part of Africa and is a nice way to have more excitement and adventure before returning home.  Amanzi Travel can organise all the relevant transfers and advise on some of the best volunteer and adventure travel combinations.  There are also some great volunteer projects based at Big 5 Game Reserves that would be a great opportunity to put newly acquired skills into practice. 


Amanzi Travel

Why should I book with Amanzi Travel?

8 Years of Excellence
Financially secure booking with the ATOL licence
24 hour Emergency Phone Line, in-country and in the UK
Recommended in the "Top 10 Travel Vacations" by National Geographic Magazine
Committed to responsible travel and supporting worthwhile and sustainable volunteer projects
Unrivalled service and tailor made trip specialists
Fully-trained specialist staff, with dedicated travel advisor just for you
Dedicated on-ground project/trip co-ordinator
Amazing adventure travel and overland experiences
Committed to the projects and partner organisations 
Focused on ensuring that volunteers are supported every step of the way
Full service including travel insurance and flights
Volunteer in Africa and Asia, and help communities grow and thrive
Family run business - we are passionate about what we do!

We are confident that once anyone has travelled with Amanzi Travel they won't want to travel with anyone else!

Find out more about us

How do I book and then what will happen?

  • First, having looked at the website decide upon the right project. Amanzi Travel’s advisors are happy to discuss the type of experience sought, offer advice on options and make recommendations if required.
  • Contact Amanzi Travel, either by phone or email, with details of the project or tour required.  Availability will then be checked and a place reserved.
    Add  @amanzitravel.co.uk to your email safe list.
  • Go online and fill out an application form Book Now. If preferred an application form can be posted which can be completed and returned.
  • A deposit of £180 must be paid to secure any booking. This can be done by bank transfer, or using a credit/debit card through the secure Sage Pay payment gateway. These options appear at the end of the online application form. 
  • Please note that if booking within three months of the date of travel full payment will be required.
  • An email to confirm the booking and written confirmation of the deposit payment will be sent.
  • Amanzi Travel can arrange flights and has a preferred supplier for insurance services. A flight quotation can be arranged if required and information on travel insurance sent. Travellers booking their flights through Amanzi Travel will benefit from the company’s ATOL licence which covers the total trip fee along with flight costs - giving extra security and peace of mind.
  • Your "My Journey" comprehensive pre-departure pack will be sent electronically to help with preparations for the trip, and you will receive your personal login to view the details of your specific trip.
    An invoice will be emailed for the balance of the project fee, and this will need to be paid 12 weeks before the departure date.
    A member of the Amanzi Travel team will be in touch regularly to answer any questions or advise of any changes in the pre-departure details and contact will be made before departure to send good wishes, confirm travel arrangements and answer any last minute questions.

    Now it's time to get really excited and start the Calendar Countdown!

Does Amanzi Travel offer travel insurance?

Yes, Amanzi Travel has teamed up with Endsleigh Insurance to offer its UK customers comprehensive travel insurance at competitive prices.  Insurers for non-UK customers can be recommended though regretfully insurance  cannot be arranged for these customers.  Click here to find out more

Does Amanzi Travel offer flights?

Yes, Amanzi Travel is pleased to work in association with the Flight Centre to provide excellent flight deals for any trip. Flights can be arranged for both UK and non-UK customers although for volunteers living outside of the UK experience has shown that better flight prices can generally be found if booked in the country of residence or departure. Travellers are always recommended to purchase a changeable flight ticket.  Amanzi Travel is committed to responsible travel and has teamed up with the carbon offsetting company Climate Care to  offer the option of carbon offsetting, the fee for which can be added to the flight price.  Click here to find out more

What support does Amanzi Travel provide?

Amanzi Travel is committed to ensuring that all its customers are supported and looked after throughout their experience in Africa and Asia.

As part of this commitment we offer the following support services:

Before the Trip

  • All customers will receive a comprehensive pre-departure information pack relating specifically to their booking.
  • All customers will receive a Medical Information Advice sheet from Amanzi Travel's very own doctor, Mike Whitehouse. This will include all sorts of valuable information including advice on necessary immunisations, malaria medications and medical travel kits. Please note: travellers are always advised to consult with their own doctor.
  • Any customers wishing to travel out and back on the same day as another volunteer should advise Amanzi Travel who will see if this can be arranged.
  • If any customer wishes to be put in contact before travelling with a volunteer who has already been on that customer’s chosen trip, Amanzi Travel will contact past volunteers and with their permission provide an  email contact. 
  • Amanzi Travel can help to find a suitable overland trip to link up projects and courses either before or after the volunteer placement – tailor-making the trip for any customer.  This is a great way to travel within Africa or Asia.
  • Amanzi Travel staff are always available either by telephone or email to answer any questions that customers may have.

During the Trip

  • The local Project Managers, Tour Leaders and Coordinators offer excellent support and guidance throughout the time abroad - helping with settling in and getting the most out of the trip.
  • Travellers will be transferred to and from the airport by one of the local support staff for volunteer placements and airport transfers can be arranged on request for all courses and overland trips. 
  • The UK Amanzi Travel team will help with any problems that have not been dealt with satisfactorily by Project Managers, Tour Leaders or local Co-ordinators.

Following the Trip

  • Amanzi Travel will contact all customers on their return to check that all went well and receive feedback.
  • All customers will have the opportunity to enter the annual photography competition where a prize of £100 in cash and a £75 travel vouchure can be won.
  • All customers will have the opportunity to sign up for regular updates and newsletters.

When I arrive at the airport will someone be there to meet me?

Yes, Amanzi Travel will ensure that all travellers are picked up on arrival at the airport nearest to the project destination and transferred to the project by one of the local staff, who will be holding up a board with the name of the traveller/project name on it.  If  volunteer project/course or overland trip does not have included transfers these can be arranged on request.

What should I pack?

Every pre-departure pack will include a comprehensive list that is specially tailored to the area or tour being undertaken.   However, here are a few recommended items to start everyone off:

  • Copies of all important documents – eg passport, travel insurance, flight tickets;
  • Medical prescriptions;
  • Decent, hard-wearing backpack;
  • Durable walking shoes/boots and walking sandals/flip flops;
  • Insect repellent, sun protection, after-sun, sunglasses;
  • First Aid Kit;
  • Waterproof jacket/top;
  • Warm jumper for the early mornings and evenings;
  • Thin trousers/jeans and shorts;
  • Shirts and t-shirts;
  • Swim wear and a towel;
  • Mobile phone (enabled for roaming);
  • Alarm clock;
  • Torch;
  • Camera;
  • Sleeping bag;
  • Water bottle;
  • Small backpack/day bag.

What is contained in the pre-departure information pack?

The comprehensive pre-departure information pack and follow-up emails from Amanzi Travel will fully prepare and excite everyone about their trip. It will include information about what should be taken on the placement or tour, any necessary visas, flight information, safety advice, staff, medical advice and optional activities.  The Amanzi Travel team will also be more than happy to discuss any aspect of the trip by telephone or email.

It is also recommended to do a little background reading about the area you will be visiting yourself, to prepare you for the differences in culture, clothing, food and climate, for example. Although most of the countries we visit are thought to be "hot and sunny" they also have their cold or monsoon season. Be prepared!

What should I donate?

There are so many pre-schools, primary and secondary schools and orphanages, all of them in need of volunteers willing to help.   Unsurprisingly, they are also very limited in terms of supplies and educational material, and the staff will warmly welcome any new resources that are taken to them - from pencils to games to innovative ideas. Just taking some stationary along to a school can make a world of difference to each child. Schools for older children will welcome pens, pencils with rubbers, exercise books, basic reading books and coloured pencils. Educational Posters or postcards and games and stickers are always really well received.

A common request at the moment is for medical supplies, such as bandages, rubber gloves and Vitamin supplements, particularly Vitamin C.

Obviously baggage restrictions will dictate what can be taken but any old clothes or school uniforms will no doubt prove useful as a sports kit or for general use.  Other useful items might include tennis balls, juggling balls, a frisbee, packs of cards, a cricket set, or even a small radio. The playing of games forms a huge part of the curriculum and teaching children to play together is an essential way to bring some fun into their lives.

Blankets and cuddly toys for babies are also useful.  All donations will be so gratefully received. Please contact Amanzi Travel for information about donations that would be most appropriate for the project chosen, or take a look at our Blog for more specific requests from particular projects (http://blog.amanzitravel.com/a-guide-to-what-to-donate-when-travelling)

Books and Films

For anyone wishing to do some research of their own before travelling, the following wonderful books and films provide an excellent focus on the different continents.

Books on Africa

A History of South Africa - David Harrison
A Safari Companion - Dick Estes
Circles in a Forest - Dalene Matthee
Cry of the Kalahari - Delia and Mark Owens
Cry, the Beloved Country - Alan Paton
Disgrace - JM Coetzee
Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight - Alexandra Fuller
I Write what I Want - Chris Hani Diaries
King Solomon's Mines - Rider Haggard
Long Walk to Freedom - Nelson Mandela
North of South - Shiva Naipaul
Out of Africa - Izak Dinesen
Scramble for Africa - Thomas Packenham
Serengeti shall not Die - Bernhard Grzimek
The Conservationist - Nadine Gordimer
The Constant Gardener -  John le Carre
The No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency - Alexander McCall Smith
The Poisonwood Bible - Barbara Kingsolver
The Power of One - Bryce Courtenay
The Story of an African Farm - Olive Schreiner
West with the Night - Beryl Markham
Rage - Wilbur Smith
A Grain of Wheat - Ngugi wa Thiong'o

Books on Asia

The Quiet American - Graham Greene (Vietnam)
The Girl in the Picture - Denise Chong (Vietnam)
Catfish & Mandala - Andrew Pham (Vietnam)
The Beach - Alex Garland (Thailand)
Phra Farang "The Foreign Monk" - Phra Peter Parrapadipo (Thailand)
Anna and the King of Siam - Margaret Landon (Thailand)
The Revolutionary King - William Stevenson (Thailand)
Mr Nice - Howard Marks (Thailand, Philippines, China, India)
A Fortune-Teller Told Me - Tiziano Terzani (throughout Asia)
To Asia with Love: A Connoisseur’s Guide to Cambodia, Laos, Thailand & Vietnam - Kim Faye
Stalking the Elephant Kings – C. Kremmer (Laos)
Into the Heart of Borneo - Redmond O’Hanlon
Lonely Planet - Southeast Asia on a shoestring
Sunstroke on a Shoestring - Phaic Tan: The ultimate spoof guidebook
Reef Fish of the Maldives – Dr R Charles Andersen
Indian Ocean Reef Guide - Helmut Debelius
Field Guide to the Birds of South-East Asia - Craig Robson

Films on Africa

Blood Diamond (2006)
Born Free (1966)
Cry Freedom (1987)
District 9 (2009)
Gorillas in the Mist: The Story of Dian Fossey (1988)
Hotel Rwanda (2004)
Out of Africa (1985)
Shooting Dogs (2005)
The Constant Gardener (2005)
The Last King of Scotland (2006)
The Gods Must be Crazy (1980)
The Lion King (1994)
Tsotsi (2005)
Zulu (1964)

Films on Asia

Eat, Pray, Love (Ubud, Bali, 2010)
The Lady (Burma, 2011)
Beyond Rangoon (Burma, 1995)
Bridge on the River Kwai (1958 - story about Burma, set in Sri Lanka)
The Killing Fields (Cambodia, 1984)
City of Ghosts (Cambodia, 2002)
Tomb Raider (Angkor, Cambodia, 2000)
Lord Jim (Cambodia, 1965)
Rice People (Cambodia, 1994)
Midnight's Children (Sri Lanka, 2012)
The Beach (Thailand, 2000)
The Man With the Golden Gun (Thailand, 1974)
Tomorrow Never Dies (Thailand, 1997)
Hangover 2 (Thailand, 2011)
Anna and the King (Thailand & Malaysia, 1999)
The Sleeping Dictionary (Sarawak, Malaysia, 2003)
The Journey (Malaysia & Borneo, 20014)
The Quiet American (Vietnam, 2002)
Indochine (Vietnam, 1992, French film)
Apocalypse Now (Vietnam, 1979)
The Deer Hunter (Vietnam, 1978)
Platoon (Vietnam, 1986)
Good Morning Vietnam (Vietnam, 1987)
Born on the Fourth of July (Vietnam, 1989)
Heaven & Earth (Vietnam, 1993)
When the Tenth Month Comes (Vietnam, 1984)

Useful information links

Amanzi Travel is a Partner in the "Know Before you Go" campaign from The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO).  They have launced a Plan.Pack.Explore Travel Guide to help those planning a trip abroad.  This is a very useful guide and can be accessed using the link below: 

Amanzi Pride Loyalty Program

We believe in rewarding great travellers straightaway, so our seriously rewarding, straight-forward, cash discounts start immediately!

Find out more!

Does Amanzi Travel offer discounts for Group Travel?

Hassle-free, done-for-you, discounted rates, on-time and on-budget. 

Schools, colleges, universities, family, friends, clubs, or Duke of Edinburgh

Our specialists are here to inspire and inform you, and help you design an unforgettable and life-changing opportunity for young adventurers, whether it is to achieve specific learning objectives, or simply to experience a period of personal discovery in a foreign environment.

We will recommend a project based on ability, duration, activity, cost, location and personal skills. Safety is always a priority, especially for young people, and a full orientation is provided, plus a 24 hour support system, in country and in the UK.

11 Benefits to young people for volunteering abroad on a School Trip - on our Blog.

Group discounts are available - find out more!

Special Offers

Each month, we aim to highlight particular projects, courses or overland trips, that need the extra man-power and funding to be able to survive and grow. 

And to encourage more people to join these particular trips, we are offering a discount, or specialised gift or experience, for a limited time only. 

Find out what the Special Offers are this month!

 

Interactive maps
AFRICA Choose from over 100 projects
and adventures across Africa
ASIA Choose from our selection of projects
and adventures across Asia
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AMANZI PRIDE MONTHLY
AMANZI PRIDE LOYALTY
We believe in rewarding great travellers straightaway, so our seriously rewarding, straight-forward, cash discounts start immediately!
Amanzi Travel Special Offers! FIND OUT MORE