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SOUTH AFRICA

WILDLIFE AND GAME RESERVE CONSERVATION EXPEDITION IN KWAZULU-NATAL, SOUTH AFRICA

Work with a professional team (who are supported by WWF amongst others), with Cheetah, African Wild Dog and Black Rhino, as well as priority species like Elephant, Lion, Rhino, Leopard and Buffalo.

Get involved with some of the most exciting, endangered and priority species conservation work in the heart of Africa. You'll work across different Game Reserves, each unique in their own way.

Experience genuine conservation work in up to 5 different game reserves in the region, depending on the length of your stay. This project is very popular and gets booked up quickly, so we strongly advise early booking!

SUMMARY: THE BASICS

Price: £1,695 for 2 weeks
£650 for each additional TWO weeks.
Excludes flights. Please see Full Price List & Other Currencies
Duration: From 2 weeks to 12 weeks or longer, subject to visa requirements.
Start Dates and Availability: All year round, starting on every second Monday (see the starting dates schedule below).
Requirements: No qualifications needed, just a big heart and a love of animals and their conservation. Minimum age 17.
What's included: Arranging your Programme
Full pre-departure support and assistance
Payment Protection insurance
Accommodation
Food
Meeting you at the nearest Airport
Transfer to your on-site accommodation
Return transfer to the airport
Local in-country team support and backup
24-hr emergency support
Free T-Shirt
Certificate of Completion
What's not included: Flights, Insurance, Cost of Visas.
Who can do this Project? All projects are open to all nationalities.
This project is particularly suitable to the discerning volunteer looking to experience genuine, well-structured wildlife conservation on a game reserve, but who wants a more meaningful experience than a tourist holiday.

WHAT YOU'LL GAIN FROM DOING THIS PROJECT

  • An exciting, never-to-be-forgotten overseas volunteering holiday into South Africa and the opportunity to learn and work with South Africa’s diverse wildlife.
  • You'll learn a lot about genuine conservation of African Wildlife from experts in their field.
  • New skills, more confidence, a greater understanding of different cultures, invaluable personal and professional development.
  • An entry on your CV or résumé that will put you head and shoulders above most others in the job market.
  • And best of all ... an unforgettable experience!
BOOK NOW! SEE ALL PROJECTS IN SOUTH AFRICA info@travellersworldwide.com

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WORK CONTENT AND DESCRIPTION

Wildlife volunteers work with trained wildlife monitors at the game reserves – tracking and monitoring animals as part of their wildlife conservation projects. They only work in small teams of no more than five wildlife volunteers per reserve, so you have one-on-one time with the monitors – gaining true conservation experience. The days are full, the work is important, and it provides you with critical knowledge about African conservation. It’s not always pretty or easy, but it is real Africa, real conservation.

I elected to travel alone to South Africa to volunteer and assist with animal conservation on Thanda Private Game Reserve. Travellers answered all my questions, handled all the arrangements and made recommendations pertinent to my project. My experience exceeded my expectations and I can't wait to return! Leesa Madsen

The experience you'll gain on this project is varied and fascinating. You'll be the Monitor's right hand, assisting with all aspects of their conservation activities. As one of only 4 team members, you form an agile and efficient team, working out in the bush every day:

  • You'll track and locate Priority Species like Elephant, Lion, Rhino, Leopard and Buffalo from an open 4x4 vehicle, via radio telemetry, most days.
  • You'll map the sightings using GPS equipment. You will be taught how to use the equipment.
  • Observing animal behaviour (e.g. Wild Dog pack dynamics or Elephant Herd dynamics) for research purposes.
  • Photographing and creating identity kits animals that have been relocated or re-introduced into the wild.
  • Periodically setting up camera traps at watering holes and game trails.
  • Assisting with ongoing game counts.

Activities that you could participate in, that occur when the need arises, are:

  • Radio collaring of animals.
  • Notching (identity marking) of animals such as Rhino.
  • Night-time tracking excursions – for example Hyaenas.
  • Relocation or re-introduction of Endangered Species.
  • Assisting with feeding and data recording of animals being held in temporary bomas prior to release
  • Vulture counts and nest surveys.
  • Bird ringing & alien plant control.

Work on one, two, three or all of the Game Reserves, depending on how long your placement is for. You'll gain a wealth of conservation knowledge and experience working under qualified conservation experts and on location out in the bush on a daily basis. You'll experience Africa in a way that no mere tourist can!

You can join the expedition for a minimum of 2 weeks: For every 2 weeks spent on this expedition, you will experience a different game reserve:

  • 2 weeks = you’ll experience 1 reserve.
  • 4 weeks = experience 2 reserves.
  • 6 weeks = 3 reserves.
  • 8 weeks = 4 reserves.
  • 10 weeks and above = all the reserves.

A typical day would look something like this:
Rise with sun and head out (seated on the back of the open 4x4 tracking vehicle) to locate the Endangered Species animals that the wildlife monitor has earmarked for the morning, using radio telemetry equipment that receives radio signal from the collars which are fitted onto the Priority Species animals.

You will usually be back by late morning to prepare some lunch and have a little time to relax, read, have a nap or watch the abundant bird and animal life which occurs around the camp.

You head out again on the vehicle between 2-3pm to follow up on those animals which were not located in the morning, such as Elephant and Rhino.

You should be back in camp shortly after sunset, to start preparing supper and sit around the fire listening to the sounds of the bush and discussing the day’s events. Usually you will be in bed early, but on some nights volunteers may go out to track species like the Hyaena, which are active at night.

At least once a week you will have an afternoon or day set aside for administrative work: (data capture and analysis). Appropriate supervision and instruction will be provided for all elements of your practical experience.

Please note: Activities such as collaring, relocation/ reintroduction, identity marking, snare removal, tranquilisation for treatment, etc., happens throughout the year, strictly as the need arises. While the project does plan and follow basic schedules, the nature of the work being done here dictates that the animals and their environment are our first priority, and therefore our schedules do occasionally have to be altered due to unforeseen circumstances or incidents, as we have little control over the dynamics of wild animals and their environment.

There is always a lot going on here and you will have the opportunity to be a part of a professional conservation team, make a real difference and contribute towards important conservation work and research in Africa!

PROJECT START DATES:

START DATES FOR 2016 ARE:
26 September
10 or 24 October
07 or 21 November
05 December

START DATES FOR 2017 ARE:
02, 16 or 30 January
13 or 27 February
13 or 27 March

10 or 24 April
08 or 22 May
05 or 19 June
03, 17 or 31 July
14 or 28 August
11 or 25 September
09 or 23 October
06 or 20 November
04 December

Please Note: The project holds 2 staff meetings per year on the following (approximate) dates: Monday 13th & Tuesday 14th July, and Saturday 21st & Sunday 22nd November. While the monitors are attending the staff meetings, volunteers will be required to spend these 2 nights away from the monitoring project, together with the other volunteers from all the other monitoring projects. Further information provided on request.

WHY IS THE WORK IMPORTANT?
It is important to keep track of animal movement patterns, habitat utilisation, population demographics and importantly, snaring and poaching incidents of endangered wildlife species. This valuable information, which our team members help gather, has numerous management applications, including the planning of successful introduction and removal strategies of endangered and priority wildlife species as well as supplying information to local conservation authorities, including Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, the WWF, the Black Rhino Range Expansion Project and the KZN Wild Dog Management Group.

My overall experience was amazing! A great hands on experience and also a great confidence booster. I was allowed to see a side of conservation that one cannot get from being a tourist in South Africa or a volunteer on other projects. The knowledge given by the management/field team was very valuable and again a great insight into conservation. I can honestly say everything was a highlight, but seeing the Rhino capture was very special. Peter Holland

ACCOMMODATION

Each volunteer camp is situated within the Reserves on which we work. The accommodation camp is basic but comfortable, with electricity, running warm water and flushing toilet. A bed, mattress, pillows and bedding are provided for each volunteer, but we ask that you please bring your own towels. Please be aware that you may have to share a room with another volunteer during your stay.

There is a separate shared toilet/shower and kitchen, as well as an outside seating and dining area, and a barbecue area where you can sit by the fire under the stars. (With the absence of artificial light, stargazing at the Reserves is phenomenal!)

Some camps are partly fenced but some are not, so you can expect visits from Baboons, Monkeys, Antelope, Bushbabies, Elephant and Hyaena on occasion. For this reason please remember it is very important to always use torches when moving around the accommodation at night, and to never leave the immediate camp area on foot when it is dark! It is also important to note that no-one is allowed to walk around within the Reserves on their own (example leave the accommodation camp for a walk) unless they are accompanied by a ranger who is qualified to deal with dangerous game on foot.

The camp has a communal kitchen where everybody joins in to prepare their meals. Everything you need is provided including an oven, stovetop, microwave, solar cooker, and of course a fire, to cook on. Most of the time volunteers take turns preparing meals, or one person becomes the "chef" and the others help with chopping, peeling and cleaning. Basic food items are provided for within our food budget, enough for 3 healthy meals a day, including fruit. As far as possible, the project tries to be environmentally friendly, for example we do not buy tinned tuna, and we try to use game venison instead of commercially produced beef where possible. We do provide for vegetarians; please make us aware of your needs before you arrive. Drinking water at the accommodation is of a good quality, but you are welcome to purchase bottled water at your own expense.

Please note: The distance between the reserves and any town/city is substantial, and fuel costs are high, so any driving to town for supplies is limited to the 2-week cycle when volunteers arrive/depart or are transferred from one reserve to another. Your wildlife monitor will have done grocery shopping to provide the basic foods for the camp. When you arrive in Richards Bay, the transport service that collects you will make a very brief (15 minute) stop at a supermarket for you to stock up on any snacks or luxury items you may want during your stay.

Volunteers all help with general camp cleanliness and maintenance. This is a very important part of bush life, as an untidy / dirty room or kitchen is an invitation for all sorts of creatures to invade it! Some camps have washing machines to wash clothes, but if not, a tub with laundry detergent is provided for hand-washing your clothes.

*The accommodation at the iMfolozi camp is basic, isolated and reliant on a generator for electricity. At times the power supply can be somewhat unreliable, so please ensure that you have enough spare batteries to rely on in case you cannot recharge there as often as you would like.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Got any questions? Please email us: info@travellersworldwide.com

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU BOOK YOUR PLACEMENT?
Once you have applied for a placement, we'll contact you and send you our Welcome Pack. You'll also receive Log-on details and password for our Volunteer Extranet where you'll have access to all the documentation and information which we've put together to facilitate preparations for your adventure! Your Project Co-ordinator for your country will liaise with you throughout the arrangements process, as well as while you're on your placement and on your return home.

The documents you'll have access to also include a Country Factfile, Safety Guide and any manuals that may assist you on your particular programme (e.g. Teaching Guide, Sports Manuals, Enrichment Suggestions for Animal Care, etc.). We do all we can to make your stay one that you'll never forget. This is a truly awesome, elegant and beautiful country.

On Arrival, your Introduction to the Country:
When you arrive you will be met at the airport and driven to the project site. There you'll be welcomed by a member of the Project Team who will take you to your accommodation and introduce you to everyone. During your first few days you'll be given an induction so that you can learn about the country and its culture, as well as other useful information, like how to use the transport system, banks, safety issues, tipping, and lots more.

TRAVEL - GETTING HERE:
We'll liaise carefully with you regarding your travel arrangements, but here is a brief indication: The easiest way is for you to book your international flight through any airline of your choice, arriving in Johannesburg (O.R. Tambo International Airport), and then book a connecting domestic flight from Johannesburg to Richards Bay (our closest airport).

You should book the flight arriving in Richards Bay at 14.30 pm on the Monday of your arrival, and the departing flight leaving Richards Bay at 15.05 pm on the Monday of your departure.

If you have difficulty finding flights that work for our arrival schedule, you can do what some of our other volunteers do and arrive in Richards Bay the night before instead – we can recommend some Bed & Breakfast accommodations that will collect you from the airport when you arrive, and then we can arrange for our transport service to collect you from the accommodation in Richards Bay on the Monday morning.

When you arrive at Richards Bay airport, you will be collected by a project team member, or an organised responsible transfer company with a sign. All arriving volunteers will be transported by the transport company to a central meeting point, where you will be met by your wildlife monitor, who will then take you the remaining distance into the Reserve, on the monitoring vehicle. On the Monday of your departure you will be transported back to Richards Bay airport to catch your departing flight home.

ABOUT THE GAME RESERVES:
Unlike other projects, The Zululand Conservation Expedition is not focused on only 1 reserve, but stretched across 5 of most famous reserves in Southern Africa. Depending on how long you stay with us, you will get the opportunity to experience the work done on all these reserves:

Somkhanda Game Reserve:
Somkhanda Game Reserve is a community-owned game reserve managed by “Wildlands Conservation Trust”, in partnership with the Gumbi community. Somkhanda is the first community-owned reserve to be proclaimed under the Protected Areas Management Act, meaning that this community has committed their land to biodiversity conservation for the foreseeable future. Somkhanda is supported by the WWF “Black Rhino Range Expansion Project”, and has a healthy population of both Black Rhinos and White Rhinos that the project funds help to monitor.

The Wildlands Conservation Trust has assisted with re-introducing a number of different species into the reserve to boost game numbers. African Wild Dogs were introduced to the reserve in 2014 to fulfil the conservation objective of saving endangered species, and reintroducing natural predation into the system. Planned future introductions include Buffalo, Cheetah and eventually, Elephants.

Somkhanda has a critical need to ensure daily sightings of the Wild Dog pack. The pressing need to track this particular pack of Wild Dogs is due to the fact that Somkhanda Game Reserve suffers from an influx of poachers from local rural communities, who consistently trespass onto the reserve to set snares with the intention of catching bush meat (mostly antelope). Tragically, these snares have a large unintended by-catch, which includes any unsuspecting animal that walks into the snares – including Rhino, Elephant, and very often the Wild Dogs since they cover such large distances daily in search of food.

For this reason it is absolutely vital that the monitoring team devotes the majority of their time to locating the Wild Dog pack each morning and evening, to ensure that all the dogs are accounted for and unharmed. This does involve early starts to the day, and getting back late to camp in the evening, but is a crucial part of the work we are doing!

SOMKHANDA RESEARCH CAMP ACCOMMODATION: Somkhanda volunteers are housed in a large house within the reserve, and the camp offers twin rooms, an indoor bathroom and toilet, a large kitchen and a braai (barbecue) area. The water is good for drinking, and the house has electricity and hot water. Due to limited cellphone (mobile) signal in the area, the “Cell-C” mobile network receives the best signal.

The main focus on Somkhanda is to assist with the daily monitoring of African Wild Dog and Rhinos, as well as general biological monitoring of other priority species (Vultures, Hyaenas, Leopards) and the compilation of species lists.

Mkhuze Game Reserve:
A place of great beauty and high contrasts, Mkhuze is renowned for its astonishing diversity of natural habitats, from the eastern slopes of the Ubombo Mountains along its north western boundary, to broad stretches of acacia savannah, swamps, a variety of woodlands and riverine forests as well as a rare type of sand forest. The Mkhuze River, with a beautiful stretch of fig forest along its banks, curves along the Reserve's northern and eastern borders.

The Mkhuze Game Reserve constitutes the north western spur of the recently declared World Heritage Site: the Isimangaliso Wetland Park. The Reserve offers an abundance of wildlife including Endangered species such as Black Rhino, Cheetah, African Wild Dog and Suni. Other animals to be found in the Reserve include White Rhino, Elephant, Buffalo, Giraffe, Leopard, Nyala, Blue Wildebeest, Hyaena, Warthog, Zebra, Kudu and other smaller antelope. Mkhuze has no Lions on the Reserve. Mkhuze is also famous for its rich birdlife and attracts ornithologists from all over the world.

Two beautiful pans, Nhlonhlela and Nsumo, which lie in the north and east respectively, support large communities of Hippos, Crocodiles, Pinkbacked and White Pelicans, as well as a diversity of storks, ducks, geese and other water birds which gather in spring. Nsumo Pan is host to one of only two major Pinkbacked Pelican breeding colonies in southern Africa.

The main focus on Mkhuze is the monitoring of the African Wild Dog, Cheetah, Elephant herds and Vultures.

Tembe Elephant Park:
Tembe is comprised of 30,000 hectares – the land was historically owned by the Tembe tribe, the ancestral custodians of the area. Nkosi (Chief) Mzimba Tembe donated the land for the formation of this Game Reserve, and it is now 50% co-owned and managed by the Tembe tribe, while its precious bio-diversity is managed by Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife; the KwaZulu-Natal conservation service.

Although Tembe has no Cheetah on the Reserve, it is home to a rich diversity of other wildlife - including the “Big 5” (Lion, Leopard, Black and White Rhino, Buffalo and Elephant), Hippo and various antelope species, from the majestic Giraffe which stand at 5 metres tall, down to one of the smallest antelope in Africa - the Suni, at only 35 centimetres high! The area now known as Tembe Elephant Park is real wild country.

The park is situated within the sand-veld ecological zone and consists mainly of closed woodland and secondary thicket formation. The zone falls within a transition area between tropical and sub-tropical forms and therefore is home to a great diversity of vegetation as well as over 340 bird species, making it a delight for bird lovers.

The main focus on Tembe is the monitoring of the Lion, African Wild Dog and Elephant populations.

Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park:
Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park (established in 1895), is one of the oldest Game Reserves in Africa. It is very large (960 km² / 96,000 ha) and contains an immense diversity of fauna and flora. Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park was originally three separate reserves that joined under its current title in 1989, and since then they have been managed as one park. The two sections are not separated by fences and they are still managed as one natural system, however due to the size of the protected area, logistically it is divided into two Management Sections.

Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park is home to a rich diversity of wildlife, including the "Big 5" (Black and White Rhinoceros, Elephant, Buffalo, Lion and Leopard), as well as species such as African Wild Dog, Cheetah, Hyaena, Jackal, Blue Wildebeest, Giraffe, Zebra, Nile Crocodile, Hippopotamus, Bushpig, Warthog, Mongoose, Chacma Baboons, Vervet Monkeys, as well as various antelope species including Waterbuck, Kudu, Nyala, Impala, common and mountain Reedbuck, Bushbuck, Duiker, Steenbok and Suni, and a variety of Tortoises, Terrapins, Snakes and Lizards. The park is also a prime birding destination, with over 320 recorded bird species. Due to the vast size of the reserve, we have 2 projects situated within the 2 separate management sections of Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park (one in the northern “Hluhluwe Section” and one in the southern “iMfolozi Section”).

Hluhluwe Section:
The northern section of the park (known as the Hluhluwe section) has hilly topography where altitudes range from 80 to 540 m above sea level. The high ridges support coastal scarp forests in a well watered region with valley bushveld at lower levels. The accommodation at the research camp in Hluhluwe is in the form of rooms each with 2 single beds. You may therefore have to share with one other volunteer of the same gender, for these 2 weeks.

This camp also houses some other research staff and visiting staff members for the park, (although their rooms are separate from our volunteers). This does provide the opportunity for socialising and interesting discussions with these other researchers in the evenings.

The main focus in the Hluhluwe Section of the park is an extensive Cheetah population survey using remote camera traps, and includes the monitoring of the African Wild Dogs.

iMfolozi Section:
The topography in the southern iMfolozi section ranges from the lowlands of the Black and White iMfolozi River beds, to steep hilly country which includes some wide and deep valleys. Habitats in this area are primarily grasslands, which extend into Acacia savannah and woodlands. iMfolozi was the home of the now famous “Operation Rhino” in the 1950's and 60's, which resulted in the saving of the Southern White Rhino (Ceratotherium simium) from extinction. iMfolozi is also famed for its Wilderness Trails which originated in iMfolozi in the 1950’s, and the Park’s renowned Game Capture unit.

The accommodation at the research camp in iMfolozi is in the form of rooms, with 2 single beds and with 3 single beds. You may therefore have to share with another volunteer of the same gender, for these 2 weeks.

*Just a note: the accommodation at the iMfolozi camp is basic, isolated and reliant on a generator for electricity. At times the power supply can be somewhat unreliable, so please ensure that you have enough spare batteries to rely on in case you cannot recharge there as often as you would like.

This will be a time for you to truly “switch off” and enjoy the bush! It is a very beautiful location, with numerous sightings; a truly special place.

The main focus in the iMfolozi Section of the park is a new animal track/spoor identification project, as well as the monitoring of the African Wild Dogs

Zululand Rhino Reserve:
Zululand Rhino Reserve (ZRR) lies within the Msunduzi valley in northern Zululand, in the province of Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa. The area falls under the Mkuze Valley Lowveld vegetation type, varying from open Savanna thornveld, bushveld to riverine woodland, characterized by Acacia’s and Marula tree species. The reserve has over 70 Mammal species and an exceptional diversity of birdlife.

The Zululand Rhino Reserve was established in 2004 and comprises of 17 landowners who have dropped their internal fences to create a big 5, endangered species reserve. The WWF Black Rhino Range Expansion Project was the conduit for the formation of the reserve. The Reserve was chosen as a release site for the WWF Black Rhino Range Expansion Project and in 2005 a founder population of black rhino were released into their new home. In 2009 the reserve was proclaimed as a Nature Reserve under the Protected Areas Act 57 of 2003 acknowledging the reserve as a site of biodiversity importance that makes essential contributions to the conservation of species and habitats and is an important system that provides ecosystem services.

Volunteers are housed in a large, beautiful and secluded house within the reserve, and the camp offers twin rooms, a large kitchen and a lovely patio dining area.

The main focus on Zululand Rhino Reserve is monitoring of the Cheetah, Elephant and Rhino, as well as some population surveys, conducted via remote camera traps.

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OPTIONAL ADD-ON ACTIVITIES:

Make the most of your time there! To help you do that, we've put together some exciting activities, courses and tours that you can add to your itinerary. These are designed to be fun, but also to enable you to learn, and expand your personal and professional development enjoyment ... but mostly for your enjoyment! :-)

Cage Dive with Sharks in South Africa

CAGE DIVE WITH SHARKS:
Price: £99, includes breakfast/lunch and return transfer from Cape Town.

Getting into the cage with the sharks around is truly breath-taking and gets the adrenaline going! When feeding actively around the boat, the sharks may occasionally brush their tail against the cage, but they NEVER attack the cage. They are curious and often come close-up to the cage to look at the diver. You’ll usually see at least two or more members of the Marine Big Five - sharks, dolphins, whales, seals and penguins.

You’ll be collected from your arranged accommodation in Cape Town between 3.00 and 5.00 am) and driven to Gansbaai, the shark capital of South Africa. Enjoy a light breakfast while the safety briefing and other formalities are concluded, including sizing you for a wetsuit. After an exhilarating 20 minute boat trip, it anchors in or nearby “Shark Alley”. The shark diving then commences and lasts around 2 hours, sometimes longer.

On return to the harbour, you’ll receive a light hot lunch while viewing the video of the day. A copy of your own personal experience is available on DVD after the tour (optional extra).

Duration: Total duration from meeting point until departure is about 5 hours with around 3 hours at sea. Please note: Due to tides and collection schedules, exact collection times from Cape Town will only be confirmed after 16h00 the day prior to your tour.

Included:
• Hot tea / coffee and light breakfast, plus snacks, drinks and sweets on-board the boat
• A hot light lunch upon return (beef lasagne, rolls and Greek salad)
• Educational information and safety briefing
• Diving equipment and wet-suits available at no additional cost
• Scuba diving in the cage for experienced divers (conditions allowing)
• Assisted snorkeling in cage for inexperienced divers
• View Cape Fur Seals from the boat (conditions allowing), plus enjoy land-based whale watching in Hermanus (July – Dec)

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1-Week Rehabilitation of Wildlife

1-WEEK WILDLIFE REHABILITATION:
Price: £325, includes accommodation and food, plus transfer to and from Durban Airport. Does not include transfers from elsewhere in the country.

Spend a fantastic week working hands-on with abused, abandoned and orphaned animals - a time you will never, ever forget! You can do this placement either before starting your main project or afterwards.

You'll work with over 400 different animals and birds, and lots of monkeys! Your responsibilities can include feeding the animals, grounds work, cage enrichment and assisting in the construction and improvement of enclosures to raise the quality of the daily lives of the animals.

This Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre is glorious. The grounds are beautiful and tranquil and the location is superb. It's also a wildlife hospital that cares for injured and orphaned wild animals and birds, and is the only centre of its kind in the Province. Any wild animal (not domestic or agricultural) that has been injured, rescued or abandoned, is admitted free of charge. Almost 90% of animals admitted to the Centre, have sustained injuries due to human negligence.

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Penguins at Boulders in Cape Town

1-DAY CAPE PENINSULA & WINE TOUR:
Price: £49.

ITINERARY: We begin the morning with a leisurely stroll along the cobbled streets and brightly coloured houses of the Bokaap while sampling some of the local traditional snacks before heading through the exclusive seaside suburbs of Clifton and Campsbay where we have a short photo stop.

We then carry on along Victoria drive, through Houtbay and along the scenic Chapmans Peak Drive eventually arriving at The Cape of Good hope Nature Reserve where we have the option of doing a 40 minute hike from the most south west tip of Africa, Cape of Good Hope to the Cape Point Light House.

We then start driving north to Boulder Beach Penguin colony, where on a nice day you can actually swim with these sea birds! By this stage you would have built up quite an appetite. We stop for a traditional Cape lunch of fish ‘n chips in the old Kalk Bay harbour where the local fishing community goes back generations.

After everyone has had their fill, we stop briefly at the Shark Spotter, entrusted by the local surfers of Muizenberg to look out for Great White Sharks. From here we travel through the lush Constantia Valley to one of the oldest wine farms outside of Europe for a relaxing end of the day wine tasting experience, where we also learn about the history of farming in the Cape in beautiful surroundings.

Included Highlights: Lunch and refreshments in Kalk Bay, Cape of Good Hope Entrance Fee & Boulders Beach Entry Fee to see penguins, Wine Tasting in the Constantia Wine Valley, Walking tour of Bo-Kaap.

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Bungee jump

3-DAY WEEKEND WILDLIFE SAFARI & BUNGEE ADVENTURE:
Price: £190, includes accommodation, breakfast and dinner. Leaves Cape Town every Friday and returns to Cape Town on the Sunday afternoon.

Jump on this 3 day rip-roaring adventure through the Garden Route where we fit as much as we possibly can into 3 awesome days. On this trip you can experience a Game Drive, enjoy some treetop ziplining, visit a local farmers market, an elephant and a monkey sanctuary, the Cango Caves AND The World’s highest Bungy Jump!

Day 1 Friday ǀ Overberg, Garden Route, Myoli Beach: We leave Cape Town, heading past Swellendam, to a Private Game Reserve on the Garden Route. Here we go on a safari where you can see Lion, Buffalo, Elephant, Rhino, Cheetah and Giraffe in their natural habitat. After lunch we will enjoy some fun with a canopy tour, experience the thrill of crossing rope bridges, wobbly crossings and zip wires high up in the trees. Next we carry on our way to Sedgefield.
Included Highlight: Game Drive Safari
Optional Activities: Treetop Adventure & Zipline

Day 2 Saturday ǀ Garden Route, Knysna, Tsitsikamma: After a morning visit to a popular local farmers and craft market in Sedgefield village, we make our way to the Crags where you have a two of options to choose from:
1. Elephant Sanctuary where you learn about, and interact with orphaned elephants.
2. Monkey Sanctuary where rescued monkeys roam free in a large jungle area.

Our next stop is the World’s highest commercial Bungee Jump at 216 meters where you have the opportunity to experience this adrenalin pumping activity! From here it’s back to Myoli beach to carry on with the festivities.
Included Highlight: Local craft and farmers market
Optional Activities: Elephant Sanctuary, Monkeyland, Bloukrans bungy jump (216m), Bloukrans Bridge walking tour.

Day 3 Sunday ǀ Little Karoo, Oudtshoorn, return to Cape Town via Route 62. We head to the Town of Oudtshoorn, the “Ostrich Capital of the world”. Here you can choose between:
1. The Cango Caves where we will embark on a 1-hour guided tour of the cave system to view its massive caverns millions of years old. Cango Caves is a world heritage site and one of the great wonders of the natural world. If you enjoy spelunking and don’t mind trying to squeeze through some smaller gaps then you are also welcome to take the 1.5 hour adventure tour!
2. Go on a guided tour of the Cango Endangered Wildlife Ranch for an opportunity to pet cheetah, cage dive with crocodiles and view and learn about many rare and endangered animal species.

Included Highlight: Cango Caves (Adventure or Standard Tour) OR Cango Wildlife Ranch
Optional Activities: Pet a cheetah, cage dive with crocodiles.

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3-day Garden Route Safari in South Africa

3-DAY ELEPHANTS, CAVES AND BUNGEE SAFARI
(One-way from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth or Knysna):

Price: £190. Leaves Cape Town every Monday morning (early).

The 4 Day tour is ideal for volunteers to use to get to our Wildlife Sanctuary project near Port Elizabeth, or one of the Knysna projects. You save on a connecting flight from Cape Town and get to take part in a fun-filled experience with lots of amazing activities. The tour bus will drop you off at either project destination mentioned above on Day 3.

Day 1 – Monday ǀ Cape Town to Oudtshoorn Little Karoo, Cango Caves, Wildlife Rehabilitation Ranch: We head into the semi-arid Little Karoo along the scenic Route 62 driving to the town of Oudtshoorn, known as the ostrich capital of the world. Here you can choose between:
The Cango Caves: a 1-hour guided tour of the cave system to view its massive caverns and a wonderland of stalactite and stalagmite formations, millions of years old. Cango Caves is a world heritage site and one of the great wonders of the natural world. Or if you enjoy spelunking and smaller gaps, you are also welcome to take the 1.5 hour adventure tour!
A guided tour of the Cango Endangered Wildlife Ranch: you can pet cheetah, cage dive with crocodiles and view and learn about many rare and endangered animal species.

We then head over the Outeniqua Mountains to the lush coastal region known as the Garden Route where we will head to the beach town of Sedgefield for our first night. If time allows we will also head to the beach for a swim in the Indian Ocean.
Included Highlight: Standard or adventure guided tour of Cango Caves OR Cango Endangered Wildlife ranch.

Day 2 – Tuesday ǀ Sedgefield – Jeffrey’s Bay Monkey Sanctuary, Elephant Sanctuary, Kloofing, Bloukrans Bungee & Tsitsikamma National Park. This morning we drive through Knysna on our way to the Crags where you have two options to choose from:
1. Elephant Sanctuary where you learn about, and interact with orphaned elephants.
2. Monkey Sanctuary where rescued monkeys roam free in a large jungle area.

Our next stop is the World’s highest commercial Bungee Jump at 216 meters where you can experience this adrenalin pumping activity. Finally, to end the day, we take a beautiful walk through the indigenous Tsitsikamma National Park to the Storms river swing bridges before we head to the famous surfing town of Jeffreys Bay where we stay at a backpackers directly on the beach.
Included Highlight: Tsitsikamma Forest.
Optional Activities: Elephant Sanctuary, Monkeyland, Bloukrans bungee jump (216m), Bloukrans Bridge walking tour.

Day 3 – Wednesday ǀ Jeffrey’s Bay – Addo National Park – Sedgefield Game Drive (Addo), Surfing, shopping time (Jeffrey’s bay). There are 2 options to choose from this morning:
1. Sleep in then explore the town's many surf factory shops, or go for a surf lesson.
2. Wake up early and head to Addo Elephant National park where we go on a morning game drive to view the multitudes of wild animals. Addo has the Big 5 and also the highest concentration of African Elephants in the world!
Included Highlight: Jeffrey’s Bay/Addo Entrance & Game Dive with tour Guide
Optional Activities: Surf Lessons, Shopping OR Addo Game Drive with National Parks guide (morning).

Please note: This is where the 3 Day One Way to PE/ J-Bay/ Knysna will end.
• Volunteers destined for our Wildlife Sanctuary placement are dropped off at the project.
• Volunteers destined for the Knysna projects will be dropped off at our accommodation.

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Caves, Elephants Safari

4-DAY ELEPHANTS, CAVES AND BUNGEE SAFARI:
Price: £210, includes accommodation and food. Leaves Cape Town every Monday morning (early), returning to Cape Town on Thursdays.

Day 1 – Monday ǀ Cape Town to Oudtshoorn Little Karoo, Cango Caves, Wildlife Rehabilitation Ranch: We leave the Mother City behind and head into the semi-arid Little Karoo along the scenic Route 62 driving to the town of Oudtshoorn, known as the ostrich capital of the world, it is situated in a beautiful, fertile valley between the Outeniqua and Swartberg Mountains. Here you can choose between:
1. The Cango Caves where we will embark on a 1-hour guided tour of the cave system to view its massive caverns and a wonderland of stalactite and stalagmite formations, millions of years old. Cango Caves is a world heritage site and one of the great wonders of the natural world. Or if you enjoy spelunking and don’t mind trying to squeeze through some smaller gaps then you are also welcome to take the 1.5 hour adventure tour!
2. Go on a guided tour of the Cango Endangered Wildlife Ranch for an opportunity to pet cheetah, cage dive with crocodiles and view and learn about many rare and endangered animal species.

We then head over the Outeniqua Mountains to the lush coastal region known as the Garden Route where we will head to the beach town of Sedgefield where we spend our first night. If time allows we will also head to the beach for a swim in the Indian Ocean.
Included Highlight: Standard or adventure guided tour of Cango Caves OR Cango Endangered Wildlife ranch.

Day 2 – Tuesday ǀ Sedgefield – Jeffrey’s Bay Monkey Sanctuary, Elephant Sanctuary, Kloofing, Bloukrans Bungee & Tsitsikamma National Park. This morning we drive through Knysna on our way to the Crags where you have a number of options to choose from:
1. Elephant Sanctuary where you learn about, and interact with orphaned elephants.
2. Monkey Sanctuary where rescued monkeys roam free in a large jungle area.

Our next stop is the World’s highest commercial Bungee Jump at 216 meters where you have the opportunity to experience this adrenalin pumping activity. Finally, to end the day we take a beautiful walk through the indigenous Tsitsikamma National Park to the Storms river swing bridges before we head to the famous surfing town of Jeffreys Bay where we stay at a backpackers directly on the beach.
Included Highlight: Tsitsikamma Forest.
Optional Activities: Elephant Sanctuary OR Monkeyland. Bloukrans bungee jump (216m), Bloukrans Bridge walking tour

Day 3 – Wednesday ǀ Jeffrey’s Bay – Addo National Park – Sedgefield Game Drive (Addo), Surfing, shopping time (Jeffrey’s Bay). There are 2 options to choose from this morning.
1. Sleep in and take some time in the morning to explore the towns many surf factory shops, or go for a surf lesson in one of the most famous surf spots on earth.
2. Wake up early and head to Addo Elephant National park where we go on a morning game drive to view the multitudes of wild animals. Addo is home to the Big 5 and it also has the highest concentration of African Elephants in the world!
Included Highlight: Jeffrey’s Bay/Addo Entrance & Game Dive with tour Guide.
Optional Activities: Surf Lessons, Shopping OR Addo Game Drive with National Parks guide (morning).

Day 4 – Thursday ǀ Sedgefield to Cape Town: Return to Cape Town via Sir Lowry’s Pass. After breakfast we start our journey back to Cape Town. For our first stop we will enjoy some fun with a canopy tour, experience the thrill of crossing rope bridges, wobbly crossings and zip wires high up in the trees. We then visit an Aloe factory, where you can purchase a variety of Aloe Ferox products. Finally, enjoy a wonderful scenic drive back to Cape Town, arriving early Thursday afternoon.
Included Highlight: Visit to an aloe factory.
Optional Activities: Treetop Adventure and Zipline.

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5-day sharks and wildlife safari

5-DAY WILDLIFE, SHARKS, CAVES AND BUNGEE SAFARI
(One-way from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth or Knysna):

Price: £285. Includes Accommodation and Food. Leaves Cape Town every Saturday morning (early).

This is the ideal tour for volunteers to use to get to our Wildlife Sanctuary project near Port Elizabeth, or one of the Knysna projects. You save on a connecting flight from Cape Town and get to take part in a fun-filled experience with lots of amazing activities. The tour bus will drop you off at any of the destinations listed above on Day 5.

Day 1 – Saturday ǀ Cape Town to Struisbaai: Overberg, Whale Route, Cape Agulhus: Departing Cape Town at 8:30 am and Stellenbosch at 9:30 am, our exciting journey begins on the world famous whale route in Gordons Bay for a stunning drive along the picturesque R44 mountain pass overlooking False Bay to the vibrant coastal town of Hermanus. After a picnic lunch on the seafront, we continue to Birkenhead Brewery to sample some fine beers before moving on to the southernmost tip of Africa in Cape Agulhas National Park.

We then make our way to the harbour where there is an option to embark on an exciting ski-boat cruise to search for dolphin and whales (June to November). After our cruise we walk back to our accommodation along “Die Plaat”, the longest beach in the Southern Hemisphere. This day is a relaxing one for you to get to know your fellow travellers and to get used to travelling in our vehicle and life on tour.
Included Highlight: Land Based Whale Watching in Hermanus/Shopping Beer/wine tasting at Birkenhead Brewery
Optional Activities: Shark cage diving.

Day 2 – Sunday ǀ Cape Agulhas to Sedgefield: Canoeing & Hike: After breakfast we drive inland again, towards the famed Garden Route! After a scenic drive we begin a beautiful canoe trip down one of the many tranquil rivers in the area, followed by a short hike to a stunning waterfall. We finish off the day with some beach time down at Myoli Beach.
Included Highlight: Canoe trip & hike to waterfall.

Day 3 – Monday ǀ Oudtshoorn day trip: Little Karoo, Cango Caves, Ostrich Farm, Wildlife Ranch: We begin the day with a drive over the picturesque Outeniqua mountain range into the semi desert region of the Klein Karoo and Oudtshoorn. Known as the ostrich capital of the world, Oudtshoorn is situated in a beautiful valley between the Outeniqua and Swartberg Mountains. The Cango Caves will be the first stop with a 1-hour guided tour of the cave system to view its massive caverns and a wonderland of stalactite and stalagmite formations, millions of years old. Cango Caves is a world heritage site and one of the great wonders of the natural world. If you enjoy spelunking and smaller gaps, you are also welcome to take the 1.5 hour adventure tour!

Next is an option to view and ride ostriches on a working ostrich farm, or go on a guided tour of the Cango Endangered Wildlife Ranch for an opportunity to pet cheetah, cage dive with crocodiles and view many rare and endangered animal species.
Included Highlight: Standard or adventure guided tour of Cango Caves Optional Activities: Tour of a working Ostrich farm + riding (weight restriction applies to riders). Cango Endangered Wildlife ranch.

Day 4 – Tuesday ǀ Sedgefield – Jeffrey’s Bay: Monkey Sanctuary, Elephant Sanctuary, Kloofing, Bloukrans Bungee & Tsitsikamma National Park: This morning we drive through Knysna on our way to the Crags where you have a number of options to choose from:
1. Elephant Sanctuary where you learn about, and interact with orphaned elephants.
2. Monkey Sanctuary where rescued monkeys roam free in a large jungle area.
3. Kloofing trip through a spectacular gorge with jumps, abseils and swimming.

Our next stop is the World’s highest commercial Bungee Jump at 216 meters where you can experience this adrenalin pumping activity. Finally, to end the day we take a beautiful walk through the indigenous Tsitsikamma National Park to the Storms river swing bridges before we head to the famous surfing town of Jeffreys Bay where we stay at a backpackers directly on the beach.
Included Highlight: Tsitsikamma Forest Optional Activities: Elephant Sanctuary, Monkeyland, Bloukrans bungee jump (216m), Bloukrans Bridge walking tour.

Day 5 – Wednesday ǀ Jeffrey’s Bay – Addo National Park – Sedgefield: Game Drive (Addo), Surfing, shopping. There are 2 options to choose from this morning.
1. Sleep in and then explore the towns many surf factory shops, or go for a surf lesson in one of the most famous surf spots on earth.
2. Wake up early and head to Addo Elephant National park where we go on a morning game drive to view the multitudes of wild animals. Addo has the Big 5 and also the highest concentration of African Elephants in the world!

We then take a relaxed drive back towards Sedgefield for the night. If there is time available we will visit the famous Knysna Heads for some absolutely amazing pictures where the ocean meets the inlet to the Knysna Lagoon.
Included Highlight: Storms River/Jeffrey’s Bay/Addo & Knysna Heads
Optional Activities: Black Water Tubing, Canopy Tour, Surf Lessons, Shopping, Addo Elephant NP tour (morning)

Please note:
• Volunteers destined for our Wildlife Sanctuary placement, can get dropped off at the project or choose to be fetched in Jeffrey’s Bay after the activities.
• Volunteers destined for the Knysna projects will be dropped off at our accommodation

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7-day extreme advanture safari in South Africa

6-DAY WILDLIFE, SHARKS, CAVES AND BUNGEE SAFARI:
Price: £320. Leaves Cape Town on a Saturday morning and returns to Cape Town the following Thursday afternoon.

This is the ideal tour for volunteers wanting to arrive at our Wildlife Sanctuary project near Port Elizabeth, or one of the Knysna projects. You save on a connecting flight from Cape Town and get to take part in a fun-filled experience with lots of amazing activities. The tour bus will drop you off at any of the destinations listed above on Day 5.

Day 1 – Saturday ǀ Cape Town to Struisbaai: Overberg, Whale Route, Cape Agulhus: Departing Cape Town at 8:30 am and Stellenbosch at 9:30 am, our exciting journey begins today along the world famous whale route in Gordons Bay for a stunning drive along the picturesque R44 mountain pass overlooking False Bay to the vibrant coastal town of Hermanus. After a picnic lunch on the seafront, we continue to Birkenhead Brewery to sample some fine beers before moving on to the southernmost tip of Africa in Cape Agulhas National Park.

We then make our way to the harbour where there is an option to embark on an exciting ski-boat cruise to search for dolphin and whales (June to November). After the cruise we take a walk back to the accommodation along “Die Plaat”, the longest beach in the Southern Hemisphere.
Included Highlight: Land Based Whale Watching in Hermanus / Shopping. Beer/wine tasting at Birkenhead Brewery
Optional Activities: Shark cage diving (MUST be pre-booked in advance).

Day 2 – Sunday ǀ Cape Agulhas to Sedgefield: Canoeing & Hike: After breakfast we drive inland again, this time towards the famed Garden Route! After a scenic drive we begin a beautiful canoe trip down one of the many tranquil rivers in the area, followed by a short hike to a stunning waterfall. We finish off the day with some beach time down at Myoli Beach.
Included Highlight: Canoe trip & hike to waterfall

Day 3 – Monday ǀ Oudtshoorn day trip: Little Karoo, Cango Caves, Ostrich Farm, Wildlife Ranch: We begin the day with a drive over the picturesque Outeniqua mountain range into the semi desert region of the Klein Karoo and Oudtshoorn, the ostrich capital of the world. Oudtshoorn is situated in a beautiful valley between the Outeniqua and Swartberg Mountains. The Cango Caves will be the first stop, a 1-hour guided tour of the cave system to view its massive caverns and a wonderland of stalactite and stalagmite formations, millions of years old. Cango Caves is a world heritage site and one of the great wonders of the natural world. If you enjoy spelunking and smaller gaps, you are also welcome to take the 1.5 hour adventure tour!

Next is an option to view and ride ostriches on a working ostrich farm, or go on a guided tour of the Cango Endangered Wildlife Ranch for an opportunity to pet cheetah, cage dive with crocodiles and view many rare and endangered animal species.
Included Highlight: Standard or adventure guided tour of Cango Caves
Optional Activities: Tour of a working Ostrich farm + riding (weight restriction apply to riders). Cango Endangered Wildlife ranch.

Day 4 – Tuesday ǀ Sedgefield – Jeffrey’s Bay: Monkey Sanctuary, Elephant Sanctuary, Kloofing, Bloukrans Bungee & Tsitsikamma National Park: This morning we drive through Knysna on our way to the Crags where you have two options to choose from:
1. Elephant Sanctuary where you learn about, and interact with orphaned elephants.
2. Monkey Sanctuary where rescued monkeys roam free in a large jungle area.

Our next stop is the World’s highest commercial Bungee Jump at 216 meters where you can experience this adrenalin pumping activity. Finally, we take a beautiful walk through the indigenous Tsitsikamma National Park to the Storms river swing bridges before we head to the famous surfing town of Jeffreys Bay where we stay at a backpackers directly on the beach.
Included Highlight: Tsitsikamma Forest Optional Activities: Elephant Sanctuary OR Monkeyland. Bloukrans bungee jump (216m), Bloukrans Bridge walking tour.

Day 5 – Wednesday ǀ Jeffrey’s Bay – Addo National Park – Sedgefield: Game Drive (Addo), Surfing, shopping. There are 2 options to choose from this morning.
1. Sleep in then explore the towns many surf factory shops, or go for a surf lesson.
2. Wake up early and head to Addo Elephant National park where we go on a morning game drive to view the multitudes of wild animals. Addo has the Big 5 and also the highest concentration of African Elephants in the world!

Included Highlight: Jeffrey’s Bay/Addo Entrance & Game Dive with tour Guide
Optional Activities: Surf Lessons, Shopping OR Addo Game Drive with National Parks guide (morning).

Day 6 – Thursday ǀ Sedgefield to Cape Town: Return to Cape Town via Sir Lowry’s Pass: After breakfast we start our journey back to Cape Town. For our first stop we will enjoy some fun with a canopy tour, experience the thrill of crossing rope bridges, wobbly crossings and zip wires high up in the trees. We then visit an Aloe factory, where you can purchase a variety of Aloe Ferox products. Finally, enjoy a wonderful scenic drive back to Cape Town, arriving early Thursday afternoon.

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4-day Kruger  National Park Wildlife Game Safari Tour in South Africa

4-DAY KRUGER NATIONAL PARK SAFARI:
Price: £480 per person, includes game drives, tented accommodation, breakfasts and dinners. Leaves Johannesburg daily at 7:00.
Join this 4 day tour to the majestic Kruger National Park, one of the top wilderness reserves in the world and home to the highest concentration of lions in Africa. You'll stay at a private game reserve with permanent safari tents.

Day 1 Sunset Drive, Kruger National Park: We collect you from your hostel or Johannesburg Airport and travel via Dullstroom or Nelspruit to the lodge in a Big Five Game Reserve. Transfer to an open-top game vehicle for a Sunset Drive. After dark, spotlights are used to locate nocturnal animals. Dinner in the open Boma and overnight in air-conditioned chalets.

Day 2 Bush Walk, Kruger National Park:
Awaken at sunrise for an exhilarating day of unforgettable bush life. Drive to a remote part of the Balule Game Reserve, where you enjoy a 4h Bush Walk. Your experienced field guide will lead you through the bush. The thrill of following Africa’s large animals until you can take a photo will remain with you forever. Adrenalin surges will be acute, notwithstanding the presence of your armed ranger. Return for brunch. At around 14h30 we go on an afternoon game drive. Transfer to Marc’s Camp where accommodation is in tents equipped with beds and bedding, soap and towels, electric light and fan. Dinner and overnight at in the camp.

Day 3 Orpen Gate, Kruger National Park:
After breakfast you travel on the open-sided Gameviewer to the Orpen Gate of Kruger. The added elevation and absence of windows allow for excellent viewing and photographic opportunities. Your qualified guide will show you various animals, large and small, that frequent this outstanding wildlife paradise. The zone of Kruger you visit has the highest percentage population of giraffe, zebra, wildebeest and impala that attract numerous lions and other predators. Dinner and overnight at Marc’s Camp.

Day 4 Bush walk at Kruger National Park, Johannesburg
We enjoy an early morning Bush Walk accompanied by an armed ranger. You will be shown various interesting details of the bush, including insects, spoor and scats. You have an excellent chance of encountering Buffalo, Nyala and other game on foot. After breakfast, we drive to the Three Rondawels of the Blyde River Canyon. We return you to your hostel or airport at around 17h00.

Includes:
• Return transfers from Johannesburg
• 3 hour Sunset Big 5 game drive in Big 5 reserve
• 4 hour Big 5 walk with armed ranger
• 2 hour afternoon game drive on Balule Game Reserve
• Full Day Kruger Park on open vehicle
• Breakfasts, Dinners, Accommodation and bedding
• Sunrise bush walk with armed ranger
• Blyde River canyon and Three Rondawels

Excludes: Lunches, Transfers, Drinks & Laundry

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LOCATION | SIGHTSEEING:

The best advice you'll get from us is to try to see some of the country while you're in South Africa. It's big (huge!) and each different region is exciting and very, very beautiful. Cape Town is probably the most beautiful city in the world (I can say that, I grew up there :-) KwaZulu-Natal comes a very close second, albeit very different. Knysna is where South Africans go on holiday, which gives you some idea of how lovely the region is. When you lie on the beach and watch dolphins jumping the waves, you'll think you're in Paradise.

EXPLORING AND SIGHTSEEING:
KwaZulu Natal (KZN) is renowned for its Game Reserves and traditional Zulu Culture : The attractions in KwaZulu Natal (KZN) range from vibrant cities to the gorgeous Land of a Thousand Hills, from tranquil beaches to outstanding Game Parks and Nature Reserves. These are just some of the sites you shouldn't miss:

  • Big Five Game Reserves (elephant, lion, leopard, buffalo, rhino - and lots more, of course) and Travellers volunteers are able to work in many of them, including Tembe and Mkhuze.
  • Beautiful St Lucia Wetlands with its Crocodile Centre and Wetlands
  • Numerous nature parks,
  • Fantastic beaches for swimming and diving. The beaches are truly golden.
  • Lively Durban where South Africans go to have fun,
  • The San Art Park for a collection of astounding rock paintings,
  • ... And much, much more!

DURBAN (Tekweni in Zulu) is the ancestral home of the Nguni people. Africa's bewitching seaside playground in the sun with radiant golden sands and lush sub-tropical greenery. The city has balmy weather all year round, making it a perfect holiday paradise. Durban International Airport is only a 10 minute drive from the City. Sophisticated and cosmopolitan, Durban Metro after dark buzzes with elegant lounges, funky taverns and cozy inns, distinctive local theatre and live music, and trendy clubs, pubs and discos. This is nightlife in a modern, authentic African metropolis!

TRAVEL:

Read about Travel arrangements and what happens when you arrive in your new country.

REVIEWS AND FEEDBACK:

MARTHA LAGE
Australian
Zululand Wildlife & Game Reserve Conservation Expedition
Plus Lion Breeding and Release in Zimbabwe

It was brilliant. I want to go back in the future. I enjoyed both South Africa and Zimbabwe working with the lions. The lion project was perfect.

In South Africa, monitoring the wild dogs and rhinos was a fantastic experience. By monitoring for 2 weeks, I got to know the personalities of the dogs. It was fun to see which one would come out to greet us.

I learnt to use the monitoring and GPS equipment. We did cook for ourselves, so some idea of cooking meals is a bonus. My manager taught us about the various types of birds in the area as well as the vegetation. When I am home and viewing various TV series about Africa, I can tell others about the birds that are singing and vegetation throughout the country.

In Zimbabwe I worked with the Lions out of Gweru. The people were excellent. The food was cooked for us and very yummy. It was good to take an early morning walk with the cubs. We baby-sat them during the day and went on another walk at the end of the day. Other times of the day we would clean the pens out and prepare the food for all the lions. The volunteers were given various tasks during their placement. This enabled us to examine all aspects of the lion breeding program. The staff were friendly and fun to work with.

HEATHER JEFFERY
British
Zululand Wildlife & Game Reserve Conservation Expedition

On the reserves our main duty was to monitor the wild dogs which are an endangered species. There are only 350-450 of them left in South Africa and ¼ of that population are in the Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park!

We went out in the 4x4 twice every day and used telemetry to track them, enabled by the fact that some of the dogs have VHF collars on them. These collars are crucial pieces of equipment in tracking but only last a couple of years before they need replacing and you need at least one collar per pack of dogs. Preferably the alpha pair plus one other dog in each pack would be collared but they are very expensive, so a lot of fundraising has to be done for this ideal situation to become reality. By volunteering, some of the money I paid to go on the project goes into the conservation of these animals, e.g. towards collars.

Tracking can also be done using tracks on the ground which was best at Tembe where there is soft sand everywhere so there are plenty of tracks to see. However, this is very time-consuming, is far from an exact science (e.g. exact age of a track is hard to predict and there are so many factors to consider) and is also a lot of hard work! At the other parks where the roads were mainly tar or dirt the tracks are less easy to spot or non-existent!

It is so important to monitor them, especially on a park like Mkhuze where they have a lot of problems with snares in which the dogs accidently get caught (the poachers are generally aiming for antelope). If this is not picked up on quickly the poachers may kill the dog for food whereas if the people from the project get there first the dog can be saved. It was truly heartbreaking to see a couple of dogs with only three legs. They cope extremely well but they shouldn’t be put in this position! It is so hard to stop poachers from entering, but there is only the one pack of dogs at Mkhuze and in the last year it has decreased in size from 16 to 9, so if this pack is lost they will not be able to restart it as it will be deemed too dangerous for the dogs.

The Project is responsible for moving dogs between some of the reserves as often the reason for them trying to escape the confines of the reserve or for leaving their pack and wandering into trouble is while looking for other dogs of the opposite sex with which to form a new pack. It seems that life as a wild dog is never dull! Only the Alpha female is supposed to get pregnant but we have had two other females become pregnant in my time out there so now there is the issue of whether or not the new Alpha will let these other pups survive as she will want all pups to be hers. With species numbers low it is important that this does not happen but you can’t just explain this to a wild dog!

The Project is currently campaigning to get the name ‘wild dog’ changed to ‘painted dog’ as this will go some way in giving them a better reputation. Currently their bad reputation is partly due to the way they kill as they eat their prey alive. However, although it sounds more gruesome, it actually kills the animal quicker than if killed by, say, a lion.

At Mkhuze we also monitored cheetah. Did you know that cheetah’s hunting success rate is only about 10%? They may be the fastest land animal but they can only keep this up for a very short amount of time so have to get very close to their prey before ambushing it! Life is much harder for them than you first think!

Accommodation on the reserves was more civilised than I had expected and I even had a washing machine on two out of the three reserves, however, one of the ovens took three times as long to cook anything as a normal oven! There were only between 3 and 5 volunteers on each reserve so it really felt as if you were part of the team!

As well as tracking the animals and writing notes about the sightings (location, time, date and behaviour seen) we also pumped up the vehicle tyres, cleaned the vehicle, fed an impala quarter to two wild dogs in the boma (an enclosure where new dogs go when first at the park as an introductory step) at Hluhluwe, painted a large food chute for the boma at Tembe, painted a kitchen floor in the new extension at Mkhuze, cleaned up the new camp in iMfolozi, inputted the data we collected into a database on the computer, tagged camera trap photos and created identity kits for some of the puppies and their parents at Hluhluwe.

I really enjoyed all this work, especially making the ID kits as it really helped me to learn how to distinguish each dog and getting a left and right side photo of each dog (while making sure it is the same dog) is harder than it sounds!

I learnt a lot about all the animals plus you can’t beat the practical education of observing how they interact with their own and other species in the wild. Other animals I was lucky enough to see included leopard (a mother and two cubs in the dark but was still an amazing sighting!), an aardvark, black rhino, hyena and a steenbok (a small antelope which is fairly rare) plus the more ‘normal’ giraffe, zebra, lion, elephant, white rhino, buffalo, impala, nyala, kudu, monkeys (vervet, samango and baboons), wildebeest, warthog, vultures and countless birds!

I cannot describe to you just how incredible the sense of being there is, surrounded by all the sounds of the bush, with the animals in their natural habitat! Mind blowing doesn’t quite cover it! A highlight was seeing the wild dogs take on a hyena right next to the vehicle! Thankfully no-one was injured, the dogs were just teasing him!

On the marine conservation week, I stayed in a volunteer house and when the weather permitted we went out on the boat. This is a controversial area due to the increase in shark attacks but the boat does not actually feed the sharks, it just puts fish scents into the water to attract them. Also, the boat does not anchor near the beach where people may be put at risk.

Every time we went out a record was kept of how many sharks we saw and whether they had any distinguishing features plus an estimate of their size. Volunteers were responsible for getting wetsuits ready and handing them out, looking after anyone who felt seasick, helping people in and out of the cage, cleaning the boat and anything else that needed doing!

This experience has been very rewarding and a great learning curve that I will never forget. I have met people from all corners of the world (nearly!): Holland, Australia, Germany, America, Canada, Ireland, France, Switzerland, England and, of course, South Africa, and of all ages! I have gained so much confidence without even realising it at the time and have never done as much cooking in my entire life as two of us ended up cooking for 8 people when neither of us normally cook much at home!

It was my first time abroad on my own so I thought I would do it in style and have become so much more independent and more sure of myself while out there!

I would definitely recommend this type of volunteer work to everyone out there and will certainly be doing more in the future!

SHERAN LEE
British
(1) Zululand Wildlife & Game Reserve Conservation Expedition
(2) Wildlife Rehabilitation Programme in KwaZulu-Natal
(3) Vervet Monkey Care and Rehabilitation Project
(4) Lion Breeding and Release Programme in Zimbabwe

Hi Sharon, Lovely to hear from you, I'm having the most incredible time! I visited Knysna while on the Garden Route - beautiful town, had a boat ride then a superb meal of chilli and garlic prawns (Mmmmm) watching the world go by!

The Wildlife Rehabilitation & Release Centre in KwaZulu-Natal was just fantastic, the staff, volunteers and of course the animals! I was very fortunate to be the foster-mum for a baby grey duiker as well as for the baby vervet monkeys - adorable!!! The most amazing, amazing place. :-)

Then onto the Monkey Rehabilitation project in KZN, nowhere near as busy, but to be involved once again with vervet monkeys was beautiful, and to have the opportunity to go out with Bruce & Sandi monitoring was a great experience.

Now I'm here at Tembe Elephant Park, stunning scenery, monitoring the Wild Dogs, it's been great as there was already females here but then released 3 males, so we were monitoring both packs and a couple of days ago the females and males met up.

Two days later we saw them and they were mating - no long courtships here!! Also been monitoring the elephants, then last night it was lion monitoring! Wow!!! Just love it all, the high you get when you hear a beep on the telemetry is indescribable!

I've only seen hyena at Mpila when I went for a weekend with Bruce & Sandi, just finished cooking a braai, female hyena walked up and started licking it - thankfully we'd just taken the meat inside!! She was huge - took my breath away!!!

As you know I'm then off to Hluhluwe, Mkuze and then iMfolozi - really looking forward to iMfolozi as I have recently met Antoine, the new Monitor, and apparently I'll be the first volunteer at this new camp - excited already!

Then Zimbabwe - hoping not to get nibbled by the lions!!!! And finally the Cheetahs in Limpopo! The past 7 months have passed in a flash! Just so grateful to be able to enjoy and be part of this fantastic conservation experience in a truly beautiful country!!! :-) :-)

Many thanks for your support and it's lovely to know that you're around if I need you.

CHRIS LLOYD
British
Conservation on Thanda Game Reserve in KwaZulu-Natal

Hi there Andy, I am emailing you from Thanda. What can I say other than I am having the best time ever. I have done so much already and have only been here two weeks!!! I have helped to catch and collar Lion, catch Nyala buck, Rhino and also release more Rhino onto the farm.

All the people here are brill, and I can only say how nice they are. Kirsten, the lady taking care of me, is great and we have a laugh all the time. Tim, the other chap from Travellers, is also a nice lad. The project is also very interesting and great fun. I will be in touch again in the near future.

Mid way through Chris' placement:
Hey there Andy, sorry it has taken me so long to get back to you, to be honest I don't have an excuse other than thinking I will do it tomorrow and as I am sure you know tomorrow never comes!!! I had quite good internet access most of the time (probably once every two or three days) so email is a good way to contact everyone back home.

My normal day is never normal and can change at any time to be honest. We mainly get up at 5am and are out by 5:30 tracking the elephants and doing the road census. We will normally finish around 10am depending upon how the sightings have gone which is usually very good. Then we might have a little rest and off to the office for lunch for 12pm.

After lunch we are out again tracking and checking the other animals. Then the evening meal is at 6pm (the food is also very very nice). Some days we eat at home which is away from the office canteen using food we have bought using our allowance at Spar, which is nice and easy.

If it comes over the radio about someone seeing something really rare we will drop everything to check that out.

There is also the chance to do so much more, so far we have been really lucky to be involved in the Lion capture (to put a collar on her), Rhino capture and release and Nyala capture as well. All of these the animals were darted. We have been on walks through the farm helping with everything we can get involved with. Just the other day we had elephants outside where we are staying which was amazing.

All sorts of other animals come so close to where we live as we have no fence around us. Just before food this evening at the office we heard the Cheetah was outside some houses round the corner so we walked over to check it out!! Brill!!!

What can I say - I am having the best time ever and to be honest I don’t want to go back home to doing the same thing everyday as we all do in England, I would love this life style out here!!! But we will see.

Many thanks!