Conservation Volunteering

Game Reserve Conservation Volunteer, South Africa

Volunteer in a Big 5 Conservation Project in South Africa and make a lasting contribution to local wildlife, whilst exploring South Africa's beautiful landscape.

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£280.00 ⁄ wk

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How would you like to spend time caring for a wide range of animals in a game reserve, not far from South Africa's stunning Garden Route?

Boasting a combination of wildlife, impressive African plains, sunshine and nearby beaches - this incredible programme will leave you with a collection of memories you'll never, ever forget...

Located on the Eastern Cape of South Africa, this magical conservation project aims to protect and preserve wildlife, whilst educating through close and personal experiences, with both Mother Nature and the African Big Five.

On this amazing volunteer programme you will have the opportunity to get hands-on with several on-going projects at the reserve, such as:

  • Assisting at the Elephant Sanctuary
  • Game capture
  • Caring for orphaned and injured wildlife
  • Looking after the various other animals
  • Game tracking and research
  • Predator awareness
  • Research and Wilderness hikes
  • Park maintenance and many more tasks

There is also a white lion breeding centre and a lion 're-wilding' camp, which are both proving successful. The camp cares for injured or abandoned lions, until they are ready to be released back into the wild.

As well as this, this diverse programme has a large plains sanctuary (very popular with volunteers) where other orphaned and wounded animals such as zebras and springboks are cared for.

Overall, South Africa is a world leader in conservation and therefore a great destination for anyone looking to further their knowledge of wildlife conservation. It is also a great way to compliment your studies or career.

On your weekends off excursions will be organised for you to places of interest in the surrounding area and the fabulous Garden Route.

Project details

  • What's included?
  • Dates & duration
  • Eligibility
  • Location
  • Project life
  • Accommodation
  • Flights & Visas
  • Insurance

What's included?

  • Pre-departure information and advice
  • In-country assistance and support
  • 24-hour emergency contacts
  • Sightseeing activities
  • In-country induction or training
  • Donation to the project
  • Transportation: airport pick-up and drop-off 
  • Accommodation: volunteer or on-project residence
  • Food: all meals included during work days and provided by staff

What's NOT included?

  • Flights
  • Insurance
  • Visas
  • Monthly stipend

Dates and duration

  • Duration from 2 to 12 weeks
  • This South African volunteering project starts on Mondays throughout the year. Your airport pickup will occur on the Monday, please aim to arrive before 15:00pm.
  • The return transfer will depart the reserve at 09:00am on a Saturday or 18:00pm on a Sunday. Please be aware when booking returning flights. Your Travel Advisor can guide you on this.


  • Minimum age 16 yrs
  • For those travelling between the ages of 16-17, you must abide by the new South African immigration regulations that you can find information on here.
  • No specific animal care skills are required, as all training will be given on site. You will need to be reasonably fit and able to be out all day - there is hard physical work!
  • International volunteers are welcome as long as they are eligible for a tourist visa.


Project life

Once you are picked up in Port Elizabeth, you will be taken on a city tour and then to the reserve which is about a 45 minute drive from Port Elizabeth to the programme.

You will be met by the volunteer coordinator and taken for an orientation tour. After that you will be shown to your accommodation, given your uniform and introduced to the rest of the team.

Your tasks as volunteer will include but are not exclusive to the following:

  • Assisting with game captures
  • Fencing and maintenance 
  • Assisting at the Elephant Sanctuary
  • Caring for orphaned lion cubs
  • Monitoring free roaming lions
  • Removing alien vegetation
  • Tagging and surveys
  • Educational wilderness walks


Group Time Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
 A 07:30-09:00 Removal of alien vegetation  Elephant Sanctuary  Touch farm/Nursery  Game Count Removal of alien vegetation
10:00-12:30 Removal of alien vegetation Elephant Sanctuary Wilderness-trail walk Predator interaction Lion Tracking/ Monitoring
14:00-16:30 Lion Tracking/monitoring Predator interaction Wilderness-trail walk Volimpics Removal of alien vegetation
 B 07:30-09:00 Wildlife structures Removal of alien vegetation Elephant Sanctuary Predator interaction Wilderness-trail walk
10:00-12:30  Lion Tracking/monitoring Predator interaction Elephant Sanctuary School/Gate house 1 & 2 Touch Farm/ Nursery
14:00-16:30 Wildlife structures Predator interaction Elephant Sanctuary Volimpics Wilderness-trail walk
 C 07:30-09:00  Fence patrol Predator interaction Wildlife structures Predator interaction Elephant sanctuary
10:00-12:30  Game drive Wilderness-trail walk Lion Tracking/monitoring School/Gate house 1 & 2 Elephant sanctuary
14:00-16:30  Fence patrol Wilderness-trail walk Wildlife structures Volimpics Elephant sanctuary
    ** Night Game Drive (all) ** ** **

* Please note that this is a proposed itinerary and will be adjusted depending on the weather and a number of other factors that may come into play on a game reserve. Groups will be allocated by the project coordinators and shuffled on a weekly basis to allow volunteers to interact with new people.

** The project also organises at least one game of capture per week and will do this on a day when the weather is moderate to avoid burdening the animal involved.

You will find the following facilities in the Game Reserve:

  • Predator Educational and Rehabilitation Centre, caring for endangered species
  • Elephant sanctuary, where there are tame elephants used for educational purposes
  • Sporting facilities
  • Recreational facilities
  • Game drives and night game drives!

During the weekends you will have the opportunity to take part in some excursions to Port Elizabeth, Jeffreys Bay and Knysna. These are all optional excursions which are not part of this programme.

Accommodation and Food

There are currently two different volunteer houses available for volunteers at the Game Reserve for the standard price of the programme:

Volunteer House One:

As of November 2010, a second brand new volunteer accommodation was introduced to the volunteers at the Game Reserve. This volunteer housing was designed to give volunteers an authentic 'African' living experience – complete with luxury tented camping-style accommodation.

The tented camp facilities include:

  • 96 dorm beds with lockable cupboards and ample packing space (48 males and 48 females).
  • Two lounge areas
  • Two TV areas fitted with DVD players as well as DSTV
  • Two indoor fireplaces
  • Two outdoor fireplaces
  • A tea/coffee station
  • External ablution facilities with 10 toilets and 10 showers
  • Dedicated multi-purpose recreation area
  • Outdoor boma area
  • Separate large dining area

Volunteer House Two:

  • Here, you will stay in a five star volunteer house (dorm style with a maximum capacity of 32 volunteers).
  • This volunteer house includes a lounge and dining area, complete with a chef to prepare the meals.
  • The premises also includes a convenience store, internet facilities, sports facilities (tennis courts and cricket field) as well as an entertainment room.
  • Please note that the reserve is an alcohol free environment - hangovers are not recommended when dealing with wild animals!

Meals / Food available for volunteers:

Be prepared to eat a lot of food during your stay!
You will be provided with 3 meals a day, from a breakfast buffet to rice and tasty stews, burgers, pizzas and local cuisine with pap and meat.

Upgrade your Accommodation:

You are able to upgrade your accommodation arrangement to a double room en-suite (minimum two people) upon request. This will come at an increase in price for the experience so please keep this in mind. Please forward an enquiry to one of our team to find out pricing for this option.


Flights, Transportation & Visas

  • Please arrange your flight to arrive at Port Elizabeth
  • Your transfer to and from the airport is included


Your airport Pickup...

Whilst a project member will pick you up from the airport, your arrival day may coincide with the arrival day of many other volunteers...

Please be sensitive to the fact that the game reserve is located 45 min - 1 hour drive away, so to prevent the project member from driving back and forth all day, volunteers may be temporarily dropped off at a nearby backpackers ("The All Be It Lodge") to wait for the remaining volunteers to arrive from the airport. Once you’ve all arrived you will be transferred to the game reserve together.


  • Visas: A tourist visa is required for Commonwealth, US and European citizens. In these instances you will be able to get your tourist visa upon entry into South Africa. If you'll be staying for longer than 90 days, please consult the South African High Commission/Consulate/Embassy in your country before you arrive in South Africa.


CIBT Visa advice...

For expert visa advice we advise our volunteer, work placement, and internship participants to get in touch with CIBT - a company that we work in partnership with. Our UK, Canadian, and US travellers can use CIBT for visa advice and to get their visa applications processed - with visas returned within a week.

Canadian citizens should state account number: 57497
US citizens should state account number: 57496

Safety & Insurance

  • All of Twin Work & Volunteer's placements are in partnership with recognised and established local organisations, run by or employing local people. These organisations, depending on the nature of what they do, might be small-scale NGOs, family projects, schools or orphanages, or local initiatives with environmental or social goals.
  • We often use local businesses to provide logistical and support services to volunteers such as transfers, pick-ups, accommodation and so on. In this way, we support the local economy through helping independent local businesses to thrive. We take our partnerships very seriously and work extremely closely with all our partners.
  • We provide 24-hour emergency support from the UK and our partners provide support locally.
  • We have an agreement with the crisis management service Tranquillico, should the very worst situations arise.
  • If any wider safety concerns arise in the destination, such as civil disturbances or natural disasters, we seek advice from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) and implement their recommendations where appropriate.


Insurance options...

Comprehensive insurance is available for all programmes. You have no obligation to take up insurance with any of these companies, but insurance of a suitable sort is mandatory on all our programmes.

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The conservation programme is located in a stunning rural area near the small coastal town of Port Elizabeth. Being a Big 5 game reserve, the surrounding area is typical South African bushland and is home to a wide array of animal and plant life.

Public transportation is available to the nearby towns and coast.


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