Join our research team in the Greater Kruger Area and gain professional experience on a conservation-driven research initiative and wildlife internship. This unique personal development opportunity will allow you to design-your-own field research placement around an African species of your choosing.
Thanks to intern Manon, we now have over 60 identikits of wild dogs, across different packs. This has transformed our data collection for the Endangered Wildlife Trust, as we can now easily determine which pack we are seeing out in the field and use photos to identify which individuals in that pack are present, and which are not.
Thanks to intern Jurre, we have much greater insight into the behavior of two cheetahs who were recently reintroduced to a nearby reserve. Monitoring them on game drives and GPS data, Jurre was able to show whether temperature and rain affected the cheetah’s movements, as well as how much of the reserve each cheetah was using. This is the first research of its kind done in this reserve, so there’s plenty more to do.
Thanks to intern Martina and many others, we will soon be able to determine the abundance and density of leopards in the immediate area. Through camera trapping, incidental leopard sightings, and the use of an existing identification database, interns are able to statistically analyze this data using a capture-recapture model and work towards the greater goal of understanding the leopard population here.
The Greater Kruger Area encompasses over 20 private wildlife reserves on the west side of the world-renowned Kruger National Park in South Africa. These private reserves come together to create one big reserve. A significant contribution to wildlife conservation efforts, helping to protect and preserve one of the world’s last remaining wildlife strongholds.
The whole area comprises almost 5.5 million acres of unfenced land where animals roam freely across wild savannah. The Greater Kruger Area is a major hotspot for wildlife conservation and offers endless opportunities for wildlife encounters with iconic animals such as elephants, lions, rhinos, and wild dogs. Many of these animals are endangered or vulnerable.
We are incredibly lucky to live smack-bang in the middle of one of the most diverse and exciting wildlife hot-spots in the whole of South Africa, home to the iconic ‘Big 5’; lion, leopard, elephant, rhino, and buffalo. As well as cheetah, and even wild dog. This gives you an extraordinary opportunity to study some of the most famous African wildlife, while also opens doors to studying some of the lesser-known creatures of the bush and these African safari animals. Mammals aren’t your thing? Then how about birds, botany, or climate change? If your chosen species or topic aligns with our greater mission here in the Kruger, you are welcome to study it on your wildlife internship!
Regular research game drives and bush walks will allow you to collect data on the location, and behaviour, of your chosen species, while at the same time spotting some of Africa’s most amazing other animals. You will also join volunteers during game counts, which will enable you to assess prey and predator populations and distributions. From this, you will then help analyze the data and turn it into reports that are given to our partner reserves and conservation partners to assist in the preservation of your chosen species. Through training on useful analysis techniques such as QGIS, you will learn how to map the data we collect to determine things like distribution, social networks, family relationships, and corridor use.
If you choose to study an animal species, our camera trap surveys will allow you to assess animal movements out of hours and collect data on your chosen species in their natural habitat. As part of this wildlife internship, you will be responsible for organizing and uploading these images to our Camerabase software and helping to produce comprehensive reports that help our wider conservation team. It is this data, as well as what you have collected on your research game drives, that will be presented to our team at the end of your placement.
If you are studying botany or birds, we’ll ensure that you get time to undertake other observation sessions by-foot and work with you to provide opportunities for learning.
Sustainable research and conservation are only possible with the education and inclusion of local people. Working in primary and high schools, you will help us teach conservation education in order to raise awareness of conservation and wildlife issues, demonstrating why your chosen species needs to be protected.
You will also get involved in physical conservation tasks like clearing encroaching bush or invasive plant species removal, which helps us restore animal habitats and provides you with a greater understanding of how the ecosystem is connected.
You will take part in weekly meetings with your internship mentor, a professional researcher, and a Professional Development Coach to discuss the project’s aims, your strengths, and identify weaknesses so that you are able to grow not only as a person but professionally as well. Outside of these meetings, you will also enjoy a myriad of presentations on wildlife, ecology, habitats, and threats predators face.
“African Impact was nothing like I expected it to be, but that’s what made it so special. I never expected to become a part of a family that consisted of volunteers and staff from around the world. I never expected to gain an in-depth understanding for African wildlife and to be able to actively apply this new knowledge as I was out in the bush collecting data. I never expected to have such astonishing sightings of the diverse wildlife. And most of all, I never expected to understand and observe the impact research can have on African wildlife.”
“I feel privileged to have been able to do the things I have done; the research work is so important and so to be able to contribute is amazing. I loved every minute of the game drives and the other research-based work. It also has been incredible to have been involved with the community projects, as I felt this was very rewarding. Not only was the work aspect great, but so was the lodge itself and the staff within it. The staff at every level were amazing, some of the nicest people I’ve ever met.”
Once you have submitted your application, your personal Enrolment Manager will be in-touch to discuss the project with you.
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