Join our field guides and research team in the legendary Greater Kruger Area for the ultimate African safari as you encounter and monitor Africa’s iconic ‘Big 5’ on game drives through the most beautiful game reserves in South Africa. The work you do on this program will contribute to important conservation efforts to protect and conserve threatened and endangered species.
This volunteer program is ideal for wildlife lovers, nature enthusiasts, and aspiring conservationists or zoologists
AS A VOLUNTEER, YOU WILL GET TO:
- Spend your time in the bush researching Africa’s ‘Big 5’ – Lions, Elephants, Rhinos, Leopards, and Buffalo
- Collect critical information that will protect them from threats such as poaching, habitat loss, and misinformed culling
- Track the movements and behaviors of herds of elephants and prides of lions through the wild African bush
- Witness nocturnal animals such as leopards in their natural habitat on unforgettable moonlit night drives
- Go on morning walks through the bush to identify animal tracks
- Camp out under the starry skies at our overnight research camp for a truly unique African experience
- Offer much needed assistance with removing invasive plant species and going on anti-poaching sweeps
- Live in the heart of the world famous Greater Kruger Area in a private volunteer lodge surrounded by nature and open skies
- Explore the spectacular Blyde River Canyon. Go on a safari in the Kruger National Park. And experience the fascinating culture of the Swazi people in Swaziland
Work & Impacts
Wildlife Research Game Drives
Venture into the wild bush on daily game drives in search of the Big 5 and other iconic African wildlife to monitor animals and collect data that will be used by our research team to create ID kits. Your observations are essential for providing critical information that will influence conservation strategies to protect endangered and vulnerable wildlife from poaching and other threats.
These game drives will also give you a chance to experience the wonders of the African bush and go on safaris in the most beautiful reserves in Africa.
Physical conservation work is a vital part of wildlife conservation (and a lot more fun than you would think it would be), so you will have plenty of opportunities to get your hands dirty.
Whether you assist in getting rid of snares or removing invasive species, the work you do is key to the survival of wildlife in the area because it transforms the land back into a healthy habitat where wildlife can flourish.
You don’t have to be particularly fit for this kind of work – we have a role for everyone.
Research and Analysis
You will work alongside our research team to compile the data that is collected on game drives into reports, maps, and up to date profiles (ID kits) of the wildlife we observe. These research sessions will teach you about data collection and compilation techniques that are used to influence wildlife conservation strategies.
You will learn how to analyze whisker patterns, scars, and ear notches to understand and distinguish individual animals in order to create and update ID kits that conservationists and field guides can use to monitor the movements and health of wildlife for years to come.
Fun & Travel
Blyde River Canyon
After spending your days tracking animals through the bush, the lodge offers a comfortable space to relax and reflect on your experiences from the day.
There is always something going on at Dumela – from cinema nights, traditional braais (BBQs), evening safari drives, and sundowner evenings in the bush, to games nights, educational presentations, performances by local musicians, and cultural nights.
People and Culture
Throughout your stay, you will have countless opportunities to meet new people – whether it’s other volunteers or locals. The people you meet along the way and friendships you make are all part of the experience and will etch themselves into your heart and memory forever.
During interactions with locals, you will understand why South Africans are known for being some of the friendliest, most easygoing people in the world. Their warmth and good nature will make you feel at home from the moment you arrive.
Experience Local Culture
No trip to South Africa would be complete without experiencing a real South African braai. It is the equivalent of a BBQ and is deeply rooted in the country’s culture.
Braai evenings are a regular occurrence at Dumela Lodge, so you will get many opportunities to experience this beloved tradition under the starry skies. And when the flames have died down, everyone gathers around the fire pit to roast marshmallows and get to know each other.
About the Destination
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 coming together to create one big reserve was a significant contribution to conservation efforts and has helped 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 and nature unfurls spectacularly across wild savanna, offering endless opportunities for wildlife encounters. The Greater Kruger Area is home to iconic animals such as elephants, lions, rhinos, and wild dogs. Many of these animals are endangered or vulnerable.
Your home during your stay in South Africa will be at Dumela Lodge, an exclusive, fully equipped volunteer and intern house just 45 minutes from the Kruger National Park. It is a safari style thatched lodge with everything you need for a comfortable stay, including a swimming pool, WiFi, hot showers, and an outdoor area for star gazing and socializing.
Dates & Rates
Our project fee includes:
- Accommodation throughout your stay
- 3 meals a day cooked by a local chef (weekdays only)
- Airport pick-up and drop-off
- Transport to and from project
- 24/7 support from experienced international and local staff
- Full orientation to ensure you contribute responsibly
- Project equipment and resources
Our project fee excludes:
- Flights (we can assist you with this)
- Medical or travel insurance (we can assist you with this)
- Visa-related costs
- Weekend trips or tours not on the itinerary
- Snacks, soft drinks, gifts, and souvenirs
“Having spent only 3 weeks with African impact, I have learnt an incredible for such a short period of time. The staff are amazing, the guides seem to know everything there is to know about the bush, not once in my time here were they unable to answer a question! The work can be tiring, but is rewarding as we can see the difference we are making. The drives are amazing and there is always something to see, the best of all for me being a sighting of a leopard with its cub! I have thoroughly enjoyed my time here and my only regret is that I didn’t book more than 3 weeks! I would recommend it to anyone without a second thought!”
Edward Selvey, UK
“Throughout my time on the project, I was able to collect lots of data on game drives (while seeing some of Africa’s most incredible animals!), teach conservation education lessons to 7th graders at a local school, camp out under the incredible star-filled night sky every week, go on amazing weekend adventures during our time off, gain so much information about the species we study, and so much more! This trip was truly life-changing in that it opened my mind and perspective on so many things – I would recommend this experience to anyone with any background.”
Rachael Pulick, USA