Kariega Game Reserve
from £735 GBP
to £3599 GBP
Kariega Game Reserve
Duration: from 2 Weeks to 12 Weeks
Countries: South AfricaThe Kariega Conservation Project is designed to offer volunteers the opportunity to be involved in all conservation related projects on the reserve. You may start seeing yourself as “assistant conservation managers” as all of the work done by you will improve the quality of the reserve. *Please note – all prices for this placement programme have been held for 2013!* The data collected by you will be utilized by Kariega management in making important conservation decisions for the reserve. As a volunteer you therefore derive a good deal of satisfaction from your work, as your efforts directly contributes to improving the reserve.
Interested in doing conservation work on a Big 5 Game Reserve?
Come and join Kariega Game Reserve as a conservation volunteer. Make a real difference, grow your skills in conservation and have the experience of a lifetime!
Kariega is an extraordinary and exciting conservation project, at the forefront of numerous species reintroductions and conservation drives. If you want more than just a safari … come and get your hands dirty and learn more about conservation management on a Big 5 game reserve.
Kariega’s Wildlife Management Volunteer Programme is the ultimate Big 5 experience, where volunteers from across the world, get the opportunity to get hands-on involved in conservation management on the reserve. During your stay with us, you may see yourselves as “Assistant Conservation Managers”, as all the work done and data collected by you will be utilized by Kariega for conservation on the reserve. A dedicated coordinator will endeavour to ensure that you have a wonderful learning experience and leave with a stronger understanding of conservation issues feeling like you made an important contribution.
Our volunteers also get the opportunity to explore South Africa’s amazing coastline as Kariega is a mere 16 km from the sea… the beautiful Indian Ocean is literally on your doorstep! This coastline has particularly rich marine fauna and flora as well as endless sand dunes and beautiful beaches. To top it all off, we have a brilliant community outreach programme. Our volunteers assist at a local rural farm school by teaching children basic subjects like English. Come and make a real difference and have fun doing so!
Please note that our activities are based on a minimum stay of 4 weeks. Although many of the activities listed below may take place in 2-3 week placements, not all are guaranteed. So the longer your stay, the more in depth your experience. Volunteers will be provided with stimulating practical experience in the following four areas: research, conservation management, education and community development.
Leopards in the Lower Albany Area: population status and the role of Kariega Game Reserve as a key habitat refuge
One of our main research focus areas on Kariega Game Reserve is our new and exciting leopard (Panthera pardus) project. The project is being undertaken in collaboration with the Centre for African Conservation Ecology of the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University.
Leopards have been persecuted in the Eastern Cape for the last three hundred years, resulting in a decline in numbers and fragmentation of populations, placing the local population at risk of extinction. Virtually the entire landscape was hostile to them, and few leopards survived in only the most isolated areas. Recently attitudes towards large predators have shifted, and leopards are now legally protected. There has also been a recent shift in land use, with an increasing number of private nature reserves that complement the state-owned reserves in supporting conservation of biodiversity. Kariega Game Reserve is one of the oldest of these private nature reserves. These shifts suggest that the landscape is now more leopard-friendly, with decreased persecution and increased refuge areas. This project therefore aims to assess the status of leopards in the Lower Albany area and investigate the role of the Kariega Game Reserve as a refugee habitat for leopards, which may move across the Lower Albany area.
Specific questions to be addressed with this project include:
How many leopards occur on Kariega Game Reserve and in the Lower Albany area?
o This will be addressed by collecting data on sightings, camera trap records and possibly genetic analysis.
Is leopard activity in the Lower Albany area focused on conservation areas such as Kariega Game Reserve?
o This will be addressed by analysing the spatial distribution of leopard sighting records, and if resources are available, through the tracking of collared leopards
Is there evidence for an increase in leopard numbers and wider distribution within the Lower Albany Area?
o This will be addressed by relating the above-mentioned information to historical records of leopards in the study area.
Elephant Impact Monitoring - Volunteers will help monitor elephant movement patterns, range utilization and vegetation impact with the aid of telemetry (certain individuals are fitted with radio collars). A part of this research project that volunteers are very involved with, is recording the unique ear markings of each elephant for management purposes. Elephant identification sheets are given to each volunteer, who in turn will assist the conservation department in this regard.
Lion prey selection monitoring – One of the volunteer programme’s responsibilities is to record as many lion kills as possible. This data provides the conservation department at Kariega with valuable information regarding prey selection. Certain lions on the reserve are fitted with radio collars, so volunteers will learn how to use telemetry tracking.
Birds in Reserve Project (BIRP) - This project involves preparing a catalogue of the birds, bird numbers and their breeding status in the reserve as part of a project headed by the University of Cape Town’s Avian Demography Unit.
Hyena tracking and monitoring - Movement patterns and breeding rates of these interesting predators are monitored. None of the hyenas are fitted with radio collars, so it can be quite a challenge finding them on the reserve. Our recent volunteers found a den site … one of our females gave birth!
Conservation management activities form a large part of the volunteer programme. Some of these activities involve physical work and therefore a certain level of determination from the volunteer’s side is required. Keep in mind that the “reserve needs” are always taken into account and you will help to fulfil those needs as a volunteer. Daily activities are interesting and varied, and could include assistance with some of the following:
Sex and age ratios recordings of specific species like eland and giraffe
Alien Vegetation Control – Volunteers will assist in the eradication and control of alien (non-endemic) plant species. Bush encroachment control through selective clearing is also done in certain areas on the reserve. This aspect involves physical hard work!
Soil Erosion Control – Previous land utilization practices like cattle ranching has caused erosion gulleys in certain areas on the reserve. These sites need to be rehabilitated.
Reserve Clean-Up Operations – Volunteers assist in pulling out remaining old cattle fences and water pipes on the reserve.
Road maintenance and repairing of river crossings
Parasite control – This involves the making-up and administering of anti-parasite meds to specific species (when required by the reserve)
And any other conservation management activity that might “pop-up” at the time and the reserve requires your assistance in
Education / Theory
Each volunteer will be given a field booklet, which can be taken home at the end of the placement. Before you start with each practical task, the relative theoretical background on the subject will be discussed in the form of informal lectures. The theory provides insight into the value of the practical activities in which you may participate. Mammal, plant and bird checklists are included in the booklet and will help you to identify different species at Kariega.
Practical education will be provided throughout your stay:
Bush Walks, Game Drives and night drives – identification and discussion of various mammals, plants and birds
Sleep Outs – Camping out in the bush around a campfire under the African sky (weather dependent)
Field Skills & Survival – Learn to look after yourself in the wild
We have identified an under-funded farm school near the reserve where our volunteer programme can make a real difference. The school is small, yet very under-staffed and local kids aged 4 to 15 years attend the school. Kariega volunteers visit the school one day a week (not during school holidays or rainy days (most of the children walk about 10 km to attend school so if it rains, no one goes to school!), and make valuable contributions to the children’s education. Our volunteers take many of the classes themselves and teach 6-12 year olds subjects like English, Maths and Science. You might also help with the maintenance of the school’s facilities or by giving sport lessons to the kids. A recent group of volunteers renovated a classroom (with a completely collapsed ceiling and floorboards!) for the pre-primary school kids. Your contribution here is real, and both the children and the headmistress are very appreciative. Guaranteed to leave you with a feeling of satisfaction!
All our rates include your return transfer and pick up from airport, all accommodation for the duration of your placement, all meals and placement activities. We are a fully bonded agent through IATA; in conjunction with South Africa Airways we can offer some fantastic rates on international airfare.
All the time
Do you accept non UK citizens?
accommodation, food, airport pickup
Worldwide Experience offers volunteers a unique conservation opportunity to work on some of Southern Africa’s premier private game reserves or leading marine ocean research projects. A conservation placement is the ultimate life changing experience gives you the chance to give something back and make a difference to the natural environment.