South African Wildlife
This program is perfect for wildlife fans, as you get a real close up experience of some incredible animals in their natural habitat! Unfortunately, many species in South Africa are threatened with distinction and humans are mostly to blame; habitat loss, poaching and overfishing are all reasons for the decline in population over the past few years. This project aims to help address these issues! In fact, some of these animals you’ll see on this program are on the Red List of threatened species. This list provides information about our planet, and about the endangered status of around 80,000 species of plants and animals. It is important to note that you will be working hard to help these animals, but they are still wild, so there will only be contact where absolutely necessary.
The National Park
You’ll be working in the middle of a South African national park, spread across 24,000 hectares of protected land. The main focus of this park is to protect the wildlife, and preserve their natural habitats. By collecting data, maintaining the park and taking care of these creatures, you are making a huge difference!
You’ll be working in two different areas as a volunteer on this program; the national park, and the base camp. During your time spent in the national park you will be collecting data about various species of animal, tracking them with GPS devices, taking photos of them, clearing scrubland and observing their behavioural habits. You may also take part in additional activities such as setting up cameras to catch poachers and monitor the population of certain endangered species. When the weather is nice, you may even get to take part in a camp-out! Back at base camp, you’ll be evaluating and archiving the valuable data you have collected. The data is documented for use by scientists and researchers, so they can make observations about the long-term impact the park is having on these animals. In addition to this, you will be helping with everyday tasks such as cooking, cleaning and laundry.
The hours you work each day depends on which area you are in. You’ll be working closely with other volunteers and wildlife specialists, and if you’re on park duty that day, you’ll have a very early start – you’ll be up at sunrise (around 5am) to take part in a game drive. If you’re helping on camp, you’ll get to stay in bed a bit longer! On Sundays, usually, you’ll have a free day, where you can spend some time in the park, at the library, or going on excursions.