Kruger Conservation - Volunteer Reviews

SOUTH AFRICA

Read what our volunteers say about their time volunteering

Find out more about the Kruger Conservation project

Alba - 2017

“I have always wanted to travel to Africa to witness nature in the wild. Participating in this project I had the opportunity of not only seeing wild animals but also living amongst them. Being so close to animals that you've seen on documentaries it's an experience hard to describe with words. I only stayed for two weeks, but from the first day I could really feel like I belonged there!

What did you find most rewarding?
Sharing my living space with wild animals that could come close to the camp whenever they wanted. It was a relation of trust and respect from both sides.

What did you find most challenging?
I saw species of animals that I had never seen before and therefore I didn't know their names. It was a bit challenging at the beginning to spot them correctly, but after a couple or three game drives, it gets easier.

What advice would you give to others who are considering this placement?
Camp is in the middle of the reserve, so animals (both big and small) can roam free. Volunteers need to be prepared to encounter spiders, snakes and other animals in the camp.

Why did you choose Pod Volunteer?
I chose Pod Volunteer after doing some research on ethical volunteering organisations. I thought Pod was a trustworthy organisation that offered good projects and helped local communities, so I decided to book my placement with you.”

Thomas - 2017

“I absolutely loved the experience and I believe I was useful to the project. The leaders, Ian, Quintin, and Lozanne were great, knowledgeable, helpful, a concerned for our welfare and they were a fountain for freely shared knowledge. This was a tremendous learning experience that I would highly recommend to others. 

I really loved the experience. This was a volunteer project in the South African bush, not a tourist trip. Just prior to joining the project I was on a 9 day tent camping tour through Zimbabwe, Botswana, and South Africa; I learned much more being a volunteer and had a much richer experience than being a tourist.”

Paolo - 2017

“If you love wild animals and wild nature and you are willing to adapt to the bush life, this is a great experience. You have the possibility to see wonderful animals like lions, hyenas, baboons, elephants, rhinos and also leopards (though they are quite difficult to spot) living in their habitat. You will be surrounded by wonderful landscapes, the bush camp is placed near a beautiful river with Nyalas and Vervet monkeys hanging around.

What did you find most rewarding?
Living into the wild nature surrounded by beautiful landscapes and seeing wild animals in their habitat. I also liked learn about wild animals behaviours and learn to recognize their tracks and sounds.

Why did you choose Pod Volunteer?
I found the Pod Volunteer project on the web, the organization seemed reliable and with a lot of projects. They give a lot of information about the projects and support you in planning your trip. I also liked reading the reviews of the projects.”

Jasmin - 2017

“The Kruger Project was just incredible, I had the best time there and my only regret was not staying for longer. I learnt so much about the wildlife, the animals and the culture and I absolutely loved it. The rangers were super friendly and supportive and made the whole experience unforgettable. I will definitely be back!!

I was initially quite nervous about going away, however from the moment I got there both existing and new volunteers were incredibly friendly, including the rangers. The diversity of the tasks and activities you get involved in are so rewarding and I learnt so much. If you love animals (including the big five) then this project is for you; getting involved in research, data, tracking and signs, animal counts and more, really helps you understand more about the environment and you definitely get hands on. By the end of my trip I had made so many new friendships, the experience was truly unforgettable and I'd go back in a heartbeat!

What did you find most rewarding?
Seeing the animals on game drives and learning about their behaviours and their tracks. Seeing the big five during my trip!

What did you find most challenging?
Saying goodbye to people along the way!

What advice would you give to others who are considering this placement?
Go for it! It's a once in a lifetime experience and opens your eyes up to other opportunities that you may never have considered before!”

Nayana - 2017

“The work done brings a lot of learning. For example, people that did not know nothing about birds and bird calls leave the placement with lots of information’s and new sounds learned. This applies to all animals and plants we find in the kruger area. I think it is a great opportunity to learn that even those animals we usually don't pay attention to, are very important to the environment where they are. Besides all the learning, you get to know people from all around the world and make new friends. For me, the experience was a dream come true for someone who loves the African bush.

What did you find most rewarding?
The most rewarding thing for me was to know that I was being helpful of something important to help nature conservation and research on the animals in that area.

What did you find most challenging?
Waking up very early, but you get used to. Probably the most challenging part of the stay was the volunteer teamwork inside camp (the cleaning and cooking team). NOT the coordinators, they were great people! Because we wake up early, some people wanted to sleep early but supper was ready late couple of days. This kind of thing was not nice, but it is understandable when working with different people.

What advice would you give to others who are considering this placement?
Be adaptable for many schedule changes (for example, rain or too much heat), enjoy everything, ask as many questions you want to and learn everything!!

Were there any parts of the placement which you would like to see changed?
Kitchen. It needs to be much cleaner and organized.

Why did you choose Pod Volunteer?
I had all my questions and doubts answered over and over again, I was being attended very well by Ellie. And because she would have no problem in signing any form from my university, which was very important for me to accomplish”

Vilde - 2015

"I have never been as happy as I was in Balule wild reserve. I would easily leave everything and everyone back at home and just move there for good. The people were great! The camp was great! The work was great! The animals were everywhere and it was just awesome! I could just sit in camp and look at the animals walking around, listen to the birds sing and enjoy the African sunsets and sunrises.

What was a typical day at the project? A typical day at the project would be: Wake up at 5.30 AM, eat and get ready. Leave camp at 6 AM for a small morning patrol (drive). Do a transect drive (counting animals), bird count or check camera traps until 9 AM. Free time used for a 2nd breakfast, relaxing by the pool, playing football or just enjoying the wildlife from camp. Leave for another transect drive or check camera traps around 2 AM, and work day finished around 5 AM. The rest of the day is filled with cooking, a little cleaning, and mostly relaxing and fun around camp.

What did you find most rewarding? Seeing all the wild animals, learning about them, and knowing that the work I did made a difference to all the wildlife.

What did you find most challenging? Nothing that I can think of.

Were there any aspects of the placement which you would like to see improved? Make sure all the volunteers speak English at all times, and not their native language, so that everybody understands everything.

What advice would you give others considering doing this placement? Do it. If you like animals, want to make a difference, and want an African adventure at the same time. Do it.

Why do you think others should volunteer abroad? Because it is so much fun to meet new people, learn about other cultures, and experience a different wildlife.

Why did you choose Pod Volunteer? Because they are reliable and willingly helps you with anything.

Would you recommend Pod Volunteer to your friends? Yes”

Sarah - 2015

“I most enjoyed seeing the wild animals so close in their natural surroundings. I also really enjoyed living together with the other volunteers and the fun memories we made together. It was a unique and unbelievable time with many many great experiences. The only thing I regret is that I didn’t book an extra month.”

Marcel - 2015

“It was better than I expected. I really liked that there were no fences inside our camp so we got a perfect wildlife feeling. I enjoyed the variety of activities and the very friendly group’.

Ronja - 2015

I saw lots of animals, we explored the bush and I learned a lot of new things about nature. I enjoyed the daily rhythm in the camp. All the different kinds of work we had to do were lots of fun. The contact with other volunteers and the atmosphere in camp was awesome. The people were always friendly and funny. The bush walk were great experiences and all my days in Africa were good days.

Sarah - 2015

“I enjoyed that the group was like a second family. I also loved the daily work because I love animals and nature. It was great that we had the possibility to do different kind of work every day. I enjoyed the atmosphere in camp and loved that we had some animals visit us in camp! I’ll never forget this time. I love Africa and the people from here. Thank you Eddie, Hough, Anna, Caz, Aymar and Chanel.”

Julia - 2015

“The life in the South African bush has been as well or even better than I expected. It is a simple lifestyle out here with the accommodation in nature, the fireplace at night and the hard work during the day – but you really feel good in the evenings after a hard day.

I loved learning a lot about the animals, nature and even basics of life such cooking and living in the bush. I loved that you get to experience a whole different world compared to city life. The team is awesome! They make you feel safe, at home and confident from the beginning.

I want to do it again! I have grown up as a person and made a small difference to the animals, nature and reserve as well.”

Ilona - 2015

“I didn’t have specific expectations but in the end everything was even better than I could have hoped for. In both months we had really nice groups of volunteers and I really liked the different work tasks every day. The bush life definitely suits me well.

It is hard to name specific things but the mix of everything was what made me so enjoy my time out here.

I had the most amazing time – I will be back!”

Find out more about the Kruger Conservation project

AWARDS AND ACCREDITATIONS

  • Tourism Concern
  • Association of Bonded Travel Organisers Trust
  • Right Tourism
  • DOFE
  • theguardian
  • the independent
  • Sunday Times
  • Year Out Group
  • Best Volunteering Organisation
  • Wall Street Journal