Kruger Conservation and Leopard Monitoring

South Africa

Experience amazing Big 5 encounters (lion, elephant, buffalo, rhino and leopard). Receive bush craft training, learn key skills and contribute to important wildlife conservation research whilst living in the famous Kruger National Park.


Key Info

key info
  • Location: Kruger National Park
  • Start dates: 1st and 15th of each month
  • Duration: 2 – 12 weeks
  • Age requirement: 18+
  • Availability: Limited spaces until August 2017
  • Cost: From £995 / €1195 / $1345 - see fees table below

Project Information

Volunteer role: What will I be doing?

Volunteers assist in research tasks and help to maintain the reserve in three areas; predator monitoring, conservation research and reserve management. Whilst at the project you will be involved in a variety of tasks which may include:

  • Monitoring of leopard populations: installing, maintaining and checking camera traps
  • Predator monitoring
  • Habitat assessments
  • Bird point counts
  • Herbivore transects
  • Identification and management of invasive plant species
  • Creating seed banks
  • Bush patrols monitoring fences
  • Manual labour tasks on the reserve

Volunteers all complete Bush Craft training on arrival which will give you a foundation of knowledge on animal identification, tracking, and behaviour.

You are working on a diverse reserve and your daily commute to research sites will often include lion, elephant, buffalo, rhino and leopard sightings.

Working days and hours

Volunteers normally work for 6 days a week for 4 - 6 hours a day however depending on the season these times may vary.

Other volunteers

There are normally 8 - 10 volunteers at the project at any one time, with a maximum of 18.

Volunteer reviews

Read about volunteer experiences and challenges in our Kruger Conservation volunteer reviews.

Why are volunteers needed?

Whilst the Kruger Conservation project employs a team of local staff, they are often over-stretched, particularly due to the fact that many of the research activities involve extensive data collection over many hectares of land. This is very labour intensive therefore volunteers provide additional manpower.

As well as focusing on Leopard and predator monitoring, the additional support provided by volunteers means that the team is able to collect data on many species which migrate through and live on the reserve. Volunteers also put together rhino identikits, analyse territories, record buffalo and elephant movement patterns, snare locations and poaching activities and protect reserve boundaries.

“We really love working with Pod, THANK YOU!! Volunteer research results have been used by the Dept of Environmental Affairs to ban more than 150 leopard hunting permits this year!"Johan, Director

How is the Kruger Conservation project making a difference?

Limpopo is home to over one third of South Africa’s suitable leopard habitat, however there is still very little know about its population. Despite this lack of information on population and a high level of illegal poaching in the area, the government continues to issue increasing numbers of leopard hunting permits. Without vital conservation research in this area, the population could be seriously threatened in the future.

The primary role of the project is to avert this, by providing important data on leopard and other predator population and behaviour. This information is used to improve conservation both in the Limpopo province and throughout South Africa.

Where will I be living?

You will be staying within Greater Kruger National Park, in the Balule Reserve. The accommodation consists of dormitory style rooms. The bathroom facilities are in a separate building, have western side toilets and have hot and cold running water.

It is in a beautiful and peaceful location overlooking the river with a safari feel and abundant game and birdlife all around. There is an outside dining and barbeque area where volunteers enjoy their meals and socialize in the evenings.

During your free time, volunteers stay on the reserve and relax by the river, play sports, read a book or have a barbeque together.

What's Included?

Before you go:

  • Carefully selected and vetted volunteer project
  • Support from our friendly and highly experienced Pod UK team
  • Single point of contact - Ellie is your dedicated placement manager
  • In-depth Volunteering Guide on your volunteering placement
  • Travel information - visa, health and safety advice
  • Access to specialist travel insurance at exclusive rates
  • Recommended travel agency for flights and tours
  • Access to special deals and resources
  • Fundraising guide and support
  • Financial protection for monies paid to Pod

On your placement:

  • Conservation volunteering placement
  • Airport pick up (Hoedspruit) and return transfers
  • Accommodation - shared room
  • Food - all main meals
  • Daily transport within the reserve
  • Induction
  • Bush craft training
  • Shirt
  • Onsite support from local team
  • Support from Pod UK office by phone and email
  • 24/7 emergency back up
  • Incident Management and Emergency Response Plans

On your return:

  • Contact from your placement manager
  • Feedback scheme
  • Volunteering certificate (on request)
  • References (on request)
  • Member of the Pod community

Not included: Flights, travel insurance, visa (if required). Budgeting guidance is provided in our Volunteering Guide which we will email you when you apply.

Pod Volunteer is run as a non-profit organisation. Fee levels are set to match costs and any surplus monies are distributed to the projects we work with via the Pod Charity.
Price table
2 weeks £995 GB Pounds
Each additional 2 weeks £395 GB Pounds

Fees in currencies other than GBP are indicative only and volunteers are invoiced in GBP. For current exchange rates please see


acres protected

"Pod is a no nonsense volunteer organisation looking to change lives"Cian


Pod UK Specialist

Ellie has visited the project, apply and you'll hear from Ellie soon!

We look forward to receiving your application! There is no commitment by applying and we will send more information.



  • South Africa Kruger Conservation and Leopard Monitoring volunteer – Ilona

    “Everything was even better than I could have hoped for. We had really nice groups of volunteers and I really liked the different work tasks every day. I had the most amazing time – I will be back!”

    Read more volunteer reviews
  • South Africa Kruger Conservation and Leopard Monitoring volunteer – Julia

    “I loved learning about animals, nature and living in the bush. You experience a whole different world. The team is awesome! They make you feel safe, at home and confident from the beginning. I want to do it again!”

    Read more volunteer reviews
  • South Africa Kruger Conservation and Leopard Monitoring volunteer – Vilde

    “I’ve never been as happy as I was in Balule. I would easily leave everything back home and move there. The people were great! The camp was great! The work was great! The animals were everywhere and it was just awesome!”

    Read more volunteer reviews


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  • 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