Kruger Conservation

South Africa

Our Kruger Conservation project aims to protect leopard and other predators through research and conservation of the local ecosystem.

Volunteers collect data which is used to create conservation plans for endangered or vulnerable species. The goal of is to ensure the future of leopards and other predators in the area through scientific research and conservation. You will also receive bush craft training, learning key skills and helping rangers with vital game reserve management.

Living in the famous Greater Kruger National Park, you will have the opportunity to encounter the Big 5 (lion, elephant, buffalo, rhino and leopard) on your commute to work!

Volunteer and help to secure the future of leopards and other predators in the region.

Apply

Key Info

key info
  • Location: Kruger National Park
  • Start dates: 1st and 15th of each month
  • Duration: 2 weeks - 2.5 months
  • Age requirement: 18+ (groups also welcome)
  • Availability: Limited availability until Dec 2017
  • Cost: From £995 / €1165 / $1275 - see fees table below

Project Information

Volunteer role: What will I be doing?

The goal of the Kruger Conservation project is to ensure the future of leopards and other predators in the Limpopo area through scientific research and conservation. Volunteers collect data which is used to create conservation plans for predators and other species both in the area and around the world.

Each day will differ and volunteer tasks may include:

  • Predator monitoring
  • Conservation research
  • Game reserve management
  • Community development

Throughout your first week you will have Bush Craft training concentrating on animal behaviour, orientation and navigation as well as basic bush skills, GPS and GIS techniques. The training also includes modules on animal, tree and bird identifications during game drives, as well as bush interpretation skills such as spoor identification, tracking and animal behaviour during game walks.

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

You will usually work 6 days per week. You will work in the field in the mornings and late afternoon when the temperature is coolest. In the afternoons volunteers rest, help around the park and attend lectures on the ecology of the park and conservation techniques. On your day off there are a variety of free time activities for you to get involved in.

Other volunteers

There are usually 6-10 volunteers with a maximum of 20. There are generally more volunteers in July and August.

Duke of Edinburgh’s (DofE) Award

This placement has been approved by the DofE as meeting the requirements for the Residential section of the Gold Award, including a minimum number of other participants.

Volunteer reviews

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

Why are volunteers needed?

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.

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.

“Pod sends eager volunteers who are always willing to get their hands dirty. They are essential for the day to day research and reserve management work. We have an excellent relationship with Pod and it is an absolute pleasure working with them”

Amy, project coordinator

Location, free time and accomodation

South Africa

South Africa is situated at the southern tip of Africa and ranges from desert to sub-tropical. With dramatic landscapes, amazing wildlife and a rich and diverse culture and interesting history, South Africa has something for everyone. Popular activities in South Africa include:

  • Spotting the Big 5 (lion, leopard, elephant, rhino and buffalo) on safari
  • Travelling the Garden Route
  • Visiting Cape Town and sampling some of the local wines

To find out more, see the Lonely Planet South Africa.

Local area and free time

The reserve is in the Greater Kruger National Park and is surrounded by farmlands and private game reserves. It is in a beautiful and peaceful location with a safari feel. There is abundant game and birdlife all around, so it is a fantastic place for sighting the Big 5 and other creatures large and small!

Volunteers have 1 day off per week and this is generally spent onsite relaxing, socialising with volunteers, having a braai (BBQ), swimming in the pool or reading.

Accommodation

The volunteer camp overlooks the river. Volunteers stay in dormitory style shared rooms. The shared bathroom facilities are in a separate building.

There is an outside dining and BBQ area where volunteers enjoy their meals and socialize in the evenings. There is also a swimming pool which volunteers can use. There is no WIFI but 3G internet can be accessed.

Read volunteer reviews from the Kruger Conservation project

Jasmin

“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!! The diversity of the tasks and activities are so rewarding and I learnt so much. If you love animals then this project is for you.

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! Most rewarding was seeing the animals on game drives and learning about their behaviours and their tracks and seeing the big five during my trip!”

Vilde

“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.

It is so much fun to meet new people, learn about other cultures, and experience a different wildlife. Most rewarding was seeing all the wild animals, learning about them, and knowing that the work I did made a difference to all the wildlife. If you like animals, want to make a difference, and want an African adventure at the same time, do it.”

Julia

“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.”

Nayana

“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.

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. 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.”

Read more reviews

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 Pod Volunteer Specialist
  • In-depth volunteering and planning your trip guides
  • 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 Pod Volunteer Specialist
  • 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
Apply

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

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

Ellie

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.

Apply

VOLUNTEER REVIEWS

  • South Africa Kruger Conservation 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 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 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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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