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Community and Wildlife Expedition in South Africa

Assist with wildlife conservation programs and education projects in local schools

Program Details

Program Type

Volunteering

Location

Africa - South Africa - Limpopo

Program Focus

Wildlife Conservation

4 weeks from

£1,705.00

Code: ZAKG0359E
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Program Information

Travel to a private Big Five game reserve in South Africa and volunteer alongside an international team assisting in vital conservation work. Learn to track animals through the bushveld, study their behaviour and get acquainted with charismatic game species such as lion, leopard, elephant and rhino.
Overview
Project Life
Project Details
Free Time
The Team
Dates & Costs

Overview

Live and work with a team of volunteers from around the world on this multi focused expedition in South Africa. Based in the Limpopo Province, home to Africa’s ‘Big Five’ (lions, elephants, rhinos, leopards and buffalos) you will gain an insight into both wildlife research activities and community development initiatives.

Living on our expedition base in Karongwe game reserve, you will experience life in the bush firsthand, getting out to view South Africa’s wildlife up close and personal. With the incredible backdrop of the African bush, the primary focus of this expedition takes a holistic approach to sustainable development, working directly with local communities in the area.

Please note, this program offers durations up to 24 weeks. Speak to your Country Expert for more details of extending your stay in-country

Highlights Include…

Experience a unique Africa bush adventure at the heart of a spectacular game reserve; make a very real difference in teaching the importance of conserving our natural world; immersing yourself in local communities and cultures; teaching English, environmental education and watching your class develop; explore nearby regions and breathtaking views such as the Kruger National Park, Blyde River Canyon and the Drakensberg Mountains.

Testimonials

"There is so much to say and so much I have seen with a group of people from all around the would with similar interests. It was the most memorable time of my life. Some of the highlights: seeing lions less than 5 metres away; hyenas nosing around the land rover; seeing elephants on foot 10 metres away and then hearing three more just 15 metres behind us – how can something so big be so quiet!"

- Roy Hallam, (United Kingdom)

GVI Live

These updates cover all programs in this location

GVI Shimoni

Happy campers! New volunteers all ready to start their Shimoni adventure http://t.co/fjUFbjEUsl
September 20, 2014

Bushwise

Read all about the incredible #bushwalk: http://t.co/bPhfTiOiMO Yet another great week at #BushwiseFieldGuides! @Facebush_SA @GVIWORLD
September 20, 2014

South Africa Video

GVI Blogs

2 DAYS AGO
Wildlife Conservation
Limpopo and KZN  By karongwe

Students

What's Included

  • Pre-departure support and discounted services
  • 24-hour emergency phone
  • Airport pick-up (unless otherwise stated)
  • Long term experienced staff
  • Safe and basic accommodations (usually shared)
  • All meals (unless otherwise stated in field manuals)
  • Welcome meeting
  • Location orientation
  • All necessary project training by experienced staff
  • All necessary project equipment and materials
  • 24-hour in-country support
  • Alumni discount - 20% off if booking at the same hub within 3 months, 15% off if booking at a different hub within 3 months and 10% off thereafter
  • First Aid & CPR training
  • Wildlife identification techniques
  • Research training
  • Reserve fees and permits

What's Not Included

  • Flights
  • Medical and travel insurance
  • Visa costs
  • Personal kit
  • Additional drinks and gratuities
  • Extra local excursions
  • International and domestic airport taxes
  • Airport and reserve transfers

Parents

Why Study Abroad

GVI Difference

What's Included

  • Pre-departure support and discounted services
  • 24-hour emergency phone
  • Airport pick-up (unless otherwise stated)
  • Long term experienced staff
  • Safe and basic accommodations (usually shared)
  • All meals (unless otherwise stated in field manuals)
  • Welcome meeting
  • Location orientation
  • All necessary project training by experienced staff
  • All necessary project equipment and materials
  • 24-hour in-country support
  • Alumni discount - 20% off if booking at the same hub within 3 months, 15% off if booking at a different hub within 3 months and 10% off thereafter
  • First Aid & CPR training
  • Wildlife identification techniques
  • Research training
  • Reserve fees and permits

What's Not Included

  • Flights
  • Medical and travel insurance
  • Visa costs
  • Personal kit
  • Additional drinks and gratuities
  • Extra local excursions
  • International and domestic airport taxes
  • Airport and reserve transfers

Course Life

Life on this expedition is truly unique, living on a game reserve in the heart of the African bush where you can be woken and sent to sleep by the roar of lions.

You will travel to local communities to provide educational reinforcement, English-language teaching and environmental-related activities that teach children the importance of conserving our natural world.

You will also work as part of our wildlife research team, collecting vital data on reintroduced predators and large herbivores on a private game reserve.

This all round expedition will increase your knowledge of the South African environment, developing a baseline and holistic understanding of all aspects of the bush and its nearest neighbours. Furthermore, by working with the local community, you get to contribute to increasing local knowledge and awareness.

Our camp is basic but comfortable, where you will share sleeping, kitchen and bathroom areas giving you a great opportunity to get to know your fellow volunteers.

What's Included

  • Pre-departure support and discounted services
  • 24-hour emergency phone
  • Airport pick-up (unless otherwise stated)
  • Long term experienced staff
  • Safe and basic accommodations (usually shared)
  • All meals (unless otherwise stated in field manuals)
  • Welcome meeting
  • Location orientation
  • All necessary project training by experienced staff
  • All necessary project equipment and materials
  • 24-hour in-country support
  • Alumni discount - 20% off if booking at the same hub within 3 months, 15% off if booking at a different hub within 3 months and 10% off thereafter
  • First Aid & CPR training
  • Wildlife identification techniques
  • Research training
  • Reserve fees and permits

What's Not Included

  • Flights
  • Medical and travel insurance
  • Visa costs
  • Personal kit
  • Additional drinks and gratuities
  • Extra local excursions
  • International and domestic airport taxes
  • Airport and reserve transfers

Course Details

The overall aim of this expedition is to increase the potential for children in the local community to access higher standards of living and increase their own knowledge of the unique wildlife and environment that surrounds them and the economic value of their natural resources.

The primary focus of your involvement will be on community development, teaching and environmental education. However, you will also receive training in wildlife research techniques and conservation, and some of your work time will be dedicated to this aspect. The scheduling of this will depend on our partners’ needs, both in the community and on the game reserve and other variables, and therefore will change from week to week.

How this project makes a difference:

Some of the biggest pressures on wildlife populations throughout Africa come from human sources such as poaching and habitat destruction, often simply out of economic need.

Therefore, our teams are working with local communities to further educate on environmental issues, as well as supporting teachers who are under resourced and providing reinforcement to struggling pupils.

What's Included

  • Pre-departure support and discounted services
  • 24-hour emergency phone
  • Airport pick-up (unless otherwise stated)
  • Long term experienced staff
  • Safe and basic accommodations (usually shared)
  • All meals (unless otherwise stated in field manuals)
  • Welcome meeting
  • Location orientation
  • All necessary project training by experienced staff
  • All necessary project equipment and materials
  • 24-hour in-country support
  • Alumni discount - 20% off if booking at the same hub within 3 months, 15% off if booking at a different hub within 3 months and 10% off thereafter
  • First Aid & CPR training
  • Wildlife identification techniques
  • Research training
  • Reserve fees and permits

What's Not Included

  • Flights
  • Medical and travel insurance
  • Visa costs
  • Personal kit
  • Additional drinks and gratuities
  • Extra local excursions
  • International and domestic airport taxes
  • Airport and reserve transfers

Life on the Internship

Life on this expedition is truly unique, living on a game reserve in the heart of the African bush where you can be woken and sent to sleep by the roar of lions.

You will travel to local communities to provide educational reinforcement, English-language teaching and environmental-related activities that teach children the importance of conserving our natural world.

You will also work as part of our wildlife research team, collecting vital data on reintroduced predators and large herbivores on a private game reserve.

This all round expedition will increase your knowledge of the South African environment, developing a baseline and holistic understanding of all aspects of the bush and its nearest neighbours. Furthermore, by working with the local community, you get to contribute to increasing local knowledge and awareness.

Our camp is basic but comfortable, where you will share sleeping, kitchen and bathroom areas giving you a great opportunity to get to know your fellow volunteers.

What's Included

  • Pre-departure support and discounted services
  • 24-hour emergency phone
  • Airport pick-up (unless otherwise stated)
  • Long term experienced staff
  • Safe and basic accommodations (usually shared)
  • All meals (unless otherwise stated in field manuals)
  • Welcome meeting
  • Location orientation
  • All necessary project training by experienced staff
  • All necessary project equipment and materials
  • 24-hour in-country support
  • Alumni discount - 20% off if booking at the same hub within 3 months, 15% off if booking at a different hub within 3 months and 10% off thereafter
  • First Aid & CPR training
  • Wildlife identification techniques
  • Research training
  • Reserve fees and permits

What's Not Included

  • Flights
  • Medical and travel insurance
  • Visa costs
  • Personal kit
  • Additional drinks and gratuities
  • Extra local excursions
  • International and domestic airport taxes
  • Airport and reserve transfers

Program Details

The overall aim of this expedition is to increase the potential for children in the local community to access higher standards of living and increase their own knowledge of the unique wildlife and environment that surrounds them and the economic value of their natural resources.

The primary focus of your involvement will be on community development, teaching and environmental education. However, you will also receive training in wildlife research techniques and conservation, and some of your work time will be dedicated to this aspect. The scheduling of this will depend on our partners’ needs, both in the community and on the game reserve and other variables, and therefore will change from week to week.

How this project makes a difference:

Some of the biggest pressures on wildlife populations throughout Africa come from human sources such as poaching and habitat destruction, often simply out of economic need.

Therefore, our teams are working with local communities to further educate on environmental issues, as well as supporting teachers who are under resourced and providing reinforcement to struggling pupils.

What's Included

  • Pre-departure support and discounted services
  • 24-hour emergency phone
  • Airport pick-up (unless otherwise stated)
  • Long term experienced staff
  • Safe and basic accommodations (usually shared)
  • All meals (unless otherwise stated in field manuals)
  • Welcome meeting
  • Location orientation
  • All necessary project training by experienced staff
  • All necessary project equipment and materials
  • 24-hour in-country support
  • Alumni discount - 20% off if booking at the same hub within 3 months, 15% off if booking at a different hub within 3 months and 10% off thereafter
  • First Aid & CPR training
  • Wildlife identification techniques
  • Research training
  • Reserve fees and permits

What's Not Included

  • Flights
  • Medical and travel insurance
  • Visa costs
  • Personal kit
  • Additional drinks and gratuities
  • Extra local excursions
  • International and domestic airport taxes
  • Airport and reserve transfers

Project Life

Life on this expedition is truly unique, living on a game reserve in the heart of the African bush where you can be woken and sent to sleep by the roar of lions.

You will travel to local communities to provide educational reinforcement, English-language teaching and environmental-related activities that teach children the importance of conserving our natural world.

You will also work as part of our wildlife research team, collecting vital data on reintroduced predators and large herbivores on a private game reserve.

This all round expedition will increase your knowledge of the South African environment, developing a baseline and holistic understanding of all aspects of the bush and its nearest neighbours. Furthermore, by working with the local community, you get to contribute to increasing local knowledge and awareness.

Our camp is basic but comfortable, where you will share sleeping, kitchen and bathroom areas giving you a great opportunity to get to know your fellow volunteers.

What's Included

  • Pre-departure support and discounted services
  • 24-hour emergency phone
  • Airport pick-up (unless otherwise stated)
  • Long term experienced staff
  • Safe and basic accommodations (usually shared)
  • All meals (unless otherwise stated in field manuals)
  • Welcome meeting
  • Location orientation
  • All necessary project training by experienced staff
  • All necessary project equipment and materials
  • 24-hour in-country support
  • Alumni discount - 20% off if booking at the same hub within 3 months, 15% off if booking at a different hub within 3 months and 10% off thereafter
  • First Aid & CPR training
  • Wildlife identification techniques
  • Research training
  • Reserve fees and permits

What's Not Included

  • Flights
  • Medical and travel insurance
  • Visa costs
  • Personal kit
  • Additional drinks and gratuities
  • Extra local excursions
  • International and domestic airport taxes
  • Airport and reserve transfers

Project Details

The overall aim of this expedition is to increase the potential for children in the local community to access higher standards of living and increase their own knowledge of the unique wildlife and environment that surrounds them and the economic value of their natural resources.

The primary focus of your involvement will be on community development, teaching and environmental education. However, you will also receive training in wildlife research techniques and conservation, and some of your work time will be dedicated to this aspect. The scheduling of this will depend on our partners’ needs, both in the community and on the game reserve and other variables, and therefore will change from week to week.

How this project makes a difference:

Some of the biggest pressures on wildlife populations throughout Africa come from human sources such as poaching and habitat destruction, often simply out of economic need.

Therefore, our teams are working with local communities to further educate on environmental issues, as well as supporting teachers who are under resourced and providing reinforcement to struggling pupils.

What's Included

  • Pre-departure support and discounted services
  • 24-hour emergency phone
  • Airport pick-up (unless otherwise stated)
  • Long term experienced staff
  • Safe and basic accommodations (usually shared)
  • All meals (unless otherwise stated in field manuals)
  • Welcome meeting
  • Location orientation
  • All necessary project training by experienced staff
  • All necessary project equipment and materials
  • 24-hour in-country support
  • Alumni discount - 20% off if booking at the same hub within 3 months, 15% off if booking at a different hub within 3 months and 10% off thereafter
  • First Aid & CPR training
  • Wildlife identification techniques
  • Research training
  • Reserve fees and permits

What's Not Included

  • Flights
  • Medical and travel insurance
  • Visa costs
  • Personal kit
  • Additional drinks and gratuities
  • Extra local excursions
  • International and domestic airport taxes
  • Airport and reserve transfers

Free Time

Participating with GVI not only allows you to work on programs assisting disadvantaged communities or endangered ecosystems but it also offers wonderful opportunities to travel in the local area in your down time or further afield either before or after your program. Below is some information on trips and travel options in South Africa.

Side Trips Included

At our Karongwe Base, volunteers will visit the renowned Khamai Reptile Park as part of the training. Later on during the phase, volunteers are also taken to a local curio market where a variety of quality carvings and other gifts are sold. Of course, there is also the beautiful Mariepskop Mountain satellite camp that takes volunteers to the top of the Drakensberg Mountains overlooking the spectacular Blyde River Canyon, and there will be a routine stop in Hoedspruit en route to Mariepskop.

Optional Side Trips

Both research bases have one day off per week. For longer duration volunteers, at the end of each 4 week cycle there may be the opportunity to take 3 or 4 consecutive days off. Independent travel from Karongwe is best done by renting a car, something volunteers usually do in groups to make more economical. Bear in mind there is additional cost associated with pick-ups or drop-offs at the reserve gate. Hoedspruit, the nearest town is about 45 mins drive away. In the area around Karongwe Game Reserve you can visit the Kruger National Park, with entry gates no more than an hour drive away. There’s also the ‘panoramic route’ which takes you on various scenic drives along the edge of the Drakensberg escarpment, the Blyde River Canyon and to the historic towns of Pilgrims Rest, Graskop (where Harry’s Pancakes will serve you the best pancake on the planet!) and Sabie, where you can also book onto a variety of adventure activities such as bungee jumping, quadbiking, canyoning and hiking, or just chill out with a picnic lunch at one of the many nearby waterfalls.

Further Travel Opportunities

South Africa has such a wealth of fantastic opportunities for further travel. Possibilities include the spectacular Drakensberg Mountains, the beauty of the Kalahari Desert, historic Zululand, the vibrancy of Cape Town (check out GVI’s Cape Town volunteer programs!), the fantastic Garden Route along the Southern Coast , the world-renowned National Parks of Kruger and Hluhluwe-Imfolozi, and many more highlights that will leave you wanting more of this amazing country

 

The Team

Peter Bradford
Country Director

Meet Pete, our Country Director for South Africa. He’s been with GVI since 2004, when he joined us as a Field Manager.

Pete’s highlights since working for GVI? “Witnessing birth, life, drama and death in the South African bush, and over time, really getting a sense of the inter-connectedness and cyclical nature of it all. The biggest privilege though, has been sharing it with our volunteers, guiding them in their early forays into this vibrant, exciting ecosystem and seeing their growth over time on the program is truly wonderful to witness.”

What does Pete think volunteers bring to the project? “Have you ever driven a game viewer off-road, at night, while using a telemetry receiver, spotlight and GPS, all while talking on the radio and trying to scribble down some data?! The volunteers are a great help in many different ways. Some, when they first arrive, believe they have no relevant skills to bring to the team, then later discover that seemingly obscure talents can make a difference too.”

Veronica Baas
Research Assistant

Meet Veronica. In addition to being a Research Assistant on Karongwe, she’s also the resident ‘Mountain Coordinator’. To find out how one coordinates a mountain, we asked her to describe a typical day…

“Starting early, we head up and up and up the mountain and check our traps for any small mammals.  If we caught any, we record the data and then release them.  After that, there’s time to visit one of the many viewpoints or relax at the river.  After lunch, we go to look for reptiles or check butterfly traps and then it is back up and up and up the mountain to check the mammal traps again.”

Veronica’s favourite aspect of her job? “Seeing the excitement on the volunteers’ faces when they help to locate a focus animal or seeing and sensing their awe at being at the top of the mountain, seeing the countryside below them.”

Rosie Miles
Base Manager

Meet Rosie, our Base Manager in Karongwe. A former Environmental Scientist for the New Zealand government, with an honours degree in Astronomy and Planetary Geology and a qualified Field Guide, Rosie is a total all-rounder!

Having volunteered herself since she was 18, Rosie understands the value of having volunteers on Karongwe and loves to see them progress in their knowledge, skills and passion. “I love watching how volunteers that have been here for a month step it up a notch when a new lot of volunteers arrive. You feel proud to see how much they have learnt when compared to the new arrivals.”

Her favourite experience on Karongwe so far? “Without a doubt, Ketswiri’s four little cheetah cubs. There is nothing cuter on this planet than cheetah cubs and as they have grown they have got more and more active and curious, and more interesting to observe. If I could, I would sit with them all day long.”

Nico Kritzinger
Research Assistant

Meet Nico, a Research Assistant on Karongwe. He was a professional guide for over 4 years before joining GVI. Although He dreams of being a storm chaser, Nico seems pretty happy to spend his free time chilling out with the volunteers, playing pool and darts with them and playing Frisbee with Zuri, the base dog.

Our favourite story about Nico is how he saved Ketswiri, a resident female cheetah. “I noticed she couldn’t step on her left front leg, so I called the game warden and we got the vet in that same afternoon.” The vet removed a 10cm stick which was lodged in her leg – a death sentence without Nico noticing her limp. “It did feel amazing to know we had saved her life.”

What does Nico like about being based at Karongwe? Life in general! “Finding the animals, all the random awesome sightings, having a good time with the volunteers and staff and making some really good friends all round.”

Jamie Sangster
Science Coordinator

Meet Jamie, our Science Coordinator at Karongwe. He’s a FGASA Level 3 qualified Field Guide and worked at Victoria Falls, on the Zambezi River, and in the Kruger National Park before joining GVI.

Jamie loves working with volunteers, it’s his favourite aspect of his job. “I have enjoyed teaching so many people about conservation and having the privilege of showing them amazing animals such as lion, cheetah, elephant and leopard, many of them for the first time! I’m also big on giving them mini research projects that benefit the research, or the volunteers.”

His favourite memory on Karongwe so far? “I assisted in several animal dartings and veterinary procedures, including an enormous male leopard. I got to measure his paws and teeth and monitor his breathing – on my cheek!”

Brie Sloggett
Research Assistant

Meet Brie, one of our Research Assistants at Karongwe. She started with GVI as a wildlife conservation intern in 2010. A former horticulturist and a trained chef, Brie brings a lot to life on base and counts one of her proudest accomplishments with GVI as building a seasonal vegetable garden and a compost system that produces fresh vegetables year round. “As a consequence of living in a remote area, fresh food is hard to come by and keep fresh.”

We asked Brie what volunteers bring to the project, and she had this to say “Volunteers help with all aspects, whether tracking animals with telemetry equipment, compiling research or helping with report writing. Volunteers also provide new skills and ideas that help our project run more smoothly and contribute greatly to the numerous activities and projects that happen in and around our base.”

Brandon Williams
Volunteer Coordinator

Meet Brandon, our gourmet-sandwich-maker who likens himself to Hamlet, “Apparently he was also an indecisive over-thinker…” He joined GVI for the opportunity to be a part of an organisation which does so many amazing things around the world, “I’ve always had an interest in giving back and finding ways to help the world and its inhabitants”.

‘Hammer’ as he’s known by his friends, (and not because he’s survived being head-butted by a cow in Nepal) recommends a passport or a smile as his one travel must-have, because those are equally helpful at customs…

Although Brandon looks like a young Tom Selleck, he’s actually one of HQ’s few bona-fide locals. His favourite aspect of being based here? Being able to wear shorts and not having to wear shoes.

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GVI Internship Training Fee - South Africa Limpopo


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What's Included

  • Pre-departure support and discounted services
  • 24-hour emergency phone
  • Airport pick-up (unless otherwise stated)
  • Long term experienced staff
  • Safe and basic accommodations (usually shared)
  • All meals (unless otherwise stated in field manuals)
  • Welcome meeting
  • Location orientation
  • All necessary project training by experienced staff
  • All necessary project equipment and materials
  • 24-hour in-country support
  • Alumni discount - 20% off if booking at the same hub within 3 months, 15% off if booking at a different hub within 3 months and 10% off thereafter
  • First Aid & CPR training
  • Wildlife identification techniques
  • Research training
  • Reserve fees and permits

What's Not Included

  • Flights
  • Medical and travel insurance
  • Visa costs
  • Personal kit
  • Additional drinks and gratuities
  • Extra local excursions
  • International and domestic airport taxes
  • Airport and reserve transfers

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