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 before embarking on some exploring of other National parks. The program is broken down into 2 phases:
Project Aims and Objectives
GVI have been operating in the area for almost 15 years and are well established and respected by the local conservation community. Currently our teams work primarily on Karongwe Game Reserve and at any given time may be involved in the detailed monitoring of predators (lion, leopard, cheetah, hyena), herbivore sex/age ratio and its effect on predator movement, elephant impact vegetation surveys to monitor impact on sensitive areas of the reserve, and community initiatives in the surrounding areas which teach the importance of conservation and wildlife awareness. GVI’s long-term involvement, capacity building and commitment to our projects, ensure that the service elements of your students’ trips are contributing to long-term sustainable projects helping to achieve our partners’ objectives. These local partnerships along with stakeholder discussions drive the service elements of our trips to ensure they are fully focussed on the most prevalent issues and produce the results required locally.
As part of a group, students will be exposed to the principals of wildlife and environmental conservation, animal identification and tracking, bush survival and astronomy. Great emphasis will be put on team and leadership skills development. This opportunity is perfect for students keen to experience the magic of the African bush!
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 students develop. Explore other National Parks after the conservation project.
The Limpopo Province in South Africa is home to unique wildlife, landscapes and conservation and service learning opportunities making it the perfect place for a group service and cultural exchange trip. Our experience is located about 6 hours north of Johannesburg near the tiny bushveld town of Hoedspruit and very close to the world-famous Kruger National Park, home to South Africa’s Big 5 wildlife.
Limpopo's short, mid, and long-term objectives
All of our programs have short, mid and long-term objectives that fit with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. This enables us to report on our collaborative impact across the world in a streamlined manner, measuring which UN SDGs we are making a substantial contribution to. Furthermore, this will help our local partners and communities measure and visualize their contribution to the UN SDGs.
Upon arrival to base, you will be educated about the history of the UN SDGs. You will learn about the specific goals of your location, the long-, mid- and short-term objectives, and also clarification of how your personal, shorter-term involvement contributes to these goals on a global level.
Our aim is to educate you on local and global issues, so that you continue to act as active global citizens after your program, helping to fulfill our mission of building a global network of people united by their passion to make a difference.
Learn about the long-term objectives you will be contributing to in Limpopo:
1. To provide long term and consistant data for Karongwe Reserve Management to assist with Reserve Management decisions based on scientific data
2. Increase local awareness of GVI's purpose and impact on Karongwe PGR
3. Increase scientific output
4. Contribute to three large scale reserve management projects alongside the Warden in accordance with the Reserve's Management Plan
5. Increase our in-country capacity by providing environmental and conservation education and training
6. Increase our in-country capacity through community upliftment projects
The skills I learned, the experience I had and the people I met whilst volunteering for GVI have been invaluable.
What's Not Included
Health & Safety
At GVI, we take health and safety very seriously. We run comprehensive risk assessments for each of our activities, in each of our locations, and are prepared for any eventuality, no matter how unlikely.
We have over 150 expertly trained staff members who live alongside the local communities in our locations year-round. This means that we know the areas intimately, and have dedicated, experienced professionals available to you 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
We keep in regular contact with relevant embassies and foreign offices, ensuring that we’re able to give you the most up-to-date information and travel advice regarding our locations.
Our Risk Assessments and Emergency Action Plans follow a comprehensive quarterly review process and can be provided to you upon request.
- 24-hour emergency phone
- 24-hour in-country support
- 24/7 back up and support
- A dedicated trip co-ordinator
- Access to Alumni Services and Discounts
- Access to local medical facilities
- Airport pick-up (unless otherwise stated)
- All necessary project equipment and materials
- All necessary project training by experienced staff
- Comprehensive health and safety procedures (Emergency Action Plans and Risk Assessments)
- First aid equipment
- Flight bookings service on request
- Food and drinking water
- Group leader
- Highly experienced and well qualified GVI field staff
- In-country support
- In-country transport costs
- Insurance on request
- Location orientation
- Long term experienced staff
- Meals while on project (except on work placements for long term internships)
- Pre-departure information
- Safe and basic accommodations (usually shared)
- Up-to-date safety and country information
- Welcome meeting
What's Not Included
- Additional drinks and gratuities
- Additional spending money
- Extra local excursions
- International and domestic airport taxes
- Medical and travel insurance
- Personal kit
- Police or background check (where necessary)
- Visa costs
Additional Teacher Info
GVI runs curriculum, CAS and experience focussed service learning opportunities around the world on multi-award winning trips. With over 25,000 travellers since inception, GVI’s know how to ensure safe, life-changing challenges that make a real difference, fostering global citizenship and intercultural understanding. Staffed and resourced by GVI all year round, our projects offer unique opportunities to engage in long-term, high impact work, whilst experiencing deep cultural immersion and some adventure.
A teacher travels free with groups of ten or more students!
GVI provides 24/7 support from our experienced staff who are based full-time on the ground, as well as support from HQ. An experienced group leader will accompany the group, taking overall responsibility for the safety of the group.
Please note prices are subject to seasonal fluctuation and will vary depending upon the needs of the group.
**Optional extras include travel insurance and flight services
Day 1: Arrival at Johannesburg Airport and Transfer to Base
The group arrive at OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg where they are met by GVI staff or representative. Transfer to the reserve takes 6 hours and is a great opportunity to take in the surrounding landscape as you travel north into the Limpopo Province. The rest of the day is spent exploring your accommodation and getting settled in and prepared for the time ahead. A welcome dinner, South African style, will act as an icebreaker and the chance to get to know the GVI staff.
Day 2: Welcome and Orientation
The day will kick off early with a welcome presentation and camp tour. Students will be told about the project background, and be taken on a reserve orientation walk. Risk Assessments, Emergency Action Plans, as well as Health and Safety issues will be discussed in detail. There will be a chance to relax in the afternoon for team building activities while listening to the sounds of the African bush. You may even spot the odd animal wondering past camp!
Day 3-5: Wildlife Awareness
Over the next few days volunteers will learn about animal identification and behaviour, as well as how to track animals and navigate in the bush. We will also go through key survival techniques and basic astronomy, fully utilizing the incredible African night sky. Most importantly, students will learn about how the ecosystems here work and touch on subjects like geology, local history, soils, plant life and the climate.
GVI’s nearby research base is involved in the collection of data on large predators such as lions, leopards and cheetah. The information gathered is used to give an accurate picture of the predators’ impact on prey populations, determining social structure, genetics, and spatial movement. This vital information helps maintain a healthy balance of these natural resources and ultimately conserve some of Africa’s important ecosystems. Students will be exposed to various methods of data collection and monitoring during their time in the Limpopo.
During the week, there will be great emphasis on developing effective teamwork and leadership skills. Each evening the group will have time for group and individual reflection. Students will experience what it is like to live in close proximity to wild animals and what it means to conserve their survival.
Day 6: Community Service Day
We will pay a visit to the local school we support and offer environmentally focused lessons. Students will have a chance to interact with the local children and teachers and experience first hand what a rural South African school looks like. The day usually ends in a soccer game!
Day 7: A Fond Farewell
GVI field staff transfer the team back to the airport and bid them a fond farewell! GVI will endeavour to keep the group informed of any updates there might be in the field and with particular reference to the projects volunteers contributed to during their time in South Africa, through "GVI Live" on social media.
**Your trip can be extended to include additional side trips and / or further service work.
Why Choose GVI?
There are many reasons why you should consider GVI for your group trip. Allow us to take you through some of the important points:
- GVI has over 15 years of experience - Since we began in 1997, we have sent over 20,000 young people on trips all over the world. Most describe their experience with us as life-changing with a 95% approval rate from our customers
- We are a ground operator - We run and staff our projects 24/7, all year round which means we understand and know the area you will be visiting enabling us to deliver a high quality level of support, safety and training at very competitive prices
- Our variety of programs is unique and unrivalled - We offer language courses, community and conservation projects, leadership programs, cultural immersion, adventure activities and mountain trekking.
- Peace of mind - You know that our projects make a real and positive impact on the local communities you visit. Since we started we have developed over 150 projects around the world.
- Project ownership - We run our projects in partnership with local communities, according to the needs on the ground, so you know they are genuinely worthwhile
- We are different from most other school providers - We already have projects and programs in place. We have been working in these countries for over 15 years and are working hand in hand with the host communities to ensure their needs are being met.
- Teachers/Educators travel free
- Safety is our priority - We have comprehensive safety and back up procedures in place.
- Flexibility - Our trips are available all year round so you tell us when you want to travel.
- The GVI Charitable Trust - Enables your school to stay involved with your program after you return home.
- Students will automatically become GVI members, enabling them to benefit from discounts on any future GVI trips.
- There are opportunities for students to be GVI Ambassadors – excellent for university and college applications.