Volunteer Experience | Environmental & Wildlife

South Africa: Endangered Species Conservation

Zululand, South Africa


Location: Zululand, South Africa

Duration: Minimum 2 weeks, maximum 3 months commitment

Start Dates: Project is ongoing and starts every second Monday

Cost: from $1,550 USD for 2 weeks – see Costs tab for further details.


  • Aid in conservation efforts for endangered species in South Africa
  • Get involved in some of the most important & exciting conservation work being done in Africa
  • Learn methods to monitor species like wild dogs, cheetah, lions, and elephants
  • Live and work in stunning landscapes while helping preserve wildlife
  • Keywords: conservation, endangered species, work in Africa
Costs Explained


This project aims to protect some of the world’s most beloved and endangered animals. We work across five wildlife reserves in the Zululand South Africa, the “heartbeat” of Africa. Our initiatives challenge unfortunate practices that have harmed the ecosystems on this land. Poaching of African animals is still a huge problem, and we hope to change that through education. We work with other respected conservation organisations to create conservation practices that will continue to last for generations. This award-winning project is Fair Trade Tourism certified and won Silver at the World Responsible Tourism Awards 2018. In the previous year, the project won Silver at the African Responsible Tourism Awards in the category “Best for Wildlife Conservation.”

Our main service to the parks is to track & monitor endangered and priority species, including many of the “Big 5”: Elephants, Lions, Leopards and Rhinos. We also have a large conservation focus on African Wild Dogs, Cheetah and Vultures.

Our volunteers are a critical part of our day-to-day monitoring of animals. You will learn everything from GPS tracking to behavioral analysis of the animals. Without you, we would not be able to provide this crucial service to these parks and reserves. And without these services, many of these species would be left vulnerable to the many threats they face.

Daily Life

These programs have long but very fulfilling days. Both in the morning and late afternoon you will be part of a monitoring expedition. You will hop into a 4×4 open vehicle with your wildlife monitor, and a small group of fellow volunteers. During these trips you will:

  • Track and monitor endangered and priority species
  • Learn Radio Telemetry
  • Use handheld GPS devices
  • Update animal identification kits
  • Setup and use camera traps
  • Collect + Analyze Animal Behavioral Data for Research

There are also seasonal activities like radio-collaring, identity tagging, counting game and taking control of invasive plant species. Please note that these activities depend on the time of year and when the need arises, and may not apply to your stay.

There are two field monitoring sessions per day, with administrative and camp-based work completed around these field hours. Back at camp, our volunteers assist with data capture, working on ID kits, camp and vehicle maintenance tasks, preparing their own meals, and other “research assistant”-type tasks. While at camp you will also have leisure time to read, socialize by the fire, cook, or observe the natural beauty of the reserve.

There may also be an opportunity for an optional leisure excursion (at participants’ own cost), once a cycle where there are several fun activities on offer. (This is dependent on availability and is not offered at all 5 project locations due to the driving distance, as some camps are more remotely located than others).

Book with Confidence

Travel & Accommodation

For travel to any of the five placements in Zululand, you will need to fly to Johannesburg. Then you will take a connecting flight to Richard’s Bay. You are welcome to book your own flights, but we do also have experienced travel staff who can do it for you free of charge. You will need to have payment for the flights.

Accommodation will vary in the different parks we work in, but all include shared rooms, toilets, showers and kitchen facilities. Some will run on generator power only.

You are in charge of cooking your own food during your stay, but we encourage communal cooking and sharing with your fellow volunteers.

The camps are located on the actual reserves. We are excited to share with you the beauty of living amidst the panoramic views of the South African landscape.

Fundraising Help


  • Minimum Age 18
  • Time commitment 2 to 12 weeks
  • Batteries and chargers for devices
  • Good English skills
  • Interest in conservation issues
  • Willing, enthusiastic and proactive
  • Full travel & medical insurance
  • Necessary flights & visa
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The project fee is $1,550 USD (R20,250 ZAR) for the first 2 weeks, and $1,050 (R14,500 ZAR) for each 2 weeks after.  There is also a transfer fee of R2,000 (approx. $145) to take you from the airport to the reserve.

*Place is confirmed with a 30% deposit
** Currency conversions are approximate. Check xe.com for the latest rates
*** 5% bank transfer fee applied to all transactions

What’s Included:

Accommodation in shared house, food, utility bills, internet, all training and all your time spent on the reserve(s).

What’s not included:

Flights, airport pick up / drop off, travel insurance, visas (if applicable) and vaccinations. Full assistance will be provided in getting all these arranged if you choose our Premium Support.

Premium Support Upgrade

We understand there’s a great deal to plan and organise for your trip. When booking a Placement, many of our participants choose to purchase our Premium Support Upgrade to benefit from the expertise, knowledge and experience of our Project Coordinators.

We can provide the personal advice you need to ensure your trip is organised with excellence and planned with efficiency; ensuring the very best experience possible. Read more about how we can help you.

Note: Map coordinates are approximate