Volunteer Experience | Environmental & Wildlife

South Africa: Leopard Conservation

Zululand, South Africa


Location: Zululand, South Africa

Duration: Minimum 2 weeks, maximum 3 months commitment

Start Dates: Project is ongoing

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


  • Gain wildlife conservation experience in the field
  • Incidental monitoring of any other priority species
  • Learn research methods for animal monitoring
  • Keywords: wildlife, conservation, leopards Internship
Costs Explained


This project is a collaboration with the international wild cat organisation, Panthera, and works by conducting Leopard Population Surveys within South Africa using remote camera trapping methods. The project is the largest on leopards of its kind in the world and supports provincial parks by providing critical data and helping inform conservation management to improve leopard conservation within South Africa. 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.”

Leopard management is typically guided more by experience or anecdote than hard science. This project aims to collect real data on leopard population trends which can inform management decisions and assess the impacts of conservation actions.

Daily Life

This two week project operates within a few different national reserves. Each site will be different, but work activities are generally the same. Four days each week you may assist with setting up, maintaining and taking down the cameras at different locations. You will be in charge of downloading content from these cameras, recording and analyzing data, and overseeing camera sites, and helping with identikits for each animal if necessary. You may also help track non-target species like lions, elephants, rhino, cheetah and wild dogs. These activities usually take 4-7 hours per day.

The rest of your time is leisure time. You may relax, do personal tasks, or even visit community museums or bird hides (depending on the reserve site).

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