- posted on Jul 16, 2018
- by Leanne Sturrock
Are your holiday snaps causing harm to Thailand's wildlife? Read on to see how you can help.
Volunteer in Africa on this 'Big 5' game reserve and help to protect a vast array of wildlife through some crucial conservation activities.
The Amakhala Game Reserve has had an exciting and varied history. It eventually came to life in 1999 after 6 local lodges, owned by the descendants of the original frontier settlers, joined forces to create an exciting new animal conservation venture. Since then, Amakhala has continued to grow and 5 further properties have now joined the endeavour. The reserve now consists of 7,500 hectares of sprawling savannah and bushveld which is simply bursting with a whole host of amazing wildlife, meaning that every visitor is greeted with the sights and sounds of some of Africa's most impressive animal species.
Found in South Africa's beautiful Eastern Cape, the Amakhala Conservation Project is home to some of the world’s most iconic animals. During your time as a volunteer here you will have the chance to see an incredible array of wildlife ranging from the small and agile cheetah right through to the lumbering and awe-inspiring elephants that roam around the region. This reserve is home to the 'Big 5', so alongside the elephants, you may be able to spot lions, buffalo and rhinos, and if you are very lucky maybe even a leopard, so keep your eyes peeled on the game drives.
Volunteers on this amazing project play a crucial role in not only protecting the environment in a direct manner through activities such as reserve maintenance and land management but also through exciting, fast paced tasks like game capture and predator monitoring. There is never a dull moment on this conservation project, so make sure you are prepared to really get stuck in and get your hands dirty!
You will also spend one night in the four-star luxury lodge where you will enjoy a beautiful 3-course meal and have time to relax whilst looking out onto the open savannah. You may even be able to spot Norman the elephant coming down for a drink at the watering hole! This is a project that will certainly create lifelong memories.
You are able to join this project on any Monday throughout the year. To secure a place on this project, a deposit of £195 is required at the time of booking, with the remaining balance due any time up to 60 days prior to your start date.
Select a duration below to see the available start dates. All dates shown are currently available for you to join this project!
The Amakhala Game Reserve was founded back in 1999 after 6 local reserves joined forces in an attempt to reintroduce the region's once abundant flora and fauna back into its natural habitat. Since then the reserve has grown into a huge 7,500-hectare area and is now home to many African animals including lions, rhinos, and elephants. As well as its commitment to wildlife conservation, this game reserve is also home to the Amakhala Foundation which was started in 2009 on the reserves 10th anniversary. The foundation commits to numerous projects including its Environmental Education Programme, which offers local children the chance to learn about conservation from within the reserve and the Isipho Charity Trust which supports over 300 children through preschool classes, feeding schemes, HIV/AIDS education and providing materials for schooling.
As a volunteer on this project, you will have the opportunity to visit the school where the Isipho Charity Trust works. This is something volunteers (and indeed the children) love and during this time you can play with the children, help in their computer classes or maybe just sit and have a conversation to allow them to practice their English.
Are your holiday snaps causing harm to Thailand's wildlife? Read on to see how you can help.
Find out more about the harrowing ivory trade and the devastating impact it has had and continues to have on the populations of elephants around the globe.
We have a fair few Great Projects that are situated in stunning South Africa, and some on its beautiful Eastern Cape near the bustling city of Port Elizabeth. During your free time on our volunteering projects, you are free to explore to your heart's content! Check our list of a few suggestions on the kinds of adventures you can get up to during your time in South Africa!
Throughout your time on this project, you will stay in a renovated railway station building which is now the very comfortable and unique volunteer house. The house can hold up to 8 volunteers at a time with a mixture of twin share and single rooms. Room allocation will be done on arrival and will be based on a same-sex sharing basis where applicable. The volunteer house has 2 bathrooms shared between the volunteers, a communal living area with wireless internet and television, and an outdoor braai area beside the pool. There is also a small shop and community pub located just next door which is a great place to relax of an evening.
Whilst food is provided on this project, volunteers will be cooking for themselves presenting a great opportunity to try different foods from all around the world! Generally, volunteers will take it in turns to cook dinner, with breakfast and lunch being prepared by yourself. The food is always fresh so this is a good chance to show off your culinary skills! Drinking water should be purchased from the small shop located just next door to the project site for a minimal cost. One night every two weeks you will also have the chance to enjoy a braai outside and taste this traditional South African style of cooking.
We recommend that you come with a moderate level of fitness as the days are busy and you will be involved in a whole host of activities! In terms of skills, all we ask is that you arrive with a willingness to get involved with tasks and a dedication to the ethos of the project, as well as a respect for the enchanting wildlife and the committed project staff with whom you will be working.
The vaccinations required will depend on the individual medical history of each volunteer. We recommend that you consult with your GP regarding your own immunisation needs as this will ensure you are protected and prepared to travel. In conjunction with this, we would recommend that you check Fit for Travel’s website for more helpful information on what you need to do before your departure.
On this project nearly all the activities take part all year round, meaning the only factor that may affect your decisions on when to volunteer is the weather.
In the coastal region where this project is situated there is not a big difference in daytime temperatures throughout the year. These can reach 35°C (74°F) but average 20 – 25°C (68-77°F). Night time temperatures, however, are much colder in June, July, and August. During this period which is winter in South Africa, they can drop to between 5 and 10°C (41-50°F). The rest of the year they average between 13 and 18°C (55-64°F). Whilst it does not rain heavily for long periods of time, February and March are definitely the wettest months, with October and November being extremely dry.
Community work, however, is the one activity that is affected as schools are closed between mid-December and approximately the 7th of January. Therefore, if you are keen to get involved with the community projects you should avoid volunteering during this time.
The easiest way to get here is to arrive into Johannesburg (O.R. Tambo International Airport), and then book a connecting domestic flight from Johannesburg to Port Elizabeth. The project is approximately 1 hour (75 kilometres) from Port Elizabeth Airport. A member of the project team can pick you up from the airport and transfer you to the project site, and whilst this is something we can arrange for you in advance, it does come at an additional cost of £60 each way.
This project starts on a Monday so you will ideally need to book a flight that arrives on this day, and a transfer can be arranged to suit any time. If you are staying in Port Elizabeth before your project start date please contact us and we may be able to arrange a pick up from your accommodation instead of the airport. On your final day, you will need to book a flight that departs after 12pm as the earliest available airport transfer is at 9am.
If you would like help booking your flights, please visit our flights page and fill out the form. A member of our team will get back in touch as soon as possible with a suitable quote.
Holders of UK, most other EU countries, Australian, Canadian and USA passports are not required to obtain a Visa in advance for South Africa. Upon entry, you will be issued with a 3 - month permit (at no cost). Make sure the correct date and length of stay in the country is entered onto your visa when at immigration. If you are travelling from Albania, Belarus, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Croatia, Hungary, Poland, Russian Federation, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Algeria, Angola, Comoros, China, Egypt, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Mexico, Madagascar, Morocco, Mozambique, Paraguay, Rwanda, Tanzania, Thailand, Tunisia or Vietnam, you will require a Visa and should consult your nearest South African embassy.
Please note that the South African immigration policy states that you will need at least two empty pages in your passport and at least six months validity to enter.
The currency in South Africa is the South African Rand (ZAR). The exchange rate is approximately 1 ZAR = £0.06, US$0.07 and €0.07. Please note exchange rates are subject to change.
My favourite moments were the elephants coming right up to us, seeing all the animals in their natural habitat, getting to see what happens day by day on a game reserve and making lifelong friends! It was the best experience of my life and I would do anything to be back there.
Eleanor Price, 2018
We had multiple amazing game drives where we saw a large diversity of wildlife. We got close to the white rhinos and during my night's stay at the Safari Lodge, giraffes and nyalas were so close to the veranda! A very chilled and friendly atmosphere.
Dolors Bertran, 2017
If you have any questions about this project or would like help finding the perfect project for you then please feel free to give us a call or send us through your enquiry and we will be happy to help.
Nikita & team.