Experience life as a Big Cat Conservation Volunteer in the bush of Botswana's stunning Kalahari Desert
This incredible volunteering program, situated next to the Central Kalahari Game Reserve (the world's second largest game reserve), aims to provide volunteers with an educational experience that actively contributes towards conservation efforts in this stunning region of Botswana. This project is situated within 10,000 hectares of farm-like land, and as a result provides wildlife in Botswana with an ideal environment in which to live and thrive, as well as many stunning landscapes and panoramic vistas.
Whilst on the project you will also be offered many opportunities to experience the local culture and to encounter a wide range of animals living within the area through bush walks, including lions, leopards, giraffes and even wild dogs!
As a volunteer you will spend time learning practical information about the environment and surrounding ecosystem. Hands-on work in the bush provides detailed insights into the lives and behaviours of the many different species indigenous to the area, allowing you to gain a vast amount of knowledge about African animals, wildlife management and general facts about wildlife conservation in Botswana from the facilitators.
The day to day work includes everything from helping in the maintenance of the facilities to cleaning predator enclosures after the animals are fed. If you wish you will also be able to take part in an additional activity and meet the local bushmen, but please note that this does come at an extra, albeit minimal, cost.
A thoroughly enjoyable and educational experience; this project will provide you with memories that will last a lifetime!
During your time at this project you can expect to take part in the following activities:
Please note that you need to stay at the Okavango River Lodge the night before the project start date and on the final day of your project you will be transferred back to the Okavango River lodge where you will spend your final night.
The nights at the Okavango River Lodge and the transfers to and from the project site are not included in the project price but can be booked by us for payment on arrival.
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!
This project believes in providing opportunities for all animals and in significant wildlife conservation within Botswana. All of the captive predators on the farm are removed from farming areas nearby, where they most likely would have been shot or poisoned by farmers protecting their grounds. Here, they have space to roam in large enclosures where they can also act as tools for education and awareness of conservation importance.
The projects' long- term goal is to find suitable locations for these animals to be relocated to so that they can live in the wild once more. These animals also help with vital conservation research, which aims to shed light on their future presence within the African wilderness.
Ultimately, this project provides a learning opportunity for all who desire to make a difference in wildlife preservation whilst experiencing the wild, Botswana habitat and incredible culture first hand. The course centres on the Kalahari ecosystem where diverse wildlife and breathtaking scenery blend harmoniously to create a unique and thrilling experience...
Here at The Great Projects, we love to receive video footage from the projects that we offer. This month we have been fortunate enough to receive a fantastic video from the 'Botswana Wilderness Adventure', giving a fantastic insight into what volunteers get up to during their time here.
For the first night at the project, you will need to stay at the Okavango River Lodge, just outside of Maun. Whilst at the project, you will share single-sex tents at a campsite on the farm - single accommodation may be available on request. Tents are secured by a natural barrier of thorny bushes to protect against animal intruders. Each tent includes four beds, shelves and chairs, as well as linens, pillows and duvets. There is a nearby washing block with fresh, running water, with cold showers and toilets. There is no telephone signal in the camp, but wifi is available to use on Sundays.
Single accommodation requests can be catered for if requested, but this depends on the size of the group at the project at that time.
Three meals a day and beverages are provided by the site’s fully-equipped kitchen. The chef at the project ensures the menu has a great variety and the facilities also allow for home cooked meals from the stove or fire. Meals tend to consist of game meat, beef, chicken, vegetables, rice, potatoes and pasta and are usually served with a side salad. Vegetarians are catered for, but if you have any special dietary needs or allergies, you will need to let us in advance. Unfortunately, vegans cannot be catered for on this project. Water here is provided by a natural underground source which provides clean drinking water - you just need to bring your own bottle! Soft drinks, beers and ciders are available for purchase on site.
This project involves a fair amount of manual work. Therefore, a moderate level of fitness is necessary. However, the project aims to give you a balanced mix between physical work, safari experiences and lectures. In terms of skills, no specific skills or experience are required, only a positive attitude and full commitment to the cause. You must be prepared to work as part of a team!
The vaccinations required will depend on your medical history of each volunteer. We recommend that you consult with your GP regarding your own immunisation needs. In conjunction with this, we would recommend that you check Fit for Travel’s website.
The easiest way to get to the project is to book an international flight to Johannesburg (or Tambo International Airport), and then book a connecting, domestic flight to Maun International Airport the day before the project start date. You will take a taxi from the airport and be and transferred by road to the Okavango Lodge where you will spend your first night. The next morning you will be transferred to the project site.
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.
Most countries do not require a visa to enter Botswana - you are usually issued a 90 day tourist stamp on arrival. However, if you are unsure please check the Botswana Immigration Website for detailed information.
The currency in Botswana is the Botswana Pula. The exchange rate is around 1 BWP = 0.07 GBP, 0.1 USD, 0.08 EUR. Please note exchange rates are subject to change.
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.
I really have to recommend this project to anyone willing to make a meaningful contribution! I stayed in the Kalahari for three weeks in the beginning of this year and I found this project stunning. We learnt so much about lions and conservation! We spent a great time with the founders Val and Mikkel who really live their dream! You guys do a great job towards wildlife conservation in Botswana! I have never felt more connected to nature than in your camp!
After two weeks at the project we hadn't just learnt a lot about the African wildlife, we had also experienced it ourselves! Living out in the camp is so much more that I ever expected; the people, the animals, the life. We fed the big lions, went on game drives both day and night and got so close to the wild animals. One morning on the way back from the showers a herd of wildebeests just passed by! You are really living in the wild and that makes the whole stay so much better - there is plenty of wildlife here in Botswana! You never know what you are going to find or see just outside your door! This really is a once in a life time experience!
Left my heart there…. Best experience ever!!
I have learned so much during my stay, not only about Africa but also about myself taking part in practical duties, such as doing dishes at camp, killing donkeys, feeding lions and vaccinating wild dogs, as well as social activities like internal competitions, cooling and camp fire evenings. Everything that is done here is done together: every experience shared. Therefore, everyone here quickly becomes your family. I now know people in Germany, Austria, Canada, the USA, Australia and, of course, Botswana that I didn’t know before. Furthermore, I can now return to Denmark with renewed energy and inspiration towards my education in Animal Science because of the new knowledge I have gained from the lectures, game drives and research sessions. I will recommend this to anyone looking for that new experience as it offers fantastic opportunities for wildlife conservation in Botswana!
I am sure you remember Timon and Pumba in “The Lion King” with their “no worries” philosophy? Well, when you come here – this becomes your mantra too! In fact, many times you will be reminded of what, maybe for you too, was one of my favourite movies as a child and you will see that it is not that far from reality. During your daily morning walks into the bush you will see Zazu (the red billed hornbill) where you can hear him sing his morning report; you will see Pumba the warthog, zebras, Wilderbeest and other antelopes on your afternoon visit at the waterhole. Of course, you will also get to know the Simbas, Nalas, and Mufasas of the Kalahari
Home is where the heart is and we left a part of ours at this sanctuary. Mikkel and Val – we can’t thank you enough!
Anne-Katrine and Rebecca, 2012