Kariega 'Big 5' Conservation Project

On this amazing conservation project you will have the once in a lifetime chance to volunteer with the 'Big Five' and really help make a difference to African conservation efforts.

From £867.00

  • Up to 10 Persons
  • All Meals Included
  • 14 - 84 Nights
  • Big Cats,Elephants,Rhinos,Lions
  • Every Monday
  • Minimum Age 17

Project Details

Activities

Elephant Impact Monitoring
Elephant Impact Monitoring
As a volunteer, you will be given elephant identification sheets as part of your role when monitoring these imposing giants. Volunteers will help the team to monitor elephant range patterns and vegetation impact, all whilst learning how to identify the different elephants at the project via the distinct markings on their ears. This helps the reserve team to better understand these animals which so often come into conflict with humans.
Motion Sensor Camera Analysis
Motion Sensor Camera Analysis
Leopards have been unfairly prosecuted in South Africa for over 350 years and the team at this project want to carefully monitor these elusive animals to best plan ways to properly aid in their conservation. As a volunteer, you will be helping to monitor the motion sensing cameras that are located all around the reserve, and you will also play a role in helping to gather and curate some of the data found on the camera's memory cards.
Rhino Monitoring
Rhino Monitoring
At this project there are a number of rhino and volunteers play a key role in helping to monitor their numbers and what condition they are in. Rhino poaching is a huge problem in South Africa and for this reason the in country team are unable to divulge much information on the number of rhinos you will be working with, but you will be helping to ensure these magnificent animals have a future by taking notes on their movement patterns and behaviour.
A Dinner At The Luxury Lodge
A Dinner At The Luxury Lodge
The volunteer group will have the chance to have dinner at the luxury lodge one night during their stay. This is a fantastic chance to get out of your muddy clothes and enjoy a night in a very luxurious setting with some fantastic food, so don’t fill up on chocolate on this day as you'll definitely want to appreciate a good meal after all of your hard work!
Lion Prey Monitoring
Lion Prey Monitoring
One of the jobs you will have as a volunteer is to closely monitor some of the kills made by the reserve's lions. This will help to provide the ranger team with valuable information about the number of animals killed by the lions, their preferred prey source, and how well the pride is doing. On such a vast reserve this task would be almost impossible without the manpower volunteers provide, so your work here is unparalleled!
Alien Vegetation Control
Alien Vegetation Control
Throughout the reserve alien plant species are found, and as these are plants that are not native to the area they can cause major issues in the local ecosystem. It is for this reason that volunteers work to help remove these alien plant species so that the local plants the animals need to survive can once again flourish.
Road Maintenance
Road Maintenance
Life on a volunteer project isn’t just about the animals as some of the behind the scenes work needs to be done too! The roads that connect the different parts of the reserve to one another are the lifeblood of the area, and without proper maintenance, none of the other crucial work that needs to be completed can be! That is where you come in as a volunteer and you will help to ensure that the roads are up to the standard they need to be.
Animal Capture
Animal Capture
Volunteers can occasionally have the chance to assist with the capture of wild animals. Please note that this will only occur when it is needed and not just as a part of the volunteer programme, but when it does happen you will play a hands on role and assist with every part of the procedure from sedating the animal right through to lifting them onto the vehicles to be transported to a different location. This is not something you will want to miss out on!
Community Development Programmes
Community Development Programmes
A crucial part of any good volunteering project is its involvement in its community and Kariega is no different. Volunteers will help to teach at a local school called “farmersfield” and without the help of volunteers, some lessons would simply not go ahead. You may be helping with Maths, English or Science, and the joy on the children's faces when they are able to continue their education is something you will never forget!
Assisting The Rhino Anti-Poaching Team
Assisting The Rhino Anti-Poaching Team
The team at Kariega go to great lengths to protect their rhinos from the dangers of poaching and as a volunteer you may be able to play a role in helping the anti-poaching team to do their job. You could have the chance to join the team on their patrols and learn more about the anti-poaching efforts, but please note that this is not a guaranteed activity.
Braai Nights
Braai Nights
Nights spent around the fire having a braai are a big part of South African life, and throughout your time as a volunteer you will get to enjoy a braai or two with your new found friends. This is a great chance to talk about what you have seen and experienced throughout the week and to relax with some delicious BBQ food!
Star Talk
Star Talk
This is an activity that may not seem exciting from the title but the knowledge of the volunteer coordinator makes this a memory that every volunteer takes away with them for a very long time. You will be taken out to admire the crisp and clear African night sky, and you will learn about all of the stars above you including how to navigate via them and where your star sign is!
Game Drives
Game Drives
One of the best ways for the in country team to monitor the population and wellbeing of the animals on the reserve is through game drives and as a volunteer you will have the chance to enjoy this traditional African experience. Heading out onto the reserve in the back of a dedicated safari vehicle is one of the best ways to see the animals, and alongside a plethora of antelope species and other prey animals, you may be able to spot the famous African big 5; namely buffalo, elephants, lions, rhino and maybe even a leopard if you are lucky!
Boat Ride
Boat Ride
Weather and water levels permitting, you may also have the chance to take a relaxing boat ride down one of the local rivers with your fellow volunteers. As one of the more gentile activities you will participate in this is a good chance to sit back, unwind, and take in the incredible scenery along the river side. A journey by boat really shows of the startling diversity of the ecosystems that are on the Kariega reserve, so be prepared for an awe-inspiring journey.
Birds In Reserve Project
Birds In Reserve Project
This activity is done in collaboration with the University of Cape Town’s Avian Demography Unit and you will be part of a team who will be preparing a catalogue of the birds, bird numbers and their breeding status on the reserve to learn more about them. This is important work as birds are often a good indicator species for any problems that may occur in the ecosystem.

Itinerary

Please note that this itinerary is subject to change so what follows is a rough guideline.

Day 1 - The Adventure Begins:
After arriving at the project site from the airport you will be given time to settle into the volunteer accommodation and shown around the volunteer house where you can familiarise yourself with the project facilities. You and your fellow volunteers will be cooking for each other on this project, so your first dinner will be a fantastic chance to see who is a whizz in the kitchen!
Day 2 - 14 Project Days:
You will enjoy a delicious breakfast in the morning before heading out to begin the day's work. This could be anything from the activities mentioned or even something else that crops up. Life on an active game reserve means that things can change at the drop of a hat! You’ll have lunch at around 1pm before heading off to complete the afternoon's activity. Volunteers work 8 hours a day on this project, so at around 5pm you will head back to the volunteer house to perhaps take a dip in the pool or enjoy dinner. The evenings are at your leisure so you can do as you wish!
Day 15 - Return Home:
Unfortunately, today is your last day on the project! After saying your fond farewells to fellow volunteers and project facilitators, you will make your way back to the airport to begin your journey home, or commence your onward and independent travel plans. Wherever you're headed after leaving the project site, you can be sure that you are leaving with a lifetime of unforgettable memories in tow.

Dates, Availability & Price

This project begins on Mondays throughout the year, but it is closed over the Christmas period.

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.

Duration Price
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*Rates other than GBP are estimates based on today's exchange rates. All payments are made in GBP.

Updates & Outcomes

The Kariega Game Reserve measures an impressive 10,000 hectares and with this size of land comes a series of issues that must be tackled. The volunteer programme was introduced here to ease the burden on some of the rangers at the reserve and the work that has been completed so far by the volunteers has made an immeasurable difference to not only the reserves animals but also the local community as a whole. We can’t wait to see what the future brings for this amazing volunteering project and how our generous volunteers will make a lasting impact to the fascinating, but vulnerable species found here.

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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!

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Is this trip for you?

Accommodation

Accommodation

The accommodation on this project is one of the nicest examples of volunteer lodgings you will find. You will be staying in a recently renovated house on the reserve, and you will have full access to all of the facilities available here throughout your stay. The volunteer house is home to five twin share, single-sex bedrooms, a fully equipped kitchen with a washing machine, a very comfortable living room and a communal dining area to enjoy meals in as well! Outside the house is a plunge pool which is perfect to take a dip in after a hot and hard day’s work, and an area dedicated to braai, which is a traditional South African BBQ. This area is also the perfect place to admire the galaxy of stars that appear above your head every night!

Meals and Beverages

Meals and Beverages

Food is provided on this project but volunteers will take turns to cook on a rotational basis. Everybody takes their turn to cook with their team, and who knows, this could be another skill you pick up whilst on the project! All of the food you will need for all meals will be found in the house so you will never go hungry! There is also the chance to enjoy a BBQ outside dependent on the weather, which is a very communal meal and a great chance to test your Braai skills!

Please note that if you are gluten intolerant or have a dairy allergy you will need to purchase gluten-free bread or soya milk on your trips into town.

Fitness and Skills

Fitness and Skills

We recommend that you come with a moderate level of fitness as the days are extremely 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 committed project staff with whom you will be working.

Vaccinations

Vaccinations

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.

Project Details

When is the best time to volunteer?

On this project nearly all of the activities occur all year round, meaning the main factor that affects peoples’ decisions on when to volunteer is the weather.

In the coastal region where this project is situated there is not a big difference in day time 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) temperatures 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.

Getting There

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 2 hours (140 kilometres) from Port Elizabeth Airport. Your flight should arrive in Port Elizabeth on your project's start date (a Monday) before 14.30 as this is the latest time a transfer to the project can leave.

If you are unable to arrive before this time on Monday, you will need to stay in Port Elizabeth for the night and you will be collected from your accommodation in the morning. You will need to tell us where you are staying so that a transfer can be arranged.

When leaving the project you will need to book a flight that departs after 12.00 as the transfer from the project site leaves at 09.00.

Transfers are arranged by the in-country team but they do incur an additional cost. A one way trip from the airport to the project site (or vice versa) costs R700 per person, or R350 per person if there are 2 or more volunteers sharing the transfer. The project manager will attempt to arrange for volunteers to travel together to help lower the costs, but please have the money on hand to pay the driver directly for each journey.

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.

Visa Requirements

Holders of UK, most other EU countries, Australian, Canadian and USA passports do not require a Visa 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 South African embassy.

South African immigration requires you to have at least 2 empty pages in your passport and six months of validity from the date of travel so please check this before you leave!

Currency and Exchange Rates

The currency in South Africa is the South African Rand. The exchange rate is around 1 SAR = 0.06 GBP, 0.07 USD, 0.07 EUR. Please note exchange rates are subject to change.

What's included in the price of the project?
  • Accommodation during your time volunteering
  • All food and juice, tea and coffee.
  • Volunteer activities
  • Full time English speaking ground staff
  • A laundry service
  • Wifi at the project site
What's not included?
  • Travel insurance
  • Flights
  • Airport transfers and from the project site
  • Weekend excursions
  • Alcoholic beverages, personal snacks etc.

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Give Us A Call

Nikita

+44 208 885 4987

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.

Where you can go
Contact Info
UK Office
The Great Traveller Ltd,
3 Dairy Yard
Star Street
Ware, Hertfordshire
SG12 9BX
United Kingdom
Opening hours: 9am–5pm

T: +44(0) 208 885 4987