This private game reserve in the Eastern Cape provides a truly African experience for visitors to the region. Home to lions, elephants, Cape buffalo, leopards, rhinos and many other wild animals, the focus of this game reserve is about protecting and conserving wildlife. As well as having a once in a lifetime experience by spotting the Big Five in the wild, visitors to the reserve are encouraged to learn about the issues facing the wildlife of South Africa today.
As well as safari tours, wildlife walks and interaction opportunities with elephants, the reserve runs an education and rehabilitation centre which is home to endangered and orphaned predators such as Bengal tigers, cheetahs and white lions. Protecting such a variety of wildlife in the great South African outdoors is no easy task, meaning volunteers are depended upon to keep these wild animals and their habitat happy and healthy.
As a volunteer at the Big Five game reserve project, you’ll work in a team of other volunteers to get a variety of tasks done across the reserve. These activities vary depending on the weather and time of year, but include everything from lion tracking, game counts and game capture, to planting trees, maintaining vegetation and patrolling the reserve’s fences. You’ll also help out on game drives and wilderness walks, not to mention the help that’s needed caring for the animals in the education and rehabilitation centre. If that’s not enough already, there’s also a touch farm and horses to take care of too. Volunteer teams rotate to different areas of the reserve, meaning you’ll have a chance to lend a hand at all the different types of activities during your time volunteering here.
Each day at the Big Five game reserve project will bring new challenges and experiences. Days start early, with volunteering activities beginning at approximately 7:30 and finishing at 16:30 every week day, with a couple of breaks during the day. You’ll pitch in with whatever your team leader tells you needs doing that day, which could be anything from going out with a team to track some game, to interacting with the animals in the rehabilitation centre. All meals are provided and you’ll eat alongside your fellow volunteers, while your accommodation is in same sex dorms.
Your busy weeks are filled with everything that’s involved in keeping a game reserve running, leaving some time for rest and relaxation on Saturdays and Sundays. A schedule of weekend excursions are organised to local towns, with transport and accommodation to these places covered in your volunteering price. If you prefer, you can also stay behind at the game reserve to relax.