What is African Insight Academy
African Insight Academy offers world-class internships and volunteer project solutions in KZN. Wildlife, conservation and community development are a core focus at each of the projects based in three different locations: Somkhanda Game Reserve, Tillietudlem Game Reserve or FreeMe KZN.
Somkhanda is a community-owned game reserve in Northern KZN. Intern projects focusing on ecological research, conservation management and ecotourism are delivered at Somkhanda, covering anything from wild dog movements to invasive plant control. There is a multitude of options with regards to potential projects, the world is your oyster so to speak!
Tillietudlem’s focus is more on small mammals and low profile game but has the endangered oribi for those enthusiasts. It has a more structured programme for participation enabling learning, experience and integration into game reserve management. With excellent tutelage at the forefront this project goes into the minutiae of a lesser known biome.
FreeMe offers animal enthusiasts the opportunity to go behind the scenes of a rehabilitation centre, as well as get involved with key animal studies like raptor rehabilitation and samango monkey research. This is a hands on project for animal enthusiasts filled with opportunities to learn and experience the trials and tribulations of ethical rehabilitation.
Each project has a different length of stay and you can mix your programme involvement to encapsulate Somkhanda, Tillietudlem and FreeMe to get a holistic South African volunteering experience.
AIA offers internships lasting from 3 to 12 months, 3 months is the more common length of stay. We have a separate camp for interns that consists of 8 two-room tents set up for one person each. The camp has its own communal ablution block and kitchen, so all visitors are on a self-catering basis. Currently, we offer 3 internship programmes:
- Ecological Research Internship
- Conservation Management Internship
- Hospitality and Ecotourism Internship
For logistical simplicity, AIA has scheduled monthly arrival and departure dates that coincide with scheduled trips up to Somkhanda Game Reserve from Durban.
These internships are aimed at students who are in the process of, or have completed, a basic degree or doing a postgraduate degree and need to do field work/project. However, we have found that there are many people interested in having the opportunity to undertake a conservation project, under guided tuition and advice and we welcome all applicants who have a passion for wildlife and conservation. It is an ideal opportunity to get some work experience of a different nature on your resume and to expand your knowledge in this exciting and ever-changing field. On completion of your South African internship we will provide you with a letter of recommendation should you wish to receive one
Applicants need to either submit a research project that will have a direct benefit to the ongoing management of the reserve or, if they do not have a particular research project, they will be involved in ongoing monitoring programmes on the reserve.
AIA offers a variety of volunteer programmes, based on the same scheduled arrival and departure dates as the intern programmes. The aim of the volunteer projects is to enhance the understanding of the fields in which they have volunteered, be it conservation, community or wildlife focused. It is possible to combine these volunteer programs together giving you a rounded experience in all fields. We currently offer the following 5 volunteer programs
- Adventure, Wildlife and Community Volunteer
- FreeMe Wildlife Rehabilitation Volunteer
- Wildlife and Conservation Volunteer
- Black Rhino Conservation Volunteer
- Tillietudlem Game Reserve Management Volunteer
These volunteer programs are aimed at people looking to expand their skill set, learn about an exciting and ever changing field and give something back to conservation management in South Africa. Professionals looking for an experiential volunteer opportunity, an adventure on their sabbatical or post-school students who may be considering a career in wildlife conservation, ecotourism or wildlife rehabilitation, should all get in touch and find out more.
Applicants need to motivate why they want to be part of this programme.
African Insight Academy will be offering the following courses in 2017
This programme is offered in the college and university holidays and is aimed at students who have been on an academic field trip and would like to come back a do a more in-depth 2 week experience. It is not accredited and is delivered as a "ranger-lite" course, where you will learn the basics of bush skills and guide background knowledge. A great course to work out if the bush life is something you want to pursue!
African Insight Academy Vision:
African Insight Academy has the vision to develop a sustainable, responsible tourism business that offers the following:
- Young postgraduates the opportunity to gain valuable work experience which will increase their skills and employability.
- School leavers the opportunity to experience a range of wildlife industry related career options.
- Through these experiences to provide the game reserve with sufficient valuable research.
- Provide the reserve with practical conservation and eco-tourism support.
- Using the game reserve as an asset to facilitate valuable skills development to the community surrounding the game reserve by offering recognised courses and internships in environmental issues and tourism.
Intern programs (3 month programs)
- Ecological Research Internship - R24,300
- Wildlife Conservation Internship - R24,300
- Eco-tourism and Hospitality - R24,300
Volunteer Programs (1 month programs)
- Wildlife Conservation Volunteer - R14,800
Volunteer Programs (2 weeks)
- FreeMe Animal Rehabilitation Volunteer - POA
- Tillietudlem Game Reserve Management - R12,450
- Black Rhino Conservation Volunteer - R12,980
- Game ranger course - R13,650
What’s the difference between and intern and a volunteer?
- Intends to develop skills in a profession
- Work is taken on in order to learn more about a given profession
- Can work with universities for credit requirements
- Contracted arrangement
- Provides students with skills to help them transition from study to work
- Focus is on learning – expect to learn skills that will further one’s academic or career goals
- Driving force is to help out where needed
- Work is unpaid for the main purpose of benefitting someone(thing) else
- Does not include academic study or college credits
- Not bound by a contract of employment but signs a volunteer agreement
- Tends to focus on service
- Focus is on service – yet learning skills and about the issues is still very much a part of it as well
How long are the internships?
The standard length is 3 months, however, you have the opportunity to apply for longer providing you get the necessary visa approved, we do not want to limit your learning experience!
How long are the volunteer programs?
Our conservation management volunteer program is for 4 weeks, coinciding with start and finish dates for the intern intake. The Black rhino and Tillietudlem volunteering projects are both 2 week rotations, which you can do 4 weeks in total if you wish and mix and match with the variety of programs we offer.
What will you get involved in as an intern?
Your own designated project will be a focus however, you will assist other intern’s projects as well as relevant reserve and management activity carried out during your stay. It will be useful to have general maintenance skills as well, with some building and creativity required with regards to particular projects you might take on.
What will you get involved in as a conservation volunteer based at Somkhanda?
You are fundamentally a support for all interns and conservation staff. You will get involved in physical labour, data collection, monitoring, maintenance and all sorts of other game reserve management tasks. A working knowledge of basic household maintenance is very helpful but not required.
What will it cost?
Internships - ZAR24,300
Volunteer programs – varies see individual pages for Somkhanda/FreeMe/Tillietudlem
Where will you stay?
There is a dedicated intern and volunteer camp with shared ablutions. The interns reside in two-room tents with proper beds and mattresses, end table, solar lamps, wardrobe, desk and chair. Volunteer’s accommodation is a one-room dome tent, with bed, mattress, end table and solar lamp. The intern and volunteer camp is walking distance to the intern office and lodge area where much of your office work will take place.
What other facilities are there on site at the intern camp?
The communal areas include a recreation tent with a fully kitted kitchen, outlets for charging electronics, food foot lockers, lounge area. Shared ablutions include flushing toilets, sinks and roofless hot showers.
What hours will you work?
You are in charge of your own time, you need to get your project done and that drives your working hours. Standard practice is 9 hours from 8 am to 6 pm with an hour for lunch. There’s nothing to stop you from starting earlier and finishing earlier or starting later and finishing later.
What time off do you get?
Every week there is a town trip, this day is considered as a day off. Over the weekend all interns and volunteers get involved in the local community cattle dipping which is a short morning, and the rest of the day is treated as off time. You can accumulate days off and take 4 days off in a bulk holiday to enable you to go on other adventures as well, all leave time needs to be approved.