Wildlife and Conservation Volunteer
The goal of wildlife conservation is to ensure that nature will be around for future generations to enjoy and also to recognise the importance of wildlife and wilderness for humans and other species alike. This can be achieved in small ways such as recycling or you can get involved at the base level and make a difference where it counts the most and that is where you come in. All of the data you collect by either research or monitoring will contribute to the ongoing management decision making.
As a wildlife and conservation volunteer you will be mentored and managed by a dedicated, highly experienced management team and resident interns. You will be regarded as part of the Somkhanda team and not as tourists and you will be expected to respond as such. This puts you right in the thick of the action rather than on the sidelines watching the game.
As conservation volunteers, you will be accommodated in a camp that has been set up specifically for you. You will have your own tent and will share communal ablutions as well as a communal kitchen and commons area. We provide all our interns and volunteers with food crates in which you can keep your non-perishable goods and you will be expected to prepare your own meals. There will be a weekly town trip which will give you the opportunity to stock up on consumables and everything else you may need.
A full 9 hour day is expected from you as a conservation volunteer which can vary from day to day depending on the day’s task and what surprises may come up. Volunteers get two days off per week and depending on what might be planned these days can be used to join our monthly group outings. Days off can be accumulated and taken together.
The particular conservation volunteer program depends on the time of year and involves a variety of research, management, community and monitoring projects associated with a broad range of activities on the reserve. All research /monitoring data collected will contribute to the ongoing management plan of the reserve’s wildlife population.
Current conservation volunteer programmes include:
Rhino monitoring techniques – Due to the significance of the species rhino monitoring is an ongoing project on the reserve with many of the animals having been fitted with radio tracking devices. Volunteers provide valuable independent field data on particular rhino which assists the full-time monitors, allowing them to focus on others. Information gathered from rhinos includes general health, associations with other animals and offspring, movement, home range plotting, feeding preferences, etc. This is dependent on the needs of the full-time monitors.
Camera Trap Surveying – Wildlife Volunteers under experienced supervision manage this programme entirely; checking camera traps, changing batteries, downloading data and sorting through photographs. The objective of the camera trap survey method is to monitor a variety of species and known individual animals to assess their physical condition, the presence of calves and associations between individuals, with a focus on the more elusive black rhino and leopard.
Game Population Monitoring – Estimating animal numbers is critical in determining numerous management interventions on a game reserve. Volunteers will assist in collecting population data using scientific methods.
- Next Starting Date: 09 January 2017
- Accommodation Type: Tented camp and Shared ablutions
- Meals: Meals are not included but a shared kitchen is provided and there are weekly trips to town to stock up on consumables
- Price: EUR 1130
ZAR 14 800
Other interns and volunteers
There is a strong possibility that you will be living in the intern camp with other interns and volunteers from both local and international backgrounds
All meals are for your own account, but weekly town trips will be provided to give you the opportunity to stock up on consumables
There is only one service provider that offers good coverage on the reserve and it generally has excellent connectivity. We keep a stock of a local SIM card for mobiles. We have some internet dongles for the use of volunteers and interns into which you can insert your sim card to connect to the internet.
Included in the fees:
- Pick up upon arrival at Durban International Airport
- Bush Camp Accommodation
- Professional rangers to supervise you
- Use of laundry facilities
Excluded from the fees:
- Other personal expenses
The Reserve is remote, and therefore volunteer arrivals and departures are coordinated to save on transport costs. Arrival is at Durban International airport and the transfer to Somkhanda Game Reserve leaves at 10h00.
Transport is provided to departing volunteers (free only on the scheduled dates) back to Durban International Airport and will drop volunteers off at 15h00.
09 January - 03 February
06 February - 03 March
06 March - 31 March
03 April - 28 April
01 May - 26 May
29 May - 23 June
26 June - 21 July
24 July - 18 August
21 August - 15 September
18 September - 13 October
16 October - 10 November
13 November - 08 December