Ecological Research Internship

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Starting Dates
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Ecological Research Internship

Program cost - ZAR 24,300

On this ecological research internship you can get involved in reserve activities such as vegetation assessments or game counts providing a greater understanding of game reserve management. Interns have the potential to participate in management activities such as game capture, game introductions and priority species monitoring.

Applicants are encouraged to propose a suitable project during the application process for their ecological research internship that can ideally be completed (at least the data collection part) within their time on Somkhanda or of a nature that ongoing data collection will be suitable for future interns without a project and will contribute to the ecological research needs of the reserve. Individuals who propose projects that make use of existing data or collection methods that are easily accessible (e.g.: rhino movement pattern research where data can be easily obtained by rhino monitors) will be given priority.

Submission of private research project proposals for your ecological research internship must be evaluated and approved before arrival.  This will be based on relevance to management objectives of the game reserve. Depending on the requirements of the project there may be additional costs that need to be borne by the intern and agreed on in advance




On this ecological research internship, you will be mentored and managed by a dedicated and highly experienced management team.  They are regarded as team members and not as tourists and are expected also to respond as such – taking seriously their tasks and duties at all times.

For Interns that do not have their own preapproved project, the specific daily activities depend on the time of the year and involve a variety of research, management and monitoring projects associated with a wide range of activities on the reserve.  The techniques used are professionally sound and scientifically recognised.  Current projects include:

Example Projects:

All research / monitoring data collected during your ecological research internship will contribute to the ongoing management decision making of the reserve’s wildlife populations.

Some other activities you might be involved in are: (Possibly swop with conservation)

  • Wildlife Monitoring Techniques- As with many domesticated species where farmers count their livestock, wildlife managers need to know what is happening with their animals. Many techniques have been devised over the years. On Somkhanda Game Reserve, we use the strip count method. This entails counting animals along designated roads or transects. This is a seasonal activity, which takes place at a designated time towards the end of winter.
  • Game capture (seasonal)- the live capture of a variety of wildlife species is a management tool that is used to remove those species that have expanded their populations above the areas carrying capacity. There are many ways that this achieved. The use of drugs using darting techniques where selected individuals are removed or using helicopters where whole herds are captured. All animals are sold live on auction. This is a seasonal event, which normally takes place during the cooler winter months.
  • Alien plant control-As the name implies these are plants that are alien to the area or in fact the country – they are non-indigenous plant species. Most have been inadvertently imported from foreign lands normally by ships bringing in hay and grain as food for domestic stock. Unfortunately, these plants grow extremely well in their unnatural environment and end up shading out important indigenous plants that the wildlife need for survival. Therefore, they have to be removed wherever they are found. Although eradication programs are implemented throughout the year most take place during the summer months when growth is most vigorous.


You Need To Know

Quick Info

  • Accommodation: Tented Camp & Shared Ablutions.
  • No Meals are included but a shared kitchen and common area are provided.
  • Price: ZAR 24 300

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:

  • Meals
  • Other personal expenses
  • Insurances
  • Flights

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Starting Dates

Starting Dates
The reserve is remote and therefore interns 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 interns (free only on the scheduled dates) back to Durban International Airport and will drop interns off at 15h00

2017 Starting Dates

09 January - 31 March
06 February - 28 April
06 March - 26 May
03 April - 23 June
01 May - 21 July
29 May - 18 August
26 June - 15 September
24 July - 13 October
21 August - 10 November
18 September - 08 December

2018 Starting Dates

08 January - 30 March
05 February - 27 April
5 March - 25 May
2 April - 22 June
30 April - 20 July
28 May - 17 August
25 June - 14 September
23 July - 12 October
20 August - 9 November
17 September - 7 December


Contact Us

Drop us a mail if you are interested

Apply Now!

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Studying grass on the ecological research internship
Ecological Research internship
Ecological Research internship
Ecological Research Internship
Ecological Research Internship