Black Rhino Conservation Volunteer
Black rhino populations are under threat throughout Africa with the total number having plummeted from approximately 65,000 to 2400. In recent years successful Black Rhino conservation efforts have resulted in numbers rising again to a current population of approximately 3000. South Africa is home to the largest number of black rhino and certain key populations have reached their optimum biological carrying capacity. Overpopulation negatively impacts on the population growth potential, due to social pressures with the population. Therefore, in a bold strategy to optimise black rhino population growth, breeding populations have been established in other game reserves (state-owned, private as well as community-owned) that have suitable habitat for Black Rhino Conservation.
One such game reserve is the 12,000ha Somkhanda Community Game Reserve in Zululand which is owned by the Gumbi tribe. Which gave African Insight the opportunity to host a black rhino conservation volunteer program. Somkhanda is home to both white and black rhino as well as the critically endangered African wild dog, Cape buffalo, leopard, elephant and a full spectrum of common game species such as giraffe, zebra, impala, nyala kudu, wildebeest warthogs and much more.
Somkhanda is the perfect habitat for black rhino however the presence of the alien vegetation species Chromoleana odorata and the ideal climatic conditions have created the perfect conditions for its proliferation. The result is an incredible amount of black rhino habitat loss. Hundreds of hectares of black rhino habitat are completely lost which requires a concerted effort to reclaim. Other areas, which have been reclaimed, require persistent monitoring and follow-up treatment to prevent recolonization.
This Black Rhino conservation volunteer project is in 2-week blocks and is for a maximum of 10 participants. The first week is dedicated to black rhino habitat restoration the eradication of Chromoleana odorata, which is conducted according to a scientifically managed methodology. Due to the remote location of the infestation, you will camp on site in tents enjoying a true African bush experience, cooking on the fire, showering under the stars and possibly hearing the distant call of a leopard or hyena whilst you drift off to sleep. There is no doubt that this week is hard physical work for up to 8 hours per day.
For the second week, you will move to another tented safari camp from which you will do the daily foot or vehicle patrols in search of rhino, elephant, wild dog and signs of poaching activity. This is a great week of working together as a team with experienced local guides who will impart a vast amount of local knowledge on bush skills, local customs and culture. You will learn to identify different birds, plants, animals, animal tracks and tracking techniques and experience sleeping out under the stars as well as the skills of fire making and cooking on the open fire. This is an amazing grassroots wildlife conservation experience and you know that you have made a difference on many different levels.
Week 2 activities include
- Rhino Tracking
- Wilddog Tracking
- Poaching Activity Patrols
- Leopard Monitoring
- Next Starting Date: 9 January 2017
- Accommodation Type: Field Camp, Tents with bucket showers and long-drop toilets & Mobile Camp, Tents with outdoor showers & flush toilets
- Meals: Full Board (group participation)
- Price: EUR 990ZAR 12 980USD 1110GBP 835
There is a strong possibility that you will be on this Black Rhino Conservation volunteer program with individuals from multiple ethnic groups and backgrounds
Ingredients for all meals will be provided and it will be Rhino Conservation volunteers responsibility to ensure the meals are prepared as a group
Included in the fees:
- Pick up upon arrival at Durban International Airport
- Bush Camp Accommodation
- Professional rangers to supervise you
- Use of laundry facilities
- Certain meals
Excluded from the fees:
- Other personal expenses
The reserve is remote and therefore rhino conservation volunteers 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.
09 January –22 January
06 February –19 February
06 March –19 March
03 April –16 April
01 May –14 May
29 May –11 June
26 June –09 July
24 July –08 August
21 August –03 September
18 September –01 October
16 October –29 October
13 November –26 November
11 December –24 December