Adventure, Wildlife & Community Volunteering

Overview
Activities
Optional Extras
Need to Know
Contact Us
Overview

Overview

The real adventures begin when heading north from the metropolitan buzz of Durban into the Zulu Kingdom’s heartland. Evoking images of wild landscapes and tribal rhythms, this beautiful drive offers a different face of South Africa, where fine coastline, mist-clad hills and traditional settlements are in contrast to the ordered suburban developments around Durban.  Dominated by the Zulu tribal group, the region offers fascinating historical and contemporary insights into one of the country’s most enigmatic and best-known cultures.  However, while the name Zulu (which means Heaven) aptly describes the rolling expanses that dominate the landscape, it doesn’t tell the whole story. Intense poverty and all the social problems that come with that are still commonplace, and much of the population struggles in a hand-to-mouth existence.  Explore off the main roads and this becomes glaringly obvious.

On this community volunteering programme, you will bring much needed English skills to an impoverished remote rural community.  The camp is based in the Zululand District of KwaZulu-Natal province of South Africa.  This region is the heart of the Zulu nation, which is the most significant tribal group in South Africa.  Our base during this 3-week program is on a community (tribal) owned game reserve and our daily work takes place in rural schools surrounding the reserve.

Somkhanda Game Reserve is a 12,000ha community owned area that is home to endangered rhino, leopard, buffalo and African wild dog as well as giraffe, zebra and the complete spectrum of antelope species that naturally occur in this area.

The reserve is dedicated to providing a wide range of meaningful experience to travellers that provide a direct benefit and positive impact on the biodiversity of this environment and the local Zulu community.

Activities

Activities

Thursday to Saturday  - Arrival & Orientation:

Volunteers need to arrive by own arrangement at Durban’s King Shaka International Airport.  A local representative will meet each person off their flight and when the last has come you will be transferred to our first base - LIV Village just outside Durban.

For the first two days, you will be at LIV and will have the opportunity to get fully involved in everyday life in the Village, helping with the daily programmes and making a difference in the lives of the orphans through teaching, sport and other skills.

Accommodation: “The Barracks” - Volunteer shared accommodation

Meal Basis:  Full Board

Week One:

Sunday to Friday

Somkhanda & Cotlands School

On Sunday after breakfast, you will be driven 400km north to a remote part of the Zululand region of KwaZulu-Natal and Somkhanda Game Reserve - your base for the next three weeks.

From Monday to Friday you will be teaching English at a rural school in the nearby Zulu community, helping with sports and participating in other school activities from 09:00 to 13:00 each day. After serving lunch to the students, you will return to Somkhanda where you will have some time off before enjoying an afternoon game drive on the reserve.

Accommodation:  Somkhanda Tented Student Camp

Meal Basis:  Full Board

Week Two:

Monday to Thursday - Zonyama Community

This week you will experience an authentic cultural immersion with the local Zonyama community, neighbouring Somkhanda Game Reserve.  Like most rural homesteads and villages in this region, there is no electricity and running water.  You will be accommodated in traditional huts which are grouped together and make up a ‘musi’ or homestead.

Community Volunteers will spend Mornings teaching English and helping with sports activities at the local Makoti School and afternoons are free to experience community life. To get the most out of this experience, you will be accompanied by community ‘chaperones’ at all times who will act as your interpreters and cultural facilitators.  Nothing is contrived or set-up for “tourists” so the social and cultural experiences are entirely dependent on what is happening in the community at the time as the local people go about their daily routines.

Accommodation:  Traditional Zulu Home Stay

Meal Basis:  Full Board

Week 3:

This week will follow the same programme as the first week with trips daily to Cotlands School returning to Somkhanda after lunch a wildlife activity on the reserve.

Accommodation:   Somkhanda Tented Student Camp

Meal Basis:  Full Board

Thursday – Depart for Durban

After breakfast, you pack up, bid farewell to Somkhanda and your hosts and are driven 400km back to Durban.

Accommodation:   Happy Hippo Backpackers

Meals Basis: Own account

Friday – Transfer to King Shaka Airport

One transfer is available for the group (timing to be advised closer to the time).  Participants not making use of this are welcome to arrange private transfers.

Optional Extras

Weekend One:

Friday to Sunday - Tembe Elephant Park & Kosi Bay (Optional extra – not included in basic rate)

After school on Friday, you travel a short distance to Tembe Elephant Park where we will spend one night. This will be our base for exploring Tembe Elephant Park.  Owned by the Tembe Tribal community and managed by KZN Wildlife – a parastatal conservation organization,  it boasts the full complement of the Big Five – elephant, lion, leopard, black and white rhino and buffalo – as well as over 340 bird species and many other mammal species right down to the tiny Suni, one of the smallest antelope in Southern Africa.

Accommodation:  Royal Thonga Camp

Meal Basis:  Full Board

On Saturday after an early game drive and lunch, you will depart for Kosi Bay, which lies in the northernmost part of the KwaZulu-Natal coast, close to the border of Mozambique. It is one of the most remote, yet beautiful places in the country.   It is not a bay at all but a complex estuarine ecosystem comprising of four interlinked lakes fed by two rivers. The flora on this part of the coast is fantastically rich and varied, and some of the most diverse mangrove swamps can be found here, as well as wild figs and raffia palms.

Two days in this area will give you time to explore the swamps, dunes and estuary. Optional activities include snorkelling, fish trap tour, hiking and kayak safaris. You return to Somkhanda in time for dinner

Accommodation:  Utshwayelo Camp

Meal Basis:  Full Board

 

Weekend Two: 

Friday to Sunday - Pongola River Adventure (Optional extra – not included in basic rate)

After breakfast on Friday you will bid farewell to your host families and be driven to Jozini where you will be met by Pongola River Company for a “Canoe Safari”. The adventure starts directly below the dam wall, under the shade of a beautiful Sycamore Fig tree, with an introduction to the area, including the basic ecology, followed by a safety briefing and lesson on how to use and navigate the kayaks.

Swimming, snorkelling and fishing are some of the activities you can enjoy while on the River. It is also home to a staggering 50 species of fish, making it the most diverse freshwater ecosystem in South Africa. You return to Somkhanda in time for dinner on Sunday night.

Accommodation:  Pongola River Company Tented Camp 2 nights

Meal Basis:  Full Board

Need to Know

Quick Infor

  • The next trip will commence on 06 July 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
               USD 1260
               GBP 950
               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

Meals

All meals are for your own account, but weekly town trips will be provided to give you the opportunity to stock up on consumables

Connectivity:
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

Book Now!

Contact Us

Drop us a mail if you are interested

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