Zululand Wildlife Research Fieldtrip

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This 11 night / 12-day module covers three unique conservation areas located in the Zululand and Maputaland regions of the KwaZulu-Natal province of South Africa. Incorporating a unique opportunity for students to engage in practical fieldwork, explore one of South Africa’s true wild ‘Big 5’ reserves and experience the most pristine marine wilderness in the world. This module incorporates aspects of Modules 4, 5 and 6 with more emphasis on practical sessions.

The first and last days are taken up with travelling giving a full ten days on the ground for learning through practical fieldwork and discussion with conservation professionals.




DAYS 1-6


Small groups of students will rotate daily between projects, spending one day on each (note Project 9 requires the entire group working together for three days). Students are accompanied by qualified field guides and a facilitator on each project.  Projects include collecting data in the field, a data-handling component where data is entered, or specimens are prepared for preservation.  Basic data analyses will be undertaken.

A comprehensive range of projects is carried out and maintained on Somkhanda. Programme organisers have the following projects to select from and, with sufficient advance notice and consultation, the field trip can be adjusted to suit the academic requirements /interests of the student’s academic programme. 

Project 1:   Camera trap surveying

Project 2:   Rhino monitoring

 Project 3:  Vegetation monitoring

Project 4:  Game population monitoring

Project 5:  Black rhino browse availability

Project 6:   Invertebrate sampling and collecting

Project 7:  Hunting as an effective management option

Project 8:   Live capture and sale of game as an effective management tool

Project 9:   Sustainable financial models in the wildlife industry

Project 10:   Game reserve management plans


Student accommodation on Somkhanda is a traditional permanent tented safari camp, communal showers with hot and cold running water.

Practical working clothes, a comfortable pair of walking shoes, water bottles and a pair of binoculars are essential equipment for this module.


TEMBE ELEPHANT PARK (see module 5)

DAYS 7-9

To augment the Somkhanda experience with an authentic Big 5 experience, we will visit Tembe Elephant Park. This remote park, deep in an area of sand forests, pans and wetlands in northern Tongaland, lies on the border between South Africa and Mozambique, where over 250 of the largest elephant in the world, the last remaining indigenous herd in KwaZulu-Natal, roam.


Our accommodation is on Bhekula Community Reserve which is adjacent to Tembe Elephant Park and is free of dangerous game. The Camp is a mobile tented camp with rustic hot showers and flushing toilets. A real camping experience!


KOSI BAY (see module 6)

DAYS 10-12

Kosi Bay is a system of an estuary with four lakes ranging from freshwater to saline that feeds into the ocean. Age old traditions passed down by generations of tribal existence still continue to this day - ancient fishing kraals erected and tendered by the resourceful Tonga people. Kosi Bay has been described as "an excellent aquarium and a gorgeous aviary.” The crystal clear, warm water offers tranquil swimming and awesome snorkelling on coral reefs. Optional extras include offshore scuba diving, deep sea safaris, and turtle nesting tours that take place during the breeding season, which is usually early November to the end of February


Our base is Utshwayelo Lodge, and Camp situated at the entrance to Kosi Bay Reserve, 2.5 km from the beach.  The camp is a community partnership project of skills sharing and a life of purpose. The Lodge and all improvements are owned by the community providing them with an income.  Local reeds, grass mats and other handmade articles are used for building materials.

Need to Know

Quick Info

  • Itineraries are for a minimum of 10 days on the ground in South Africa
  • Groups consist of a minimum of 10 participants
  • Groups are accompanied by at least one responsible adult group leader per 10 students
  • All participants agree to African Insight’s Code of Conduct
  • Proof of travel insurance is supplied before arrival
  • For more information on how to set up an African Insight Wildlife Studies Field Trip contact: groups@africaninsight.co.za


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