THE PROJECT

Location: The project is located over 3 primary sites of 10 000 hectares. 7 000 hectares of this are both wilderness and game reserve areas and are situated just inland of Chintsa and run into the Great Kei River canyon. The third site is a big four reserve approximately 40 km from the 7 000 hectare site. This is where the elephant tracking is based and there are hippos!

Learning while you volunteer: This project offers volunteers the opportunity to learn whilst doing, gain understanding and promote outstanding conservation practices.

Learning - volunteers will participate in relevant aspects of the most highly regarded guiding course as part of their structured learning experience.

Practical - volunteers will compliment theoretical knowledge with hands-on practical work. Practical aspects as they relate to data collation and dissemination are in partnership with the Animal Demographic Unit & directly benefit their research and monitoring function in SA.

Tasks and Aims
Volunteers will take part in the following aspects of conservation whilst on the project:

Animal rehabilitation programme
Botanical studies
Data for external conservation units including the Animal Demographic Unit (Reptile, Avian & Butterfly Working
Groups)
Endangered Wildlife Trust
Community training and schools awareness programme
Expanded topics for experience
Vulture and raptor studies (formal learning)

Additional opportunities for conservation volunteers include:

Animal rehabilitation centre for all animals and birds
Horse work and riding for those who desire

Conservation volunteers will have the opportunity to work closely with animals, eg: Game Capture and Release: this currently involves the capture and relocation of zebras and spring hares. The course is structured so that volunteers are afforded hands on involvement as well as observation experience.

A Typical Day

*This daily guide is to be used as a basic guideline only, all volunteer projects should be approached with flexibility - there will often be changes...you don't come to Africa to live a "typical day" do you!

Your days on the Wildlife and Conservation Project will run typically from 7am - 4:30pm / 5pm. Mornings are early & active: grab a coffee & a light bite and head out and about. There will be a mid-morning brunch either back at camp or in the field to keep up your energy.

During morning and afternoon sessions volunteers immerse themselves in the tasks and activities laid out according to our monthly rolling schedule. When the sun hits its highest at 12 you will return to camp for a feed and a break (or find a shady spot in the field!).

In the Summer months there will be around 2 hrs "chill time" over the middle of the day to avoid the intensity of the African sun (during the cooler months this break may be shorter). After the afternoon activity all volunteers will return to the nearest camp for pre-prepared dinner and free time.

Volunteer profile

Volunteers must be aged 18+ to take part in the project. Owing to the nature of the Wildlife and Conservation Project, volunteers require a moderate level of fitness.

Orientation

All Volunteers receive a general orientation upon arrival to familiarize themselves with Chintsa, South Africa, their accommodation, as well as to familiarize themselves with project tasks and the day-to-day runnings. All volunteers of 4 weeks or more receive a free day tour and overnight stay with the famous Mama Tofu in her traditional Xhosa village, where you can learn about South African history and the Xhosa people.

Weekends & Free Time

Volunteers have a free optional transfer from camp to Chintsa on Friday, returning Sunday evening. Weekend accommodation & meals if not on site are not included in your fee. Wildlife and Conservation volunteers staying in camp will self cater to a basic menu that is provided. For those wanting to transfer to Chintsa there are many adventure activities available in the area if you are looking to be active. Volunteers often book onto the beach horse rides, surf school, canoeing or mountain bike rides that happen in the Chintsa area over weekends. Buccaneers Backpackers has a pool and bar and volunteers are welcome to use their facilities for free while on a project. The beach is on their doorstep and offers good swimming, shell collecting, chilling and walking.

Accommodation

Base Camp: Volunteers are based over three sites. The primary site is a thatched lodge situated in Sabati where volunteers stay in en-suite rooms sleeping 2-3 people.

Facilities include:

Electricity (on a generator)
Communal kitchen
Hot & Cold running water
Ablution facilities
All bedding included (sleeping bags
recommended for open air opportunities)

Secondary Camps: Permanent tented camps supply volunteers with a place to sleep out "in the field": one based in the Kubusi Valley right on the banks of the Kubusi River and a second in a Big 4 Game Reserve nearby. These secondary camps will be utilized depending on the 4 week rolling schedule. Tents sleep 2-3 people.

Facilities at other camps may be less of a luxury! Volunteers have the chance to camp out under the stars & take a shower in our open air shower block looking right onto the cliff tops where the vultures circle overhead!

Why Pay to Volunteer & Where Does your Money Go?

Visit our "FAQ" section for a breakdown of where your project fees go & why those running the Volunteer Project rely on the support of international volunteers to sustain their projects & grow them on an ongoing basis.