Overview

Study wildlife conservation and then gain work experience on a game reserve or with a South African conservation organisation.

Kick-start your conservation career when you join a wildlife conservation internship in South Africa’s iconic bushveld. Gain invaluable experience when you learn conservation techniques, animal tracking and how to use telemetry equipment. Use your knowledge when you join a project focussing on predator monitoring, habitat restoration or community outreach while getting up close and personal with the famous Big Five. Sign up here today and get 12 months of Lion membership with Conservation Careers included.

Overview

Interns will be based in the Limpopo Province, an area renowned for its abundance of wildlife and getting up close and personal with the ‘Big Five’ of South Africa (lion, leopard, rhino, elephant and buffalo).

The first 12 weeks of the internship are based on our wildlife research expedition. Here you will assist us with research on big cats and other mega-fauna, learn about conservation techniques on enclosed private game reserves, help with hands on reserve management projects and community outreach initiatives. Gain internationally recognised qualifications, track animals using bush skills and telemetry equipment and watch the sunset over the African bush.

On successfully completing the expedition you will have the necessary skills to undertake your 12 week work placement. During this phase, depending on your skills and our partner’s requirements, you may stay on with the team taking on new responsibilities, or be based at a partner conservation organisation or an ecotourism lodge catering to tourists.

After a successful internship, qualifying candidates may be given the opportunity to work for our partner organisation in South Africa.

All internships are geared at developing your leadership and role model skills, allowing you to develop a variety of key soft and hard skills that will put you a step ahead the rest of the pack. Our partner have been running community development, education, and conservation projects since 1997 and our highly experienced field staff will help you gain and improve vital skill sets to improve your future job prospects.

Our Award-winning Partner

Conservation Careers has teamed up a family-run organisation with an amazing culture and an awesome team of people across the world who are passionate experts in their chosen field and will make your experience a truly unforgettable one (in a good way).

Their award-winning projects receive over 2000 participants every year, and we’re proud to say that the vast majority of them describe their experience with us as ‘life changing’. Our approval rate from over 20 000 participants since 1997 is over 95%.

A key component of the success of their community development and conservation projects is the participants who join our programs. Opportunities include high impact volunteering from one week and up, internships for those looking for career development opportunities, Challenges that allow a one week adventure all for a good cause and a range of programs for school groups and younger volunteers.

If you register your interest below, you’ll put you in touch with our partner to take the booking and to plan your trip!

To see all our Internship opportunities, please click here.

Testimonial

“What an amazing experience this has been! Each day here at base is a gift, although the base is rustic and has no electricity or hot water. I found that didn’t matter. The game drives are the primary focus of each day, some days are more fruitful than others but in time the rewards are huge with animal sightings. So far I have over 1600 photos to sort through when I get home!” – Tess Hill (USA).

Location – Limpopo

Our hub here is host to some of the most remarkable wildlife, landscapes and conservation opportunities South Africa has to offer, making volunteering abroad here a spectacular event.The province of Limpopo offers every imaginable setting, from the towering Drakensberg mountains and the famous Kruger National Park in the lowveld to the oldest Big 5 game reserve in South Africa. Volunteering here is a truly unforgettable experience.

Life on the Internship

Your First 12 Weeks

During your first 12 weeks, the majority of your time will be spent in game viewing vehicles out in the reserve carrying our various research activities. This usually happens between dawn and dusk when the weather is cooler and the wildlife is most active.

Your main research focus area will vary according to your location and could see you involved with the big cats (lions, leopards,cheetahs), hyena and elephants. You will also spend a lot of your time in the bush on reserve management and conservation projects, where you could be involved in erosion control, river clean-ups and invasive alien plant removal.

The work varies according to the schedule, but all interns will be involved with locating the wildlife, predator research, data entry, reserve management work, personal projects and camp duties.

Work Placements

Work placements will only be available to interns who have a successful 12 week expedition phase. Our interns typically receive work placements with local conservation organisations, game reserves and lodges in South Africa’s bushveld region. Examples of possible available positions include terrestrial and wildlife conservation, environmental education and wildlife research.

The work placement will offer you the opportunity to put into action the skills you learnt during the expedition phase, practise leadership scenarios and gain sought after career experience in a professional work environment.

Accommodation

During your 12 weeks on the expedition phase of your internship, you will be staying in a fairly rustic setting with shared sleeping arrangements in either an old farmhouse.

Accommodation at the work placements vary, but all offer basic to comfortable accommodation for their staff.

Project Details

Our partner gathers data on local animal species and populations to give an accurate picture of current challenges many of these species are facing.  This vital information is used to maintain a healthy balance of natural resources and ultimately to help conserve some of Africa’s most precious wildlife.

Here are some examples of the initiatives that this project works on:

  • Detailed monitoring of predators such as lion, leopard, cheetah, elephant and hyena
  • Monitoring and tracking of significant food sources for main predators
  • Habitat observation and restoration such as removal of old farm infrastructure, alien invasive plant control and many more

Local community outreach to teach local children about our efforts and the importance of conservation.

We also try to assist where required with off-site studies or mini-projects that may focus on different biota if we believe them to be relevant in the conservation context of the region. Such studies allow staff and volunteers to get a broader knowledge of conservation research across more than one ecosystem. Examples could include documenting bird of prey nesting sites; Celebrating environmental calendar days. Any such mini-projects are as required, would make up the minority of your time on this program, and only for durations of 4 weeks or more.

How this project makes a difference

Our partner spends up to 12 hours a day collecting data on large predators such as lions, leopards and cheetah. The information gathered is used to give an accurate picture of the predators impact on prey populations, determine social structure, genetics, and spatial movement. This vital information helps maintain a healthy balance of these natural resources and ultimately conserve some of Africa’s most important ecosystems.

Work placements are typically with local conservation organisations, game reserves and lodges in South Africa’s Bushveld region. Specific positions range across many fields.  Some examples include terrestrial and wildlife conservation and wildlife research.

Your work placement will offer you the opportunity to put into action the skills you learnt on the expedition, practise leadership scenarios and gain one of a kind experience in a professional work environment.

Free Time

Volunteering with our partner not only allows you to participate on programs assisting disadvantaged communities or endangered ecosystems, but it also offers wonderful opportunities to travel in the local area in your down time or further afield either before or after your program. Many decide to travel after volunteering, solidifying the lifetime friendships established on the programme.

Our long term field staff are a great source of advice and are here to help you make the most of your time abroad. Remember to ask about discounts on local activities and side trips through your association with our partner. Our Limpopo field teams have helped us put together the following information on trips and travel options in South Africa!

Side Trips Included

At our Karongwe Base, volunteers will visit the renowned Khamai Reptile Park as part of the training. Later on during the phase, volunteers are also taken to a local curio market where a variety of quality carvings and other gifts are sold.

Optional Side Trips

Our research teams have one day off per week. For longer duration volunteers, at the end of each 4 week cycle, there may be the opportunity to take 3 or 4 consecutive days off. Independent travel from Karongwe is best done by renting a car, something volunteers usually do in groups to make more economical. Bear in mind there is an additional cost associated with pickups or drop-offs at the reserve gate. Hoedspruit, the nearest town is about 45 mins drive away. In the area around Karongwe Game Reserve you can visit the Kruger National Park, with entry gates no more than an hour drive away. There’s also the ‘panoramic route’ which takes you on various scenic drives along the edge of the Drakensberg escarpment, the Blyde River Canyon and to the historic towns of Pilgrims Rest, Graskop (where Harry’s Pancakes will serve you the best pancake on the planet!) and Sabie, where you can also book onto a variety of adventure activities such as bungee jumping, quad biking, canyoning and hiking, or just chill out with a picnic lunch at one of the many nearby waterfalls.

Further Travel Opportunities

South Africa has such a wealth of fantastic opportunities for further travel. Possibilities include the spectacular Drakensberg Mountains, the beauty of the Kalahari Desert, historic Zululand, the vibrancy of Cape Town, the fantastic Garden Route along the Southern Coast, the world-renowned National Parks of Kruger and Hluhluwe-Imfolozi, and many more highlights that will leave you wanting more of this amazing country.

Dates and  Costs

The programme lasts  24 weeks and costs R 90,100 (ca. £5,400).

What’s Included

  • 24-hour emergency phone
  • 24-hour in-country support
  • Access to Alumni Services and Discounts
  • Airport pick-up (unless otherwise stated)
  • All necessary project equipment and materials
  • All necessary project training by experienced staff
  • Certification and summary of training and experience received
  • Confidential professional reference
  • Final evaluation
  • First Aid & CPR training and certification
  • Leading biological surveys course
  • Location orientation
  • Long term experienced staff
  • Meals while on project (except on work placements for long term internships)
  • Research training
  • Reserve fees and permits
  • Safe and basic accommodations (usually shared)
  • Teamwork and leadership experience
  • Telemetry training as relevant
  • Weekly evaulation with your mentor
  • Welcome meeting
  • Wildlife identification techniques
  • Work placement – if successful during the first 12 weeks of the internship
  • 12 months of Lion membership with Conservation Careers.

What’s Not Included

  • Additional drinks and gratuities
  • Airport and reserve transfers
  • Extra local excursions
  • Flights
  • Food during the placement portion of your internship
  • Internal transport to placements
  • International and domestic airport taxes
  • Medical and travel insurance
  • Personal kit
  • Police or background check (where necessary)
  • Visa costs

Reserve your place or ask a question

About Conservation Careers - Internships

Conservation Careers has teamed up a family-run organisation with an amazing culture and an awesome team of people across the world who are passionate experts in their chosen field and will make your experience a truly unforgettable one (in a good way).

Their award-winning projects receive over 2000 participants every year, and we’re proud to say that the vast majority of them describe their experience with us as ‘life changing’. Our approval rate from over 20 000 participants since 1997 is over 95%.

A key component of the success of their community development and conservation projects is the participants who join our programs. Opportunities include high impact volunteering from one week and up, internships for those looking for career development opportunities, Challenges that allow a one week adventure all for a good cause and a range of programs for school groups and younger volunteers.