Conservation Managers and Ecologists are the backbone of any game reserve, the ones that keep the effective day to day running of the reserve going. Conservation Managers in particular are perceived as a veritable “jack of all trades” requiring a very wide range of skills and experience including water provision (for people and wildlife), road, vehicle and infrastructure maintenance, fencing, anti-poaching/law enforcement as well as biological management.  They, therefore, require a working knowledge of what ecological and security staff do. An understanding of the Ecologist’s role is essential when it comes to long term planning and understanding the end goal of a conservation led strategy. With the option of joining for 1,2 or 3 months, you can pick what timescale suits you and we will impart as much knowledge and teach as many skills as possible in the timeframe you give us.

Who should apply?

  • Individuals who have completed, or are in the process of completing, a relevant field of study
  • Individuals who are looking for work experience or in need of practical experience as part of their studies
  • Individuals who are considering conservation/ecology as a future career
  • Keen citizen scientists who want to learn, contribute and expand their horizons

Our internships are designed to attract nature conservation and ecology enthusiasts, ideally with some sort of scientific background, but this is not essential! We welcome all applications whether you have an academic background or are a “citizen scientist” looking for a deeper and more hands-on conservation experience. Enthusiasm, commitment, determination and the ability to think outside of the box are skills which you will most definitely need! 

Examples of projects include:

  • Camera trap surveys
  • Small mammal research
  • Elephant/rhino/lion monitoring and observation
  • Road clearing and fixing
  • Game counts
  • Fence-line maintenance
  • Alien plant management
  • Tracks and signs
  • Birding 

What do we need from you?

Dedication, commitment, hard work and your humour! Interns are mentored and managed by a dedicated and highly experienced management team.  Interns are regarded as team members and not as tourists and are expected to also respond as such. Your commitment to our team and your role in the field is essential and we will support you in all your endeavours.


  • 1 month – 16,200 ZAR
  • 2 month – 24,400 ZAR
  • 3 month – 32,500 ZAR


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  • transfers to and from Durban airport
  • tented accommodation/showers/ablutions
  • welcome and leaving braai at the Lodge
  • professional mentoring
  • use of laundry facilities
  • transport to and from Pongola on a weekly basis for supplies
  • access to extensive library


  • flights
  • food
  • insurances
  • other personal expenses  

History behind Somkhanda Game Reserve

The Gumbi Tribe lost their tribal land during the years of Apartheid and in 2006 successfully won an ancestral land claim over a large area of Zululand and on a section of this they established the 12,000ha Somkhanda Game Reserve.

Somkhanda is home to populations of black and white rhino, elephant, buffalo, leopard, wild dog, lion and hyena. This unique situation affords the opportunity for interns to get involved in the reserve’s wildlife and environmental management, ecological research and monitoring programs. Our experienced team offer support to ensure all field data collection methods and output are not only sound but have the right platform to be of long term benefit to the reserve, whilst providing the intern with a relevant, educational and inspirational experience.

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