Overview

Travel to the province of Limpopo and explore the iconic bushveld of South Africa! Gain invaluable work experience and contribute directly to the conservation of Africa.

Travel to the iconic bushveld of South Africa and gain invaluable wildlife conservation experience when you intern on a private Big Five game reserve. Learn about habitat restoration, contribute on community outreach programmes, track wild animals, study their behaviour and get an unfiltered look into the lives of some of Africa’s most charismatic wildlife species.

Overview

Join an international conservation team, deep in the South African bushveld and experience an internship experience like no other! Wake up to the roar of lions, spend your days out in the reserve tracking wildlife, conducting valuable research and learning a variety of new skills to kick start your career in conservation!

This internship will give you the opportunity to contribute directly to the long term conservation of the wildlife and ecosystems that call this part of Africa home. Alongside your team members, you will be trained to collect vital behavioural data on the local predators and large herbivores as well how to use various pieces of equipment and identify and track various animals.

As with all our Internship programmes, there will be a strong focus on developing professional skills and being able to apply them with a holistic approach to conservation. Participants will also be given the opportunity to undertake additional leadership responsibilities, an assigned mentor who will monitor their progress on a weekly basis and a professional reference on successful completion of the programme.

After a successful internship, qualifying candidates may be given the opportunity to work for us or selected partner organisations in South Africa, or in other countries around the world where we operate. Over 50% of our staff are recruited from our alumni database.

Highlights

Experiencing a unique African bush adventure at the heart of a spectacular game reserve; be woken by a dawn chorus and sent to sleep by the roar of lions; mastering radio telemetry techniques and learning to track animals through the bush; getting acquainted with big game and all the main predators, including lion, cheetah, leopard, elephant and rhino; gaining valuable leadership and teamwork skills and experience; living and working alongside FGASA qualified South African Guides getting constant learning and inspiration; having the chance to sleep out in the bush under the spectacular African stars and wake up to a beautiful sunrise.
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).

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 them as ‘life changing’. Their 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 their 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 Conservation Careers Internship opportunities, please click here.

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

Life on this project will be basic but filled with lots of hard work and rewarding experiences. As you work on the reserve for the next few weeks, camp will be basic but comfortable, with bedrooms, bathrooms and communal areas shared as well as cooking and cleaning duties on a rotational basis.

Upon arrival at the Karongwe reserve, volunteers will be given a short orientation around the camp, an introduction to the field staff, and some formal lectures on African Wildlife Conservation to prepare them for life as much as possible while on the programme.

Before you head out onto the reserve, you will undergo extensive training to ensure that you will be able to effectively contribute to the research on the local wildlife. Some of the training participants can expect to add to their skillset is how to carry out radio tracking and monitoring of all the collared predators, mammal and bird identification, ecology and bush first aid.

Participants should expect some long days, with a typical day involving up to 12 hours collecting data. While out on the reserve, you will be tracking the wildlife and conducting vital research, usually between dawn and dusk when the weather is cooler and the animals are most active. Our main focus is usually on the large predators such as the lions, leopards, cheetahs and hyena but occasionally also involves herbivores such as elephants. When not out on the reserve, your time will either be spent working on data entry, miscellaneous camp duties or conducting educational days within the local communities, highlighting the importance of conservation.

Afternoons and early evenings will be spent with your assigned mentor, where you will undergo extra training and activities in order to further develop your skills. This may involve watching presentations on certain theory topics which you will then need to base an assignment upon as well as weekly written assessments and oral and field discussions with your mentor. At the end of the internship, there will be a final evaluation, which will assess your competencies against the criteria set out as well as a professional recommendation.

Project Details

As well as being prepared for changes in what is an evolving project, exact project details are also always subject to change due to weather conditions, time of year and game movements.

Overall, we have regular contact with our partners, the reserve managers and other members of the broader conservation and research community to determine our areas of focus.

A typical expedition may involve the detailed monitoring of predators (lion, leopard, cheetah, hyena); herbivore sex/age ratio and its effect on predator movement; elephant impact vegetation surveys to monitor the impact on sensitive areas of the reserve; community projects that teach the importance of conservation. Other activities and ecological studies can also include darting/fitting radio collars to predators or invasive vegetation species eradication.

From a personal perspective, you will increase your knowledge of the South African environment, its importance and the threats to it, and help to increase both local and global knowledge and awareness, while contributing to our overall goals and objectives.

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.

Leadership Course
The focus of this course is to develop the participant’s teamwork and leadership skills by equipping them with skills to lead teams and support logistics. Interns will be completing weekly written assignments as well as oral and field discussions. The course will involve the participants watching presentations to learn theory or working on their assignments during the evenings or afternoons after having completed their field work. A mentor will be assigned to the intern and there will be weekly one-on-one meetings to provide feedback and weekly assessment on their progress. After successful completion of the internship and the final evaluation, a certificate and professional reference will be given to the qualifying participants.

How this project makes a difference
We spend 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.

Free Time

Volunteering with us 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 program.

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 us. Our Limpopo field teams have helped us put together the following information on trips and travel options in South Africa!

Included Side Trips
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
You 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 minute 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 and hiking, or just chill out with a picnic lunch at one of the many nearby waterfalls.

Further Travelling 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.

Costs

The programme lasts between 2 and 12 weeks and costs as follows:
2018:
6 weeks £2,665
8 weeks £3,175
10 weeks £3,685
12 weeks £4,195

2019:
6 weeks £2,905
8 weeks £3,415
10 weeks £3,925
12 weeks £4,435

Departure Dates

  • 2018 – 18 Aug 2018, 15 Sep 2018, 13 Oct 2018
  • 2019 – 12 Jan 2019, 09 Feb 2019, 09 Mar 2019, 06 Apr 2019, 04 May 2019, 01 Jun 2019, 29 Jun 2019, 27 Jul 2019, 24 Aug 2019, 21 Sep 2019, 19 Oct 2019

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
  • First Aid & CPR training and certification
  • Leadership and Teamwork certification
  • 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)
  • Telemetry training as relevant
  • Weekly evaluation with your mentor
  • Welcome meeting
  • Wildlife identification techniques

What’s Not Included

  • Additional drinks and gratuities
  • Extra local excursions
  • Flights
  • International and domestic airport taxes
  • Medical and travel insurance
  • Personal kit
  • Police or background check (where necessary)
  • Visa costs

Register your interest

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 them as ‘life changing’. Their 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 their programs.