Elephant volunteering in South Africa

Project Overview

Our Elephant Project is an informative and fun educational programme which involves learning about wildlife conservation along South Africa’s stunning Garden Route. Focussed on outcome-based learning objectives, the programme incorporates innovative approaches to understanding elephant behaviour. You’ll help manage the care of the elephants, for instance. You’ll also learn animal husbandry and welfare techniques while, at the same time, understanding the importance of procedures and protocols.

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This programme provides a unique insight into both the quasi-captive and the wild roaming populations of African Elephants and the way that they have adapted to change. Volunteers will leave the programme far more knowledgeable about elephants than before, together with many precious memories and friendships.

The programme consists of daily interactive and experiential learning and is structured in such a way that each and every volunteer will leave with new knowledge and skills to add to their ‘life CV’.

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What's included
  • 24/7 support in case of emergencies
  • Accommodation
  • Airport Pick up
  • English speaking coordinator
  • Meals
  • Orientation
What's not included
  • Airport drop off
  • Flights
  • Travel insurance
  • Vaccination
  • Visa

Project Itinerary

*The minimum duration of this project is 2 weeks. However, to get the full experience we advise a duration of 4 weeks.

During the first week of the project an instructor will guide you on the principals and protocols of elephant husbandry, care, welfare and management. You’ll get ‘down and dirty’ with the life of an elephant in a quasi-captive environment. That means managing the animal’s physical needs on a daily basis, as well as undertaking physical repairs and maintenance of the habitat when necessary. At the end of each day you’ll feedback on your experiences.

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Week two will involve employing various tools, techniques and mechanisms to record and monitor the daily behavioural life of the elephants. This will be fedback to the group via written accounts, images and recorded data. As well as being a valuable experience for the volunteer, this also aids with the ongoing elephant management in this particular part of South Africa.
In the third week,  gap year volunteers are transported to Addo Elephant National Park near Port Elizabeth. This is to partake in a five day elephant observation SAFARI experience, monitoring wild elephant behaviour on a daily basis. The effect of the elephants on the ecology of an area will come under scrutiny. This prompts us to investigate how all the animals in Addo relate to one another, as well as look at their unique habitats and survival success.

In the final week of the South African gap travel Elephant Project volunteers will undertake daily chores while compiling a group presentation on what their learning experience with the elephants and their ecology has been. A bound hardback copy of this presentation will be given to everyone involved in the volunteer project. In the meantime gap volunteers will learn of other regional and local conservation projects and research initiatives in South Africa.


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