The Big 5 Wild gap volunteer project offers you a unique experience in the African bush and gives you the opportunity to both observe and be a part of the research and monitoring teams on the reserve. The focus of this project is key species; elephants, lions, hyenas and leopards. You will also be involved with monitoring breeding initiatives for buffalo, Livingston eland and nyala.
The Reserve is a vast Big 5 nature reserve covering an area of 25.000 hectares and sits in the Lowveld area, the home of nature conservation in South Africa. The monitoring work done here helps with management of the animals in the reserve.
The data collected is also made available to students and researchers, as well as a number of national conservation projects, including the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT).
Whether on a monitoring drive, on foot, or observing the wildlife at a waterhole, all of your work will be done under the guidance of qualified rangers. As each activity has a pre-determined objective, you don’t only get to view the animals, but are also able to assist in the conservation of these species. You will be living close to many wild animals in the bush. Nothing beats being surrounded by a herd of elephants or a pride of lions and being able to spend time observing their individual traits and family dynamics.
At the end of the day, you’ll return to the camp to share your experiences over dinner around the open fire and then fall asleep to the sounds of the bush. Join us for what is, quite simply, the experience of a lifetime.
Volunteers will work 6 days a week.
Project start day. Town trip to pick up volunteers and restock supplies.
Early start on a set-route drive as part of our game counting programme to determine populations of general game. In the afternoon we depart for a monitoring drive to locate one of our key species of interest; lion, elephant, leopard or hyena.
Waterhole monitoring in the morning to determine species utilisation of the area. We set off for a drive in the afternoon to the breeding boma to monitor the buffalo,Livingstone eland and nyala.
Habitat work; we could be busy with exotic plant removal, erosion control or bush clearing. In the afternoon or evening, we head out on hyena monitoring and night patrol.
Early morning start, we will be out locating the elephants as part of the ongoing research into the elephant contraception programme. The afternoon involves monitoring bird species en-route to a sleep out under the stars with the Endangered Species project.
Habitat work in the morning, followed by an afternoon monitoring drive focusing on the lion population. The evening could involve a visit to the local pub or indulging in a typical South African braai (BBQ)
A planned outing or free day for volunteers to relax or head out on their own. In between activities, volunteers will receive a series of presentations on the work of the project, or how to approach dangerous game on foot, or possibly even a Zulu lesson. This time will also be used to transfer all data collected onto the computers and compile the weekly research report, as well as helping out with vehicle checks and cleaning.