African Elephant Research

Volunteering Program in South Africa

Program available for solo travellers 

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The park was created as a result of the emergency situation of elephants in the surrounding forests. More than 100 years ago there were 400-500 wild animals in the area, in 1994 it was only a single elephant. Recent research has shown that there are about 6 elephants in the forests today.

The park covers about 100 hectares of forest and farmland and is home to the herd of African elephants, ranging in age from 2-21 years old. Care is one of the best in the country. The facilities are world-class and the park follows the concept of ‘free-ranged controlled environment’ as a controlled, yet free and natural environment for the elephants. The herd can move freely on the site. If they are hungry, they can go to their known feeding stations.

Important Information:
  • Duration: 1 – 12 Weeks
  • Region: Garden Route, South Africa
  • Price per person: From 885€
  • Included: Transfers, Accommodation, and Volunteer Activities. 
  • Physical Work 40% 40%
  • Research 80% 80%
  • Observation 70% 70%

Role of the volunteer

The park does not have the same concept as many parks in Asia: you can not touch the elephants constantly, they wash, feed, etc. Of course, there are these opportunities, but the focus is on the free movement of animals and not on the “standing by” for tourists. Volunteers help with all daily tasks in the elephant park. This includes research, marketing, maintenance of the site, workshops and information events for visitors, education project in a neighboring school, etc.

You support the elephant guides at work, help with medical care (if necessary), clean the elephant beds, prepare the food, and bottle the baby elephants (if a baby is in the park). You can also help with the research, observe the elephant’s behavior, collect data, evaluate it, etc. It can also include night observations and collecting manure and other samples for physiological analysis. Some tasks can involve very long observation periods. So you should be physically fit.

In the park, you have a unique opportunity to get close to the elephants and make personal contact with them. An experience that you will surely never forget! If you are interested in elephants and want to work with them and their protection, this is the project for you.

The working hours

There are no fixed working hours because it always depends on the chosen tasks. An “elephant day” usually begins at 6:30am and ends at 5:30pm. You usually work Monday-Friday, but you may also need to help out on the weekend. If you still want to travel during your time in South Africa, you should do that after working in the park.

Please note that the tasks always depend on the current needs of the park and can vary. So you should be flexible and get involved in different work. The best reward is certainly when the elephants recognize each other after a while and start trusting you!

Starting dates:

2023:

1-Week Program:

Month Starting Date(s)
January 2023 22/01/2023
February 2023 Fully booked
March 2023 Fully booked
April 2023 16/04/2023
May 2023 28/05/2023
June 2023 Fully booked
July 2023 09/07/2023
August 2023 20/08/2023
September 2023 Fully booked
October 2023 01/10/2023
November 2023 12/11/2023
December 2023 03/12/2023

3-Week Program:

Month Start Date(s)
January 2023 Unavailable
February 2023 Unavailable
March 2023 Unavailable
April 2023 03/04/2023 & 24/04/2023
May 2023 15/05/2023 
June 2023 05/06/2023 & 26/06/2023
July 2023 17/07/2023
August 2023 07/08/2023 & 28/08/2023
September 2023 18/09/2023
October 2023 09/10/2023 & 30/10/2023
November 2023 20/11/2023
December 2023 11/12/2023

 

Accommodation & Meals

You live directly in the park. There are five bedrooms (with 2-3 beds), each with its own shower and toilet. Furthermore, there is the office and a library with TV and a fireplace in the house. There is WiFi, which you can share.

Food

You take care of the food yourself. There is a restaurant in the park, which is open daily from 8:30am – 5:00pm.

Bedroom at the African elephant research project in South Africa

The Booking Process

1. Complete our FREE application form

Complete our free online application form indicating when you would like to start and how long you want to participate. We will respond to your request within 24 hours.

2. We send you a invoice and contract

Once we have confirmation of your placement, we will send a invoice and service agreement. You will have two weeks to accept the offer.

3. Deposit payment to secure your booking

Once you have paid the deposit, we will confirm your placement. The balance of your invoice is only payable two weeks prior to arrival. 

elepahnts at the volunteer research project

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