Big 5 Wildlife Reserve

Volunteering Program in South Africa

Program available for solo travellers.

Apply now

Ever wanted to experience the Big 5 and learn all about these animals? In this Animal Adventure near Port Elizabeth, you live and work in a Big 5 reserve!

It is an exciting animal welfare project where you experience more than a safari. The project is located near a beautiful small coastal town. There are great beaches, beach bars, and everything your heart desires.

Important Information:
  • Duration: 2 – 12 Weeks
  • Region: Eastern Cape, South Africa
  • Price per person: From 1535€
  • Included: Transfers, Accommodation, 3 Meals Daily, and Volunteer Activities. 
  • Physical Work 90% 90%
  • Research 55% 55%
  • Community Work 51% 51%

Role of the volunteer

There is a permanent volunteer co-ordinator who will be your point of contact throughout your stay. You learn everything from her, you will work closely with her and you can ask her all your questions. Her motto: “Do every activity with enthusiasm and the best of your ability. The more you are in, the more you are going to get out of this experience. Work hard, play hard, and have fun! “ 

It also supports a community project where volunteers can teach English and other subjects at a local farm school.

Volunteer Tasks:

The tasks in the project are manifold. The important thing is that you are ready to immerse yourself in life there and help where help is needed. This is how you experience the normal course of such a project and gain insight into different areas of work.

Volunteers are involved in the following aspects:

• Research 
• Conservation Management 
• Education 
• Community Development


  • You observe elephants and their patterns of movement, analyze the influence on the vegetation and collect data.
  • Another important project in this area is the observation of lions.
  • Some of the animals are equipped with chips, so you learn how to use tracking systems and what to look for.
  • Surveillance and investigation of the leopard population in the reserve using cameras is also one of the tasks.
  • Volunteers check the cameras, swap out the memory cards, collect the footage and much more.
  • There is also a project to catalog the birds in the reserve and study their breeding behavior.

Conservation Management:

  • Animal counting
  • Removal of invasive plants
  • Erosion control
  • Removal of old fences
  • Road maintenance
  • Parasite control

In addition, there is sometimes the opportunity for volunteers to participate in extraordinary work, such as capturing wild animals, the incorporation of new animals into the reserve or fire management. During your stay, you will participate in numerous bush walks, game drives, and sleep outs in the bush. You will not forget these experiences so fast!

Education & Community Development:

  • If you want, you can get involved in a small local farm school with students aging between 5-14 years old; there are hardly any teachers and materials so that the help of volunteers is very welcome.
  • You work there once a week, where you can teach a variety of subjects in English or do sports with the children.
  • For example, a group of volunteers have renovated a classroom so your own ideas are welcome.
  • If you want to add a social aspect to your stay, this is a great opportunity!

Volunteer Working Hours:

  • As a volunteer, you will work from Mondays – Fridays from 07:30 AM – 05:00 PM
  • 1 – 2-hour lunch breaks during workdays
  • Weekends are free time
  • Optional activities are sometimes organized by the project for weekends.

Important Information Regarding the Project:

  • Any age limitations to the project? Volunteers between 18 – 60 years may apply. If you are older, you will be required to complete and sign a form.
  • When was the project founded? The project was founded in 2004. 
  • How many volunteers can help? 10 Volunteers at any given time. 
  • Can I volunteer only for certain periods of the year? You can volunteer all year round. The project is extremely popular, so be sure to book well in advance to ensure that your place is confirmed.

    Accommodation & Meals

    There are 2 options for accommodation when volunteering at the wildlife station:

    • Volunteer rooms (up to 3 persons per room of the same sex)
    • Large tented accommodation (2 persons of the same sex or couples)

    Summary of the accommodation:

    • Shared accommodation (Comfortable beds, bedding & pillows are provided)
    • Shared bathroom facilities with hot watered showers powered by solar energy
    • Electricity is available with sockets available in the common areas

    It’s very important to keep in mind that you will be living in the wilderness and should be prepared to adapt to the circumstances you find yourself in during your Namibian adventure!


    3 Meals are provided daily:

    • Breakfast: Bread and cereals
    • Lunch: Pasta, wraps, burgers
    • Dinner: Fish, meat, vegetables with rice, potatoes, etc

    Please inform us when applying if you have any special dietary requirements.

      Bedroom at the big 5 wildlife volunteer project in South Africa
      Bedroom at the big 5 wildlife volunteer 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. 

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