The Amakhala Foundation is home to the community and conservation projects of the Amakhala Game Reserve, as well as the educational projects of the Conservation Centre. It was established in 2009 to coincide with the Reserve’s 10th anniversary, and is overseen by a Trust with five members. The Foundation is funded by outside donor bodies as well as through the payment of bed levies from Amakhala’s commercial lodges.
Conservation and community volunteering in the Eastern Cape of South Africa
The Amakhala Foundation focuses on the following projects:
- Environmental Education: the programme aims to cultivate an understanding and love of nature in the children who visit the Amakhala Conservation Centre (ACC), thus increasing awareness and concern so that future generations can enjoy our natural habitats.
- Craft Centre: the programme gives unemployed members of the local community the opportunity to generate income through the sale of beaded articles, sewing items and printed items.
- Isipho Charity Trust: the independent charity trust is operating through a Centre in the nearby town of Paterson and supports over 300 children through 2 preschool classes, an after-care programme, feeding scheme, materials supports for schooling, psycho-social support and provides much needed HIV/AIDS education in the local community.
- Education and Skills Development: the training programmes enable staff members to take on new positions and responsibilities.
The Conservation Volunteer Program (Run through Safari Lodge owner Mike Weeks), are the veins and arteries behind the heartbeat of Reserve conservation. For those “wildlife tourists” seeking an experience which will enable them to explore, no matter how short a time, a new ecosystem and all its inhabitants awaits them. Not all these visitors have the same motivations. Some may be seriously interested in the conservation of endangered species, the maintenance of bio-diversity or scientific research in a particular habitat. Others may just wish to photograph wildlife. All aspects of conservation are addressed in this course, the longer you stay, the more in depth your experience will be.
No matter how short or how long you have intended to stay, Amakhala Volunteer program caters for any duration. However, we do recommend a minimum of 8 weeks, as we want you to fully experience the African Bush in as much time as you can possibly cater for. The reserve is continuously monitoring and managing game throughout the year. As a Conservation Volunteer you will assist ‘behind the scenes’ on various ongoing conservation projects and reserve priorities. Our duty is to provide the correct and up to date scientific information on the reserve and its animals to the people who make the life changing decisions within the reserve.