Umkhondo Big 5 Wildlife Volunteering, Albertinia

Umkhondo Big 5 Wildlife Volunteering offers an up to month-long immersion and personal interaction with some of the most charismatic mammals in Africa, brought by a team of passionate and experienced wildlife staff. The allows up-close experiences with wild lions, elephants, buffalo, rhinos, and possibly the rarely occurring leopards, as well as other South African wildlife – all within malaria-free, private game reserves, to get to know Africa’s unique wildlife in a safe, controlled and responsible manner.

Their program is a once in a lifetime opportunity for aspiring wildlife conservationists or nature enthusiasts.  The program will demand much from participants, mentally and physically; however, the demands are well within the capabilities of most volunteers, and whilst being challenging, is both enjoyable and exciting.  It is an opportunity to learn invaluable new skills, experience Africa’s unique environment and wildlife, be part of the difference that returns the environment to its natural, original state.

Wildlife & Conservation Volunteering | Wildlife Capture and Care Training | Tracking, Animal behaviour & Wildlife management Training

At Umkhondo you will experience what it’s like to work on and run a Big-Five game reserve. Each day brings a new adventure… We take in five to ten volunteers at a time who work with the farm + wildlife teams where day to day tasks vary.

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Make your mark in African Conservation

Volunteer programme details:

GETTING your hands dirty is part of the job!

Wake to the early morning calls of the Hadeda birds (Ibis), after hearing the roar of lions through the night.  Get close to African elephants to admire the giants going about their daily activities.. Learn how to successfully manage and care for the animals on a game reserve.  Through walks, day and night game drives and sleep outs, you will be trained in the following subjects:

The main focus for this volunteer project is to return the property to its natural state and ensure a self-sustaining, functional ecosystem.

Here is some of what you can expect to experience at Umkhondo:

  • Game Counts
  • Telemetry Tracking & Cheetah Research
  • Animal Feeding
  • Erosion Control | Soil Rehabilitation
  • Alien Invasive Plant & Weed Removal
  • Fence Patrol | Maintenance & Bush Clearance
  • Important Specie Conditions & Parasite Monitoring
  • Road Maintenance & Bush Clearance
  • Animal Behaviour Studies & Research; Medicinal Plant Identification, Research & Collection
  • Anti Poaching & Night Drives | Patrols
  • Game capture and translocation
  • Basic soil studies
  • Fauna and flora, and related research
  • Basic vehicle maintenance and repairs
  • Boma elephant care and nutrition
  • Take part in different rural community projects
  • Learn some bush cooking skills “boskos”
  • Wilderness camp and basic survival skills (only for volunteers here for more than 4 weeks weather dependant)
  • Conservation projects (planting trees, seed harvesting etc.)
  • Marine ecology and beach clean ups (optional extra)

Your typical day may consist of the following:

  • Start the day with breakfast then followed by doing a rhino patrol to find the rhinos.  Every morning will include a basic tracking lesson where possible.
  • Tea break is at 09:30 in the reserve, after which you will start/continue with a project.  Projects include erosion control, road maintenance, alien plant removal, predator feeding and enclosure upkeep where needed, elephant boma cleaning, cutting browse for elephants, constructing vegetation exclusion plots, vegetation fixed point photography, and planting out trees and seeding tree species that occurred before agriculture.
  • Lunch at 13:00
  • Afternoons are used for research and monitoring. This includes dung sampling, game counts, species behavioural studies and research, water testing and treatment, plant, bird and insect identification, supplement feeding of certain species, small mammal surveys, etc.
  • Dinner
  • We also do night drives to identify nocturnal animals and plot their position and behaviour.


Contact your programme co-ordinator here or via the enquiry form below for a volunteer information pack.

Find out more about the Umkhondo Big 5 Wildlife Volunteering on Facebook here or visit their website here

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