If you’ve been searching online for wildlife opportunities to gain some in-person, practical experience, you may be restricted by the cost or quality of the options out there. For this reason, we’ve designed an exclusive package just for those passionate about endangered species that is both affordable and of high quality. It’s built around our principles of collaboration, credibility, and accessibility by connecting communities and exceptional projects and experts.
Ethical, specialised rhino orphanage
Selecting only a small number of students per three week slots, the Zululand Rhino and Endangered Species Experience will aim to inspire you with a combination of rhino rehabilitation, pangolin protection, and reserve management. The experience includes the following highlights…
- Inspiring rhino rehabilitation (& pangolin protection when possible)
- Game reserve and wildlife orphanage experience
- Credible wildlife vets (on request)
- Practical clinical EMS and AHEMS sign-offs (when possible)
- 24-hour support crew
- Professional airport pick up and drop off
- Community activities and conservation topics
What you will be doing
Focus – Rhino Orphanage
Project – Zululand Rhino Orphanage
Summary – It is important to note that times vary depending on the age of the orphans at the facility and the time of the year. If an orphan is still on the milk you can have between 1 and 6 feeds during the day as well as the possibility of night feeds. In the summer months, your day will start as early as 5 a.m. whereas, in winter months, the starting time may be as late as 7 a.m.
Your morning typically starts with preparing and letting the rhinos out into their larger daytime boma, once a week during this time the rhinos will also be weighed. After letting the rhinos out, you will assist with the cleaning of their night-time bomas, this includes removing the dung and old hay, as well as cleaning their shelter and water troughs. After this, you will help weigh and prepare dry food (hay) for the rest of the day. Typically, this process takes about 2 hours. Milk feed times depend on the age of the current orphans, you will be provided with this schedule upon arrival.
During the middle of the day, you will get time to relax. You can also use this time to assist with other duties such as simple admin work/ data input, or cleaning the kitchen when you are on shift. This time after the morning duties is also when you might get the opportunity to get involved with community work, and wildlife conservation work in the greater area.
In the afternoons you will assist carers with bringing the rhinos in for the night and ensure they have enough dry food. Currently, we have 2 hippos in our care who will also be fed in the afternoons.
Typically your day will finish by the early evening.
Conservation & Reserve Management
Focus – Reserve conservation
Projects – Zululand Conservation Trust
Summary – This includes their rare pangolin rehabilitation and release, K9 dog training, APU patrols, wildlife tracking, and reserve maintenance and administration.
Wildlife Vet Shadow (1-2 days per week / when possible)
Focus – Shadow an experienced wildlife vet
Summary – Observe practice clinical procedures and reserve procedures like observing darting/capture techniques when possible. We aim to include the following – Assist with rehabilitation, Human-wildlife conflict, anti-poaching, and conservation techniques, Husbandry skills – handling, Husbandry skills – observation. When possible – Husbandry skills – physical exam, Husbandry skills – reproduction, Husbandry skills – routine health care.
Focus – Community Education
Projects – Zululand Conservation Trust
Summary – The Zululand Conservation Trust is committed to the conservation of endangered species, whilst maintaining and supporting partnerships with neighbouring communities. More details are here.
*We aim to include and allow you to sign off on the below topics. Please note that when working with wildlife, wildlife vets, and wildlife conservation there are times when ethics or circumstances do not always allow schedules to run according to plan.
Clinical EMS (when possible):
Observe/participate in clinical procedures
Rhino de-horning (numbers dependent)
Wildlife and/or captive routine healthcare
Assist with wildlife rehabilitation
Human-wildlife conflict, anti-poaching, and conservation techniques
Conservation in the community
Our accommodation is quite unique! It consists of a bedroom with an ensuite bathroom in a converted shipping container. The room has two single beds, a shelf, and an air conditioner. The bathroom has a toilet, shower, and hand basin. There is Wi-Fi available.
*Please note: we will have 2-8 participants at a time and they will be required to share living arrangements.
We have a fully equipped communal kitchen for our staff and participants. Participants will need to cover their own food costs as we do not provide food but will provide support and arrangements. A trip to town once a week will allow participants to buy what they need.
We are situated in a low-risk Malaria area – Northern KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. We advise participants to consult with their doctor for any vaccinations or about the use of malaria tablets before their travels to South Africa.
Book an interview here.
A deposit request to secure your spot will be sent to you.
Personalised support then follows – this includes payment plans and trip planning. Online planning is available here.
Costs and Dates
Enquire for availability.
Pre-arranged Monday arrival at Richard’s Bay Airport (or Durban Airport by specific arrangement) where you will be collected by our team (please arrive by 13:00 pm on your arrival day in order to meet our transfer time).
These airports are reached via a 1-hour connecting flight from Johannesburg OR Tambo Airport.
Contact us for details and help coordinating flight arrivals and departures.
Please confirm all flights with us before booking!
Starting at £75 GBP / $90 USD / *R1500 ZAR (subject to change) per day (2 weeks minimum).