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Spend 14 nights working alongside wildlife conservationists in the Garden Route of South Africa as they work to protect Africa’s greatest treasure, its wildlife. Spend four to five days a week, eight hours a day on game reserves undertaking wildlife research, conservation projects, and use this as an opportunity to photograph and hike in the beautiful Fynbos biome. You will stay at the beach in the coastal town of Hartenbos and travel with supervisors to the reserve. You will also assist in additional conservation activities such as beach clean-ups, data entry, and wildlife and vegetation surveys. Weekends (Saturdays and Sundays) are left free for you to participate in additional activities and sightseeing, at additional cost. Not a standard safari, be a volunteer conservationist!
The accommodation is self-catering villas located beachside in Hartenbos. Free wifi is available in the shared lounge, in house restaurant is available at additional cost, in house bar, secure gated access, on-site security staff, and pool are also onsite.
The Wildlife Conservation Program is a unique internship and volunteer opportunity that gives wildlife enthusiasts of all ages and backgrounds an opportunity to get involved in the conservation and sustainability of African wildlife and ecosystems. All volunteers, interns, and students are critical in the continuation of research and conservation efforts.
Volunteers, interns, and students spend five days per week assisting in various capacities of wildlife conservation. This can be in the form of fieldwork collecting data, analyzing and entering data into the systems, or in the way of workshops and discussion days with the seasoned team members.
You leave evenings and weekends open which allows the chance to explore South Africa and take part in various cultural and tourist activities. Based in the beautiful coastal town of Hartenbos, South Africa the volunteers, interns, and students have a unique experience of working hands-on in conservation on a free-roaming wildlife reserve while living within walking distance to blue flag beaches.
Operating with the embodiment of Nkonzo Wildlife Research ideals and goals, the mantra of “Educate Act Empower” is nowhere more evident than in the Wildlife Conservation Program. Not only are students directly involved in protecting and studying African wildlife and ecosystems but they also undergo educational sessions where the focus is on teaching the bigger picture through the better understanding of conservation biology, animal behavior, animal ethics and tourism, human-animal coexistence, and the many areas of conservation.
Students of the program are assisting in critical hands-on research and conservation initiatives in the field that impact the wildlife and environment in both short term and long term goals and solutions. These two areas, Educate and Act, work together to foster and facilitate the most important aspect of these ideals, to Empower.
Through hands-on initiatives and education, students leave Nkonzo with a better understanding of the problems plaguing African wildlife, the efforts being made to assuage these issues, and how they can continue to work with conservation and make a change for the better of wildlife, ecosystems, and the planet as a whole.
When participating in the Wildlife Conservation Program, students are involved in various conservation initiatives and projects within the game reserve. Projects and initiatives are based on previously founded ecological and cognitive knowledge to better improve the welfare of current and future wildlife in Southern Africa.
Students assist in all aspects of current reserve needs regarding projects and daily operations. Primary student work will be dedicated to assistance within wildlife management regarding various long-term projects in the way of conservation research.
All volunteers, interns, and students rotate through the various initiatives at Nkonzo when participating as a student in the Wildlife Conservation Program, this includes Nkonzo Wildlife Research's research. Current work is being done with white rhino social behavior, elephant habitat utilization of Fynbos, wildlife and roads which is done in partnership with the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT), Cape mountain zebra and territoriality, and large ungulate migration. As a volunteer, intern, or student you will be working alongside Nkonzo Wildlife Research members in research to observe, collect data, develop projects, and data entry.
Please keep in mind that the time spent on the various projects will be determined by monthly quotas, weather, and animal cooperation. As a volunteer, you will also be trained in some “bush basics” such as survival, track and sign, reading animal behavior, and ethical approach methods.
The team takes great pride in only ethical operations and approaches and find it important to provide the information and understanding to those involved in why Nkonzo Wildlife Research operates in the field the way they do.
All participants must be of reasonably good health, physically and mentally. Students will be required to work days and partial days on foot (the other days will be spent primarily in a vehicle / stationary). During on foot days, the team hikes to access the areas needed to complete the work.
The trails used are sometimes abandoned roads that are no longer vehicle accessible, or they may be hiking trails and animal pathways. Students must be able to hike up and down hills and across this terrain whilst carrying their own backpack that contains their provided lunch, drinking water, personal snacks, additional layers (weather dependant), and their share of the day’s equipment such as nets, camera traps, clipboards, binoculars, reference books etc.
The team stops frequently on hikes for data collection, tracking, water breaks, and training but students can expect to hike between 5 and 10 kilometers on a given day. Please note that this layout of a week may change based on workshop days, animal availability, etc.
Not a traditional safari, you are not participating in the usual safari experience. Instead, 4-5 days per week you spend roughly eight hours per day on the reserve assisting in wildlife conservation and research initiatives.
You arrive at George Airport where you are met and personally transported to their beachside accommodation. After a chance to settle in, you undergo introductions and orientation regarding the area, conservation projects, schedule, and other details. Following the introduction, you are hosted for a complimentary welcome braai.
Cold breakfast is included daily at the accommodation and you will depart for the reserve at 7:30 a.m. Days are split into two shift (morning and afternoon) each with a break part way through and a longer break for an included packed lunch in the field.
Shifts include collecting behavioral data on white rhinoceroses, monitoring the feeding ecology of Cape mountain zebra, trailing movements of elephant herds, high profile animal training, hiking, etc. You return to the accommodation at around 5 p.m. You also assist in activities such as data entry, beach cleanups, aviary surveys, etc.
Weekends are free for your leisure. You can spend time at the pool or beach, enjoy the local shops, or spend time at local tourist attractions.
The supervisors have great experience working throughout Africa in various aspects of conservation such as wildlife management, anti-poaching, guiding and more. They also hold research and academic qualification specializing in animal behavior, ecology, and conservation management.
Included in the package is cold breakfast seven days a week and are provided basic lunches in the reserve on workdays. You are responsible to supply your own dinners. As you stay in Hartenbos, you are also within walking distance to many restaurants, Hartenbos Seafront, shops, and take-away places.
There are various activities that can be booked for weekends and downtime. Nkonzo also leads multiple weekend trips (2 or 3 nights) to lesser-known areas of the Western and Northern Cape that are exclusive to Nkonzo volunteers. Please note, these activities are not included and are available at the students’ own expense.
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