Visiting South Africa is like visiting the best of Australia, the U.S. and Western Europe at the same time. Gigantic distances, varied and infinitely beautiful landscapes, beautiful and rugged coasts and cities, ranging from charming small and quaint villages to big cities with all that great cities have of good and evil. South Africa offers safari experiences in the rolling savannahs and beautiful nature. In addition, South Africa has the continent's most exciting city, Cape Town, with a colorful culture and spectacular natural wonders in its backyard.
As a volunteer you will work with and for animals. Unforgettable impressions of nature and wildlife, challenging tasks, perhaps a completely new outlook on life - here you can get the impression that is not available elsewhere. Our exciting wildlife projects with emphasis on preservation of nature, allows volunteers from around the world the opportunity to work with Africa's wildlife in a variety of tasks. We support several projects ranging from refuge for injured animals and the Kevin Richardson project that focuses on the breeding of lions and monitoring of elephants, rhinos and cheetahs. Volunteering in a nature reserve is an ideal way to experience the African bush and wildlife. You come into close contact with nature when you live out in the sanctuary amongst Africa's large animals. Try to imagine, waking up in the morning to the most beautiful sunrise and only 10 meters away stands an elephant watching you. When you volunteer you become part of a team carrying out practical duties in the sanctuary, this way you get a much deeper and more personal insight into the African nature compared to what you would get on a safari trip. South Africa has incredible natural wealth and the country is perfect for travelers craving for adventure. Are you into bird watching, surfing, diving, trekking and wildlife, South Africa is your destination.
IWASHERE invites individuals, couples, families, students, researchers and groups to volunteer in South Africa. A good command of English is recommended. Volunteers from all countries, backgrounds and experiences are welcome to participate in programs in South Africa. Everyone has something to contribute!
A typical week
The structure of the week may vary from project to project. As a volunteer you work approximately 4-8 hours a day and have weekly days off. Working days are planned with our project coordinator, it is possible to get time off if you need to do something such as going on a trip, just remember to inform the project coordinator in good time.
Breakfast with the other volunteers is usually between 7:30 and 8:30. Around 9-9:30 you depart for your workplace, where you will meet with the local people and plan your day. You have a lunch break during the day. For the most part, a workday ends between 14:00 and 17:00. After which you have free time to explore the local area or hang out with the other volunteers. In the evening you can visit a local restaurant with your friends.
When you arrive at the airport, you will be picked up by a project coordinator. You will then be taken to the guest house where you will be staying with other volunteers, who come from different parts of the world. All volunteers will receive information about the country, culture, project and given a tour of the city.
LIVING WITH BIG CATS (VOLUNTEER & INTERNSHIP)
In this project you will get the opportunity to work with some of Africa's largest and small cats. The farm where you will live serves as a wildlife preservation area for animals such as elephants, lions, cheetahs, hyenas, hippos, giraffes, wildebeests, zebras, warthogs, impala, waterbuck and where over 340 species of birds have been identified.
Our project is an hour from Johannesburg and 50 minutes from Pretoria and is spread out on 750 acres of pristine land. This project is well known throughout the world as they have over 480 film productions such Africano, Ollie, Okavango, Scout Safari, Wild at Heart, Life is Wild, Julia, Soldier Soldier, Coronation Street, Silent Witness, Animal Planet, Nat Geo Wild, The Big 5, Elephants hatching out of eggs in the desert, Plascon Wall and All, The World Cup's official ad and many more.
The animals that live permanently on the farm have either been traumatized or injured and have in many cases lost the ability to hunt and thus the ability to live out in the open. The farm also houses cats newly injured and need care and medical treatment, many of them being released back into the wild. The farm operates on the idea that it is their duty to protect and preserve all species. As a volunteer, you will help to support this goal and perform practical and daily duties for the animals on the farm.
A typical week
Volunteers work 6 days a week. On Saturdays, after checking up on everything on the farm some fun activities such as a visit to the Lesedi Village, Sterkfontein Caves or Chameleon Village will be arranged.
Monday - Friday
07:00 to 12:00
12:00 to 14:00 (lunch time)
2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
7:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m.
10:00 to 12:00 (excursion)
12:00 to 14:00 (lunch time)
2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. (safari ride or walk the elephants)
Your day off to relax, sleep, read or do anything you want.
• Bone, etc. left over from feeding animals and broken toys must be cleaned up.
• Clean water dams, bowls and give clean drinking water to the animals.
• Prepare food so it's ready for feeding time.
• Feed all animals on the farm.
• Repair the electric fence, as required.
All work on the farm is for the animals' sake. Some of the tasks on the farm are performed in order to raise money to buy food, medical expenses, upgrades and maintenance. It would really be appreciated if you help where it is needed!
LIVING WITH KEVIN RICHARDSON - THE LION WHISPERER (VOLUNTEER & INTERNSHIP)
Kevin Richardson Wildlife Sanctuary mission is a place for the purpose of wild species conservation through education, increasing awareness and funding, unfortunately many of these predators are dying because of habitat loss, hunting, disease and trafficking.
This place has a unique ability to attract people through Kevin Richardson s remarkable work with lions, he has a vision to raise awareness of the lions' situation and other predators in the wild and helps prevent their loss of habitat through human intervention, unscrupulous hunting and illegal trade. The reserve allows the animals care and the opportunity to live a full life, in an open and natural environment. The Reserve tries to raise awareness through documentaries, social media and tourism. In local areas such as Tshwane, schoolchildren are being taught that these predators future is in their hands and the difference they can make, both individually and collectively.
The important thing for Kevin is to provide the animals with the best living conditions while living in captivity, and he is always looking for new ways to ensure that the animals' lives are enriched by giving them the best care and love possible.
The most amazing thing about this project is that you have the opportunity to see the big five right where you live. The camp is surrounded by a fence to keep unwanted visitors out, but still leaves you with a real bush experience. The accommodation is run by the owner, whose attention is to detail and the warm South African hospitality, ensuring that all volunteers have a comfortable and memorable stay.
Facilities are as follows:
• Rooms (approx. 40/50m ²) where maximum space for 4 volunteers with a shower and toilet.
• A central living area with lounge and dining facilities
• TV and DVD player
• Pool for those hot summer days
• (BBQ) facilities
• Open air boma for evening socializing around the fire
• Staff who live on site
• Washing machine available
As a volunteer you will help with the following:
Working hours are 07:30 to 16:30, except on your day of arrival and departure. When working at a wild animal sanctuary, there will at times be unexpected events that may occur and may require longer working hours.
• Cleaning and maintenance on the farm
• Checking the fences and seeing if it is necessary for new fences or repairs to existing fences
• Creating new trails
• Removal of weeds
• Going for walks with Kevin and the adult lions
Please note that the meat fed to the lions comes from donations in the form of full animal carcasses, this way the project saves a lot of money. Preparation of food will require skinning and cutting of the meat, this can be difficult for some people. This is not a mandatory task, but it is encouraged to try it because it gives you a real sense of what it takes to keep these predators healthy.
Example of a week as a volunteer in this project:
Project coordinator from the reserve, will be waiting at the airport to pick you up. You will then be taken to the project and given an update on where you are to stay and the project itself.
After breakfast, all volunteers will be gathered and given a briefing on the tasks to be performed on the reservation. Volunteers will be divided into working groups and work plans will be awarded for the week ahead.
Volunteers will get a list of the tasks on the reserve. Tasks will then be divided and these can vary from week to week.
On Saturday, volunteers will usually attend a bush walk / hike through the five major reserves. At the end of the day it is possible to enjoy a boma braai with the other volunteers.
Volunteers are welcome to participate in organized sightseeing tours on Sundays; there is also the opportunity to relax after a long week.
Activities that can be offered are:
• A visit to the town of Cullinan known home of Cullinan Diamond Mines. This quaint little town has some lovely restaurants and little shops to visit. If you wish, there is also the opportunity to participate in a mine tour or lunch at one of the local restaurants.
• There will also be an opportunity to visit a nearby game lodge in the northern part of the reserve. There are almost always a lot of elephants in this area and this is a good place if you wish to go on a safari trip.
• A visit to Chameleon Village Craft Market, which sells various African crafts and a variety of outdoor restaurants were you can relax and enjoy your day off.
LIVING WITH LIONS (VOLUNTEER & INTERNSHIP)
Many people in South Africa have no means and no money to go to a national park to see the lions. This is something that only the more affluent in society can afford. Parks such as The Lion Park currently offer the disadvantaged in the community the opportunity to see lions. Lion Park is very focused on education; therefore they allow many schools to come to the park for reasonable prices and at times for free. This provides an opportunity to significantly inform people about the number of live lions in the wild. (The figure has dropped from about 300,000 to 23,000 in 2 decades!) Visitors and volunteers in the park play an important role in the preservation and care of the animals. The Reserve breeds the rare white lions that are now extinct in the wild and their survival depends on parks like this.
Lion Park is a member of PAAZAB (Zoological Institute of South Africa) and has high standards when it comes to the care that is required for all animals in the park. Parks like this also send animals to reputable zoos and institutions throughout the world, this way the rest of the world has the opportunity to appreciate the beautiful animals that Africa has to offer.
As a volunteer you will help with the following:
On arrival at the Lion Park, the best two weeks of your life will have begun. You will be assigned different tasks to perform on this project, a lot of your time will be spent socializing with the lions, and there will always be staff around you if you need help.
You will love waking up to a beautiful sunrise and ostriches and zebras walking just outside your tent. In the morning you will meet all the other volunteers in the kitchen where breakfast will be served.
At times there will be a lot of lion cubs, requiring constant attention from the staff and volunteers. Help will also be needed to prepare the food for the lions, clean-up, help the young lions practice hunting skills. You will constantly be in contact with the animals.
On this project, the volunteers live in safari tents with room for 4 per Tent. Electricity is available in the tents. You will have a very different view from the one you are accustomed to; your view will include the prospect of zebra, giraffe, onyx, springboks, impala and ostrich. At night you will hear the lions roar and the hyenas laughing, an experience you will not soon forget.
On this project, breakfast and lunch are included. Dinner is not included, however the kitchen is available to volunteers. Once a week, a member of staff will drive you to the grocery store were you are able to purchase your supplies. The staff will also drive you to a great African restaurant where you can eat dinner.
SOUTH AFRICA WHITE SHARK CAGE DIVING PROJECT Volunteer/Internship
Volunteer for the White Shark Project and become intergral to the conservation on the greatest and yet most misunderstood, predatory of the seas- the Great White Shark. Sharks are intelligent and vulnerable, and deserving of sympathy and respect. A complex and precious species, they are doing their best to survive.
As a Volunteer/intern you will receive training in White Shark biology; research, behaviour, conservation; shark attacks and basic seamanship, inclusive of anchoring positions, wind directions, and shark tourism.
Weather permitting; you will frequently go to sea, where you will become involved with all aspects os seamanship, shark conservation and ecotourism. You will work with sharks both above and below the water. You will observe the behavior and interactions of sharks around the boat. You will be taught how to get in and out of the cage and how to remain secure and safe once inside it. Participants in the cages are taught to meticulously record their observations of the pysical attributes and behaviour of the Great White Sharks.
Many other wiældlife specises on the island can also be viewed from the boat. The island is also also the breeding ground for Jackass Peguins, Cape Cormorants and Gannets. The Island in close proximity is a breeding mecca for Cape Fur seals and currently home to approximately 20 000 seals. In season, whales and the occasional dolphin can be spotted. This is a perfect habitat for the Great White.
Welcome and intoduction by WSP team leader
Lectures on a variety of shark-related topics
Boat and cage preparations pre- and post-launch
Participation in data recording and weekly collation of all data
On bad weather days, local excursions could include Cape Agulhas, Hermanus, Betty s Bay and the site of the Birkenhead shipwreck.
On certain days the boat is chartered exclusively for you and without tourists
The programme is usually 21 days but volunteers can stay on for longer if they wish. The project recommends you stay at least 14 days.
The programme runs throughout the year from the 1st & 15th of every month
YOU NEED TO BRING
Some clothing which you will not mind getting dirty/torn ect.
3 pairs of shorts/ slacks as part of our uniform when on our boat with tourists
A rain jackect or plastic windbreaker as well as some warm clothing as it can get quite cool on land and on the water
Non-slippery shoes to use on the boat- we recommend Wellingtons or `crocs`
You will be working at the Recycle Swop Shop on Tuesdays, so if you would like to bring contributions, they will be greatly appreciated.
NEED TO KNOW
The project recommends you arrive in South Africa a day before project start. If start on the 1st of the month be in South Africa on the 31st if you start on the 15th be in South Africa on the 14th.
INCLUDED IN THE PRICE
• Information and material on the project and country you have chosen
• Answers to your questions before departure
• Laundry service
• Accommodation in our guesthouse for volunteers
• Help from the local project coordinator during your entire stay
• Introduction courses
• Your personal donation to your workplace
Two project T-shirts
Rental of all diving equipment
• Certificate of Participation
NOT INCLUDED IN THE PRICE
• Airline tickets
• Personal expenses such as drinks etc.
• Transportation to and from any other airport other than upon arrival
• Local transport in South Africa
• Visa fees (please contact the South African embassy in good time)
Meals (you have to provide your own food)
Many thanks to Trina for her beautiful pictures and her description of how her trip has been in South Africa!
"I traveled to South Africa as a volunteer, which has always been my dream. I chose the project called" Living With Lions ", which is in a town just outside Johannesburg. An incredibly cozy tourist park, with a lot of exciting facilities and the sweetest staff you could wish for, we were well received right from the start and stayed in our safari tents with four other volunteers., there were countless great experiences such as; the ride to the crocodile farm, trip to Glen Afric where we saw elephants, ride to Pilansberg a real wild safari and completion at a shopping market, "Alex tour" in Lion Park, an animal trainer took us up close to lions, Quad Biking in the wild, free shopping tours and much more. Being a volunteer and traveling to South Africa cannot be described - it simply must be experienced, I am so glad I finally got to do it. All the many people I met, many close friendships with people from all over the world. All the time we got together with animals that normally we cannot be close to, lions, hyenas, cheetahs, giraffes and many more. My BIGGEST praise goes to two special people: my two Project co-coordinators Ronel and Princess! The sweetest people that took such good care of everyone and were available to help around the clock. They made the whole trip worth much more! "