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As recently as 1975, over 200,000 lions may have roamed the African continent. In 2002, estimates put the population between 23,000 and 39,000, representing an 80 – 90% decline in less than 30 years. This program specifically focuses on the conservation of lions and leopards, both of which have experienced decreased populations due to hunting and poaching.

The research, monitoring, tracking and data collection carried out throughout this project is aimed at understanding the reproductive, territorial, hunting, and social behaviors of the lion and leopard populations, and plays a vital role in the ongoing conservation and protection of Africa’s big cats.

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Location of the Project:  The Greater Kruger Area, South Africa
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Project length:  Min 2 weeks – Max 12 weeks
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Arrival Airport:  Kruger Mpumalanga International airport
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Volunteer Work:  Conservation, animal research and monitoring
Age:  18 - 70. Age Exceptions: this project accepts volunteers who are 16 years old with signed documentation from a parent or guardian.
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Number of Volunteers:  Up to 8 international volunteers
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Important Note:  Transportation: daily transfers between accommodations and project site. Orientation: all necessary training and introductions provided upon arrival.

What's Included

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Accommodations:  Shared room in volunteer lodge
Food:  Three meals a day
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Airport Transfers:  Included on arrival and departure day
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Insurance:  Comprehensive travel health insurance with volunteer abroad coverage
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Support:  Local in-country team and 24hr emergency support

What's not Included

Flights, personal expenses, visa (if required)

This project is based in the Greater Kruger Area close to the famous Kruger National Park – one of the largest game reserves in Africa and home to Africa's 'Big 5' species. The park stretches across the Limpopo and Mpumalanga provinces in northeastern South Africa. With over 500 bird species, 100 reptiles, 150 mammal species, multiple archaeological sites, and an equally diverse array of trees and flowers, Kruger truly exemplifies the majesty of Africa.

You will have the opportunity to work side-by-side with researchers to assist them in data collection and observations of the animals. Your daily duties will include:

  • Collate and record research data on the lions and leopards. This will involve being in the bush to observe hunting, social, breeding and territorial behaviour at various times of the day
  • Collate and record research data during night drives to monitor nocturnal predator activity
  • Capture data as required by the reserve management team for their on-going endangered species work
  • Carry out physical work to help regenerate natural bush from reclaimed farmland, including prevention of further soil erosion and the removal of old fences to avoid injuries to wildlife
  • Contribute to the long-term strategy of removal of alien plants from the reserveYou may also be given the opportunity to help use your existing and new found knowledge by discussing conservation education 
Your time will be divided approximately as follows: 
  • Research and monitoring: 40-50%
  • Conservation work: 30-40%
  • Data recording: 10-20%

Internet
Internet:  WiFi is available for a small fee.
Laundry
Laundry:  Laundry services are available for a small fee.
Accommodations
Accommodations:  During your placement, you will stay in comfortable shared accommodation in the volunteer lodge located within the Greater Kruger Area. Standard rooms are spacious with up to four people per room and en-suite bathrooms.
Food:  Three meals a day are provided. Breakfast is self-serve and includes cereals, toast, coffee, and tea. Lunch and dinner are full meals and are prepared by the on-site cooks.

Please take note of the project's minimum requirements:

  • Minimum age 18
  • Basic English
  • Genuine passion and concern for animals and the environment
  • Good physical fitness
  • Ability to work in a team
  • National police clearance form

Travel Extras (Not Included):
There is an abundance of places to go and sights to see during your free time in South Africa. The following activities are available for an additional fee: 

Day Tours:

  • Panorama Route: Enjoy a scenic route along Mpumalanga Escarpment and Blyde River Canyon, the third largest canyon in the world
  • Blyde River Adventures: Head to the Blyde River Canyon and try out kloofing, extreme hiking, white river rafting, tubing, or micro light flying
  • Boat Trip: Explore the Kadishi Tufa waterfall and The Three Rondawels and see if you can spot the hippos, crocodiles or
  • Paintball: Try out paintballing in the natural bush environment!
  • Aerial Cable Trail and Elephant Interaction: Go on the longest trail cable in Africa and stop to see South Africa's largest land mammal along the way
  • Full Day in Kruger National Park: Spend a day exploring the vast reserve with an experienced tour guide 
  • Nyani Cultural Village and Roots of Rhythm Show: Learn about the origins, journeys and lifestyles of the tribes that settled in the Limpopo through song and dance
  • Kapama Sunset Safari: Check out nocturnal animals you wouldn't be able to see in the daylight!
Weekend Trips:
  • Tremisana Lodge, Balule Big 5 Reserve
  • Swaziland
  • Mozambique

Volunteer Experiences
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