This project has a number of long-term goals, the ultimate goal being to raise awareness and help preserve the precious African environment. This project contributes to conservation efforts by creating a photographic database, which can be used as an educational tool and for animal identification purposes. Volunteers then apply these resources to educating the local community about environmental conservation.
What's not Included
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.
During the first 4 weeks of your stay, you will be able to:
- Improve photography skills while working alongside professional photographers
- Take pictures of the extensive wildlife on regular game drives
- Learn and photograph smaller species of flora and fauna on bush walks
- Help to create a photo database for awareness and educational purposes
- Help raise awareness in the local community about the importance of conservation
- Assist on conservation initiatives within the park, for example, alien plant control, soil erosion, or bush encroachment
- You may also be given the opportunity to help use your existing and new found knowledge by discussing conservation education
As part of assisting the research team during your additional weeks, you will assist in building the database for records of animals and the landscape as well as contribute to documentation of erosion, spot patterns, whisker patterns, etc. During this time, you will develop your photographic skills as well as your knowledge of the animals on the reserve. If you choose to stay on beyond the 4 week photography course, you will also have the opportunity to visit neighboring reserves.
A typical day: You should be prepared for an early 6:00 am start at which point you may head out for a photography game drive and return for breakfast around 9:30 am. You will then participate in an photography or conservation-related before having lunch. Your afternoon project will begin around 1:00 pm and could be going on a game drive or assisting with conservation education. Your day will finish around 4:30 pm when you'll return to the lodge to edit your pictures. Dinner will be at 6:30 pm, followed by time to relax and hang with fellow volunteers.
Please take note of the project's minimum requirements:
- Minimum age 18
- Your own photographic equipment including an SLR digital camera with at least an 18-55 mm lens (100-400 mm recommended), battery charger, 8GB memory card, and a tripod.
- Basic English
- Good physical fitness
- Immunizations (please consult your local travel clinic)
- National police clearance form
Project Orientation (Included):
Upon arrival, you will have a comprehensive orientation facilitated by the project volunteer coordinator that includes:
- A 3-day wildlife photography course taught by an award winning photographer
- Overview of the aims of the project and the role as a volunteer
- An introduction to where volunteers will be staying
- Optional basic language lessons - volunteers will learn some basic words & sentences in Zulu, the local language
- An introduction to the photographic database
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:
- 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
- fish eagles that roam the area
- 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!
- Tremisana Lodge, Balule Big 5 Reserve