Cape Sustain Able Volunteer Programme

The Program provides for the exclusive chance to engage with the San people amongst wildlife on a nature reserve dedicated to helping this unique culture and its community. Volunteers will experience the priviledged opportunity to learn survival skills from the San and to contribute towards local development and conservation. Above that all activities will take place in globally unique Cape Floral Kingdom.

The Volunteer program “Cape Sustain Able” offers volunteers the opportunity to a shared learning outdoor conservation experience in the Western Cape preserving the fauna and flora. It will allow Volunteers to assist in a number of rehabilitation and conservation activites and interact and interact with local communities. It is definately a hands on experience.

Full Course Details


Project Type: Conservation

Location: Cape Town, Western Cape

Accommodation: Clean basic accommodation in shared rooms, accommodation may be partically in tented safari camp, bathroom, linen

Meals: Three basic meals a day will be provided.

In cases of walks a meal will be a lunch package

Please note we cater for people with no dietary requirments as well as for vegetarians. If you have other dietary requirements, please check with our team before booking if we would be able to cater for you.

Age Range: N/A


San Cultural Experience:
Khwattu being the San Education Centre opens up huge opportunities to dive into the culture. The Volunteers will have the opportunity to learn more about the San Culture. They will learn to make fires using two sticks, hunting bows, arrows, love bows, tracking skills and learn to speak a little San Lingo and many other life skills known by the San People.

Conservation Management:
Conservation management activities form a large part of the volunteer programme. Some of these activities involve physical work why volunteers have to be fit. In pursuing the daily activities, Sustainable Africa always has to take into account the needs of a project partner and other conditions like weather. Thus, Volunteer activities may include the following:

a) Game Management

The Wildlife must carefully be managed to make the reserve sustainable

1) Game census must be carried out. This actively involves the volunteer to do physical game counts. This enables Khwattu to monitor male to female ratio, species indentification, population growth of game and to calculate the carrying capacities through long term data capture.

2) Vegetation data capture: This will determine a sustainable population of game. Further action can be set into place to prevent overgrazing. Due to the fact that this area was old agricultural land and is now slowly coming back to its natural state, we must make sure that the carying capacities are sustainable in numbers. The Volunteers will actively collect plant samples and identify the plants to contribute to a long term project. Because of vast number of plant and shrub species this can take years to determine.

3) Darting and relocation of overpopulated game if needed.

4) Re-introduction of n ew species if needed.

5) Mini research programme

– Monitoring of small predators such as jackal, caracal, honey badger, cape fox, and African Wild Cat
– A survey will be carried out by the volunteers to find out more about the populations of these small predators on the reserve and the impact agricultre has had on these species before it was taken over by Khwattu. This will entail building small hides in strategic places to monitor from, night drives, camera traps and sand traps to identify spoor (Tracks)
– Fence patrol and trail maintenance
– Due to the nature of game, boundary patrol, and fence checks are to be carried out. It is imperative to try and detect any weaknesses in the fence as early as possible to prevent game from breaking out. Check for broken strands, snares, holes, trapped animals, gin traps, sings of poachers, replacing broken and rotten poles, closing up any holes and reconnecting cut wires, clearing of new weed and shrub growth along the fence
– Game/Bird blinds – Game / Bird hides are perfect for visitor’s activities, research and data capture. These blinds and walkways will be built by volunteers and San guides to be added to the greater picture of Khwattu

b) Eradication of alien vegetation and spring rehabilitation

Khwattu has three small natural springs on the reserve. Due to a lack of surface rain water these springs become frequently visited by larger antelope causing it to be churned up. Sometimes alien vegetation and grass block the springs, causing difficulties for small game to access clean drinking water. This needs to be cleared and cleaned on a regular basis. It will be done on dry days as this can become a messy business playing in the mud.

Another obligation is to eradicate as much of the alien vegetation as possible by cutting down the trees and poisoning the stumps to prevent re-growth.

Khwattu has a trained team doing alien clearing on a daily basis, however, the volunteers may join this team to assist their activities. Khwattu does not have the capacity to efficiently eradicate alien vegetation and, therefore the volunteers’ assistance would be of great support. Any of the following activities can be done depending on the needs:

– Removal of alien trees
– Introduction of indigenous fish depending on the annual water supply to attract more wildlife to the area, eg. birds and small mammals
– Setting up of camera traps to monitor game movement and species identification
– Applying salt licks to encourage game movement and promote healthy mineral intake

c) Nurseries & Seed Circles

The invasion of alien vegetation on the farm led to a great piece of unpalatable land for the game. This vegetation has to be removed and at the same time replaced with palatable vegetation to support the wildlife on the reserve. This is where the nursery plays an important role.

Volunteers will take part in the development of the nursery at Khwattu. By building seed circles, we create a place for the new saplings to live and at the same time be protected from game. It will have a chance to grow become sustainable for future browsing, grazing and nature in general. This may be –

– The development of the nursery
– Propagation of seed and stem clippings in the nursery
– Planting of saplings in seed circles
– Building of seed circles

Conservation management includes activities on trails like building information boards, clearing hiking trail-bridges, research, data capture, plant identification, soil erosion rehabilitation and firefighting.

Green Futures Projects
Green Futures project at Grootbos is a professional, designated facility and is run by a highly qualified personnel to run the programme. The programme is a recognised course that allows the participant to graduate within the National Qualification Framework (NQF). The project ensures that women and youth with disadvantaged backgrounds are given a chance on training and skills development. Although the curriculum of Green Futures is based on horticulture, half the course focuses on life skills including literacy and numeracy, health and safety, HIV/AIDS awareness, basic computer skills, book keeping, money management and business planning. The programme combines conservation and community development.

Volunteers will assist the local staff in the nurseries. You will learn about propagation and clipping of indigenous plants and trees. This is crucial as volunteers, will be included in the Future Trees Project focused on the rehabilitation of a forest and will need to propagate a sapling and to plant trees.

Forest Restoration Project
The project is a joint programme between Grootbos and the Flower Valley conservation trust dedicated to the preservation of the stinkhoutsbos forests in the Walker Bay Region. These seven small and unique forests have a history of human exploitation and destruction. One of the worst fire recorded for this area engulfed all but a few isolated pockets leaving a few hectares of forest intact in February 2006.

Each volunteer will be given and indigenous tree to plant. This tree will be marked by GPS and given a name of their choice.

Flower Valley Conservation Trust
Flower Valley Conservation trust is designed to support sustainable harvesting of fynbos. The trust plays a large role in helping to ease unemployment in the local area. Additionally, a kindergarten has been established to support the children of these families. After a drive to flower valley and a walk/drive up to the Forest Restoration Project, Volunteers will assist in harvesting seedlings and clippings.

The Volunteers will assist in a honey badger programme to ensure awareness on this endangered species. Sustainable Africa and its volunteers will be conducting a long term monitoring programme to try and determine the population of honey badger on Grootbos. This will entail the setting up of various methods of data capturing, like sand traps, camera traps etc.

Beach Cleaning:
One day every two weeks will be allocated to picking up the litter on the beach. A stretch of beach will be walked that day and once it has been cleaned a marker will be put in to indicate our start for the next clean up, and so it will go on till we have reached the end of the beach. At the same time we will also monitor the amount of waste comin in on the areas that have been cleaned. Over time this will give us an indication of just how big this problem is which is not exactly known by now.

A number of other monitoring and rescue projects will be done as well. Collecting data and identifying dead birds, fish and animals. Live, injured and stranded animals might be reported to SANCCOB (Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds), our local rehabilitation centre, and rescued. All this data will be given to Cape Nature/SAN Parks which will be added their statistics.

The waste collected will be sorted and recycled by a waste company. Depending on the weight, they give a small fee which we will used to support conservation along the West Coast.

After the beach cleanup fun activities like beach soccer and volleyball will be set up to end the day in good spirits and create interaction between San guides and volunteers

Tygerfrontein is within walking distance to the accommodation at Khwattu. Depending on weather conditions night walks, star gazing and sundowners can be enjoyed after a day’s work in the sun.

Volunteers will receive briefings on projects, tasks and, if so timeframes. The interaction with the San guides during the day will create a great opportunity for knowledge exchange. This will allow the volunteer to say that they have worked with San people and learned about their culture and bush skills. When the guides are not busy with the guests or classes, they or other San staff might join the programme in the day to day work with the volunteers.

Community development:
Khwattu offers a kindergarten for their staffs children. Volunteers may support the maintenance of the facilitiy and teachers in their work with the children. Volunteers will also gather experience in community involvement within the Green Future project.

Extra activities:
For example social braai, night walk, astronomy, art, animal tracking, biking, and ‘bokdroll speg competisie’, sun downer, possibly also a music evening with staff trainees, sport events like volleyball or soccer. Any of these activities will be planned of short notice according to occasion.

Where You'll Stay


Volunteers are accommodated in clean but basic accommodation during stay. It is comfortable but not luxurious. Depending on availability and weather conditions accommodation may be partially in a tented camp. Access to internet is not guaranteed.

Volunteers will be sharing bedrooms, however, bedding will be provided. At your disposal are communal bathrooms. Not all accommodation facilities will have their own kitchens.

You will be provided three basica meals a day. In cases of walks a meal may be a lunch package.

Please note we cater for people with no dietary requirements as well as for vegetarians. If you have other dietary requirements, please check before booking if we would be able to cater for you.


The weekend is spent at leisure and you will be free to manage your own activities. You might want to explore the vast tourist sensations in and around Cape Town or simply decide to stay at the provided accommodation

At evenings we will offer you some leisure and fun activities depending on weather conditions and availability.


All programme activities are located in globally unique and famous Cape Floral Region Kingdom. This region, one of South Africa’s eight World Heritage sites, comprises of protected areas stretching from the Cape Peninsula to the Eastern Cape. It is cutting across spectacular mountain and ocean scenery and contains some of the richest plant biodiversity in the world.

The Cape Floral region represents less than 0.5% of the area of Africa, but is home to nearly 20% of the continent’s flora. The plant species diversity, density and endemism are among the highest worldwide, and it has been identified as one of the world’s 18 biodiversity hot-spots. The Table Mountain National Park alone has more plant species within its 22 000 hectares than the whole British Isles or New Zealand. The Cape Floral Kingdom’s Fresh water and marine environments are similarly unique, with plants and animals adapted to highly specialised environments.

One of our partners, Grootbos, which itself is involved in Flower Valley Conservation Trust, is located in the Flower Valley Region in the Southern Cape area. It is part of the Agulhas plains. The name Grootbos is Afrikaans and means Big Forest which is derived from the presence of the ancient Milkwood forests on the private reserve. These trees are known to grow over 1000 years old and their gnarled brances and mossy beards create an enchanting atmosphere.

Gallery Rates


2 Weeks – £789
3 Weeks – £1,079
4 Weeks – £1,369


£200 deposit to secure placement at time of booking, final balance due 8 weeks prior to departure.


– Pre departure support and documentation.
– Programme fee and contribution.
– Return Transfers Town Cape Airport to Project.
– Accommodation for duration of stay.
– Housekeeping costs.
– All meals. (Semi Participation)
– Reserve activities.
– All transportation on project.
– 24 hour in country support.


– Flights.
– Travel Insurance.
– Any vaccinations as recommended by your GP.
– Internet access.
– Soft drinks and snacks.
– Any visas required.
– Any additional activities outside of project itinerary.


If you have any questions, or if you’d like to find out more about this incredible adventure and create some unforgettable memories, just fill in the form below and one of our team will be in touch as soon as possible.

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