Kariega Game Reserve is an extraordinary and exciting conservation project working with wildlife, at the forefront of numerous species reintroductions and conservation drives. If you want more than just a safari … come and get your hands dirty and learn more about conservation management on a Big 5 game reserve in Africa.
Kariega’s Wildlife Management conservation project is the ultimate Big 5 experience in Africa, where volunteers from across the world, get the opportunity to get hands-on involved in conservation management on the reserve. During your stay, you may see yourselves as “Assistant Conservation Managers”, as all the work done and data collected by you on wildlife will be utilized by Kariega Game Reserve for conservation on the reserve.
Project Type: Conservation, Big Five Game Reserve.
Location: Near Kenton on Sea, Eastern Cape, South Africa.
Pick Up Point: Port Elizabeth Airport.
Duration: 1 week – 12 weeks.
Price: from £449 for 1 Week.
Start Dates: Projects start on a Monday and operate year round.
Accommodation: Purpose built volunteer house situated on the Game Reserve.
Meals: Three meals per day included.
Age Range: 17 Plus.
Kariega is an exciting conservation project that allows you to contribute directly to the game reserve’s ongoing wildlife and eco system management. During your conservation project you will be involved in a number of activities that may include:
There are a number of ongoing research projects at Kariega and as part of your conservation project you will assist with this important conservation work. These projects include:
– Leopard research project.
– Elephant impact monitoring.
– Lion prey selection monitoring.
– Birds in reserve (BIRP).
– Hyena tracking and monitoring.
Conservation management activities form a large part of the volunteer programme. Keep in mind that the “reserve needs” are always taken into account and you will help to fulfil those needs as a volunteer. Daily activities are interesting and varied, and could include assistance with some of the following:
– Sex and age ratios of specific species such as eland and giraffe.
– Alein Vegetation Control.
– Bush encroachment control.
– Soil erosion control.
– Reserve clean ups.
– Road Maintenance.
– Parasite Control.
– Any other conservation management activities that may arise.
Additional Conservation Activities
– Capturing of Wild Animals
– Volunteers have the AMAZING once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to assist with the capture of the following species on the reserve: elephant, lion, rhino, hyena, giraffe, wildebeest, zebra and impala!! Please remember that captures only occur when required by the reserve and not for the sake of the volunteers.
– Game Introduction
– There is an ongoing programme for the introduction of additional game, especially as the reserve has just acquired more land that will need to be stocked with various different African mammal species.
– Fire Management
– An important driving force in savanna ecosystems (depending on the time of year and fire regimes).
Practical Education and Theory
– Bush walks.
– Game Drives.
– Night Drives.
– Animal identification.
– Sleep outs.
– Field skills and survival.
Each volunteer will be given a field booklet, which can be taken home at the end of the placement. Before you start with each practical task, the relative theoretical background on the subject will be discussed in the form of informal lectures. The theory provides insight into the value of the practical activities in which you may participate.
As part of your experience you will also have the opportunity to assist with Kariega’s community development project. The school they assist is small, yet very under-staffed and local kids aged 4 to 15 years attend the school. Kariega volunteers visit the school one day a week and make valuable contributions to the children’s education. Our volunteers take many of the classes themselves and teach 6-12 year olds subjects like English, Maths and Science. You might also help with the maintenance of the school’s facilities or by giving sport lessons to the kids. A recent group of volunteers renovated a classroom (with a completely collapsed ceiling and floorboards!) for the pre-primary school kids.
Our volunteers also get the opportunity to explore South Africa’s amazing coastline as Kariega is a mere 16 km from the sea… the beautiful Indian Ocean is literally on your doorstep! This coastline has particularly rich marine fauna and flora as well as endless sand dunes and beautiful beaches. To top it all off, there is also a brilliant community outreach programme. Our volunteers assist at a local rural farm school by teaching children basic subjects like English. Come and make a real difference and have fun doing so!
Volunteers are accommodated in a renovated, fully furnished house on the reserve – comfortable but not luxurious. You will be sharing bedrooms (bedding provided for you) and there are communal bathrooms. There is an entertainment / lecture room, a lounge with a T.V, dining room and a fully equip kitchen with a fridge, stove, microwave, cutlery, crockery and cooking utensils.
All the ingredients for three basic meals a day are provided. Volunteers are divided into cooking teams and all meals are made by the volunteers themselves at the house. Please note, we only cater for people with no dietary requirements as well as for vegetarians. If you have a gluten or diary allergy for example, you will need to buy your own gluten-free bread or soy milk. These special products you will find readily available at our local supermarkets.
All the laundry is done by the volunteer programme’s domestic helper, in a washing machine on site.
Kenton-On-Sea is a beautiful small coastal town only 15 minutes drive from the reserve. The beaches are absolutely breath taking and pristine. Your local “hang-out” is a pub / restaurant overlooking this stunning beach! After their Saturday morning shopping in Kenton (volunteers can stock up on all everyday essentials), volunteers often laze around on the beach, swim in the waves or sit in the beach bar while sipping away on a cold drink and taking in the scenery. There are the following services in Kenton-On-Sea: small grocery store, ATM, pharmacy, post office, police station, doctor, stationary shop, internet café (closed on Saturdays) and a small beach clothing shop.
Grahamstown is a viby student town famous for Rhodes University and is 30 minutes drive from the reserve. Port Alfred is also a coastal town, a bit bigger than Kenton, and is also about 30 minutes drive from the reserve. Both Grahamstown and Port Alfred have good doctors and most services and products that one would need.
1 Week – £449
2 Weeks – £879
3 Weeks – £1,309
4 Weeks – £1,749
5 Weeks – £2,189
6 Weeks – £2,629
7 Weeks – £3,069
8 Weeks – £3,499
9 Weeks – £3,939
10 Weeks – £4,379
11 Weeks – £4,799
12 Weeks – £5,199
£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 from Port Elizabeth Airport.
– Accommodation for duration of stay.
– Housekeeping costs.
– All meals (Semi Participation).
– Reserve activities.
– All transportation on project.
– 24 hour in country support
– 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.
“I had the most amazing time and can definitely say that I have made lots of friends and learnt so much about the game reserve whilst seeing all the animals. The level of advice and help we received from Gap Africa was amazing and they sorted out all our transfers and B&B accommodation. I would definitely recommend them and Kariega Game Reserve.”
“My four week work experience placement at Kariega Game Reserve has come to and end, and I could not have wished for a better place. To be living in the middle of a Big 5 game reserve with nothing but a bit of wood and wire between you and the lions is an experience that everyone should have. Watching them pass by at night is frightening and breathtaking, and is only topped by them brushing past the game viewer vehicle. I have got to see so much here on Kariega and it was especially impressive to see both black rhino, the elephants and white rhino in one day. Azel is so much fun and she has the knowledge and enthusiasm that surpasses any other ranger. I wish I could stay for longer!”
“What an eye opening experience! I’ve had an amazing month on Kariega Game Reserve and met so many great people. Azel, what can I say. Thank you for taking us under your wing, you taught me so much. Your constant enthusiasm and genuine care about our interest, always making sure we got to do our requested activities (whilst still getting all the conservation work done), was just amazing. Kariega really has been a once in a life time experience. It’s so beautiful here and to see all the animals in their natural environment this way really has been special. I’m so happy to have been a part of it all and to be able to give a little back through this great volunteer programme. I’m going back to Merrist Wood College having had the best work experience I could ask for!”