Amakhala Volunteer Programme

Constantly monitoring and managing game throughout the year, the Amankhala Game Reserve is the perfect place for volunteers looking to experience and explore Africa and its inhabitants. Based near Paterson in Eastern Cape, South Africa, this project will give you an opportunity to assist behind the scenes on various ongoing conservation projects. With a large focus on caring for and managing the reserve’s lion population.

Volunteers will monitor lion activity and check fence lines to ensure that they stay safe within the reserve. There is also a healthy engagement with local communities, and volunteers often get involved with various community projects. When not working with the lions or on community projects your day will be filled with various other tasks around Amakhala. The experience changes throughout the year. You may be caring for birds one day, and then monitoring nocturnal predators the next.

Full Course Details


Project Type: Conservation, Big Five Game Reserve.

Location: Near Paterson, Eastern Cape, South Africa.

Pick Up Point: Port Elizabeth Airport.

Duration: 2 weeks – 12 weeks.

Price: from £449 for 1 Weeks.

Start Dates: Projects start on a Monday and operate year round.

Accommodation: Purpose built volunteer house, off reserve.

Meals: Three meals per day included, meal preparation is semi participation.

Age Range: 17 Plus.


The Amakhala Game Reserve is unique in that it is focused on re-introducing animals to areas that had previously been claimed for the grazing of sheep and cattle. Amakhala’s challenge is to make a contribution to Africa’s natural heritage by re-establishing the original flora and fauna to the area.

Actively managed as a protected area, the reserve is run by passionate owners and receives regular external input to ensure that it is on track with its goals. The duties of those on the reserve can change on a weekly basis depending on the needs of animals in the reserve, and as a result no week is ever the same. Volunteers will be expected to get stuck in, and reap the rewards for doing so.

Possible reserve activities
– Tracking animals using telemetry equipment.
– Assisting vulnerable children and AIDS orphans.
– Working as part of the ‘birds in reserves’ project.
– Helping with game counts.
– Tracking the movement and breeding of lions and giraffe on the reserve.
– Increasing the sustainability of the local community.
– Erosion control.
– Harbarium development.
– Road and Boma maintenance.
– Capturing, counting and monitoring game.
– Learning about the medicinal use of plants and vegetation.
– Guided walks, tracking and trails through the reserve.
– Monitoring nocturnal predators
– Restoring the natural wetland.

Off-reserve, volunteers can work with the local communities to bring about positive change. You might work to provide basic pre-school education in the nearby Isipho Centre, or get involved in sports to encourage health and fitness. If you’ve got green fingers there are opportunities to grow and renovate local vegetable plots, and set up an indigenous nursery. Future vets may also be interested in the opportunity to participate in the bi-annual neutering of stray dogs and cats to prevent overpopulation and disease.

Other possible project activities include:
– Bush camping.
– Compass navigation and orientation.
– Xhosa bush tour.
– Target shooting.
– Canoeing, boating and fishing.
– 5-Star lodge experience.
– Supervised dissections.
– Darting and relocation of animals on the reserve.
– Game drives.

Where You'll Stay


Volunteers are accommodated in a one-storey 7-bedroom house, which overlooks a large garden and within walking distance of the local bar and basic shops. Most of the rooms are doubles, with 3 sharing one bathroom, 2 sharing a second bathroom and 1 room is en suite. Each bathroom has a hot water shower.

A communal dining and sitting room with digital satellite TV is central to the house, with well equipped kitchen and office space adjoining. The house also has an outside seating area with braai (BBQ) and fire pit for chilly nights and social gatherings.

Volunteers are responsible for cooking evening meals in the communal surrounding. Breakfast and lunch are to be prepared individually due to the nature of the week varying.


Your home whilst working on Amakhala Game Reserve will be in the town of Paterson in the Eastern Cape of South Africa. This town was once an important railway link until steam trains were derailed in the 1980′s. By 1996, the rail functions had been transferred to the city of Port Elizabeth and Paterson became semi-dormant.

The farming community of Paterson saw a clash of domestic and wild animal hunting interests, which caused the eradication of ‘problem animals’. Substantial parts of the area since have become sanctuaries for wildlife and nature-based conservation. The last 200 years have seen dramatic changes in the farming and conservation around Paterson, with several farms diversifying into game reserves.

The local community is actively involved in the running of these game reserves, retraining from farmers and labourers into maintenance and service workers. Paterson has since become a busy town offering a Café, coffee and cheese shop, fuel stations, – take-away restaurant, 2 mini-supermarkets, a post office and the popular Sandflats Public House.

Gallery Rates


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 Port Elizabeth Airport to Amakhala Game Reserve.
– 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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