The Top Wildlife Volunteer Opportunities in Southern Africa
The sheer range of options for wildlife volunteer opportunities in Southern Africa are endless. So how would you choose the right experience for you?
There are ethical volunteer agencies doing great work helping volunteers to choose the right projects. Be wary, however, as there are a number of unscrupulous agencies around too.
With a decade of experience in assisting wildlife conservation volunteers to enjoy a safe and meaningful experience, Volunteer Southern Africa is a wildlife conservation volunteering program with a vision of long-term sustainability for Africa’s wildlife.
It is our mission is to recruit, host and look after volunteers during their stay. Over so many years, we have ironed out snags and built the best experience possible for our volunteers – with your safety always being our top priority.
We’ve worked with more than 9,500 volunteers like you over the last 10 years. Together with these wildlife champions, we have helped rehabilitate more than 1,100 animals and we are leaving a lasting and bio-diverse legacy to future generations. More than 850 of our volunteers loved the experience and ability to make a difference so much that they return again and again.
Over a decade of experience, we have also refined a great way to ensure we offer our volunteers the very best wildlife volunteer opportunities.
We believe it is important for you to choose a volunteer experience with wildlife that ignites your passion. Our wildlife volunteer opportunities are suited to various wildlife passions, so you get to choose which animals you’d like to work with – whether orphaned rhinos, elephants, big cats or horses.
We also believe it is crucial that you choose to volunteer at a project that is ethical, makes a real impact on wildlife conservation and ensures the safety and well-being of its volunteers.
But most importantly, your safety while traveling and staying at a wildlife volunteer program is a top priority.
Your Safety is Our Top Priority
From your arrival, when one of our guides awaits you at the airport, to ensuring you arrive safely to your chosen conservation program, where one of our guides is with your group at all times, you can rest assured you are in experienced and capable hands with Volunteer Southern Africa. You also have 24-hour emergency support when you choose a Volunteer Southern Africa program.
This means you can relax and enjoy immersing yourself in an unforgettable travel experience that also makes a real difference to wildlife conservation.
Make Your Choice from Our Top Picks for Wildlife Volunteer Opportunities
Every week we get a number of wildlife institutions requesting us to partner with them.
Our Top Wildlife Volunteer Opportunities have all been hand-picked based on more than a decade of experience in providing amazing, impactful volunteer opportunities to more than 9,500 volunteers, of which 850 return again and again.
These are the criteria we use to pick our top wildlife volunteer opportunities:
* First and foremost the safety and security of each volunteer;
* The quality of the facility including comfortable and safe accommodation; meals; Wi-Fi and laundry
* A full package including airport transfers and 24-hour emergency support
* The opportunity for living and interacting with the wildlife and locals in one of the most beautiful parts of Africa
* A range of fun outings, excursions and adventure experiences
* The opportunity to gain new skills and experience
* Ethical projects that make a positive impact on wildlife conservation, so our volunteers can experience the joy of making a real and lasting difference.
Volunteer Southern Africa wants to make sure that you have the best possible experience while in Africa. Our team has worked hard with our partners to develop ethical programs that offer a premium experience and allow you to travel safely and experience the best, most beautiful parts of Africa while making memories to last a lifetime.
Our Top Picks for Wildlife Volunteer Opportunities
Using the criteria explained above, here are our top picks for wildlife volunteer opportunities in Southern Africa. Under each one, we have listed how these projects meet our criteria.
Living with Big Cats
At this wildlife volunteer opportunity in Hartbeespoort in the beautiful North West province of South Africa – about an hour and a half drive north of the City of Johannesburg, you will have a unique opportunity to live with lions, white lions, leopards and tigers at an animal sanctuary that’s also home to elephant, zebra and hyenas.
Here, you can gain hands-on experience in animal interaction, sanctuary maintenance and exercising big cats and other animals, while making a lasting difference caring for rescued and injured animals and improving their living conditions.
Along with a full package including airport transfers; fully furnished accommodation; 3 meals a day; laundry; Wi-Fi; and 24-hour emergency support, to ensure your stay is safe and comfortable, there are plenty of opportunities for fun excursions and adventures with elephant walks, horseback riding, game drives and bush hikes, among others.
Living with Orphaned Rhinos
At this wildlife volunteer opportunity in Nelspruit in the magnificent wild of the Mpumalanga province of South Africa, you will have a chance of a lifetime to live with baby rhinos at Care for Wild, the world largest rhino orphanage, that’s also home to giraffe, buck and primates.
Gain hands-on experience in caring for sick or injured animals, preparing formulas, bottle-feeding, improving living conditions and monitoring development, while make a lasting difference to the fate of this endangered species by hand rearing and rehabilitating orphaned baby rhinos.
There are also ample opportunities to experience game drives, bush walks and a range of optional excursions in the magnificent African bush, with a full package including airport transfers; accommodation; 3 meals a day; laundry; a SIM card; and 24-hour emergency support.
Living with Elephants and Rhinos
At this wildlife volunteer opportunity in Mangwedi, Zimbabwe – situated an hour and a half drive from the capital city, Harare – the focus is on the protection and care of rhinos and elephants.
Gain hands-on experience in the day-to-day life of working in wildlife conservation, including game park management, anti-poaching and wildlife monitoring. While living with white and black rhino, elephant and other wildlife in the breath-taking African bush, this program ensures you can make a real difference towards conservation efforts in Zimbabwe.
There are plenty of opportunities to experience game drives, bush walks, game count and patrols, camping and a range of optional excursions in this spectacular part of the African wild, with a full package including airport transfers; comfortable accommodation; 3 meals a day; laundry; and 24-hour emergency support.
Living with Cheetahs
At this wildlife volunteer opportunity in the beautiful Limpopo province of South Africa, you can live with cheetah, African wild dog and other wild animals in the African bush, with a full package that includes airport transfers; accommodation with a pool and braai area; 3 meals a day; laundry; WiFi; and 24-hour emergency support.
You will experience cheetah runs, mountain hikes, game drives and reserve tours, and a range of optional excursions while also gaining hands-on experience in running the cheetahs; conserving, caring and interacting with endangered species; breeding rare species; contributing to scientific studies; feeding wild animals and maintaining a wildlife sanctuary.
It is a unique opportunity to make a lasting difference, working closely with conservationists to ensure the survival of this rare and endangered species.
Click here to read more and find out what other volunteers say about this wildlife volunteer opportunity…
Living with Big Cats Wild Edition
At this wildlife volunteer opportunity, you can live with the Big 5 – lion, leopard, elephant, rhino and buffalo – and thousands of other wild animals in their natural habitat on a 25,000ha game reserve in Hoedspruit, Limpopo, South Africa, with a full package including airport transfers; comfortable accommodation; 3 meals a day; laundry; WiFi; and 24-hour emergency support.
It is a unique experience of an authentic African wildlife conservation program, with daily game drives, bush walks and animal tracking and monitoring, allowing you to gain hands-on experience in conservation field work including tracking animals, reserve maintenance and data collection and capture, while also making a lasting difference working closely with certified game rangers to collect data and observations on the Big 5 and other predators and species, which is shared with other researchers and students.
Living with Horses on Safari
At this wildlife volunteer opportunity in Hoedspruit in the Limpopo province of South Africa, you can live with beautiful horses in the secluded African bush, near a waterhole where many animals come to drink, and experience the natural African bush on exciting horseback safaris through the bush, getting up close with the Big 5 on evening game drives at a local reserve with a full package including airport transfers; accommodation; a fully stocked kitchen for breakfast and dinner; a hearty, prepared lunch daily; laundry; WiFi and 24-hour emergency support.
Here you can enhance your riding ability and equestrian skills with riding and jumping lessons with experienced riders, taking horses for a swim in a dam, galloping down winding paths in one of Africa’s wildest areas, or taking strolls through the bush, meeting impala and giraffe on the way. You will also gain hands-on experience and immense knowledge in animal and ecosystem conservation with activities like tracking, identification, horse and equipment handling, and much more.
Living with Namibian Wildlife
At this wildlife volunteer opportunity you can live in a semi-luxury desert tented camp on a 45,000ha nature reserve on the Orange River, four hours from Upington in South Africa, with a full package including airport transfers; accommodation; three meals daily and 24-hour emergency support as well as a generous program donation.
This is an adventure conservation experience with a hands-on approach that is making a real difference towards conservation efforts in Namibia. It provides an opportunity to learn the day-to-day life of working in wildlife conservation, as well as gain experience in game park management, wildlife monitoring (daily game drives) nocturnal wildlife tracking, and research.
Make Your Choice from Our Top Picks for Wildlife Volunteer Opportunities
Choosing a Volunteer Southern Africa wildlife volunteer opportunity not only ensures that your volunteering efforts make a real impact to the wildlife you are most passionate about, but also ensures your safety and comfort as you enjoy a first-class African conservation experience!
We’ve done all the hard work for you – carefully selecting the best wildlife volunteer opportunities and ensuring that you will not only be safe and comfortable during your stay, but that you will also have an amazing experience in the best, most beautiful parts of Africa, working with wildlife that inspires your passion and making memories to last a lifetime.