Wildlife conservation holiday in South Africa

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2018: 1 Jun, 15 Jun, 1 Jul, 15 Jul, 1 Aug, 15 Aug, 1 Sep, 15 Sep, 1 Oct, 15 Oct, 1 Nov, 15 Nov, 1 Dec, 15 Dec
2019: 1 Jan, 15 Jan
Holiday type

Volunteer travel - what's it all about

Are you looking for an adventurous trip with a purpose, or on a gap year or career break? If you want to make a difference in some of the world’s most important conservation areas - and in community projects - then volunteer trips are for you! Volunteers tend to have a sense of adventure, and come from a range of different backgrounds and from all over the world.
Edward Abbey said 'sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul'.

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Wildlife conservation holiday in South Africa

The nature of this trip is all about making a difference, contributing to an important wildlife conservation research project.

Your hard work enables the project to study important questions. The results of this research have the potential to be extremely influential for private reserves in Africa, for example by better understanding lion prey selection and the effects of contraception on elephant behaviour. Answering these questions is vital for effective conservation management of the reserve, and since the volunteer project began, they are now able to look at these issues in detail.

Private game reserves now collectively represent more land under conservation than national parks. These reserves often don’t benefit from national government funding and are reliant on self funded conservation research projects such as this to create essential data from which to develop best practice policies for private reserve managers.

Volunteers are also involved in other essential hands on activities that are critical to conserving the environment on the reserve.

A large part of your fee is used for your on site costs such as transport, accommodation, meals and research activities. The local host conservation organisation also has normal operating expenses such as salaries, telecoms, insurance, etc. which are defrayed from your fee. A percentage of your fee goes directly to the reserve conservation fund from which the ongoing research project is financed.

We also try to make sure the trip is as responsibly run as possible including:

Social responsibility
Before volunteers depart we provide them with a detailed information pack on the area they will be visiting. We try to educate and encourage our volunteers to understand and respect the local cultures and customs and get involved with local communities.

Economic responsibility
For over 10 years we have been providing volunteers to help at charitable projects around the world. A UK charity has now been launched to build on this success by providing financial assistance to overseas causes as well. The organisations we work with are often struggling to fund the work they are doing so every penny raised makes a real difference.

The majority of the fee that volunteers pay goes directly to the reserve. The reserve provides employment for many local South African staff. Accommodation is on site and food and produce are locally sourced. While volunteers are in-country, we encourage them to buy locally and support local businesses.

Environmental responsibility
One of the main negative impacts of our volunteers travelling, is the carbon dioxide created from flights. We work with a 'carbon neutral' charity to help ensure that an amount of carbon is sequestered through tree planting or the promotion of low energy technologies. While our volunteers are overseas, we identify and encourage simple steps to minimise their impact on the local environment.

1 Reviews of Wildlife conservation holiday in South Africa

5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed on 04 Sep 2011 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Working with people who are dedicated, informed and enthusiastic about conservation in a practical and realistic way. And of course, seeing the wildlife as they are meant to be.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Be prepared for it to change your views on life.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

Many local people were employed in the reserve and the studies that were being carried out influenced how the reserve was managed and that benefited the locals. As the research carried out was the same as the normal game drives there was very little impact on the environment.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

This holiday was a life changing experience and will affect what I do next in my career and attitude to conservation.

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