Our wildlife volunteering holidays take place in private game reserves and managed national parks where vast wilderness areas provide natural habitat for animals to roam wild and free from harm. Sites for primate rehab centres and animal sanctuaries in Limpopo, Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal, for example, have been chosen so as to avoid human conflict and allow animals to be released back into their natural environment. Port Elizabeth, on the south coast, provides an altogether more urban existence with volunteers needed at schools supporting some of South Africa’s poorest townships. Shark conservation projects invite volunteers to experience life close to Cape Town with free days at Boulders Beach adding extra bite.
Endangered wildlife conservation

1. Endangered wildlife conservation

Cheetahs, black rhinos, wild dogs and vultures are all on South Africa's endangered wildlife list and volunteering to assist on an award winning habitat and conservation project in the game reserves of KwaZulu-Natal will go some way to supporting the efforts of the WWF and Wildlands Conservation Trust. Learn how to observe, track and identify endangered species in the real African bush.
Family volunteering with monkeys

2. Family volunteering with monkeys

Watching monkeys in the wild is as wondrous for parents as for children. Now imagine being part of the process that enables rescued infant monkeys to begin the journey back into their natural habitat. Volunteering with monkeys as a family in an African bush rehab centre allows your troop to get stuck into conservation work, as well as plenty of ‘ahhh’ moments.
Great white shark conservation

3. Great white shark conservation

Observing a great white in its natural environment is an absolute thrill and certain to dispel any negative preconceptions as quickly as you can say 'we're gonna need a bigger boat'. Volunteers will learn how to cage dive safely – no experience needed – and will become part of a boat crew, as well as assisting marine biologists with their on-going shark conservation projects.
Game ranger course

4. Game ranger course

Marvelling at Africa’s magnificent wildlife from a jeep is one thing. Stepping up to help protect them yourself, is quite another. This thrilling opportunity to to earn a game ranger qualification in South Africa sets you up for your a Level One FGASA (Field Guide Association of South Africa) Apprentice Field Guide certificate, recognised across Africa. Over eight weeks you’ll work alongside local rangers, learning a broad range of fieldwork and theoretical skills, a valuable first step in finding a career in front-line conservation.
Photography volunteering

5. Photography volunteering

Open to all levels of experience, so long as you already know your way around a camera, a wildlife conservation photography holiday sees you spending a month roaming the Greater Kruger area as part of a group led by an expert tutor. As well as being a superb opportunity to develop your skills, the trip itinerary features regular workshops that are motivational and hands-on. A selection of your images will become part of an online portfolio that helps conservation organisations to raise funds.
Monkey volunteer

6. Monkey volunteer

The relationship between South Africa's primates and its humans is far from harmonious. Hunting, the illegal pet trade and traffic accidents are just some of the reasons why infant monkeys and baboons become orphaned and in need of care. Volunteering at a primate rehab centre, close to Kruger National Park, lets you fill the parental void and help baby monkeys on their journey back into the wild.
Sports coaching

7. Sports coaching

Although South Africa is often considered to be a southern hemisphere heavyweight when it comes to rugby, cricket and tennis, not all of its population are lucky enough to come from similar backgrounds to the country's international elite. Volunteer as a sports coach in an established Port Elizabeth sports foundation and inspire kids from the poorest communities to become the sports stars of SA's future.
Teaching assistant

8. Teaching assistant

Volunteering as a teaching assistant in South Africa should be seen as a long term project with some of the poorest communities in the Port Elizabeth area crying out for help with lessons and extracurricular activities. This is an opportunity for flexible, positive and fun-loving people willing to work alongside local teachers in and out of the classroom. Experience of working with kids is an advantage, although not essential as full training is given.
Volunteer with kids and animals

9. Volunteer with kids and animals

Based in the Limpopo Province, this volunteering with children and animals holiday gives you the chance to help out at a not-for-profit animal orphanage that also works as an educational facility for children from the local community. Teaching the kids (aged from 12 - 16yrs) through conservation, animal welfare and basic maths and swimming lessons is a great way to meet local people and help to make a difference for present and future generations.

Volunteer with elephants

10. Volunteer with elephants

Poaching, habitat destruction and natural disasters have all contributed to the rapid decline of the world’s wild elephants. Volunteering with elephants in South Africa offers a great way to get up close to elephants roaming freely in their natural environment as well as contributing to on-going conservation projects through research, monitoring, feeding and maintenance of park perimeters.
Travel Team
If you'd like to chat about South Africa volunteering or need help finding a holiday to suit you we're very happy to help.
Written by Chris Owen
Photo credits: [Page banner: Frontier Official] [Giraffe silhouette: Fyre Mael] [Endangered wildlife: Vince Smith] [Family volunteer/monkeys: Flowcomm] [Great white shark volunteer: Tim Sheerman-Chase] [Horse rehab: Pod Volunteer] [Photography volunteering: Penda Photo Tours] [Monkey volunteer: Frontier Official] [Sports coaching: Frontier Official] [Teaching assistant: KHYM54] [Volunteer deaf children: Travellers worldwide] [Volunteer with elephants: Frontierofficial]