Wildlife & Animal Programmes

Wildlife Volunteering: About the projects

Situated in the heart of the Waterberg Biosphere Reserve. Vast, peaceful and incredibly beautiful, this is a breathtaking destination filled with rich cultural legacy and immense natural splendor. Boasting the Big 5 and many rare species such as the brown hyena, aardvark, pangolin and aardwolf. It is spread over 34 800 hectares in size and is situated a convenient 2.5 hour drive north of Johannesburg and 25 km west of the town of Vaalwater. Perennial rivers constantly flow throughout the reserve ensuring healthy vegetation and habitats to over 50 different types of mammals and prolific birdlife. The Bushman rock art offer a humbling experience should the delight of the natural surroundings overwhelm the senses. Welgevonden Reserve is privately managed and has recently been proclaimed a Protected Area; it provides the spirit of true untouched wilderness. Historically the reserve has never allowed hunting and limits the number of guests on the reserve at one time ensuring minimal human contact and the ultimate wilderness experience. The perfect balance of biodiversity, conservation, research and natural living.

Project Overview:

This Big 5 research and conservation project is extensive in nature and volunteers will be able to assist in any projects that are under way when they arrive and  will be directly involved with the researcher, reporting to him/her on a daily basis.This year the reserve is planning on releasing a large number and variety of new wildlife into the reserve, which will involve an amount of

  • Game release and relocation
  • Feeding of game in the breeding camps in the winter months
  • Daily monitoring of the newly released animals
  • Exposure to wildlife veterinary
  • Monitoring of vegetation & being exposed to dedicated conservation issues
  • Alien plant control
  • Erosion control

 Tasks and Duties:

  • Be under instruction of the Research Ecologist on the property who is also a fully qualified trails guide
  • Assist with the research projects that are ongoing at the reserve e.g. leopard research, game road counts, vegetation experiments, game interventions etc
  • Monitor trip cameras for nocturnal animal activity
  • Collect physical samples and data analysis for the monthly reports
  • Help with the maintenance of enclosures and upkeep of facilities
  • Participate in the daily running of the reserve [animal capture, veld fire control, anti-poaching]
  • Animal tracking and monitoring. Report any unusual findings to reserve management for observation
  • Be the eyes and ears of the reserve and get actively involved in every aspect to guarantee you receive the African Bush Experience of a lifetime
  • Get involved with any veterinarian activities on property

 What can volunteers expect to do?

 Volunteers are given the opportunity to assist in a wide range of activities, including, but not be limited to: tracking and monitoring of wild animals, awareness in local communities and on farms.  Daily maintenance work such as fence checks, water pipe repairs and general reserve maintenance form part of the daily duties. Another important element is taking part in wildlife conservation projects which include general reserve activities. Activities such as recording and reporting on animal movements, searching for animals at night during night drives and placing and checking remote cameras for tracking.

What characteristic traits are we looking for in a volunteer?

 Wildlife Volunteer projects require friendly, enthusiastic team players who are willing to work in an outdoor environment. These projects afford volunteers a once in a lifetime experience.  Work can be quite physical at times and volunteers are required to assist with a range of activities.  Volunteers are required to roll up their sleeves and get their hands dirty. A typical day involves spending long periods of time out in the field and a love for nature and the outdoors is a must.

What can volunteers expect in terms of accommodation and food?

 Accommodation and food is provided by the project and can vary from permanent tented camps with beds and open air bathrooms to chalet type rooms.  All camps have flushing toilets and hot running water. Grocery supplies for meals are provided by the project; volunteers assist in the preparation of meals and follow a schedule for kitchen duties.