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Go Kruger South Africa Volunteer Research & Conservation Project

If the Big 5, Research & Conservation are your passions - then this is the project for you. 

Set in the most amazing location, near nature but with some comforts of home - you'll just love this project and how closely you can work with the staff at the project.


Panzi Bush Lodge is located in the Guernsey Nature reserve which forms part of the Greater Kruger Region in Limpopo Province, South Africa roughly 500km from the city of Johannesburg. 
The Guernsey Conservancy Reserve is well managed secure area of about 400Ha. The Guernsey Nature Reserve is approximately 30 minutes drive from the Kruger National Park Orpen Gate Entrance and 20 minutes from the town Hoespruit. Panzi Bush Lodge is located in the heart of the reserves and our head ranger is actively involved in the day to day running of the conservancy and managing the wellbeing of the wildlife on the reserve.

Project Overview

See Africa’s wild side and drive with our accredited rangers and conservationists inside our Big 5 (Lion, Leopard, Buffalo, Elephant and Rhino) reserve and collect valuable data that will ensure the survival of Africa’s beautiful natural heritage.

As conservation volunteers you will play an important part in the success of this research and conservation project. You will help us to collect data on animal numbers as we count different groups of animals as well as helping us to identify unique animal behaviour. We will also track selected animals every morning and study their migratory patterns and interactions with other species. Conservation is not all about collecting data. Volunteers will also get a chance to get their hands dirty with some physical work. See below.

Above all of this we also see the need to give back to the community. The Bushbuck Ridge community next to the Kruger National Park faces a lot of challenges. As Conservation Volunteers you will go to selected schools and talk to children about the importance of conservation in South Africa and the world. Help us to inspire our youth

Project Description

The main aim of our conservation program is to do more extensive research on the Big 5 (Lion Leopard, Elephant, Rhino & Buffalo) within their natural habitat. Each week we will focus on one of the Big 5 and do research on group sizes, individual and group behaviour, social structure and migratory patterns. The data that you as conservation volunteers collect will be analysed by our conservationists and are crucial for understanding these animals better. The project will also produce monthly reports and identikits to the management of the reserve and our affiliated university.

We are also working with a local NGO – Rhino Revolution - that strives to save and protect the rhinos in South Africa. We track some the rhino’s that they monitor on a weekly basis and assist them with many of their ongoing projects. This is a very active project so volunteers are expected to be motivated and get involved.

What can volunteers expect to be involved with:

The main goal of the program is to collect data for research. For this reason most of your time will be spent on open safari vehicles inside our Big 5 reserve to do just that. The rest of the time will be divided into ranger work, animal capturing and relocating and our social project at the surrounding schools.
  • Ranger work: As mentioned, conservation is not all about collecting data it is also about creating an environment that is safe for the animals. For this conservation volunteers will have the opportunity to do hands-on work like fixing broken fences, clearing of old unused manmade structures, clearing of invasive alien species and helping to combat erosion
  • Animal capturing and relocating: This is a great hands-on activity where volunteers get to see conservation up close. There are a few cases when people need to interfere with animals in their natural habitat for example when an animal is sick or has an injury, for medical research or for relocating animals to keep the gene-pool clean and to prevent inbreeding. You as conservation volunteer will help us at least once in your stay.
  • Local community education: The lack of sufficient education in South Africa is a big problem. Government is trying to educate the youth of the country but the facts are that the challenges inside a rural community are quite extensive. We have come to realise that there is virtually no education given on the topic of conservation and preserving South Africa’s natural heritage. For this reason we have identified a few schools that you as a conservation volunteer together with our conservation team will see once a week to teach the children with fun and interactive methods about conservation. This is a great way to interact with the local community.

What characteristic traits are we looking for in a volunteer?

The project is looking for friendly, enthusiastic team players that are looking to be a member of a very active team. The project offers the opportunity for all volunteers to have a unique hand on experience. Volunteers are also expected to be ready to dive in and get involved with the wide variety of activities that take place on a daily basis. Volunteers will be outdoors in the bush for 90% of their stay. This project is best suited to volunteer who have love the outdoors and would like to have a unique experience working in the African bush. 

This is not glamping!

Accommodation, Food and Facilities

All volunteers will be housed in 2 sleeper bush huts with en- suite bathrooms and hot water. These are built for a very natural experience but with the safety and luxury of a regular room. All meals are prepared for volunteers and are either buffet style for communal eating or packs for day trips. Dietary requirements can be catered for with prior notification. WIFI connection is freely available at the main lodge for volunteers. There is a swimming pool, honesty bar, dining area and bonfire pit located alongside the main lodge area where volunteers spend their off time. 

Wooden walkways lead off from here to the individual bush huts and are lighted with lanterns at dusk. The bird hide is wonderfully hidden from sight for a perfect bird watching scenario as well as a sundowner deck for evening cocktails or keen game watchers to relax on.

What to pack

  • Personal First Aid Kit and any medication for illness – Malaria Pills are recommended especially during summer months as the location is in a low risk area.
  • Warm jacket, torch, hiking shoes and swimming clothes
  • Hat, towel, sun cream and water bottle
  • Insect repellent
  • Sleeping bag for colder months

Driving to Go!Kruger Lodge - a sneak peak

Neil talks a bit about the project and what you will be doing as a volunteer


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For more photos take a look at our Africa Volunteer Adventures dedicated website
 
 
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