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Volunteer South Africa Wildlife

Do you love animals? Is it your dream to travel the world and volunteer in South Africa Wildlife? If this sounds like you then volunteering in a wildlife project in South Africa will be perfect for you.

South Africa is a beautiful country with a diverse natural history. From sweeping savannahs filled with herds of elephants and prides of lions, to rugged coastlines and mountainous hiking trails, South Africa has something for every nature enthusiast.

IFRE Volunteers operates wildlife volunteer program in a Big 5 Game reserve near Port Elizabeth, South Africa, focusing on the conservation of indigenous animal and plant life. Despite the abundance of wildlife in South Africa, the region faces challenges such as poaching and illegal trading, leading to near-extinction levels for some species. The program aims to address these issues through various projects and initiatives.

Your passion for wildlife conservation will make a deep positive impact on the lives of wild animals. Your work will help save species from extinction and improve the chances of survival for injured individuals in rehabilitation. By volunteering with a wildlife conservation project in South Africa you will be part of the solution these animals and plants need to thrive in their natural environment.

As a passionate wildlife lover your help is needed to secure a more promising future for the plants and animals on the brink of extinction in South Africa.

Contact IFRE today to get more detailed information on how you can become a wildlife conservation volunteer in South Africa projects.

Take a minute to complete the form and we will be in touch.

Volunteers’ Responsibilities & Impact

This program offers a unique blend of hands-on work in game reserve operations and the chance to witness Africa's iconic Big 5 animals up close. Situated on a stunning 6000-hectare piece of land, the reserve features a diverse landscape with grasslands, sub-tropical vegetation, fynbos, and bushveld. Natural elements like pockets of water, rock formations, and vibrant flora further enhance the picturesque setting.

Volunteers in South Africa wildlife volunteer program play a vital role in the conservation and preservation of indigenous animal and plant life. The program addresses challenges such as poaching and illegal trading, focusing on various initiatives to safeguard wildlife.

Volunteers' Taks:

  • Removal of non-indigenous vegetation
  • Animal tracking and monitoring (Lion, Rhino, Buffalo, etc.)
  • Tree planting and landscaping to combat erosion
  • Wilderness trail hikes and patrols
  • Fence and enclosure patrols and servicing
  • Game counts and captures
  • Assistance with Vet duties
  • Feeding predators in rehabilitation
  • Support for early morning, daytime, and evening game drives
  • All activities are conducted under the guidance of a qualified game ranger.

Skills and Qualifications:

You do not need any specific skills or qualifications to be part of the wildlife conservation volunteer program in South Africa. All we ask is that you have a passion for working with a wide-range of animals and an interest in wildlife conservation. Those with animal work experience or veterinary experience may be able to offer more help in certain areas but there is something everyone can do to make a positive impact in the lives of these animals.

Minimum 18 years old is required.

As someone who is passionate about helping volunteering as a wildlife conservationist everyday will be unique and rewarding. Working with animals requires a flexible schedule as some animals may require care early in the morning and at night. You will be placed in groups on a rotating schedule and required to perform two activities per day.

You will be given your daily duties every evening before so you can organize your daily schedule around your tasks. You will have Saturday and Sunday off to explore everything Port Elizabeth or the nearby Grahamstown has to offer.

First Day: On your first day of volunteering in South Africa, wildlife program, you will be escorted to your placement by a local coordinator. They will introduce you to placement staff and help orientate you in the project. You will receive a run down on the tasks that you will be required to help with, your initial schedule, and any housekeeping and safety advice you may need to know.

Weekdays Schedule: Volunteers engage in activities from Monday to Friday, starting their day at 07:30 am and concluding at 4:30 pm.

Daily Breakdown:

Morning Activities (07:30-09:30 am) : Kickstart the day with various tasks related to the reserve's operations and conservation efforts.

Midday Activities (10:00 am-1:00 pm) : Continue with hands-on responsibilities, contributing to the conservation initiatives within the reserve.

Afternoon Activities (2:00-4:30 pm) : Conclude the day with additional tasks, ensuring active participation in diverse projects.

Coordinator Engagement: Coordinators begin their day at 07:00 am, dedicating the initial half-hour to activities such as feeding horses, tending to the touch farm, or working in the workshop.

Volunteer Flexibility: Volunteers have the option to join coordinators during their morning activities, fostering a collaborative environment.

Schedule Adaptability : It's important to note that specific activity timings may be subject to change based on the unique requirements of each day.

Volunteer South Africa Wildlife: Program Dates and Fees

IFRE programs begin every Monday year-round. If you have travel constraints, you can still start your chosen program on any day of the year.

Our Fees

Since 2006, IFRE has been the most trusted and respected volunteer abroad organization in the world, and also the most affordable. We’re dedicated to providing the highest quality volunteer programs at the lowest fees, which make it possible for everyone, especially students, to volunteer internationally and make a positive impact in the lives of others.

We believe in 100% transparency. Rest assured, we never use middlemen. Your one-time registration fee of $299 covers our administrative costs. The low weekly fee is paid in the host country directly to your host family and project (via country coordinator), and includes housing, food, and minor expenses. IFRE is a non-profit organization, so your program fees are tax deductible.

Volunteer Program Fee (US$)

Duration Wildlife Projects (Cape Town)
  1 Week   $740
  2 Weeks   $1,170
  3 Weeks   $1,600
  4 Weeks   $2,050
  5 Weeks   $2,500
  6 Weeks   $2,950
  7 Weeks   $3,400
  8 Weeks   $3,950

Comprehensive Travel Insurance $3.49/day ( below 28 years) and $4.49/day ( above 28 years) »

How your fee is allocated?

Program Fees Cover:

  • Accommodation (host family)
  • Food (only breakfast and dinnery)
  • Airport Pick up/Transfer
  • Program Orientation
  • In-country support
  • Personalized project
  • Pre-departure information
  • Certificate of completion
  • Fundraising ideas and letters
  • Discount for returning volunteers

Program Fees Exclude:

  • Visas
  • Airfare
  • Personal expenses on soft drinks and foods
  • Daily transportation
  • Airport return transfer

Take a minute to complete the form and we will be in touch.

Accommodation and Meal

Volunteers participating in the wildlife program are accommodated in dormitories, with a strict policy of single-sex dorms to ensure individual privacy and comfort. The arrangement prohibits boys from accessing the girls' dormitories and vice versa. In instances where volunteers prefer to stay as a couple, this option is available at an extra cost. However, the feasibility of this arrangement depends on the availability of suitable rooms unless specific arrangements were made prior to the volunteers' arrival. This policy underscores the program's commitment to providing a secure and respectful living environment for all participants.

Breakfast and dinner is included Monday to Friday and lunches and weekend meals are excluded which the volunteers have to cater for. The Volunteer House provides a clean, comfortable, safe and secure living-environment for all our volunteers – the house is strictly used for our program participants and not open to members of the public.

Learn more about Cape Town volunteer accommodation and delicious meals.

Free Time and Weekends:

South Africa wildlife Conservation volunteer projects are based out of Port Elizabeth. Port Elizabeth is a friendly coastal city surrounded by nature in South Africa. You will be volunteering on a rotational night and day roster that will allow plenty of time to explore the city and its surrounds.

Your in-country support team and project staff are always happy to share their favorite past-time activities so you will never run out of anything to do. Some popular sights around Port Elizabeth include Addo Elephant National Park, The Valley Market, Fort Frederick, and Gamtoos River Mouth.

Learn more about how to spend your free time and weekends in and around Port Elizabeth.

Safety and In Country Support

At IFRE we put your safety first. We have already provided over 22,000 people with affordable and safe volunteer experiences in over 20 countries since 2006. Rest assured knowing that IFRE has vetted all our projects and checks annually that they still meet our standards. IFRE also offers a Comprehensive Insurance Plan for your peace of mind.

During your volunteer experience you will be assigned in-country support personnel . They will be available to answer any of your queries, offer immediate assistance if any safety issues arise and are there to ensure you have a meaningful volunteer experience. In-country personnel will periodically check on you to make sure you are okay, organize your airport pick up, introduce you to local staff, take you through a project orientation and provide any safety tips you may need to know.

Find out more about in-country safety and support, and meet the amazing team of people who will be helping you.

Take a minute to complete the form and we will be in touch.

Volunteer South Africa Wildlife: FAQs

Arrival And Departure

You will need to should arrive into Port Elizabeth International Airport the day before your South Africa wildlife conservation volunteer project starts. Please advise us of your flight information well in advance and notify us of any changes or delays to we can be sure to pick you up from the airport on time. IFRE doesn’t offer airport drop-off services.


You must obtain a tourist visa to participate in any of our volunteering programs in South Africa. Ideally you should get a tourist visa before arriving into South Africa through your local Embassy of South Africa. However, citizens of some countries such as Russia, Canada, Argentina, most of Europe, the United States, and Brazil can get a visa at the airport on arrival.

All visas require a passport with at least 6 months of validity remaining. If you decide to volunteer longer you can extend your visa for up to 3 more months by visiting the South African immigration offices.

Review the following website for more information:


The CDC and WHO recommend the following vaccinations for South Africa: hepatitis A, hepatitis B, typhoid, cholera, yellow fever, rabies, meningitis, polio, measles, mumps and rubella (MMR), Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis), chickenpox, shingles, pneumonia, influenza.

You must visit your local travel doctor advice before your volunteering trip to South Africa.

For further readings:


Volunteer Health and Safety

Safety tips for your volunteer abroad trip

Why Volunteer in a Wildlife project in South Africa?

Volunteering with wildlife is an unforgettable once in a lifetime experience. Anyone who has worked with animals can tell you that everyday will be different and it is a pleasure to get to know the different personalities of each animal.

You will get the opportunity to help wild animals

Wild animals around the world are under great threat from dangers such as habitat destruction, poaching and low genetic diversity. Much of this, if not all is due to human interference. You will get the chance to help study, care for and rehabilitate wild animals to give them the best chance out of captivity as possible.

You will gain an understanding of wildlife conservation in South Africa

Africa features a wide diversity of animals and therefore requires a wide diversity of wildlife conservation strategies. By working hands-on with a wildlife volunteer program in South Africa, you will get in-depth knowledge of wildlife conservation in South Africa.

You will gain valuable animal work experience abroad

Volunteering with wildlife or animalis a great addition to any resume. For those who seek a career working with animals, work experience with South African animals including lions, rhino and buffalo will add immense value to your future career. You will get first hand experience working with wild animals that you simply can’t gain from textbooks.

You will get the opportunity to help wild animals in need

Most importantly, you will spend your time helping wildlife that are in need. Whether you are assisting with monitoring programs or in the veterinarian clinic you will go to bed every night knowing that your time was spent helping make better lives for wild animals.

You will learn new animal handling skills

You will learn a lot about the requirements of working with or near wild animals. Wild animals need to be treated differently than domesticated animals. You may also encounter animals under stress and need to learn how to handle each species and individual differently.

Volunteer Programs in South Africa

No matter what your passion for volunteering is, IFRE offers variety of volunteering opportunities such as work in child care, volunteer English teaching, sport coaching,social welfare, health care in South Africa

IFRE Wildlife Conservation Volunteer Opportunities In Other Countries

Wildlife conservation volunteers are needed in other countries other than South Africa. IFRE wildlife conservation volunteer opportunities range from working with tiny baby sea turtles to giant elephants. Explore wildlife conservation projects in countries such as Nambia, Costa Rica, China, Sri Lanka and Thailand. With IFRE wildlife volunteer programs you will help create a more secure future for animals in need. Contact us today to learn more about how you can help wildlife projects worldwide.

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