Wildlife Conservation Training

South Africa

Wildlife Conservation Training

The Wildlife Conservation Program is focused on giving participants a chance to get the experience necessary to be able to work on a wildlife reserve. With these skills you can make an active difference in the future of endangered African species. Students are exposed to the daily running of reserve projects and will assist in conservation initiatives conducted at the game reserve.

Interns, volunteers, retirees, sabbaticals and working holiday makers have a chance to get involved in wildlife conservation in the field. Our participants play a critical role in the continuation of our research efforts, without whom we would be unable to continue our work in understanding and protecting wildlife.

Receive academic credit, build your C.V., gain one of a kind field experience and make a difference in Africa’s wildlife.
The program commences on the first of every month with arrival day spent at leisure, taking time to explore Mossel Bay and adjust to the area. The second day of the program is allocated for orientation with team and project introductions as well as more information pertaining to daily tasks and schedules, day three in South Africa signifies the first day in the field.

Each weekday students travel to the reserve to complete training and reserve field work, Fridays are set out for lectures and workshops which will take place in town. Weekends are allocated to leisure that is be spent in the coastal town of Mossel Bay, where students are free to explore and take advantage of the local culture and tourism activities.

The duration of the program is one calendar month, however, stays for up to six months are available.


The only WILD conservation program where volunteers live at the beach and work in the bush! The accommodation is a three minutes walk from the beach. Volunteers will be assisting in conservation efforts on the only free roaming Big-5 Reserve in this biome. They are able to view and protect some of Africa’s best wildlife and see them in their natural habitat.

The difference that the project or volunteers make

Without our volunteers we are unable to collect the data necessary to continue the protection and further understanding of these incredible animals. The studies they assist with serve to better anti-poaching knowledge and the health statuses of wildlife on free-roaming reserves to better understand how real wild animals actually live.

Students are involved in various conservation initiatives and projects within the game reserve. Students assist in all aspects of current reserve needs regarding projects and daily operations. Primary student work will be dedicated to assistance within wildlife management regarding various long-term projects in the way of conservation research.

Daily activities during field work include working on the conservation projects and include:

  • White Rhino Social Behaviour
  • Giraffe Feeding Ethology
  • Human-Animal Conflict
  • Wildlife Condition Reports
  • Wildlife Monitoring
  • Fence Checking
  • Tracking
  • Predator Monitoring
  • Reserve Maintenance (when needed)
  • Elephant Utilization of Fynbos
  • Dangerous Game Approach Methods
Please note that field work requires a mixture of on foot and work from a vehicle.

Volunteers will also take place in Dangerous Game Training where they will learn to read animal behavior and how to react depending on the situation. This includes warning signs, potential dangers, bush survival skills and more.

Responsibilities for data and reports will be based on intern abilities and experience. Workshops and lectures will be adjusted based on student background and prior knowledge:
  • Data Entry
  • Short Reports
  • Data Logging
  • Wildlife Ethics Workshop
  • Animal Behaviour Workshop

After hours and on weekends volunteers are able to choose from a myriad of extra activities (available at their own cost) in and around the Mossel Bay area. There are nearly 100 activities for them to choose from but include whale watching, surf lessons, horseback safaris, Garden Route Tours, Sandboarding, hiking, and more.

Field conditions

All interns and students stay together in the heart of Mossel Bay at an eclectic backpackers next to the beach. Students are housed in dormitory style rooms. Located a two minutes walk from beaches, restaurants, and shops our interns are staying in one of South Africa’s favourite towns!
  • Restricted Keycode Access
  • Gated-Secure Facility
  • 24/7 Security Personel
  • Free Wifi
  • Swimming Pool
  • Refreshment Stand
  • Adventure Centre for Activities
  • Breakfast Restaurant
  • TV Lounge
  • Self-Catering Kitchen
  • Daily Housekeeping
  • Braai (BBQ) Area

Languages: English

Based out of Mossel Bay, South Africa volunteers wake up on the beautiful beach overlooking the bay and can enjoy safe backpacker style accommodation that gives them access to the local night-life and day activities during their free time.
The Conservation Program begins on the 1st of each month (day of arrival) and concludes on the 1st of the following month (day of departure). For example, a volunteer will arrive 1 May, have orientation on the second, field work etc the remainder of the month, and fly out on the first of June. The cost for one month of the program is $2299 USD. Discounts are given for groups bookings (3+persons) and the discount will be given depending on the group size etc.


Undergone by all students on the day following arrival. Safety, local culture, research projects, field work, and introductions are all done at this time.

What’s included and what’s not included?

Included with program fee

  • Shared accommodation (dorm style)
  • Breakfast 7 days per week
  • ​Lunch Monday-Friday
  • Conservation fees
  • Daily access to game reserve
  • Work related transported
  • 24/7 emergency standby team
  • Guided research and management activities
  • All training and training material
  • Bush Academy text book

Not included (available at student’s own expense)

  • All dinners (fully equipped self-catering kitchen available with grocery stores within safe walking distance)
  • Curios and other souvenirs
  • Weekend activities
  • Flights
  • Visa
  • Anything not stated

Am I Eligible?

You need to be:

  • Of reasonably good health, physically and mental. Students will be required to work several days per week on foot.
  • 18 years of age or older
  • Fluent or semi-fluent spoken English (able to understand and follow conversation, able to communicate thoughts and ideas.
  • Able to work in groups or individually
  • Strong work ethics
  • Ability to follow direction

The program is open to individuals of all academic fields and experience background however, only a few students are taken at a time. If unsure if you are a good fit, please contact us to discuss.

Who will pick me up at the Airport and how will I find them?

One of our team members will be meeting you at George Airport. The team member will be wearing a dark-green button up shirt and will be wearing blue jeans.

What happens if there is an emergency?

If a student has a medical emergency, they will immediately be taken to BayViewPrivate Hospital in Mossel Bay, one of the top hospitals in the country. Using the medical aid information given on the registration form the student will be checked in and examined by hospital staff. At this time the student’s will phone the emergency contact provided on the registration form and notify them of the situation.

Why am I paying a Program Fee?

  • So that we can arrange safe and clean housing, meals, training, work transport, and more without requiring you to arrange these yourself.
  • To file necessary paperwork and settle the required conservation fees set by the reserve(s).
  • And finally, a portion of your program fee goes to the continuation of our conservation and research work.

Can I use a Credit Card in South Africa?

Yes, as long as your bank is aware before you travel. Keep in mind that bank fees may apply. Additionally, most places take credit cards but some smaller shops and street stalls will ONLY take cash.

Tip # 1: Exchange any cash in ZAR (South African Rand) whilst in your international airport (such as Heathrow or JFK).
Tip # 2: Keep a copy of your Passport and ID in your wallet that you carry with you. Keep your original Passport locked in the secured safe at the Backpackers.
Tip # 3: Get Travellers Sickness Tablets from your local Healthcare Professional to help your system adjust to the local cuisine and water more quickly.
Tip # 4: Notify you banks and insurance providers of your travel plans to ensure that your bank cards work and you are fully covered in the case of emergency in South Africa.

Wildlife Conservation Training

The Wildlife Conservation Training Program is focused on giving students and volunteers the experience necessary to be able to work on a wildlife reserve while making an active difference in the future of key African species. Students are exposed to the daily running of reserve projects and will assist in conservation initiatives set out by the game reserve.


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