Wilderness Conservation & Wildlife Research in South Africa
- Local airport/town pick up and drop off
- Food – 3 meals per day (Breakfast, home cooked Lunch & Dinner)
- All management, monitoring and research activities
- Training in the use of all equipment including GPS consoles, Telemetry, Range finders etc
- Orientation week activities for those staying 4 weeks or longer
- Laundry service twice per week
- Programme logo t-shirt, Baseball cap and Day backpack
- Tour at local Reptile park (4 weeks or longer)
- Transport to local town for shopping once a week
- Certificate of programme completion
What's not included?
- International & domestic flights
- Internal bus transfers from Johannesburg to our local town
- Medical and travel insurance
- Alcoholic beverages
- Sleeping bag needed for sleep out
- Internet usage (available for a small fee at the house)
- Private excursions/tours booked on weekends
- Food while on excursions or during town trip
How do I reach the programme?
Volunteers must first fly into Johannesburg's OR Tambo international airport then take either a domestic flight or road transfer to our local town in the Limpopo province, HOEDSPRUIT. The programme staff will collect you here and drop you off again for your return transport. SA airlink provide domestic flights or a 6 hour journey by road can be made with a company called Ashtons Tours. More detailed information on travel to the programme will be provided upon booking.
Do I need a visa?
Most nationalities are granted a free 90 day tourist visa on arrival in Johannesburg. Please make sure you check the current requirements for the passport you hold with South African Home Affairs
What money do I need?
The currency of South Africa is the Rand (ZAR). A combination of cash in local rand, a debit card and/or credit card should cover all your needs. Travellers cheques can be changed in town but it can be a lengthy process. There is a tuck shop at the volunteer house and you will have the opportunity to join town trip once a week. We also make a social outing to a local bush pub or restaurant every one or two weeks. You may also like to budget for local sightseeing or tours during your time off.
What is the time zone at the programme?
South Africa is 2 hours ahead of GMT
What should I bring?
Your laundry will be done for you twice a week. If possible bring clothes that you don't mind getting dirty; a lot of trees have thorns which can rip clothing and work may involve painting etc so don't bring your best gear!
- Tank tops & T shirts
- Long trousers
- Casual clothes for town trip, weekend, pub/restaurant
- Hat, gloves, scarf for winter
- Waterproofs – Jacket & trousers
- Good walking boots or strong outdoor trainers
- Sock protectors/ankle gaiters
- Sandals/flip flops/comfortable shoes for use around house and on outings etc
- Sun hat (wide brimmed or baseball cap)
- Sun cream (high factor recommended)
- Towel & toiletries
- Sleeping bag (for use on sleep out)
- Water bottle
- First aid kit
- Insect repellent
- Plug adaptor for South African 3 pin system
- Swim wear
- Watch/alarm clock
- IPod/music player
You will be given a complimentary t-shirt, day pack and baseball cap on arrival. Fleeces with the programme logo are available to buy.
What will the weather be like?
The seasons in South Africa are opposite to those of the northern hemisphere. Summer is from October to April with temperatures peaking in December, January and February. But summer is also our rainy season and we get some BIG rains so remember your waterproofs. Winter is from May to September and is generally the dry season. We still recommend you to bring your waterproofs as it can rain occasionally in winter as well; the bush can be unpredictable. Do not underestimate how cold Africa can be! Mornings and evenings can be extremely cold (as low as 2°c) and remember you will be on an open game viewer. For winter please bring a coat and plenty of warm layers, hat, gloves and scarf. Daytime winter temperatures are still extremely warm so t shirts, shorts and sun protection are still required.
Can I use a phone or the internet?
Unfortunately cell phone signal is poor but there are some spots where you can send and receive an SMS or attempt to make a call. There is good coverage in town when you visit during town trip. A new law has made it difficult for non South Africans to obtain a local sim card. You can still get one at Johannesburg airport but you pay over the odds. Alternatively use a tri-band phone with an international roaming sim to stay in touch. Internet access is available at the house and can be used for a small fee; Skype facilities are available too. Please bear in mind that summer storms can damage our tower which may put it out of action for a number of days. High speed internet cafes are also available in town.
Do I get time off?
On a Saturday afternoon and Sunday, volunteers have time off. There are no specific activities organised and you can use this time to relax, play sports, use the pool etc; all meals are still provided. Many volunteers join together for local tours or hire a car to do some sightseeing. For car hire you must be over 21 with a valid licence and credit card in your name. Costs for weekend trips must be covered by you; some options for activities include:
- A trip to the world famous 'Kruger National Park'
- The Blyde river canyon; waterfalls & boat trips
- Horseback safaris in the bush
- Microlight flights over game reserves
- White water rafting & tubing
- Animal rehabilitation centres and tours
- Cultural tours
What animals will I see?
At the programme we pride ourselves on not just chasing the 'Big 5' but enjoying every aspect of what the African bush has to offer. While we hope to show you lions and elephants there is so much more to enjoy as well; so prepare to be introduced to a whole new world as we discover the mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and insects that call Pidwa home. We boast 50 species on our mammal list including the weird and wonderful nocturnal species and more than 200 species of bird.
Volunteers are welcome to join the programme for a minimum period of 2 weeks up to a maximum of 6 months. Those staying for 4 weeks or longer receive an orientation week which includes shooting and 4x4 activities and these volunteers must please choose a '4 week start date' to arrive at the programme. Costs are stated in GBP sterling but an invoice can be created in any currency which will use the exchange rates on www.xe.com on the day of invoice issuing.
Rates are inclusive of accommodation, food (breakfast, home cooked lunch & dinner), training week, equipment, activities, laundry service and local airport pick up/drop off. Please note that international and domestic flights, travel & medical insurance and personal equipment must be covered by the volunteer.
2 weeks – GBP £700
4 weeks – GBP £1250
6 weeks – GBP £1720
8 weeks – GBP £2185
12 weeks – GBP £3075
15% discount for returning volunteers.
Discount available for group bookings of more than 6.
9th January–6th February
23rd January–6th February
8th February–6th March
20th February–6th March
6th March–3rd April
20th March–3rd April
10th April–8th May
24th April–8th May
8th May–5th June
22nd May–5th June
5th June–3rd July
19th June–3rd July
3rd July–31st July
17th July–31st July
21st August–18th September
4 th–18 thSeptember
18th September–16th October
2 nd–16th October
16th October–13th November
30th October–13th November
13th November–11th December
27th November–11th December