This internship will give you an incredible opportunity to explore African wildlife ecosystems and particular animals of interest in conservation.
The research team is based on a privately-owned lodge situated in the Kruger Canyons, on the border of the Greater Kruger National Park in South Africa. The programme’s main goal is to protect leopards and large predators through the conservation of land and wildlife and the involvement and education of local communities. Working with the team on the ground, you’ll be able to select a species of your choosing to study. This programme is perfect for those looking to collate data to support your studies, or simply to gain work experience within this competitive industry. Utilizing a comprehensive approach that tackles monitoring of behavior and forefront conservation initiatives, interns will help build large-scale quality identification kits on the species of their choosing, providing technical clarity on movements and home ranges of these animals. This data is vital for local reserves and wildlife managers as it helps them make conservation decisions that will benefit the species. If you have any other ideas about what you would like to study, please do share it with us and we will look into whether it fits in with the programmes current plans. The project is very lucky to share their surrounding land with the “Magnificent Seven”; lion, elephant, rhino, buffalo, leopard, wild dog, and cheetah, so those are just a handful of the species you could choose to study. The programme is also open to those looking to study botany, ornithology, ecology or even entomology – altogether an amazing experience if you dream of a long-term involvement in wildlife conservation in Africa.
We are incredibly lucky to live smack-bang in the middle of one of the most diverse and exciting wildlife hot-spots in the whole of South Africa, home to the iconic ‘Big 5’; lion, leopard, elephant, rhino, and buffalo. As well as cheetah, and even wild dog. This gives you an extraordinary opportunity to study some of the most famous African wildlife, while also opens doors to studying some of the lesser-known creatures of the bush and these African safari animals. Mammals aren’t your thing? Then how about birds, botany, or climate change? If your chosen species or topic aligns with our greater mission here in the Kruger, you are welcome to study it on your wildlife internship!
Situated in the heart of South Africa’s most famous ‘Big 5’ area, you will be surrounded by beautiful game reserves including the world-renowned Kruger National Park, which is a 45-minute drive from the lodge. The nearest town is Hoedspruit, which is a 30-minute drive from the lodge and a great place to spend some relaxing downtime. There is an optional weekly town trip on Fridays to visit supermarkets and souvenir shops or you can simply relax whilst drinking coffee or eating ice-cream.
During your internship, you will stay at the project’s lodge – Olifants River Camp, within the Greater Kruger Area. The spacious lodge has a swimming pool, several spacious areas to lounge around and socialise in, a large boma for braais (BBQ) as well as a sunny courtyard. There is also have a small shop where you can buy basic toiletries, yummy snacks, local crafts and a small bar. The lodge all situated on 18 hectares of land. This beautiful landscape serves as home to impala, warthog, bush pig, nyala and a great diversity of birdlife. Here, you’ll dine, relax and socialise. There is not a better place to sit than around a campfire and admire the stars!
The accommodation is bunk beds and 4-8 people share each room. It is possible to upgrade to a private room with private toilet facilities at the costs of 25 USD/person/day.
Laundry services are available for R60 per load.
In-house chefs will cook three fresh meals for you each day. The project can cater to most types of dietary needs, but please make sure to inform us of any special requirements when you make your reservation. Drinking water and tea or coffee will also be available throughout your stay. Cold drinks can be purchased at the bar. The lodge also provides a volunteer fridge for your own shopping if you fancy extra snacks or drinks.
Wi-Fi vouchers are available for purchase at your accommodation. The vouchers cost approximately R600 for four weeks.
Cell phone reception is available. Check with your service provider for costs or purchase a local SIM card at the airport.
The South African currency is the rand. Cash can be withdrawn at the airport. There are also ATMs available in the nearest town, Hoedspruit (Please note: There may be a fee to withdraw from ATMs in Hoedspruit). Most shops and restaurants accept both debit and credit card payments.
When you arrive at the project, we will open a tab for you. All fees for trips and items that you buy from our shop will be added to your tab and you’ll be expected to pay-in-full during check out. You can pay using cash or a credit card (Please note: Credit card payments can be made for trips with an additional 6 per cent fee).
If you plan on using your bank cards overseas, don’t forget to tell your bank that you will be in South Africa. Otherwise, your bank may freeze your cards.
The nearest town, Hoedspruit, is a 30-minute drive from the lodge. It’s a great place where you can take some relaxing downtime. The project runs an optional weekly trip to town each Friday to give people the chance to visit supermarkets, browse souvenir shops or just relax with a coffee or ice cream.
This page will guide you on how to book your flights, how transportation to and from the project works and which vaccinations are required for your trip.
Arrival and departure are on Sundays. It is recommended that you arrive at Hoedspruit airport (HDS) as it is only around 30 min. drive away from the project. The alternative, Nelspruit airport is located roughly 2-3 hours away from the project and to join the transfer from Nelspruit your flight will need to land before 1 PM. When going home (Nelspruit) you need to book your flights with departure after 1 PM. There are no time restrictions when going/departing from Hoedspruit on the specified arrival/departure day.
You will be picked up from and dropped off at the airport by a representative from the project. The cost of transportation to and from the airport is included in your project fee when arriving/departing on Sundays (on the specified dates). Off-schedule transfers are possible at additional costs.
We recommend you consult with your doctor to ensure you have the appropriate vaccinations before your trip. Below is an overview of vaccinations that are likely to be recommended:
Hepatitis A&B: Recommended
Malaria: Kruger is in a malaria risk area, so you should bring anti-malarial tablets and mosquito repellent with you.
People from most countries will automatically get tourist visas valid for up to 90 days upon arrival in South Africa. If you are unsure about whether this applies to your country, please see the government’s list of exempt countries: http://www.dha.gov.za/index.php/countries-exempt-from-sa-visas
It is mandatory that you have valid travel insurance for your entire trip. The insurance will cover all costs involved with any kind of an emergency or incident, i.e. an air rescue, hospital or medical costs and flights. Please contact your local travel insurance agent, otherwise, we can recommend the travel insurer World Nomads: https://www.worldnomads.com/
Yes. You can request a private room with a private toiletfacilities at the cost of around 25 USD/person. Please ask for exact prices.
Cash can be withdrawn at the airport. There are also ATMs available in the nearest town, Hoedspruit (Please note: There may be a fee to withdraw from ATMs in Hoedspruit). We strongly advise against bringing travellers’ cheques.
Yes. The cost of daily transfers between projects sites is included in your project fee.
We recommend you consult with your doctor to ensure you have the appropriate vaccinations before you trip. Below is an overview of vaccinations that are likely to be recommended:Tetanus: Recommended
Yes! People from most countries will automatically get tourist visas valid for up to 90 days upon arrival in South Africa. If you are unsure about whether this applies to your country, please see the government’s list of exempt countries: http://www.dha.gov.za/index.php/countries-exempt-from-sa-visas
”I feel privileged to have been able to do the things I have done; the research work is so important and so to be able to contribute is amazing. I loved every minute of the game drives and the other research-based work. It also has been incredible to have been involved with the community projects, as I felt this was very rewarding. Not only was the work aspect great, but so was the lodge itself and the staff within it. The staff at every level were amazing, some of the nicest people I’ve ever met.” – Liam Hicks, UK
“This experience was nothing like I expected it to be, but that’s what made it so special. I never expected to become a part of a family that consisted of volunteers and staff from around the world. I never expected to gain an in-depth understanding for African Wildlife and to be able to actively apply this new knowledge as I was out in the bush collecting data. I never expected to have such astonishing sighting of the diverse wildlife. And of all, I never expected to understand and observe the impact research can have on African wildlife.” – Ali Weaver, USA
Start dates: Every second sunday. Please contact us for specific start dates and availability.
Number of participants: Max 3 for this programme (max 50 in total at the lodge)
Prices (2022) (per person sharing):
8 weeks - 4,545 EUR
10 weeks - 5,245 EUR
12 weeks - 5,945 EUR
You will get an amazing experience around the beautiful and world-renowned Greater Kruger next to Kruger National Park
The project has great facilities and the helpful staff will take great care of you
The project has a steep learning curve, you will get out of your comform zone and learn a lot about yourself, the nature and the amazing wildlife
You will get the opportunity of a real African experience - sleep-out in the bush at the research camp
You will get the opportunity to increase your knowledge about conservation and wildlife research
There are lots of extra activities (outside the programme) such as horse-riding or hiking
You will enjoy this experience with like-minded people from all over the world!
We work with volunteer projects that offer meaningful learning experiences and the space to experience the remarkable wildlife you’ll be supporting. Most projects only take between 10 and 20 volunteers, so the earlier we start planning your trip, the better. The best time to start making arrangements is six to eight months before your planned departure date – especially if you want to volunteer during peak seasons, including around school holidays.