Location
  • South Africa
    • Cape Town
    • Limpopo

Program Details

Language
English
Apr 27, 2021
Nov 15, 2022
24 travelers are looking at this program

About Program

If you are looking for practical work experience and professional development in a range of globally driven sustainable development projects, GVI has just what you need for your career starter. Internship programs include; wildlife conservation, field guide courses, various business development projects, women’s empowerment, and community development in focuses such as, but not limited to, sports and teaching.

Aside from personal skill development and hands on experience, you will be contributing to short, mid, and long-term objectives for each project, aligned with the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Experience a highly diverse country that represents numerous cultures, subcultures, 11 official languages, and several more sublanguages. It’s a land with an impressive reserve of natural resources, wildlife, flora and fauna, and rightfully holds eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Video and Photos

Program Highlights

  • Experience life in the city or wildlife reserves of the extremely diverse Southern Africa.
  • Develop a range of skills that will enhance your CV and contribute towards future job opportunities.
  • Gain intercultural understandings, and meet people from around the world who share the same passion.
  • Contribute actively to the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
  • Develop your global citizenship with immersive experiences.

Popular Programs

Cheetahs roaming close to safari jeep

Become an all-rounded and experienced wildlife field researcher. You can develop skills in 4x4 driving, field surveying, scientific data collection on animal behaviour, tracking, and fauna and flora identification. This is a career starter in Limpopo, where you’ll live on a private wildlife reserve.

Cheetah resting close to safari jeep

Learn a diverse range of topics, and gain training in the theory and practicalities of wildlife tracking, shooting, 4x4 driving, survey techniques, wildlife photography, reserve management, and an understanding of animal behaviour, ecology, and conservation. Improve your CV with this immersive course working in the field alongside trained professionals. Become Field Guide Association of Southern Africa (FGASA) accredited while experiencing the natural surroundings of African bush.

Safari guide instructing group in the bush

Become a FGASA accredited Field Guide in South Africa and gain practical experience on your internship placement at some of the most prestigious safari lodges in Africa. Throughout our years of operation, our graduates have achieved the highest marks of all the FGASA long term providers, and are considered some of the best trained professional guides in the industry.

Cheetah roaring

Develop your career opportunities in wildlife conservation with this course, partnered alongside various international organisations. You will spend time earning certifications in leadership, and complete a program in Biological Survey Techniques. Learn radio telemetry techniques and how to track and record animals, all while contributing to the UN Sustainable Development Goal 15: Life On Land.

Program Reviews

4.86 Rating
based on 21 reviews
  • 5 rating 85.71%
  • 4 rating 14.29%
  • 3 rating 0%
  • 2 rating 0%
  • 1 rating 0%
  • Growth 4.75
  • Support 4.75
  • Fun 4.8
  • Housing 4.55
  • Safety 4.85
Showing 1 - 8 of 21 reviews
Default avatar
Abbie
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

A Magical Experience

As an intern on Karongwe, you get the wonderful experience of being in the middle of the bush. Nothing can beat it. The staff is amazing and always willing to answer questions and help out no matter what. As an intern, you learn how to service and look through camera traps, how to use telemetry equipment, how to be a leader for projects on base, and get to immerse yourself in a new culture. No day out in South Africa is the same. There are always wonders awaiting you. Every day brings magical experiences, one day you may see the Cheetah boys drinking at a dam, or they suddenly walk in front of the car while on a Bird Survey. Another day might have you experience and see the elephants walk in front of the car to munch on the newly green leaves rain has brought.

Pros
  • Helpful and supportive staff
  • Learning about conservation
  • Teach community kids about important environmental aspects
3 people found this review helpful.
Response from GVI

Hi Abbie,

Thank you so much for taking the time to leave us a review. I'm thrilled to hear you found your experience with us in Karongwe magical, and the staff helpful! Thank you for the impact you made while on base with us. We'd love to welcome you back on another program in the future!

Default avatar
Molly
4/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Nature Enthusiast Dream

I am a thirty-something from Pennsylvania who ventured to GVI Limpopo South Africa. I decided to take a break from my current career and get involved with the wildlife conservation internship. I was there for a total of 5 weeks. I loved the experience so much I extended a week while on base. I would recommend this program to anyone who is a nature enthusiast and especially big 5 animal lover. You will get the most out of this experience if you stay 6-8weeks. Being self-directed is an important skill to be fully invested in the impact you are making. Get used to little sleep, cold showers, bad coffee, fluctuating temperatures and hand washed laundry, it is part of the experience. If you can go with the flow and don’t mind a minimal, communal living you will love this adventure. Every morning you watch the sunrise and every evening the sunset. I am a learner for life, so the internship program was a great way to stretch my “book brain” since it has been sometime since formal in-school education. You will learn everything from animal behavior, bird identification and calls, invertebrate and soil surveys, trees and invasive species, reserve work and more. The most amazing take away is all the friendships you will acquire for a lifetime. Go, Enjoy and don’t forget your camera!!!

Pros
  • knowledge on conservation and wildlife
  • lifelong friendships
  • Big 5
Cons
  • rats and cockroaches in kitchen
  • cold showers
  • instant coffee
7 people found this review helpful.
Response from GVI

Hey Molly,

Thanks for taking the time to leave a review!

I'm so thrilled to read that you had such a fulfilling experience and that you feel the program was the career break you needed. It is lovely to hear that you made beautiful connections on base over and above having a life-changing experience. Your hard work has contributed to the positive impact we have been able to make in Wildlife Conservation! Thank you for stretching yourself and helping us make a change. We'd love to have you back on base sometime soon! And yes every moment on base is a picture moment :)

Default avatar
Samantha
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Experience of a Lifetime!

I've been interning with GVI in Limpopo, South Africa for a little over a month now and it has been one of the best experiences of my life. I have always wanted to do conservation work in Africa and GVI made that dream possible. Interns work 6 days a week with Sundays off. We go on two game drives, once in the morning and once in the afternoon. We all have different responsibilities on drives whether its entering data, using the telemetry or preparing snacks for mid drive. Every day you can see something different. My favorite sighting so far was when we witnessed a leopard chase down an impala. Or it might be when a herd of elephants walked right passed the cruiser. I don't really know there are just too many moments! If you intern with GVI in South Africa you will definitely experience moments like this as well. It is a lot of work here but it is rewarding. You meet new people who have the same interests and goals as you and they can turn into lifelong friends. I recommend doing an internship with GVI.

What was your funniest moment?
Watching a mother rhino trying to get her calf to get up. The calf had fallen asleep in front of our cruiser and the mother kept nudging him to get up. At one point the mother nudged him hard enough that he tipped over. It was good laugh for all of us.
19 people found this review helpful.
Response from GVI

Hi Samantha - thanks for your great review!

I'm thrilled to hear you enjoyed this program! It certainly sounds like you made the most of it. We'd love to see you registered for some of our other courses in the future and are looking forward to seeing you on base!

Default avatar
Emma
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Experience of a lifetime!

My experience with GVI has been absolutely incredible. The staff team from the very beginning were extremely helpful from the planning of the trip, to continuous support throughout my time in South Africa. The programme itself was more than I could have hoped for. I was able to assist with everything from research drives taking data on the big 5 and focus species, to surveys for birds and invertebrates, community teaching, and reserve work. The internship itself is very well organised and working towards the Biological Survey Techniques qualification over 12 weeks provides continuous new opportunities and ensures you feel like you are always learning! Every day is exciting and you never know what’s going to be behind the next bush! Highly recommend to anyone with an interest in wildlife, science and conservation 😊

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
Three cheetah boys take down an impala, only to be chased off the kill by a leopard!
29 people found this review helpful.
Response from GVI

Emma, thank you for your review! I'm so happy to hear you had such a great experience with us. We welcome you back to base again sometime in the future. In the meantime, please do keep on spreading your GVI love!

Default avatar
Isabelle
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

It's a bushlife for me!

I started this adventure to make a career switch because I'm passionate about wildlife and especially the big mammals. I wanted to switch careers between working with humans to working with animals. Beside some volunteerwork, I didn't have a lot of experience with the bush or the safari life. Spending my time at the Limpopo base has been absolutely wonderful for me. The programs focus isn't only on mammals, they got me interested in bird watching, trees, invertebraes and reptiles. At every occasion I now grab my binoculars to watch some amazing birds here! I feel like I learned so much and I'm very excited to share this knowledge to my friends and family back at home. Life at base feels like one big family. In just a short amount of time you get so close to everyone. Especially because everyone here is very passionate and like-minded. I would highly recommand this program for people searching a career in conservation, it is a first step in the right direction.

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
Searching for the Rhinos lead us to seeing two hyena's, then we heard a leopard making a kill. When we were searching for the leopard we saw the two hyena's again. They led us to the kill and then we saw the leopard eating her prey. This was such an amazing and one in a lifetime experience.
49 people found this review helpful.
Response from GVI

Hey Isabelle, thanks for your review! I'm so thrilled to read that you had such a great time and that it been of benefit to both your education and career path! Your hard work has definitely contributed to the positive impact we have been able to make in Limpopo!

Default avatar
Rebecca
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Short Internship Karongwe Limpopo

In 2017 I completed a 2 week Volunteer trip with GVI at the Karongwe Big 5 Game Reserve. The experience I had then blew my mind and I simple had to get myself back out to South Africa and immerse myself fully into the experience. In 2019 I found myself re-entering the gates of the reserve about to partake on a 6 week long wildlife conservation internship. It was simply amazing being back, with base feeling instantly like home to me. When you share your living and study space with others of the same mentality, drive and ambition the interactions and conversations never fail to disappoint. From testing each other on our bird knowledge, having drum lessons under the light of a full moon to sharing stories of the days drives around the heat of the brie pit...unbeatable!!
The reserve has a metapopulation of Cheetah as do most across Southern Africa, the focus was KCF the newly transferred young female. We would spend our drives tracking her movements and interactions with the male coalition KZN (Kwa, Zulu & Netal) as well as the other predators on the reserve. It was fascinating plotting GIS maps which pinpointed her home ranges as well as close encounters with the Lion pride, Sub Zero at their helm.
We would inevitably encounter all the big 5 during our general reserve drives and log additional data for Birds of Prey, Kills, Rhino IDs, hyena dens etc. Being so close to such monumental animals was within itself mind blowing although when submerged by so much beauty from the land beneath us to the ever changing sky above us I found myself being taken aback by such small seemingly overlooked things. From the first break of morning sun across the mountain tops to the scurrying sounds of dung beetles battling over the mounds of dirt covering the path in front of us. Reserve work drives were always an entertaining experience too; heading out to the bush working on tree management, invasive species control, bush clearance, tree planting and land rejuvenation. When the sun began to set behind the mountains we'd make tracks back to base with sweat soaked shirts, grubby skin and achy limbs but we'd all feel an over powering sense of accomplishment and pride that we'd actively made a positive impact to the running of the reserve and the protection of all the wonderful curiosities held within.
There is something utterly simplistic that touches my heart in a place like this, being cut off from the outside world to bask in the greatness of mother nature. Watching how everything is so expertly entwined together and being a part of protecting something so special and significant to our own existence it's something I urge all of us to do and feel at some point in life.
Life on base is enough to rave about in itself but we're surrounded by an untold amount of places to adventure and experience. I made the most of my Sunday's and mini weekends to explore places like the epic Kruger National Park, took a drive through the Panoramic Route, visited Jessica the Hippo and spent an afternoon at HESC were I saw the King Cheetah for the first time...out of this world!!
Becoming part of the GVI family has expanded my mind and heart in so many ways, I was filled with so much new knowledge during both my stays at Karongwe and I am left thirsty for this journey to continue. I have signed up to complete my full 6 month internship back on the same base...it just goes to show how much of a lasting impression the place, people and wildlife had on my soul.
GVI has given me the confidence to push myself in ways I didn't think I ever could, I have found the courage to leave my job of 8 years in Central London to chase my dreams of working in wildlife conservation full time. My glass is already filled with so much priceless hands on experience and with my continued path into this field with GVI I believe my opportunities will be endless whether abroad or home in England. I am excited to see where this next year takes me and will forever be thankful to the GVI team in the UK and South Africa for being a part of it and turning my dreams into reality!!

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
Encountered a male and female Leopard mating in the open, as such elusive animals this was a once in a lifetime moment and one that brought me to tears!
53 people found this review helpful.
Response from GVI

Hey Rebecca, thanks for your great review! I am thrilled to hear that you enjoyed your time with us as much as you did. Your hard work and efforts have certainly impacted this project in a meaningful way. Please do keep on spreading your love for GVI. And obviously, we would love to see you back on base soon!

Read my full story
Default avatar
Shauna
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

An insightful and unforgettable 6 week experience!

After finishing uni and graduating with a zoology degree, I decided to apply for the wildlife conservation internship in Limpopo. Living and working in the bushveld for 6 weeks was one of the most inspiring and unforgettable experiences of my life! It has always been a lifelong goal of mine to work alongside African wildlife and visit the beautiful country that is South Africa so this project was a dream come true!

From the moment I stepped off the plane at Hoedspruit airport, the staff were super helpful, friendly and accommodating. I knew living conditions would be basic and day to day life different from what I was used to, but all worries were immediately put to rest. Life in the bush was fun, educational and eye opening. Every staff member and volunteer that I met were lovely and although we all had come from different backgrounds we all shared a similar passion for wildlife and conservation. I would definitely recommend staying for longer than 2 weeks if you can!

What is particularly great about GVI is that it is so accommodating to volunteers no matter their experience. Useful training is provided during the first week to ensure everyone makes the most of each research drive. No matter your background every person leaves having gained or learnt something new. A typical day will include two research drives, tracking the lion and cheetah and recording data for other species along the way. You will never be short of incredible sightings; from elephants walking right up beside the vehicle to the more elusive leopards in the trees. I was lucky enough to even see a brown hyena!

I highly recommend booking a project with GVI. I learnt a huge amount during my time there and now have an even greater appreciation for wildlife conservation. It has opened up new ideas and opportunities for me and given me confidence in my future career path. I have made the most amazing friends who I still keep in contact with and hold the most special memories. I would do it all over again in a heartbeat.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
My first piece of advice would be to book a trip that is longer than 2 weeks. The first week you will spend receiving training and finding your feet. By the end of the second week you will be comfortable with all the tasks and duties of your project and will have made the most amazing friends so if you can, stay for at least 4!
My second piece of advice is to arrive with an open mind, and engage in the activities you are doing. Life in the bush is very different from what you will be used to, so get stuck in and embrace the more basic lifestyle! A highlight of my trip was definitely switching off from the outside world and fully immersing myself in what I was doing within that moment. Its a real breath of fresh air!

Each research drive is what you make of it. Every one goes to South Africa to witness the 'Big 5' but during your time here you will gain an appreciation for all other aspects of the bush. I learnt so much about bird species, astrology and even enjoyed learning about trees! Always keep your mind open to learning.
52 people found this review helpful.
Response from GVI

Hey Shauna, thanks for your review! I'm so thrilled to read that you had such a great time and that it been of benefit to your career path! Your hard work has definitely contributed to the positive impact we have been able to make in Limpopo!

Default avatar
Simon
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

GVI Cape Town 2018

This was an incredibly beneficial internship, which have me the opportunity to develop myself professionally whilst also working alongside likeminded people and meeting inspiring figures from within the local community. The role involved tackling various challenges that arose when starting up new enterprises in a developing country and has given me a great grounding in a variety of aspects of business, from marketing to supply chain and pricing.

At the same time, it gave me a chance to explore a beautiful part of the world and immerse myself in a new culture.

It’s also helped massively in terms of helping my career propects, giving my CV a massive boost and also playing a big part in enabling my to secure a graduate role.

The internship is at times daunting and is not without its challenges but is without doubt one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done, and I would 100% recommend it to people of any age or experience.

51 people found this review helpful.
Response from GVI

Hey Simon, thanks for your review! I'm thrilled to hear you had such a positive experience with us and enjoyed your time on base as much as you did. We'd love to have you back on base sometime soon!

Questions & Answers

Hi Bridgit, Thank you for your interest in GVI. You pay for a GVI Internship program. The costs fund the project you will be a part of, and include; accommodation, food, training, equipment and materials, airport pickups and 24-hour support. However, there are GVI scholarships available each month you could apply for. Have a look here: https://www.gviusa.com/why-gvi/scholarships/ Althernatively...