GVI: Internships in South Africa

COVID-19 Program Updates

Due to global health & safety concerns and travel restrictions related to the coronavirus, GVI has decided to offer flexible booking options for some of their upcoming programs. Learn more about COVID-19 updates to stay tuned regarding program information.

Video and Photos

Buffalo
Buffalo
Cheetah Cub
Cheetah Cub
Cheetah mum (Kwezi) with Cubs
Cheetah mum (Kwezi) with Cubs
Baby Giraffe with Mum
Baby Giraffe with Mum
Lioness
Lioness
Afternoon Game Drive
Afternoon Game Drive
Khwezi
Khwezi
Khwezi
Khwezi

About

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.

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.

GVI has a Community Development Internship in Thailand!


This is an opportunity to learn more about Chiang Mai's local Karen hill tribe culture, gaining intercultural communication skills and valuable teaching experience.

Popular Programs

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.

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.

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.

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.

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...

Reviews

9.5 Rating
based on 16 reviews
  • Growth 9.2
  • Support 9.3
  • Fun 9.4
  • Housing 8.6
  • Safety 9.6
Showing 1 - 8 of 16
Default avatar
Rebecca
10/10
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!
Read my full story
Default avatar
Shauna
10/10
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.
Default avatar
Simon
9/10
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.

Default avatar
Heather
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Best Wildlife Internship

I took part in the Wildlife Conservation Short Term Internship in Limpopo during the summer of 2018 after searching online for a volunteering abroad. I spent 2 months with GVI and the days consist of two game drives which are always full of surprise as you never know what your going to see. As well as game drives you get involved in reserve management which is great fun as you get involved in many different projects. They teach you a lot in the first week, so that everyone has the same knowledge no matter of previous experience and makes sure you get the most out of the experience. The staff are really knowledgeable and great fun, always there to answer any questions. Life on base is basic but a welcome change to normal life and the food is incredible. After coming back from GVI it has helped me realise where my strengths lie and given me many options for career development where I was lost before. You truly see once in a lifetime sightings and make friends for life. I had the most incredible time and never wanted to leave which is a feeling I have never had when volunteering abroad before.

Angelo
Angelo
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

My First African Experience

An internship GVI in South Africa is simply the perfect balance between learning a lot, having a lot of fun and amazing sightings every day ! I could not have hope better for my first experience in Africa. The staff members and the volunteers were super nice and very welcoming. I was nervous in the flight on my way to South Africa, but after a day being at the base, I already felt part of the big GVI family.

The difference between GVI Limpopo and a safari experience from a lodge is that with GVI,we contribute to the welfare of the wildlife by collecting important data and more, or through reserve work management. Volunteers can leave here feeling like they have made a difference, and truly contributed to the wildlife conservation. Having awesome daily sightings is the result of the hard work that we all put in and this is a marvellous feeling.
Being this close of the three male cheetah everyday was something that I could never forget. After finding the cheetah, we were either going to look for other animals of the reserve, always learning as much as possible with a very passionate and enthusiastic staff member. It is so much more pleasant to learn about elephant or eagle when they are standing right in front of you.
In the vehicle, we get the chance to observe the animals very closely, without intruding on their space and natural behaviour. I have had so many amazing sightings and every day has felt better than the previous day.

Sharing the same house with more or less 20 people in the middle of a reserve is an incredible feeling. Here, I've reconnected myself with nature, with the world and with humanity. You can not have a bad day during your time here, as everyone's happiness and optimism will always cheer you up, even during your difficult moments.

With GVI, you'll meet different type of volunteers. Some are like me, they want to come here to gain experience on the CV as a Wildlife conservationist or Field Guide. I also met volunteers studying or having jobs not related at all to animals conservation, such as math, fashion or chemistry. However, everyone here shared a common passion which is the wildlife, and everyone was always keen to teach or learn about it.

One of the main believe of GVI is to make difference on the field, which means that we were not only learning and working on the reserve but also outside the reserve, being involve in the community around Karongwe. During my time, I visited the local schools where I've spent time with the kids, playing football and teaching them about the environment. The kids were lovely, they wanted to learn as much as we wanted to teach them, and they gave me motivation and conviction in the path I've chosen.
I believe so much in the Global Vision Internation project, which is to impact volunteers careers by helping local people in places where they need us the most.

GVI has given me the chance to project myself on the long term, and I feel like this internship has answered so many questions to my professional life. GVI has given me conviction in the fact that, when united, we can truly make a difference in the world, with a lot of work but also by having a lot of fun.

I will never be grateful enough for this incredible experience that I've had the pleasure to share with the volunteers and the staff members, and I will definitely return next year for another internship.

Read my full story
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Greg
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Once in a lifetime opportunity

I did the South Africa Wildlife Conservation Short Term internship for six weeks in Karongwe private game reserve and it was the best decision I have ever made. The staff are amazing and it was a pleasure to work and learn from them professionally and to get to know them personally. They are all very friendly and are always open to any questions about the environment. The reserve is incredible and you will be able to see and experience things at GVI that you could have never imagined possible from magnificent close ups with the Big Five to spectacular views of birds which cannot be found anywhere else. I would recommend to anyone, whether you want to pursue a career in environmental conservation or not, to come to GVI as you will gain the experience of a lifetime and memories that will stick with you forever. My only regret is that I did not book to stay for longer as GVI creates an environment that you never want to leave and helps to create friendships that will last a lifetime.

Default avatar
Patrick
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Wildlife Conservation in South Africa- an experience of a lifetime!

I had an incredible experience as a wildlife conservation intern in South Africa. We were based in Karongwe Private Game Reserve, which was about 45 min outside of Kruger Park. Each day we spent around 8-10 hours in the field, tracking the local wildlife (mainly the large predators and herbivores) and taking valuable data. The scenery was incredible, and we were often treated to amazing sunrises and sunsets on our drives! It was also wonderful to live in community with other volunteers. GVI does a great job of building community and encouraging the volunteers to get to know each other. I really enjoyed that aspect, and there were certainly many fun memories from our time on the base camp! Overall, this experience made a profound impact on my life moving forward. I had always thought of wildlife conservation as just a secondary interest, but after going on this trip I've realized that I want to integrate wildlife conservation into my career moving forward, and I'm very excited about it.

What would you improve about this program?
I think the internship program lacked organization and structure, which was frustrating at times. I would definitely say that being more consistent in executing the goals of the internship programs should be a priority moving forward. I also noticed while I was there that maintenance issues didn't get resolved quickly, which was disappointing. During the entire 6 weeks of my stay, there was no working spotlight, which prevented us from discovering and learning more about the nocturnal animals that inhabit the reserve.
Rebecca
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

2 week Volunteering - South Africa Limpopo

In October 2017 I was lucky enough to live out one of my life long dreams. For years I have wanted to visit South Africa and get up close to the stunning wildlife. My trip only lasted 2 weeks but it was life changing, I was completely blown away! From the minute I set the date the GVI team where there to provide all the support, advice and encouragement I needed. I met so many lovely people before and during my trip. We were able to share stories and advice definitely made friends for life! South Africa is a stunning place, living within the bush was so grounding. Being so close to the wildlife was just incredible. You are made to feel such a part of the team, helping with the conservation work, taking data on the animals and helping out on base you become part of the family in a matter of days! Working alongside such knowledgeable individuals I was in awe each and everyday! Learning about the different animal groups/families, their behaviour and the impact our conservation has on their success filled me with so much passion and pride I didn't want to leave. My short trip fuelled my love for conservation and left me craving for the next adventure! I would highly recommend GVI to anyone with a sense of adventure and anyone who has a passion for wildlife and conservation. You are given the opportunity to work closely with professionals in the field and get up close to the wild animals in their natural habitat which is just mind blowing. My trip filled me with such a confidence boost I came back to the UK a new women and I am already booked onto my return trip for next year!

What would you improve about this program?
The only thing I would like to change is how the community trip was run, I feel that there could be small changes made to make this much more details and rewarding. This was openly discussed during our time in the community with one of the bass leaders so changes were already being address. It was an amazing and grounding experience although I felt I could have given so much more to the individuals involved in the right setting/environment. Excited to continue with community work on my return trip!