GVI: Internships in South Africa
93% Rating
(8 Reviews)

GVI: Internships in South Africa

We are proud to launch our new GVI Business Internships Abroad!
Business Internships Abroad are a great way to apply your business management and leadership skills and explore the world while experiencing new cultures and contributing to a sustainable cause and kickstarting your own career!

GVI’s Business Internships are the perfect opportunity to gain valuable, hands-on experience, especially if you are a student majoring in:
- business management,
- human resources,
- accountancy,
- marketing or
- international relations students

Business Interns can look forward to using their theoretical training skills to work in a local community with developing entrepreneurs, assisting them with developing their microenterprise businesses by:
- running hands-on, educational workshops on microenterprise business skills,
- conducting business training initiatives and
- mentoring and guiding small business owners

To apply or find out more about the value of the internships, follow the link below.

Travel to sunny South Africa and make a difference to critical conservation and community development programs. From working with underprivileged children to getting up close with the charismatic wildlife, there's an internship project for everyone in South Africa! GVI offers a variety of internships in South Africa including:

  • Wildlife Conservation Internship in South Africa: This 22 week Internship starts with a 10 week wildlife research expedition. You will establish your field guide skills while obtaining in-depth knowledge of African game, their habitats and conservation techniques, receiving a BTEC in Supervision of Biological Surveys.
  • South Africa Wildlife Conservation Short-Term Internship: Gain invaluable work experience and contribute directly to the conservation of Africa when you intern on a private Big Five game reserve. Learn about habitat restoration, contribute to community outreach programs, track wild animals and study their behavior.
  • Teaching and Community Development Internship in South Africa: Some communities in this cultural country are extremely impoverished and need support. Our internship does just that - we give you the opportunity to develop your teaching skills at educare centers and schools in a township close to Cape Town. Enrich your career by helping children in need!
  • Community Development Short-Term Internship in Cape Town: Provide the children with much needed educational enhancement through educational games, arts and crafts, and help create a fun, safe and creative learning environment. Experience life in the Mother City as you gain valuable work experience!
  • Safari Field Guide Course in South Africa: Join our accredited Field Guide course and forward your conservation career when you spend 23 weeks training in the iconic South African bush. This region is one of the best wildlife locations in the country. Gain skills and qualifications and join the optional placement to gain experience and secure the best possible start to your career.
  • Business and Micro-Enterprise Internships in Cape Town: Use your theoretical training skills to work with developing entrepreneurs in the local community, assisting them with developing their small microenterprise businesses. Challenge yourself and gain practical experience while steering your own career in the right direction.
Africa » South Africa
1-3 Months
3-6 Months
6-12 Months
Online Application
Phone / Skype Interview
Starting Price
Other Locations
Karongwe, National Parks

Questions & Answers

Program Reviews

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Program Reviews (8)

22 years old
Peterborough, United Kingdom

The Heart of Karongwe


South Africa was my first ever GVI project, but certainly not the last. The reason I chose this particular project is because I was desperate to see the big 5 in their natural habitat and Karongwe certainly delivered that!
After landing in Johannesburg, we had a 5 hour drive to base which allowed us to get to know each other and start learning about with whom we would be sharing the coming weeks with. My first game drive was phenomenal with sightings of Elephants, lions, hippos and the rhino! One of the most memorable experiences of my life was being less than 4 metres away from a female cheetah as she was feeding... it was simply breath taking!! Not only the things I saw, but the people I met and friends I made will stay with me forever.
This particular project is very scientific and the research they carry out is very informative. I learnt the basics of telemetry, species identification and tracking of animal footprints. The living conditions are basic, but not in comparison to other projects. You still have hot running showers, variety of food including fruit and veg and comfy beds in a mixed dormitory.
Overall, I would rate this project a 10/10, it is one that cannot be missed nor forgotten!

How can this program be improved?

No room for improvement.

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23 years old
University of Derby

GVI internship Karongwe 2017


When reviewing my time with GVI in Karongwe it is incredible to look back on all I have seen, done and accomplished in my ten weeks here. I have achieved everything I came out to do and have enjoyed every moment of being here and would not hesitate to come back & recommend this to anyone thinking of doing a programme here or with GVI.

Starting from the very beginning..

My motivation to come out here was to experience Africa & get up close to the incredible wildlife and learn some more about the world.

The booking process was very smooth from start to finish, the staff at the office are very knowledgeable and eager to help. Marne was my first point of contact and she answered every question positively and made the whole process simple and stress free. My next contact was Jade who took over from Marne and again was very helpful and has since booked my next GVI trip to the Seychelles and had to deal with myself changing dates a few times, thanks so much Jade for putting up with me! the field manual was very detailed and useful and the kit list was spot on. My only point here was that the advised four hundred rand a week does fall short as side trips & food and gifts do eat this up very quickly, I would advise closer to 600-700.

On arrival staff were at the airport to greet us newbies, Sophie & Gregg who handled everything for us smoothly and without fuss, something that is really important after a long flight!

The set up at Karongwe is basic, if going do not expect 5 star luxury as it is research intensive but I had no complaints and we all more or less got on with it.

Sleeping - their are three dorms, one big and two small. I cant really comment on the big dorm as I was only ever in a small dorm however if you are a lightsleeper I would advise trying to get in a small dorm (4 person) as opposed to the large dorm which can take ten. Most nights are very hot and humid I found sleeping under the sleeping bag easier than sleeping inside it.

Food- volunteers&interns take it in turns to cook food on a base day with two people on base whilst the others are on drive, most weeks you will do base duty, I only missed one whilst at Karongwe. Their are set instructions on how to cook the food which is decided beforehand and all ingredients are provided. Other duties on base include cleaning the main house plus data entry.

Base itself - The main building where you stay has a long veranda which overlooks the front of the house and has stunning views all the way to the Drakensburg mountains (the view never gets boring trust me!!) their are no fences so wildlife does come in and out all the time. Whilst at Karongwe I personally witnessed elephants, lions, buffallo, giraffe and plenty of antelope come past and in the case of the antelope come right up to the veranda. The lions came to within twenty metres of the house one morning whilst preparing to drive and sat watching us for a good ten minutes which was one of the highlights of my time there. On the odd occasion you can also here leopards come close to the house during the night - the doors are all locked!!

Daily routine - If on drive you get a number of responsibilities such as data entry or vehicle check, if going out on drive at the normal time of 05:00 and 15:00 (two drives normally a day) it does mean getting up roughly 30 minutes before hand depending on the job. Vehicle check can take around ten minutes (longer if a problem occurs) otherwise if you have no job then people do get up ten minutes or less before drive and jump on. Once back from drive the time is more or less your own until the next drive unless their is a lecture or other acitivities but you do get plenty of notice for these. After afternoon drive dinner is usually straight away (19.30) then people tend to got to bed no later than 23:00 as it is a long day but their is no curfew. On base their is a volleyball pitch, table tennis, pool table plus plenty of books and the veranda has a number of beds laid out on benches to relax upon.

Drive - Drives can last anything from two hours to over five. Going out with the aim of finding the focus animals - Khwezi the female cheetah and her cubs, the Cheetah male boys and Sub-zero the male lion. Khwezi is the focus animal and the aim was to find her at least once a day. Every drive is different, some start of slow and got incredible within minutes, one of my most memorable drives started off with forgetting the data folders and coffee and then ended up finding a male Rhino communicating which is incredibly rare and was fascinating to watch! If you do go, don't expect to see everything at once, it does take time and personally it took me eight weeks to find Sub-Zero, the thrill really is not knowing what to expect. Finding animals randomly is amazing, I was lucky enough to have nine leopard sightings of 6 individuals and each one was incredible. My most memorable sighting was of a Caracal, the first one spotted on Karongwe by anyone in 18 months and it does provoke some insane reactions trust me!

Staff - All the staff are so passionate about their role and it really is amazing, the guys all have vast experience and knowledge and are on hand to answer any question, you really can tell they love their jobs!!

If you want to experience Africa, are not fussed about where you sleep or the facilities and dont mind roughing it for hours on elderly 4x4's then this is the project for you, you do get very close to the animals, I have personally been on the ground around 40 meters from one of the large bull elephants and withing 400 meters of a leopard. Value for money really is what you get, if you go to a high end lodge you will pay thousands for a few nights and see exactly the same animals but probably only once or twice (highly doubtful you will see a leopard!) if you go with GVI you see exactly the same animals but a lot more!!

In conclusion, my ten weeks here has been incredible, I have hundreds of amazing photos and memories that will last a lifetime. I leave in two days and I seriously do not want to go and would happily come back to Africa in a heartbeat. The exposure to wildlife is constant and does not let up, if you come seriously enjoy every moment but it truly is an experience.

How can this program be improved?

Perhaps better investment in facilities but I understand this is not the focus.

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Loughborough, Leicestershire, UK
University of Exeter

6 Month Wildlife Conservation Internship at GVI Karongwe


My time at GVI Karongwe was some of the best of my life so far! After finishing my degree and not really knowing what direction I wanted to go in career wise, GVI provided me with an immersive and practical learning experience that has taught me new skills and developed a passion for the African bushveld over the course of the 6 month internship.
The project itself means you get to go out on research drives twice a day, seeing amazing animals and their behaviour in a natural setting. Whilst recording important data from your sightings for the research projects to improve wildlife conservation. Alongside this you are taught my an incredibly knowledgeable staff team all about the animals themselves, their ecology, conservation issues and the rigorous process and challenges of conducting scientific research in the field.
As an intern I was impressed by the well-constructed program to teach me even more in depth knowledge and leadership skills, as well as one on one guidance from staff members as part the 3 month training/volunteer period. I spent the latter half of the internship on placement, I was lucky enough to stay at the base becoming Staff Intern. There I gained further skills and took responsibility over volunteers, their education and safety within the reserve. Whilst also having a more involved role in the scientific work the staff undertake and being able to learn and assist all the behind the scenes work that goes into running a research base and volunteer program.
It doesn’t matter what your background is or your career goals; you will have an amazing experience, learn a tremendous amount and have a lot of fun with both the other volunteers there and the staff. I would recommend any of GVI’s projects because I feel the immersive learning system on the projects is the best experience of education I have been through and it does this all within a friendly supportive environment provided by the staff teams.

How can this program be improved?


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36 years old
London, UK

Take a walk on the wild side


I wanted to volunteer, but worried that I did not fit the stereotype. But, the truth is, there is no set ‘type’ of person. All you need is a passion to make a difference and to not be afraid of getting your hands dirty.
So, despite some people saying I was crazy, I chucked in my life in London and hot-footed it to South Africa for a six month wildlife internship with GVI.
I can categorically say it was the best decision I have ever made.
Three months was spent at the GVI base in Karongwe, and then three months on a work placement with The Wild Volunteers in KwaZulu-Natal.
In Karongwe, days are spent collecting data on the animals, either on game drives or by the camera traps we have placed. There are also bird surveys, game counts and general reserve work.
Twice a day we tracked and reported data on the resident cheetahs. They are habituated to humans so, although wild, they will tolerate us walking in.
It is not all wild animals. For conservation to succeed, education is vital. As part of the community outreach programme we produce a presentation on rhino poaching to teach the local school children. We also teach them about respect and women empowerment.
I have experienced things which would never have been possible at home. I have pushed myself out of my comfort zone. I have laughed and cried at animal sightings. I have met some incredible people - from all corners of the world – and been humbled and awed at the measures they will go to create a better future.

How can this program be improved?

We were very lucky in that we got to go on several trip to Kruger and received talks about rhino poaching and elephant management. These were incredibly informative - more of these types of talks would be amazing.

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25 years old
Bournemouth University

GVI Short Term Intership


As part of my post graduate studies, I carried out an 8-week wildlife research conservation internship with GVI South Africa, Limpopo. This opportunity allowed me to broaden my horizons within the conservation sector and enable me to develop direct research experience within the field.
Working closely with a team of dedicated conservationists within the South African bushveld, I partook in conducting valuable research on the wildlife dynamics of a relatively small game reserve. This involved developing tracking skills, where dominant predators were tracked using radio telemetry, to develop a better understanding of the movement patterns of the animals and in turn aiding with the management of the area. Vital behavioural data was collected daily with emphasis on predator and herbivore species presence and interactions, so that a better understanding of the animals could be achieved. Additionally, there was focus on reserve management to ensure that the reserve is maintained to the best standard.
The current internship programme at GVI has improved greatly, thanks to a new member of staff running the internship programme. I took part in the short term internship, however I was able to partake in the training that the long term interns received, supporting and encouraging all interns. This involved lectures in various topics covering a wide range of topics, and developing new skills.
This internship utilised established training methods, where predominant telemetry skills were initially developed, and a subsequent focus on tracking and signing within the bushveld was explored. These significant skills were established so that a holistic approach to conservation can be achieved, with a sustainable and long term emphasis. Scats and tracks were identified, where we were tested on various parameters, including individual and group species movements, when they were last seen in the area, and any prominent indications of directions. Furthermore, key bird identification skills were practised on a regular basis.
There was also a strong focus on community engagement projects, with the aim of encouraging and teaching local school children about the significance of conservation within the community and local area. By doing this, we aimed to encourage local people to have a better understanding of the value and importance of biodiversity within their country.
The staff knowledge was excellent, where staff with different backgrounds and experience in the bushveld benefited the interns. Each intern was given a mentor who they can work closely with and seek advice from. If you are ambitious and determined, then the programme can offer you support and guidance from dedicated staff at the reserve.
I thoroughly enjoyed my experience as an intern with GVI Limpopo. I think the programme will continue to improve with the new project coordinator, who is passionate about the conservation work. There is great potential for researchers, academics and students to be involved with the current research as well as developing future projects.
This experience has enabled me to develop key skills that are applicable to my academic studies, encouraging me to further explore the research skills and aid with professional development, emphasising on scientific output. Working as an intern, I have been exposed to broader global research working with industry professionals and an insight to the vital ongoing conservation work within this region.

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27 years old
belo horizonte

Learn it yourself


I did the GVI internship on April last year.
First thing you should know: game reserves are, above everything else, a business. It's not a truly wild place, it must be managed. It's like a zoo without cages and a lot of wrong decisions can be made, caring more for the satisfaction of guests than the well being of the wildlife.
In GVI the volunteers rotate in different tasks everyday. These include telemetry, vehicle check, spotlight, writing down data. So everyday we go out, twice a day, to locate the lions and the semi-imprinted cheetah (which sometimes you will get out of the vehicle and go into the block to locate her on foot). We take basic data as behaviour, location and wheater conditions and type it at the computer back at base. Only the volunteer responsible for data on that specific drive will do it, though. Other activities during drive include operating the telemetry equipment, doing vehicle check before drive, operating the spotlight on the way back to base when it's already dark. We leave usually at 5 in the morning and get back before 10. Then leave again at 3.30pm and get back around 7.30pm.
We collect data on other animals we might come across, like rhinos, elephants, buffalos, hyenas, etc. But these we do not track, so it's not the priority to locate first, coming across them only by chance or if we have time left after finding the "key" animals.
Sometimes volunteers will do other tasks such as reserve work by cleaning the roads, educational bush walks, base work (which is a rotation of volunteers to look after the base - cooking, cleaning - during the day).
As an intern, you will have some extra activities that the common volunteers don't. That would be basically for your education about the bush and conservation through game reserves. You will have a few lectures and will have to do some assignments and team leading projects. Most of them are not conservation related and feels pretty useless. You will have a mentor to talk about your goals. And you will learn about tracks, birds and trees. But most of your knowledge, will come from your own effort. There as several books available at base and staff members willing to answer your questions. But if you don't commit yourself with your self education, you won't learn as much as you could.
There's three bathrooms, two of them with shower (not the best of showers, but at least there's hot water). Currently there are three dorms for volunteers. Most of the matress are very old and used and you will sleep on bunk beds. It's something you can get used to quickly, sleep in a room full of people and later on you can even miss it. Most of volunteers go to bed early, before 9, as we need to get up before the sun rise. The meals are prepared by the volunteers in charge, a pre made menu that can be adjusted to any diet requirements.
My second part of the program was spent in CROW (Centre for Rehabilitation of Wildlife) based on Durban. Even if I had all the help from GVI to get there, with tips of flights, places to stay and transport, I had to deal with the costs.
Booking directly with CROW can be 4 to 5 times cheaper than with GVI or a travel agency.
The cost for internship or volunteering with GVI is very high. There are plenty of game reserves that take volunteers for much less. Of course I can only talk about my experience with GVI, and in general I'm really thankful that it started a 2 year journey through South Africa. In the end was definetely worth it. I will always remember my time at the reserve and cherish deeply as one of the greatest moments of my life.
I recommend this program for whoever wants to do a safari in South Africa and take good pictures while making friends and getting closer to the environment. Is a much better way to know the wildlife and also to keep yourself busy during a trip. You will have an amazing experience. It just wouldn't be my first option for an educational internship.

Response from Global Vision International (GVI)

Hi Freo,

Thank you for your kind words about your time in South Africa with GVI, we always love hearing stories from our Alumni!

Do you know that we run an Ambassador program which allows you to stay connected with GVI from home, and earn points towards a future program? If you'd like to find out more, you can email me on [email protected] and I'll be able to give you more details!

All the best,

Jon, Alumni Engagement Manager

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42 years old
Canberra, Australia

GVI Wildlife Reserach 6 month Internship


Amazing, life changing, 6 months of my life that I will never forget. I was part of the Wildlife Research Expedition as an Intern for 6 months in the Limpopo Province. GVI was based at two camps Venetia Game Reserve and Karongwe Game Reserve. The first 5 week were spent in “basic” training mode learning how to identify and track animals, radio telemetry techniques and how to cook for over 25 people. I will never forget my first sighting of a wild elephant his name was Botswana and he was dust bathing at 6am in the morning in the creek bed in front of our tent. Then I moved to Karongwe. Seeing Zero their male pride lion for the first time was heart stopping, the smell of a month old giraffe kill I will never get out of my nose, the joy of seeing my first Porcupine, walking in on the cheetah boys, the thrill of my first leopard, and the unforgettable sound of Hyenas laughing as we spent the night camped in the river bed. I was taken on as Mountain intern and got to explore the magical Mariepskop Mountains, hiking to waterfalls, watching the sunset over Swadini Dam, catching frogs, learning how to measure a shrews foot. The staff are all fantastic some of the most knowledgeable and dedicated people you will ever meet they are passionate about what they do. My last night is etched into my mind driving along the road outside the reserve only to find the whole pride of lions sitting on the fence line getting ready for night time lion activities, the cubs being playful and Zero roaring in the distance.

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24 years old
Perth, Western Australia
Edith Cowan University

Life changing


Taking part in the Wildlife Conservation program in South Africa was a huge step for me, It was a life long dream and also the first time travelling overseas by myself. My whole experience in South Africa at the Karongwe game reserve was life changing and I think everyone needs to experience it in their life. On the average day we would wake up at 4.30am to start the game drives at 5am, the drives were surreal we would see lions, cheetahs, elephants and giraffes even before breakfast. One day we had set out on the truck to try and identify the elephants for their profiles the staff were creating, getting ahead of the herd we parked in a cross roads, as we sat on the truck the herd walked strait past us, we were meters away!!! One of the newborn babies was walking with its mum and older sister, playing and teasing the older elephants, When the Monarch of the herd walked past she stopped and stared strait at me!! I began to cry, it was amazing being so close to such a huge and beautiful animal. Moments like these happened on many of the days at the game reserve, it was definately One of the best experiences of my life and I plan to go back. The staff and the other volunteers were amazing, I only wish I had stayed longer as four weeks was definately not long enough :)

About The Provider


GVI is an award-winning organisation that tackles critical local and global issues by operating education and training programs on sustainable development projects around the world.

Formed in 1997, we have been operating our award-winning programmes for over two decades and over 25,000 participants have volunteered