Travel on the frontline of conservation

Hamba Africa

Why choose Hamba Africa?

Travel on the frontline of conservation; We're and eco-tour operator that provides the thrill and personal reward of travel with the opportunity to get involved with over 12 important conservation projects.

Learn valuable skills, protect wildlife and have an incredible gap year or travel experience.


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Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing experience

I went for 5 weeks to do the long term volunteer wildlife program. When i arrived i had a tent for myself and the most beautiful view. Rhino’s passing by with their calfs, the zebras and the warthogs curiously looking at you. You get up early every day. Eat your breakfast and bring a lunchbox with you because you are gonna lunch in the wildlife on secrets spots. I had great guides Marge and Pip. They were really passionate about the animals and the park. Explaining about the rhinos and the balance of life in the park. After sitting in the car the entire day you will have some free time and eat dinner together. And when you are going to sleep you will hear the animals. I also had a lot of vet interventions. You will help as an intern during the intervention. This was also quite spectacular to see. The vet will mostly come in his helicopter and then you will drive with a lot of cars and find the animal that is in need. After 5 weeks i was really sad to leave and i will definitely come back!

  • I have a lot of special moments. But I had one morning were I got out of my tent and noticed that all the animals were on the right side of the field. And as I got ready the guide told us that there was a pride of lions in the back of the field. So everyo
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Yes, I recommend this program

Unforgettable 4 Weeks

My experience with Hamba Africa was second to none and will forever be a source of fond memories and a wealth of gained knowledge and field experiences.

I joined this trip as a solo female traveller visiting South Africa for the first time, looking to gain further experience in conservation and push myself out of my comfort zone. I could not have selected a better company to fulfil these wishes, as the staff were very friendly and knowledgeable and were able to assist me in achieving my goals whilst encouraging me to take part in new experiences.

I was able to not only get some wonderful sightings of key species such as lions, leopards, elephants and even a pangolin, but I was also lucky enough to be in close proximity to white rhinos and their calves multiple times, and to witness some beautiful interactions and learn about their behaviours up close.

Other fun activities I took part in during this trip included two emergency callouts, vegetation surveys in gorgeous areas of the wildlife reserve, population monitoring, tracking predator species while out on a game viewer, checking camera traps with breaks to flip rocks and find fascinating spider, scorpion and centipede species, and social activities such as braais and campfires in the evenings.

I highly recommend travelling with Hamba Africa if you are looking for an opportunity to learn about a variety of unique species and habitats, challenge yourself to work with a team of new faces in a fun and a beautifully remote environment, and if you are ready to have the experience of a lifetime!

  • Wonderful sightings, interactions and lots of opportunities to take part in tasks
  • Made excellent friends
  • Very fun learning environment
  • You'll adore the animals and never want to leave!
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Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing experience

One in a lifetime experience! Met new people from different parts of the world, seen so much wildlife and learned about how reserves looks after them. So much to learn just amazing would definitely go back again. I have learned about elephant behaviour, they have books that you can borrow to read. Amazing photos taken. Great on CV. 1st time travelled alone and met other volunteers and this was all possible because of Harry, he's very funny and smart to be around with he even picked me up from the airport and drove us to the reserve which is big Pro. They also show you documentaries on rhino poaching and lions and elephants and gives you more insight on what's goes around in Africa and how different reserves approach to protect those animals. Honestly best experience and best choice I ever made. Thank you Hamba Africa!

  • Learning and gaining experience and knowledge
  • Seeing lots of wildlife
  • Practical tasks - camera trap surveys
  • (July-August) winter so it's get very cold
  • Lots of bugs (big ones)
Response from Hamba Africa

Hi Alisha

We were thrilled to have you with us! I know the experience was a first for you, traveling abroad on you're own. So glad you decided to be brave and join us, was great having you with us and miss you giving out snacks already.

You did really well with all you're data collection. Look forward to watching your career in conservation and super proud you managed to get over your fear of bugs... a little bit.

All the best


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Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing experience

The experience as a whole was one of the best times I've had in my life. I would recommend this to anyone that has any interest in animals, conservation, or just generally travelling - it is well worth the cost. We did work with rhinos, cheetahs, lions, and most of the other wildlife the reserve had to offer; sometimes we were able to get really close to them, which is just a surreal experience.
The staff that work at the reserve are extremely friendly and you get to know them really well throughout your time there. The Hamba Africa staff are also extremely helpful and very likeable, all around making the travelling, social and cooking aspect of the trip very streamlined and enjoyable.

  • Amazing wildlife
  • Friendly staff
  • Easy to book
  • Literally nothing
Response from Hamba Africa

Hello Luke

Missing you and you're incredible enthusiasm for all things a lot!

There is no one I would rather flip rocks with looking for scorpions, spiders and the odd thread snake than you. Thanks for joining us and come back whenever. So glad to hear you had such a great time and really hope you take the knowledge and skills you gained from the conservation projects back with you to your university studies.

I am thrilled you got to have such luck with wildlife sightings and veterinary work you got to take part in. Definitely deserved it.

Always a spot for you around the fire and on the back of any safari vehicle for games of "would you rather".

Best wishes


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Yes, I recommend this program

Brilliant Trip!

This was my first trip out of the UK alone and I picked the right people to do it with.
Harry is so down to earth and is very passionate about what he does - we were treated to a range of information on wildlife, the geology of the area and a whole lot of humour, and that was just on the drive from the airport! He has a lot of knowledge and experience and puts in a lot of time for volunteers! You can really see how much dedication he has for the projects he hosts.

You can be meters away from iconic African wildlife while carrying out your monitoring tasks and even though you have plans for the day, a call might come through where you’re then needed somewhere else to assist with an intervention. Or maybe the call comes through that there’s a special sighting, and then you’re in for a treat!
We also had some educational talks which were really interesting regarding conservation, management of predators and the issues surrounding wildlife’s decline.

The guides were super friendly and were always happy to answer questions and pause at animals and birds people might want to get a better look at or find more information about.
They taught us a lot while we were out working and you get to see first hand how much data and monitoring is needed to make a game reserve exist in harmony.

Travel with Hamba Africa and you will come home with expanded or completely new knowledge and great memories!
3 months later I still have new stories to tell from my time there and can’t wait to return for a future trip!

  • Lovely group of fellow volunteers
  • Great guides
  • Learning and insight into conservation
Response from Hamba Africa

Hello Sam AKA Lion girl :)

I'm glad you had the best time as I know you had to wait a "while" during covid until you could finally get to join us... good things come to those who wait.

I'm still a bit embarrassed to compare my photos to the world-class images you captured. Can't wait to see your image's on the cover of a Natgeo but was really great having you along (and hopefully taking a small amount of credit when you do publish them?).

Was such a treat on your final day at camp that the big male lion came and walked past the fence by your tent to say goodbye. I know lions are your favorite so... I like to think the bush acknolweged that and sent you a personal farewell messenger!

Talk soon

Harry :)


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Staff Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with program leaders.

Harry McGrath

Job Title
Harry is an avid conservationist and all-round nature enthusiast. Following his animal behaviour, management and welfare studies in the UK, Harry traveled to South Africa where he lived and worked on and around the Kruger National Park for four years, qualifying as an FGASA (Field Guide Association of South Africa) guide at the Limpopo Field Guide Training Academy in 2014. Since then, he’s had the good fortune to work in the environmental sector in many different roles.

His passion for conservation is reflected in his life choices; as the senior environmental writer for a digital magazine, coordinating diving tours in Cyprus and helping to rehabilitate predatory birds in the UK, to name a few. Now you are likely to find him in the wilderness of Southern Africa developing environmental research projects, leading tours and generally staring in awe at elephants.
Harry McGrath

What is your favorite travel memory?

Now that is a very hard question...

I've been blessed to have had some absolutely incredible experiences, too numerous to count. But if I had to pick a specific moment it would have to be tracking leopard in the north of the Kruger National Park.

Myself and a couple of close friends (one of whom had never visited South Africa before) set off on a 4-day camping and safari adventure. Naturally, we were determined to get the very best sighting of every iconic African animal possible, even if that meant setting off at sunrise and returning to camp after sunset.

We were doing well, watching hippos on foot from the banks of a river, sipping our morning coffee, baby hyenas nibbling our tires, feasting our eyes on a near black, ancient-looking giraffe, herds of elephants complete with old bulls and their young, and more colorful and exotic birds than we could ever imagine. Good stuff!

But we were missing something, probably the one animal everyone wants to see the most... the elusive leopard.

There was plenty of evidence. We had been tracking them for days as we drove, hanging over the edge of the game viewer and scanning the dirt roads for footprints. We even found the remnants of a 12ft rock python (someone’s supper the night before)!

But still nothing...

On the final night as we drove back to camp we resigned ourselves to the fact that as the masters of stealth, spotting a big cat wasn’t to be... "We'll just have to come back!" we joked.
Then a radio call from a nearby guide... "Mother and cub Ingwe (Leopard), on the road towards the canyon".

It was dark now and the road in question was a good 20min drive away. It was a long shot but we took it. We drove as fast as we could through the dense bush, hyper-focused on the road, spotlight scanning ahead at all times to make sure we didn’t run into anything big and hairy and holding onto the bars of the game viewer so as not to fall out when we hit a bump or came round a corner.

The adrenaline was pumping.

We got to the site where the radio spoke of and we could smell blood. The mother leopard had obviously made a kill. We were close. We passed another vehicle but they hadn’t seen anything.

Another 30 minutes of searching, peering into the black brush with torches, but still nothing.
Anyone who has looked for leopard before will know trying to spot one in the day is one thing, searching for one at night is next to impossible. And with young cubs, even less so... We were about to call it. But before we did we thought we would try one last thing...

We pulled the car up next to the road, turned the engine and all the lights off and kept as quiet as we could. Pitch black in the bush with only the stars poking through the tree canopy and silence broken only by the odd cricket.

After 5 minutes of sitting silently and somehow in unison, almost unnaturally, we all instinctively turned our torches on and shone the light to the left of the car.

There she was. A beautiful mother leopard so close we could have reached out and touched her. It was almost a shock, to see nothing but blackness only for the veil of darkness to be lifted and be face-to-face with a big cat less than a metre away!

After staring us down for a bit and deciding we weren’t a threat, she turned to a bush and a young cub came out and joined her. They walked on ahead of the vehicle further down the road; we followed them for about 15 minutes, snapping a few photos as best we could until they finally disappeared again under a bush and into the night.

Sometimes nature does save the best for last but I can tell you it was cheers and beers all around the camp on that final night!

How have you changed/grown since working for your current company?

As director of Hamba Africa, I’ve become very much more aware of the opportunities and responsibilities I have open to me and how I can use both to make a positive difference in the natural world.

Ultimately creating my personal vision through Hamba Africa means I’ve been able to reflect on how my actions will impact both the environment and people, so it has been hugely rewarding setting goals with conservation projects, fulfilling life-changing experiences for our guests and ensuring the positive contribution Hamba Africa will ultimately deliver.

Now I find myself wanting to continue to do better not only for me but also for others who would not be able to have such an experience without a ‘Hamba Africa’ to help them realise it.

What is the best story you've heard from a return student?

My favourite story is, of course, the one where past students or friends I’ve ‘guided’ or led on safari tours, continue to be involved in conservation work. To know that somehow their shared experience has inspired them to carry on such important work gives me immense joy and satisfaction.

Guiding people who may never have experienced nature at this level before or worked so closely with wildlife, who perhaps didn’t realise the severity of certain issues like poaching or orphaned animals and watching them realise their passion for it. It makes this all worthwhile. When I get updates saying "I’m currently working at this wildlife sanctuary" or "I’ve just finished my degree in zoology", it is really special to me because I feel in some small way Hamba Africa has helped them realise their own aspirations and ambitions.

Also watching (maybe sometimes helping) a holiday romance to blossom and to hear later that they are still going strong.. Very cute.

I’m still waiting for that wedding invitation, though!

If you could go on any program that your company offers, which one would you choose and why?

The 4-week wildlife adventure placement with travel week. 100%.

It’s the best of both worlds in my opinion.

You get to live in the heart of the African bush on the banks of Olifants river which is an absolutely serene and tranquil living experience with the sunsets, the sound of the bush at night and every morning waking up and checking out the river bank to see who’s popped by for a drink.


Plus the conservation workloads of fun, although there’s no doubt it can get sweaty and dirty too!

So rewarding!

And even as a qualified FGASA guide you are always learning and discovering something new each day; for us guides, the bush is the ‘never-ending classroom’.

And travel week is a great adventure, South Africa is a beautiful country with so much to see and do that is simply too good to miss out on.

New locations, new experiences, exploring unknown environments – the perfect way to really get to know the country. There’s an opportunity to try activities and locations that it has taken me years of living and exploring South Africa to discover, for example, the temperate rain forests in mountain valleys.

And of course, the close friendships you forge with your group will make travel week an exceptionally unique experience, one you’ll always remember.

What makes your company unique? When were you especially proud of your team?

Our goal and commitment towards supporting conservation are key, but so is investing in our guests and volunteers.

I like to think the two are mutually beneficial: the more passionate and engaged the volunteers are, the greater our conservation work benefits. The better the conservation work, the greater the opportunities for volunteers.

Hamba Africa was created and designed so that our placements include a diverse range of projects. Not only to ensure the positive impact on conservation but to enable everyone who joins us the opportunity to get involved, to learn and develop skills in all aspects of ecological management, zoology, and socio-economic development.

We believe there is always a Hamba Africa project that resonates with every guest/volunteer.

And what makes me most proud of my team is always keeping that goal at the forefront of their minds.

From the moment we receive your inquiry, to long after you’ve departed, I know our team will ensure you maximize your time and experience with us. I’m proud to know that my team is helping others to develop their own potential.

What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?

I believe it’s having a clear ethos, especially in the travel and conservation sector. I think today, young people want an experience that is fun and adventurous but they also want something they can take pride in and feel a sense of achievement and accomplishment.

The more authentic your company is to your ethos, the more like-minded individuals who share that ethos will be drawn to joining and they're for supporting you.