GVI: Wildlife Conservation Volunteering

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About Program

Realize your passions with one of GVI’s wildlife conservation programs. You can learn about; the Big Five game, fauna and flora, and other ecologically diverse wildlife in South Africa, highly intelligent elephants in Thailand, endangered sea turtles in Greece, Costa Rica, and Seychelles, and the bountiful biodiversity, stealthy jaguar,and bird life in Costa Rica.

You will be aligned with GVI’s objectives to reach short, mid, and long-term goals on each project, that are measured against the UN Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs). You will be part of a team of people dedicated to making an ethical and sustainable impact.

This is a great way to learn about universal conservation issues and work alongside the Field Guide Association of South Africa (FGASA) qualified guides, gain technical skills in remote camera trapping, learn how to make natural medicinal food remedies for elephants, or construct shelters for turtle nests and hatchlings.

Program Highlights
  • Learn conservation skills directly from experts in the field, while contributing to short, mid, and long-term objectives to reach the UN SDGs.
  • Travel to Southeast Asia, Africa, Latin America, or Europe, and learn how to volunteer ethically and make a sustainable impact in your chosen project.
  • Meet participants from other parts of the world, and start becoming a global citizen with a greater understanding of different social and conservation issues.
  • Go on hikes, snorkel and dive in warm tropical waters, or travel to nearby waterfalls and cities in your free time.
  • Start to learn a new language and gain a deeper understanding of local community members’ cultural practices.

GVI global programs are open!

We're thrilled to announce that nine of our global locations are now open, including Greece, Thailand, Nepal, Seychelles, South Africa, Costa Rica and Mexico. We're also taking bookings for our Thailand, Chiang Mai, Lao and Peru locations for 2021. Stay tuned for more locations coming your way soon, including a new location addition in the Canary Islands.

Program Reviews

9.6 Rating
based on 5 reviews
  • 9-10 rating 100%
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  • Impact 10
  • Support 10
  • Fun 9
  • Value 9.6
  • Safety 9.8
Showing 1 - 5 of 5
Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing Experience

I have just finished an amazing few weeks with GVI in Thailand, volunteering on their coastal conservation project. It's hard to explain just how fantastic the experience has been from beginning to end.

It has been wonderful to experience a different side to Thailand, which has felt much more authentic than just traipsing around all the typical tourist haunts, and to know that you are making a genuine difference to the community you are working in while you are there. As a volunteer with GVI you have so many more opportunities than a "regular" tourist, from helping out at a nearby turtle conservation centre to teaching in a local school (and with plenty of time for sight-seeing at the weekends, too!).

One thing that really impressed me was GVI's commitment to having a real impact, focussing on several of the UN's sustainable development goals which are applicable to the region. It's tempting to think that, as a short-term volunteer only there for a few weeks, you can't make a big impact, but GVI give you the opportunity to be part of something larger than yourself, so you know that the work you are doing will be continued by the staff, interns, and future volunteers long after you have moved on.

Possibly the best thing about volunteering with GVI was the people I met while I was there - staff, interns and other volunteers alike, I got to know some of the most inspiring, passionate and dedicated people I have ever had the pleasure to meet, who happily shared their time, energy and expertise with those of us who have plenty of enthusiasm, but little knowledge of the conservation issues in the region.

It's been a truly amazing experience that I can't recommend highly enough!

What would you improve about this program?
In terms of the actual experience in country, I don't think it could be much better. However, the information provided in advance could have been a little clearer in some respects, especially for those of us who have never been to this part of the world, or been on a volunteering experience before.
2 people found this review helpful.
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Yes, I recommend this program

2 weeks was not enough

So I went to Phang Nga for 2 weeks and I wish i'd been able to spend longer there. I loved every minute, the staff and volunteers were all such wonderful people. I especially loved working with the turtles and learning lots about them. The whole set up of the project was extremely organised and I always felt confident in what was expected of me and the tasks we were going to. I can't recommend GVI enough, as it's the second project I have done with them. They are so organised and clear about what will be happening on project. As with all things some activities were weather dependent and we were always informed when possible if things were going to change. GVI had built up a fantastic relationship with the surrounding village and the Navy base which we volunteered at.

I cannot recommend this project enough it was the most enjoyable time I had in Thailand and I wish I had done the project for longer!

What would you improve about this program?
this programme was so much fun with just the right amount of training. I wouldn't change anything except for I would have stayed longer.
2 people found this review helpful.
Yes, I recommend this program

The best 3 weeks!

I spent three weeks in Phang Nga and it was the best of my life, originally i was only meant to do 2 weeks but extended as i loved it so much. I was very nervous to begin going by myself, even with the good words of the team i spoke to before it is scary going somewhere new! as soon as i was picked up by the GVI team I knew it was going to be amazing! The other people volunteering were so lovely, the team were so nice and only had good words to speak about GVI. Everyone i was with was so wonderful and I can honestly say i have made friends for life, living with and spending all day with people is just amazing! The whole GVI team were amazing too. Doing conservation i spent a lot of time with Rachel and Luis who were wonderful! they love conservation so much and seeing their passion made you enjoy it even more! the living conditions also were good. I expected very basic but we had 6 bed dorms, which was very fun being able to live with people, we also had a common area with a kitchen with a kettle toaster cereal for us to eat, then sofas with a laptop and projector so we could watch films and there was wifi which was nice as it is handy to be able to keep in touch with people especially at the beginning when you are still nervous. We lived in a small village and it was nice being part of the community. On the weekend we went on trips with everyone where we all got to know each other better and it was so much fun! i would highly recommend this to anyone it was the best trip ever and i wish i was there longer.

What would you improve about this program?
I honestly can say there is nothing i can say needs improving i had the best time!
3 people found this review helpful.
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Yes, I recommend this program

Up close to the animals!

Every day on the expedition there was something new and exciting to discover. Studying the predator/prey ratios of the animals living on the reserve and taking data on their daily habits was like living in a Nationa Geographic special. We started early and finished late every day, but the work was worthwhile and we felt as though we were contributing to the long term impact of the area. There was also time for teaching the African schoolchildren how to use newly donated computers. The looks of wonder on their faces was priceless. I was amazed at how close we were able to get to animals most people only see on TV, but I always felt our safety was GVI's first priority. It was an experience I wouldn't trade for anything and hopefully someday I'll be able to return to do it again!

2 people found this review helpful.
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Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing Wildlife Opportunity!

Working with this program was an amazing experience. We spent our time every day working closely with the wildlife. I felt like we were on safari everyday while doing research on predator/prey ratio studies.

Life on the reserve was primitive, yet very comfortable.

2 people found this review helpful.

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