Location
  • South Africa
    • Cape Town
    • Limpopo

Program Details

Language
English
Housing
Hostel

Pricing

Starting Price
2000
Price Details
Safe and basic accommodations (usually shared)
All meals (unless otherwise stated in field manuals)
All necessary project training by experienced staff
All necessary project equipment and materials
24-hour in-country support
Jan 13, 2020
Jan 24, 2023
82 travelers are looking at this program

About Program

South Africa is often referred to as the Rainbow Nation, for representing 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.

GVI offers volunteer opportunities in sustainable projects that support the education, wildlife conservation, community health, and youth of the country. Your support impacts the ongoing community and sustainable development objectives of each project, and works according to the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

When you aren’t on site, explore some of the countries numerous settings such as; hiking up the world revered Table Mountain in Cape Town, visiting Gordon's Bay harbor, relaxing on various beaches along the country’s coast, experiencing wildlife safari reserves, or visiting rural settlements and cities.

Video and Photos

Program Highlights

  • Support global sustainable efforts that contribute towards the long-term objectives of each program.
  • Be surrounded by South African wildlife, world heritage sites, and natural wonders.
  • Live and travel in South Africa, connecting with the local community and other international volunteers.
  • Become a world citizen as you learn about different cultures, lifestyles, local cuisines, and traditions.
  • Improve your CV by adding skills in wildlife conservation, teaching, health and education, and community development.

Popular Programs

Hyena in South Africa

This program is set in the reserves of Limpopo, assisting with the conservation efforts of spotted and brown hyenas. While contributing towards the UN Sustainable Development Goal 15: Life On Land, you’ll also earn valuable skill development and training in; remote camera trapping, wildlife and predator specific monitoring, habitat rehabilitation, data capturing, and conservation. Enjoy your natural surroundings, while working alongside field experts and other international volunteers.

Volunteer working with a child in South Africa

Spend valuable time supporting education initiatives in one of Cape Town’s rural settlements. The local youth often grow up in high risk environments with few education opportunities. This project contributes towards their development in a safe space that encourages their full potential. Objectives support UN Sustainable Development Goal 4: Quality Education. Travel around the city and coastline in your free time, or visit one of the Seven Wonders of Nature, the city’s very own, Table Mountain.

Pride of lions in South Africa

Live on a private reserve in Limpopo, experiencing the surrounding wildlife in its natural habitat, all while contributing towards meaningful conservation and research efforts for wildlife protection and longevity. Learn about biodiversity and habitat monitoring, and how to track and identify each species.

Students collecting data in South Africa

In Karongwe Private Nature and Wildlife Reserve, join conservation work to better understand, protect, and preserve the reserves existing ecosystem. By learning camera trapping and radio telemetry techniques you are not only gaining valuable skills, but contributing to the conservation projects necessary database, by identifying rare species, understanding their behaviour, estimating populations, and conducting assessments and surveys accordingly.

Volunteers teaching a class of students in South Africa

Inspire and encourage rural community youth in Limpopo to learn about conserving wildlife, and the environment. Learn practical telemetry techniques, and teach, facilitate, and create lecture material for conservation discussions. On this program you will actively engage with students by participating in weekly safari drives. This supports the UN Sustainable Development Goal 15: Life On Land, and Goal 4: Quality Education.

Lioness and her cubs in South Africa

If you are looking to start a career in wildlife conservation, this program offers opportunities to learn hands on skills. You will practice data collection and use radio telemetry to track and record species whereabouts and behaviour. Your assistance supports the preservation of South Africa’s wild cats in their natural habitat. There will also be time to explore the Drakensberg mountains and river canyons nearby with fellow international volunteers.

Program Reviews

4.88 Rating
based on 48 reviews
  • 5 rating 91.67%
  • 4 rating 6.25%
  • 3 rating 0%
  • 2 rating 2.08%
  • 1 rating 0%
  • Impact 4.7
  • Support 4.85
  • Fun 4.9
  • Value 4.8
  • Safety 4.85
Showing 1 - 8 of 48 reviews
Default avatar
Oliver
4/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Fantastic time!

Amazing time! The staff are super knowledgeable and organized, always ready to answer questions about the work, animals or any organizational help you need. The volunteer work is enjoyable and interesting, with loads of opportunity for wildlife sightings. Recording the data and the practical conservation drives really make you feel like your doing something useful! On off days there are plenty of places to explore as well, day trips to Kruger or Blyde Canyon are well worth it. Would definitely recommend it to anyone even a little interested in wildlife conservation.

Pros
  • Lots of wildlife to see
  • Plenty of areas of natural beauty to see on off days
  • Super knowledgable and friendly staff
Cons
  • If your fellow volunteers and you don't get along it could be rough
  • Shared living space may bother some
Default avatar
Freja
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Renewed my passion for nature and wildlife

If you're considering this, do yourself a favour and do it <3
Not only did I get a look into a field I'm very curius about careerwise (wildlife research), I also got my passion for nature and wildlife renewed with a curiousity and wonder I thought I'd lost in childhood.
I've also made amazing friends who I couldn't live without and the staff are so amazing and inspiring.
Lions, hyena, rhino, giraffes... The African sunset and sunrise...
Go. Seriously. You'll be thanking yourself afterwards. I promise.

Pros
  • Experience South African Wildlife up close
  • Amazing social life
  • I learned so much about research and different animal species!
Cons
  • Shared rooms (not too bad once you get used to it)
  • An elephant might come destroy the water pipes (we bought water in a nearby town so we could still drink and cook)
  • It was sad to go back home
6 people found this review helpful.
Response from GVI

Hi Freja!

Thank you so much for such a heartwarming review. It's amazing that your passion for animals was reignited and that you are exploring a career in wildlife! I'm so happy that you were able to connect and create lasting friendships. I have no doubt you will be back in the future!

All the best,
Tiffany (GVI Outreach Team)

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

Gvi

This was a mind opening experience! We got to see the wildlife so up close and personal. There really is something so unique and special about seeing the wildlife thrive in their natural habitat. As well I’ve made life long friends from so many different parts of the world! I definitely recommend everyone do this at least once in their life! At first I was very skeptic about traveling so far and sharing a room with strangers but you learn to adapt quick. One of my favorite memories there was seeing a leopard on a kill.

Pros
  • Nice people
  • Seeing the Wildlife
  • Helping the planet
Cons
  • Food taste different
  • Sharing bathrooms
  • Sharing rooms
51 people found this review helpful.
Response from GVI

Hey Alondra,

Thank you for taking the time to leave this great review! GVI values hearing about your experience, and we are thrilled to hear that you enjoyed your time with us. It is so lovely that you made great connections and discovered the beauty that this world has to offer. We look forward to welcoming you back on base (with open arms) and continuing to make an impact. Please keep on spreading your love for GVI.

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

Once in a lifetime opportunity

I’ve always had a strong passion for wildlife and when i found GVI, i knew it was something i had to do. I’m glad i did as it was everything i expected and more! From day one i was made to feel welcome and was involved in the day to day routines of working within conservation. The staff were very helpful and knowledgeable, making the whole experience better. I made memories and friends that will last a lifetime and would 100% recommend anyone, like me who shares a passion for wildlife, to do the program!

Pros
  • Life experience
  • Contribute to conservation
  • Educational
57 people found this review helpful.
Response from GVI

Hey Matthew,

Thanks for your lovely review!

It is so great 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!

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

South Africa - Melanie 20 år

I have been in South Africa in limpopp for 2 weeks. It was the first time I had to travel alone. GVI helped a lot before I even left. So nice with a constant help if needed. It was so amazing, and knowing you are making a difference. And experience the culture of the country you are traveling to. Is in itself ladle fantastic. I have met the most amazing people, and made friends from different parts of the world. One reason I chose GVI was that you knew in advance that the animals were living their best lives. They live in the "free" nature. Something I do would back up. Just have to say. Not the last time I travel alone. Good advice along the way. "Allow yourself to dare to jump into the upcoming adventure." The overwhelming, but us the coolest. I still have the biggest smile on.

What was the most nerve-racking moment and how did you overcome it?
I was nervous before my trip. It was my first alone trip. I did not know 100 percent what I could expect from this experience. But said to myself. "I dare to jump into the adventure" and I did. And it turned out to be a great trip.
70 people found this review helpful.
Response from GVI

Hey Melanie - thanks for your beautiful review!

Amazing news to hear that you had such an unforgettable, action-packed, and soul-enriching time with us at GVI. 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. We look forward to welcoming you back on base (with open arms) and continuing to make an impact.

Kajsa (UK Outreach)

Default avatar
Roimata-Aroha
2/5
No, I don't recommend this program

Phenomenal experience tarred by financial conflicts of interest

I volunteered at the GVI Limpopo (South Africa) base at Karongwe Private Game Reserve.

I had a phenomenal wildlife experience, made lifelong friends, felt that the organisation exceeded my expectations in terms of learning opportunities and was impressed with the well-oiled machine that is GVI. The unpaid interns are your biggest source of knowledge here - they are remarkable in their knowledge and willingness to share this knowledge.

Unfortunately, two fundamental events lead me not to ultimately recommend GVI Limpopo (South Africa):
1. GVI Limpopo actively promotes trophy hunting as a revenue source for conservation. If this promotion was based on data, facts and figures I could accept this. GVI certainly tells you it is. After doing independent research (including requesting sources from GVI Limpopo for the basis for their promotion), the data, facts and figures do not support trophy hunting, quite the opposite. My research demonstrated that GVI Limpopo benefit indirectly financially from this promotion and I am severely disappointed that this organisation has put its financial interests ahead of genuine conservation. To me, this automatically loses credibility.
2. The staff struggled to adequately deal with a complaint of a sexual nature. A complaint was bought to their attention and it took 3 further people raising the issue for the Base Coordinator to implement the right procedures.

If GVI Limpopo could address these two points I would be very comfortable recommending them.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Enjoy every moment with the animals! We did often get kicked off locations with animals so when you do get a chance, make the most of it!
102 people found this review helpful.
Response from GVI

Hi there,

We are thrilled to hear about the positive experiences you had with us. We are, however, sad to hear that you wouldn’t recommend us. We’ve provided responses to your concerns below, which we hope gives some clarity on the points you raised.

GVI does not endorse or promote trophy hunting. However, there are situations when hunting forms part of conservation practices in South Africa, and in other parts of the world, often to ensure long-term successful conservation of certain species. We really encourage all participants to learn more about these factors via peer-reviewed articles. These articles will provide readers with academic studies on the topic and the impact on conservation.

Claims of sexual misconduct are taken extremely seriously at GVI. As an organisation that prides itself on operating under strict health and safety protocols, we have stringent procedures to follow in such serious but rare instances. In this situation, our protocols were followed, and all parties affected communicated they were satisfied with the outcomes. However, if you or anyone else involved is no longer satisfied or comfortable with the outcome, please do get in touch with us. We take this very seriously and we’d be happy to revisit this matter.

If you would like to discuss your experience with us in more detail directly, please contact feedback@gviworld.com. We are a feedback-led organisation and as such, place significant value on all input from our participants, especially regarding such serious incidents.

Amanda - Head of Alumni Services (Global)

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

The best time in the most wonderful place

Volunteering with GVI in Limpopo, South Africa was one of the most incredible experiences. The six months I spent there I really felt I had the opportunity to experience the country and the culture to the full and say I had lived there for part of my life. The wildlife experience in Limpopo is second to none and being part of ongoing research and conservation in to endangered species like cheetahs, rhinos and elephants was such a privilege. The internship expanded my knowledge of field biology and biodiversity and allowed me to practice field study skills, as well as debating and discussing important conservation topics with like minded individuals. Whether visiting as an opportunity to enjoy nature at its very best or using the time as a taster of a career in that sector, this internship has it all. During my time in South Africa I worked with some amazing, kind and knowledgeable staff and met some great life long friends. If it's a fully immerive bush experience you after, then this is for you!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Do it, you went regret it! This internship is incredible if you love nature, seriously.
98 people found this review helpful.
Response from GVI

Hey Benedict, 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!

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

An Experience I Will Never Forget

I actually was in South Africa this past summer through my University and we worked with GVI. It was amazing. It was 100% the best summer of my life. GVI gave me the opportunity to immerse myself in new cultures and connect with people I wouldn't have been able to do before. Forever grateful for the opportunity I had. Those children and women in the township I worked with taught me so much. I loved every part of that experience. They taught to appreciate what you have not to dwell on what you do not have.

What was the most nerve-racking moment and how did you overcome it?
I was afraid that they would be very standoffish of us coming into their township and nervous if they would be accepting of us. They were. They loved us and treated us like their own. They taught us their language, their games, shared their favorite meals. It was amazing
114 people found this review helpful.
Response from GVI

Hey Jazz, 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, so for the cape town projects over 18 it consists of 1 day of lesson planing, normally Monday, and then the rest of the days on site. You get to site at about 9am and go to 3pm with an hour for lunch. You will most likely leave the base at about 8.20 am having had breakfast and made your lunch. In the afternoon after volunteering you have free time to go to the beach, just chill out before you...