Wildlife Conservation Experience with the Big 5 in South Africa

COVID-19 Program Updates

Due to global health & safety concerns and travel restrictions related to the coronavirus, Oyster Worldwide 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

elephant
elephant
girls at Big 5 game reserve
girls at Big 5 game reserve
friends on a hike
friends on a hike
Giraffes in South Africa
Giraffes in South Africa
game drive group
game drive group

About

Travel to South Africa and work on a private game reserve alongside local game rangers and keepers. You will be working with Africa’s exciting ‘Big 5’ – elephants, lions, rhino, leopards and Cape buffalo. In addition to this, the game reserve is home to zebra, hippos, giraffes, monkeys and baboons, as well as 250 species of bird.

This is great opportunity to get hands-on experience and contribute to very worthy causes in the forms of animal welfare, environmental conservation and aiding the local community.

Work on tasks such as lion tracking, game counts, tree planting and volunteering at the local school. Spend the weekend exploring Port Elizabeth or enjoy the luxury of the swimming pool, tennis courts and relaxation areas on the reserve. Three excellent meals are provided for you each day.

This project is more than just a safari, immerse yourself in the 60 square kilometres of flora and fauna in one of the most exquisite locations on the planet!

Highlights
  • Work with the South African Big 5 on an experience which goes much deeper than just a standard safari.
  • Learn from expert game rangers all about the animals, the ecosystem and life in South Africa.
  • Live and work with other participants from all around the world, making great friendships as you go.
  • Explore the stunning Garden Route in your free time, from shark cage diving to surfing, from bungee jumping to skydiving.
  • Get some great work experience.

Questions & Answers

Reviews

10 Rating
based on 4 reviews
  • Impact 8.8
  • Support 10
  • Fun 9.3
  • Value 9
  • Safety 9
Showing 1 - 4 of 4
Default avatar
A.
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Great Experience with the Big 5 Conservation Program in SA

In December 2018 I had the pleasure to spend 2 weeks on a Big 5 Conservation program in South Africa.
I can honestly say, the weeks I spent there were some of the best weeks in my life - thanks to the place and the people there. The nature and wildlife are great. I can only recommend this trip to all nature lovers. The work you do is varied and rewarding. Sometimes, regarding the weather in the summer months, you feel exhausted from previous days, but – and I very appreciated this attitude – nobody is forced to work and you can stay back and relax enjoying the beautiful place. The volunteers feel free to go on the activities.
Personally, I tried to participate in every activity as it makes fun to work with all the people together and you learn a lot from the rangers. (Almost all the work is conducted in the nature inside the reserve and many times you go on a game drive)
When I left, I left not only this beautiful place and the (great !! and helpful) stuff there but also many new friends from all around the world. This experience was really amazing!

Oysters Worldwide provided great support and did a great job. I was feeling more than very well prepared before leaving. I received all necessary information and prompt responses for all questions I had. They kept in touch with me during and after the trip to ensure that everything’s fine. So overall, I had the feeling that they really care about you and that you get the most out of your trip.
A big thank to Oysters for providing me this unique opportunity.

After this great experience I want to continue with travelling and volunteering around the world and now I first check if Oyster offers something I'm looking for.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Be ready. Be prepared. Take everything easy. Be open-minded :-) !
Default avatar
Ben
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

South Africa Big 5 Conservation Project

The project was amazing, it had the right balance between charity work and free time. The charity work was an eye opening to experience what it is like as a game park ranger. I also enjoyed learning more about the animals within the game park through game drives and interactive sessions in the rehabilitation zone. The project also gives you the ability to go out on weekends and experience the night life of Port Elizabeth and amazing opportunities, such as Sky diving, Bungee jumping, Cheetah and Elephant interactive experiences. Overall the experience was something I will never forget and I would highly recommend it!

What would you improve about this program?
Nothing it was perfect!
Response from Oyster Worldwide

Hi Ben,
So pleased that you made the most of your time in South Africa!
Thanks for your review :)

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

South African Experience of a Lifetime

Africa pushed me out of my comfort zone. I went out there as the quiet, anxious one and then I ended up going shark cage diving in Plettenberg one weekend, getting tattoos with some of the group another week and trying new things like paddle boarding and hiking. Speaking of, the Wednesday hikes were definitely one of my highlights. I am not a hiker, I don’t climb and I don’t have the best coordination (proven when I fell on my face during one of the walks!). But the view at the top was amazing- in made the struggle up the cliff face, and my fearing death(!), all worth it. South Africa is a beautiful country; the coastline as well as the game reserves. And watching an African sunset is something that should be on anyone’s bucket list.
The volunteering itself wasn’t always easy work but it was so rewarding- we knew that we were working towards improving these animals' home. It felt good to help out the staff and work as a group with the other volunteers; proving that teamwork would get the best job done. Once, we managed to chop down 14 trees in the space of a couple hours, and another occasion had us all digging out concrete blocks, holding fence posts, and then lifting parts out of the way as a team. At the end of the day it just felt like we had achieved something, and I could say I had done tasks I never thought I would do.
Every single day, every game drive, every campfire or evening sat together watching films and every weekend, just surpassed my expectations. The breath-taking animals on this reserve stole my heart and I honestly could have watched them all day. But as much as I loved the animals, I have to say that the best part of the whole trip would be all of the incredible people that I met during my time out there. I went to South Africa with my best friend, and I came back having made a few more. Before arriving, I didn’t think that I would get so close to the people that I would meet, but when the time came to saying goodbyes, it was one of the worst things to have to do. You get to meet so many different people, from all over the world, and you go from strangers to roommates, to friends, almost instantly. These people become your family; they make you cry with laughter, talk with you like you’ve known each other forever, they are there for you when you’re down and they pick you right back up again (sometimes literally). You get to learn new things, like how New Zealanders call flip flops ‘jandals’, and you get to know some of their language and culture. In just 4 weeks I got to discover more about the world and other people’s lives. I have come back with many memories and inside jokes that no one else except the family will understand, but I know I am very lucky to have these and to have met these people.
So, if anyone has ever considered doing something like this; they want to do some good even in just a small part of the world, and want to challenge themselves, then I would 100% recommend and encourage this project. My experience gave me a confidence that I didn’t think I would ever have, and it led me to some amazing people. Thanks to Oyster, for providing me with a stress-free travel opportunity, I have some lifelong memories and friendships, and now I have more of the world to explore , for the sake of reunions!
I would happily do it all again.

What would you improve about this program?
Maybe a little more information on possible weekend activities and there prices could be available before departure so that spending money can be better planned for. Otherwise it is just a truly incredible trip
Response from Oyster Worldwide

Hi Sasha,
It's wonderful to read your review and what fantastic photos!

Lauren
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

South Africa - Big 5 Experience

This programme was more than I could have ever hoped for! Cliche aside - it was honestly the best thing I have done in my life...so far! I was going in expecting to enjoy the African wildlife and working hard to make a difference, but I came away with so much more than that. I made friends from all over the world - people who at home I probably would not have interacted with. I learned so much about the South African culture as well as the cultures of my fellow volunteers. The work we did was at times, very intense, but worth it. What you do has an immediate impact that you can see, as well as knowing your making an impact for years to come. The coordinators in the country became our family and there is nothing you cant go to them for. The opportunities to try new things outside volunteer hours are huge - but I would suggest if you want to make the most of them, to account for slightly more spending money to get the most of your experience. I can not say enough good things about this programme!!

What would you improve about this program?
There is honestly nothing I can think of that would make this programme any better.