Wildlife conservation experience with the Big 5 in South Africa

Video and Photos


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!

  • 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


based on 3 reviews
  • Impact 9
  • Support 10
  • Fun 9.7
  • Value 9.3
  • Safety 9.7
Showing 1 - 3 of 3
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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!

How can this program be improved?
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 :)

Yes, I recommend this program
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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.

How can this program be improved?
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!

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!!

How can this program be improved?
There is honestly nothing I can think of that would make this programme any better.
Yes, I recommend this program

About Oyster Worldwide

Oyster Worldwide is a respected gap year and responsible travel organisation. Since 2000, we have been sending volunteers and workers overseas on our exciting projects. Our friendly team is dedicated to providing a personal service, offering support...