Location
  • South Africa
    • Limpopo
Length
4 to 12 weeks

Program Details

Language
English
Age Min.
18
Age Max
65
Timeframe
Short Term Spring Break Summer Winter Year Round
Housing
Hostel Rondavel Tent
Groups
Small Group (1-15)
Travel Type
Budget Family Older Travelers Solo Women

Pricing

Starting Price
1500
Price Details
Join from 2 to 12 weeks!
What's Included
Accommodation Activities Airport Transfers Equipment Meals Transportation Wifi
What's Not Included
Airfare SIM cards Travel Insurance Visa
Apr 22, 2024
Nov 15, 2023
8 travelers are looking at this program

About Program

Join us and industry leading ecologists and wildlife experts.

A rare opportunity, play a key role in important wildlife behavioural research and ecological management. You'll gained a detailed and in-depth understanding of real world conservation techniques and methodologies as you master and implement them. Immerse yourself at a remote research and bushcamp to help monitor and safeguard a 35,000 hectare South African wildlife reserve.

The typical work week involves a Monday to Friday schedule, each day you'll leave camp to take part in projects from tracking animals with radio collars or visually, deploying camera traps or equipment and even supporting and responding to veterinary emergencies.

An Ideal steppingstone placement for those looking to work professionally in the conservation industry or alternative travellers and volunteers looking for a real adventure as you get mere meters away from animals like rhino, elephants or lions.

Video and Photos

Program Highlights

  • Protect endangered species - the projects you'll work on protect animals who’s populations are dwindling across Africa. Help give black and white rhino, cheetah, lion, hyena a future!
  • Get taught and trained - learn to monitor a rhino’s body condition, data capture during scientific surveys, read animal behaviour, use equipment from radio collar tracking to camera traps and more.
  • Wild experience - you’re not a visitor on the reserve, you're there to research and protect wildlife. The difference? You'll take the roads off limit to others, get closer to the animals to monitor them more accurately even support other reserve teams or
  • A diverse projects - Monitor predator mortality such as leopards and cheetah. Record data for scientific research. Monitor behaviour of rhino. Feed animals during droughts. Radio collar tracking. Camera trapping and even emergency vet work.
  • Life in the bush - Along with the skills and satisfaction of helping protect animals, you’ll experience a different world as you live in a remote area of the wilderness. Meet new people, share stories, experiences and get to know a different kind of life.

Program Impact

Play a lead role on a safari reserve, we'll be working to research wildlife, manage ecosystems and protect habitats.

Popular Programs

Radio collar tracking!

You'll track and monitor wildlife using radio collar antenna. Lions, Cheetah, Elephant and Buffalo are all monitored as part of reintroduction projects, predator mortality, to understand animal behaviour as part of ongoing research or even for emergency veterinary interventions!

Cheetah moving

Life in the bush is varied and exciting. During your placement, anything could happen. From rhinos fighting with each other needing emergency veterinary care to capturing reserve cheetah for relocation. You'll take part in all of it. We can't foresee the future exactly but we can foresee you'll get up close with iconic African animals!

The last image taken by a camera before it vanished!

Camera traps are valuable tool for any ecologist or animal behaviourist. You'll learn how to select sites for camera trap placement base on your understanding of the animals behaviour deploying and collecting the equipment routinely. These surveys are as part of long term research project on the reserve looking at animals like black rhino or leopard... that is if the reserve elephants don't remove the camera traps first!

Vegetation Surveys

What the most important part of animal ecosystem? Plants! Without healthy and biodiverse plants for herbivores to eat, the ecosystem would collapse. Although these might not be the most exciting, you'll quickly learn and understand this secret side of ecological management and help ensure the ecosystems health.

Lion Roarding

The reserve is home to predators including: Lions, Leopard, Hyena, Cheetah and more!

Monitor their behaviour, what their eating, when and where. Record this data as part of ongoing research and ecological management. You'll also get up close and personal with these animals for some incredible sightings.

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Program Reviews

5.00 Rating
based on 14 reviews
  • 5 rating 100%
  • 4 rating 0%
  • 3 rating 0%
  • 2 rating 0%
  • 1 rating 0%
  • Impact 4.95
  • Support 5
  • Fun 5
  • Value 4.95
  • Safety 4.8
Showing 1 - 8 of 14 reviews
Default avatar
Laura
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

A memorable conversation experience!

In August 2023, I had the opportunity to go out to South Africa, with Hamba Africa to spend time volunteering at the research camp in Welgevonden game reserve.

During my 3 weeks with Hamba Africa, Harry, our knowledgeable guide, blended entertainment with education during each game drive, making every outing an amazing learning experience. We helped the researchers carry out Rhino tracking, plain monitoring and game transects.

One of the standout moments was participating in the conservation team's hands-on interventions, such as a buffalo relocation we were extremely lucky to take part in. Alongside this, witnessing and monitoring the big 5 animals in their natural habitat was a dream come true and added a sense of awe to the entire experience.

Contributing to the daily tasks of the conservation research team provided a unique insight into the challenges and rewards of wildlife preservation. The team at the Welgevonden research camp were so welcoming and shared their wealth of knowledge with every volunteer.

Additionally, the program extended beyond the reserve, allowing us to explore Marekele National Park, monitor African wild dog packs, and immerse ourselves in the local culture by visiting towns and pubs.

Waking up to the views from our tent onto the expansive plains was another highlight, especially with the daily presence of our resident Rhinos every morning!

The accommodation was not just comfortable but also thoughtfully equipped with all the necessary amenities, ensuring a pleasant stay.

Overall, my time with Hamba Africa was an amazing experience and I would recommend it to anyone.

25 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Mark
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Experience of a life time

I recently had the privilege of volunteering with Hamba Africa in the breath-taking Welgevonden Game Reserve in South Africa, and I can honestly say it was an experience of a lifetime. From the moment I arrived, I was immersed in a world of stunning landscapes, incredible wildlife, and meaningful conservation efforts that left a lasting impact on me.

First and foremost, the highlight of my time in Welgevonden was undoubtedly encountering the entire Big 5 – lions, elephants, buffalo, leopards, and rhinos. - We were very lucky at times!

The daily scenery was incredible at Welgevonden, with vast plains, rolling hills, and diverse ecosystems. I went in the winter season and it was still great!

Accompanying you on most drives were, Harry and Rachel. Their passion for wildlife, extensive knowledge, and commitment to conservation added a rich layer to our experience. They not only shared fascinating insights about the animals but also made every outing enjoyable and educational. This was done alongside the reserve guides, Marge and Kutaza who were equally welcoming!

What sets Hamba Africa apart is the hands-on involvement in critical interventions. Participating in the Buffalo relocation was a highlight, allowing me to directly contribute to the conservation efforts and witness the positive impact of our collective work.

Beyond the daily activities within the reserve, Harry went out of his way to provide opportunities for extracurricular adventures that enriched my experience. Exploring Marakele National Park, mingling with locals at the pub, tracking African wild dog packs and even visiting Johannesburg.

One of the most rewarding aspects was the chance to connect with people from all walks of life. The camaraderie formed with fellow volunteers, as we shared our passion for wildlife and conservation, created lasting friendships. The diverse backgrounds and experiences of my fellow volunteers enriched the overall adventure - late nights by the camp fire were great as we reflected on the day, shared our stories underneath the clear starry skies.

The ecological work we engaged in was not only educational but also impactful. From monitoring migration patterns to participating in rhino identification surveys and bird surveys, every activity played a crucial role in the preservation of the reserve's delicate ecosystem. Hamba Africa provided a platform for us to contribute meaningfully to the conservation of South Africa's natural treasures.

I did my research prior to picking an organisation to do such an adventure with and picked Hamba thanks to Harry's welcoming and informative nature in the build up, which was only reinforced when meeting him at camp.

One final thing - Harry aided me in my proposal! After giving him the heads up I would like to propose whilst in Africa, a time and date was set, location found and it was done at sunset in a beautiful location. Harry and co captured some amazing footage of the moment and had some celebratory drinks and food afterwards!

Pros
  • Immersive experience with knowledgeable guides
  • Amazing scenery
  • Accommodation was great - power, clean, all the amenities you need, safe camp
22 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Tea
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Conservation Project

I was struggling at the beginning as I was not sure if this program would suit me. But once I settled in, it became quickly home far away from home. It was one of the best experiences in my life. Everyone at the project was so nice and we connected quickly. The people at the project were so dedicated and passionate about their work and I could really see that they love what they do and this impressed me the most. I have also learned a lot in 2 weeks and the only thing I regret is that I couldnt stay longer. Would recommend this project to everyone.

Pros
  • Bonding
  • Experience
  • Quiet place
33 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Shannon
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Incredibly Impactful for Solo Teacher

I spent 4 weeks in the Welgevonden Research Camp, and I loved it! I arrived at the end of Winter, so vegetation was low, and I had the opportunity to see and learn about more wildlife than I could have imagined. My guides were respectful, were happy to stop and answer my questions, and were thorough when teaching me how to identify the differences between male and female species. While I got the chance to see tons of wildlife, big and small, I was also there to work. I spent my days running game transects (animal IDs and counts), collecting soil data, and running out with the emergency vets to help animals in need. I learned so much in that short amount of time, it’s been two months back in the US and I’m still processing my trip! It was cold, the days were long, the showers were short, and the proximity to the other volunteers was close, but I would never have traded in that experience. I wish I could do it all over again from the beginning. Best wishes on your travels!

Pros
  • Making Connections
  • Animal IDs
  • Veterinary Work
Cons
  • Unpredictability
27 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Julie
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Unforgettable experience

I highly recommend this great experience. We came as a couple and it was great. The toilets, kitchens, tents etc. are clean. We were very well received and the days were very rich. The days start early but also end early most of the time, which leaves time to rest in the afternoon.
We had the chance to see a lot of animals and we were able to learn a lot from Harry, Marge and Kutasa.
We helped reintroduce cheetahs into the reserve which was incredible. For example, we were also able to observe a veterinarian carrying out small interventions on the rinhoceros following vaccinations.

Pros
  • Unique
  • Very close to the animals
  • Excellent welcome
Cons
  • The days start early
  • We don't go out of reserve much
  • we purchased equipment that was not very necessary
33 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Adam
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

An Unforgettable Experience

I spent six weeks in South Africa staying at the research camp, waking up every morning and being able to look out onto the plains and see a variety of wildlife was breath-taking and something I would recommend to anyone. The guides were friendly and knowledgeable, thanks to them I now know a lot more about wildlife and conservation. Extra effort was made allowing us to do other activities, like a visit to the nearby National Park, visiting local towns, pub nights, and horse riding, which made the trip even more memorable.

Hamba Africa gave me the opportunity to experience close-up encounters with a range of wildlife, and I was lucky enough to be present and help with interventions on buffalos, a lioness, an elephant and a rhino. The experience was rewarding, as we engaged in activities such as rhino monitoring, game transects, soil moisture monitoring, plains monitoring, body condition scoring, and much more. This allowed me to feel like I was making a real difference, and will be extremely valuable to support my future career ambitions. I also met a lot of amazing people with different backgrounds who shared similar interests, and who I learnt a lot from.

Pros
  • An amazing experience you will never forget
  • An opportunity to contribute to the conservation of endangered and vulnerable species
  • Being able to get up-close to lots of amazing willdife
29 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Thomas
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Fantastic experience

We had an absolutely wonderful week with Harry and Marge at the research camp. We've learned a lot about conservation in south africa and the specifities of keeping big 5 in a reserve. Passion and knowledge were seen every minute of our trip.

Waking up the first day and seeing white rhinos just near our camp was positively shocking but the great part is that they are there every morning.

We were also able to participate in vet interventions on rhinos and a cheetah reintroduction into the reserve which was truly a superb experience.

Pros
  • The deep level of insight you get on south african conservation
  • Waking up and seeing rhinos 10 meters away every morning
  • The wonderful wildlife and wilderness
Cons
  • If you like to wake up late in the morning, it probably isn't for you
32 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Merel
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing!

My stay at the research camp was amazing! Every day we went into the field and saw many animals very close. In the time that I was there, we did a lot of rhino monitoring. This means that we stopped the car for every rhino we hadn’t seen for a while and logged which rhino it was, its location and its body condition. It was very interesting and cool to be given the opportunity to see how these things work and even help with every step! Back in camp we could relax. It was very nice to just sit in front of my tent in the shade, enjoying the view and watching all kinds of animals pass by. After dinner there was time for a fun game or a cozy campfire.

Pros
  • Amazing animals!
  • Knowledgeable and experienced guides
  • Great accomodation with excellent view
33 people found this review helpful.

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