• South Africa
    • Johannesburg
    • Free State
    • Pretoria
    • Durban
    • Cape Town
1 to 12 weeks

Program Details

Year Round
Guesthouse Host Family Hostel
Travel Type
Budget Family Older Travelers Solo Women


Starting Price
What's Included
Accommodation Meals
What's Not Included
Airfare Travel Insurance Visa
Jan 20, 2021
May 10, 2018
21 travelers are looking at this program

About Program

We are looking for volunteers to join our award winning projects in wonderful South Africa, including:
- Elephant Care and Research: Help care for majestic African elephants and join a leading research team who collect data on the herd
- Big 5 Conservation: Actively contribute to monitoring and protecting lions, rhinos, elephants, leopards + much more whilst living on a beautiful coastal reserve
- Endangered Wildlife Conservation: Assist the monitoring of African wild dogs, elephants, lion, and leopards in the stunning KwaZulu-Natal region
- Marine Conservation: Contribute to turtle, shark and potato bass research at world famous dive sites in Sodwana Bay
- Monkey Rescue: Care for orphaned or mistreated primates at the sanctuary
- Horse Rehabilitation: Help to care for over 40 horses and ride on the stunning Indian Ocean beach

This program is currently not being promoted on Go Overseas by its provider. Check with Pod Volunteer for the most up-to-date information regarding the status of this program.

Video and Photos

Program Highlights

  • Award winning conservation of priority species including black rhino, African wild dog, cheetah, leopard, elephant and lion
  • Experience amazing Big 5 encounters - lion, elephant, buffalo, rhino and leopard
  • Join an active research team collecting data to guide best practice for management of captive elephants
  • Learn to dive and receive marine ecology training and contribute to turtle, shark, potato bass and manta ray research
  • Work hands on with a variety of primate species at a well-respected monkey sanctuary

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Program Reviews

9.67 Rating
based on 3 reviews
  • 9-10 rating 100%
  • 7-8 rating 0%
  • 5-6 rating 0%
  • 3-4 rating 0%
  • 1-2 rating 0%
  • Impact 9.3
  • Support 10
  • Fun 9.7
  • Value 9.7
  • Safety 9.3
Showing 1 - 3 of 3 reviews
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing Experience

When I was planning my trip, I expected nothing more than to learn more about the bush and be lucky enough to find animals I knew that are "hard" to see. I had the privilege of staying a whole month in the Rusermi camp and as the days passed by, not only a dream came true, learning about the bush, footprints and encountering lions, wild dogs, rhinos, elephants, etc, but I also made good friends. Friendships that made my "goodbye" much harder. I totally encourage people to have an experience as a volunteer and to work with wildlife in South Africa because I know nobody will ever regret.

12 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Kruger Conservation and Leopard Monitoring

I did not know what to expect. There was bunkhouse accommodations, we prepared our own breakfast and lunch from supplies provided, and a different group cooked for all each evening. If a group wasn't cooking then the group was assigned to other activities. Early each morning we left the lodge and either counted all the herbivores along a transect, counted birds, identified predator tracks, managing the camera traps, or made or repaired bush roads. We had a few hours off each midday and then did one of the above activities in the afternoon. In camp we had to keep baboons and vervet monkeys from getting into the buildings. The lodge was on the bank of the Oliphants River and was not fenced. At night we had lions and hyenas near by. A herd of elephants visited our camp daily to forage along the riparian area between the camp and the river. A young bull elephant would walking in through the front gate and forage on the shrubs just 15 yards from where we were sitting or standing. The rangers held training sessions on bush craft which was essential for our safety when interacting with elephants and other wildlife that we met in the bush or in or near camp. This was an experience of a life time. The data we collected would be/was submitted to an ecologist which would make recommendations to the game warden. As a short term volunteer we never found out what was in the reports or how the report was used by the warden. I would highly recommend this placement for anyone.

What would you improve about this program?
Maybe more info on how the collected data was actually used. The bunkhouse was very crowed. I would recommend window gratings to keep baboons and monkeys out so the windows could be left open, especially on hot nights.
14 people found this review helpful.
Read my full story
Yes, I recommend this program

South Africa - Elephant Care and Research

“I cannot recommend this project highly enough! It was such a great experience and one I will never forget... a dream come true! 2 weeks was definitely not
long enough!

My trip was well organised from start to finish, I never felt as if I was alone, as I knew the PoD team was there if I needed. All the staff at the park are very friendly and helpful.

What was a typical day at the project?
A typical day starts at 7am (winter hours). The first task of the morning was going into the orchard and replacing the old branches that the elephants feed on, with new ones. Throughout the day you work in 2hr blocks, depending on what your schedule is for the day you could be making dung paper or making books with the dung paper, collecting data by observing the elephants' behaviours in the field (I loved this task), making enrichments for the elephants or entering data that was collected onto the computer. The day finished at 5:30pm (winter hours). On the occasional day you would have a sleep-in or an early finish. We were also involved in night/all night observations of the elephants in the Boma.

What did you find most rewarding?
Being so close to the elephants and observing their behaviour. There were a couple of afternoons where they had a crazy half hour at the end of the day, very enjoyable to watch!

What did you find most challenging?
The physical tasks were not too strenuous. What I found most challenging at the beginning was remembering all the elephants and guides names!

What advice would you give others considering doing this placement?
Definitely try and go for as long as you possibly can! I was there for 2 weeks and it definitely wasn't long enough, although I did squeeze as much as I could into the days we had free. You are given 2 t-shirts to work in and also a jacket to borrow in the winter months. You must where these t-shirts during all hours of working, so I would recommend only bringing enough tops for the weekends. Some of the volunteers do go out to the pub/dinner on the weekend too, so perhaps bring a couple of nicer items to wear on these occasions. There is also a washing machine for the volunteers to use. For shoes whilst working, I recommend gum/wellington boots!

Why do you think others should volunteer abroad?
Volunteering abroad gets you out of your comfort zone and opens your eyes to other cultures and surroundings, I learnt so much from the people I spoke with during my time there. I found it a great reward being able to do my bit to help the project I was involved in.

Why did you choose PoD and would you recommend us to others?
Yes! This was my first time volunteering and I wanted to have a safety net incase anything went wrong. PoD were very helpful and organised from start to finish. There was plenty of information provided both on the website and the information booklet. Highly recommend!”

10 people found this review helpful.

Questions & Answers