Award Winning Endangered Wildlife Volunteer Programs in South Africa - Wildlife ACT

Video and Photos

Small pride of 5 lions on a track
Small pride of 5 lions on a track
Giraffe mother with two yearlings
Giraffe mother with two yearlings
Photo of a huge elephant with broad tusks
Photo of a huge elephant with broad tusks
Young male lion in Tembe.
My Mkuze crew!

About

Get directly involved in some of the most exciting & important conservation work being done in Zululand, South Africa - an area which resounds with the heartbeat of Africa and which is one of the most diverse & productive wildlands on Earth. Join Wildlife ACT on the ground to save endangered & priority wildlife species: African Painted Wolves, Rhino, Cheetah, Elephants, Lions, Leopards, Vultures and more. It’s Real Africa, Real Conservation, and the experience of a lifetime. Ages 18 to 70+ If you want to visit the real African wilderness and be part of real wildlife volunteer work, Wildlife ACT is looking for you.

Our Fair Trade Tourism certified projects are conducted on national game reserves in South Africa. Wildlife ACT was recognized for their conservation work by being awarded Second Place for a World Responsible Tourism Award in the category “Best for Wildlife”
and Second Place for an African Responsible Tourism Award in the category “Best for Habitat & Species Conservation"

Highlights
  • Fair Trade Tourism Certified
  • World Responsible Tourism Awards winner 2018
  • African Responsible Tourism Awards winner 2017
  • Rhino Conservation Awards 2017 Winner
  • Partnered with WWF, Wildlands, the Endangered Wildlife Trust, the Wildlife Conservation Network, Panthera & others

Questions & Answers

Hi Sheillah, Thank you for your query. We get a lot of people asking about employment opportunities within Wildlife ACT. With the conservation environment being as dynamic as it is, and with our goal to expand our conservation efforts, we are always interested in keeping potential candidates on file for when the need arises. We do, however, mainly look for potential wildlife monitors who are...

Reviews

97%
based on 38 reviews
  • Impact 9.4
  • Support 9.5
  • Fun 9.3
  • Value 9.1
  • Safety 9.2
Showing 31 - 38 of 38
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DuckD
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Best Volunteer Experience of My Life

I volunteered with Wildlife Act in 2009. Probably once a month I scheme about how I can go back / lament the fact that South Africa is so far away. It was one of the most incredibly experiences of my life and I promise it will stay with you. The staff is incredible; the hands on experience with the animals is remarkable; and spending time in the African Bush is life changing.

The staff makes sure you are safe, #1. Still, about once a week I would say to myself, "I can't believe they are letting us do this." Certainly you can't find an experience like this in America.

Highlight for me: walking with cheetah!

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P&KNewZealand
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Behind the Scenes in Africa

My husband and I volunteered for two weeks on the Thanda Reserve as part of our honeymoon, and wow, what a great two weeks. Thanda is a beautiful private reserve with a great variety of scenery from hills, plains, watering holes, trees, and bushland and we got to know it pretty well while canvasing for animals in the back of the truck.

One surprise we found was that "getting up with the sun" happens a lot earlier in Zululand than it does back home...3:00 or 3:30am. We got used to that pretty quickly and were always eager to start the day with the telemetry equipment in search of wild dogs, black and white rhino, cheetah, lion, elephant, leopard, and more. Many, like giraffe and warthogs, we saw as they sauntered or ran through our camp. Pretty exciting. Our job was to find the animals and track where they were and what they were doing. It was particularly exciting to find and watch the pack of wild dogs; many of which were born earlier that year.

Our highlight was really learning about wildlife management from experienced, passionate conservationists and seeing what happens day-to-day to manage the land and animal resources in the area. For example we spent nearly three days locating a white rhino (who knew such a large animal could be so hard to find and keep in front of you!), helping vet and other staff to get her on her feet after being darted and "walk" her into a huge moving van so she could be relocated to another reserve where breeding would be more successful for her. There isn't more hands-on work than actually touching a beautiful animal like that.

The days volunteering were long, some eleven hours, and it was purely magical every day to locate the animals, learn about their day-to-day activities, spend all day outside in a beautiful area, and to be with such great staff. My husband and I highly, highly recommend volunteering with Wildlife ACT and to be part of their efforts to protect such amazing animals.

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

Utterly fantastic!!

The time I spent with the WildlifeACT team was one of the most memorable and incredible experiences of my life. I had always dreamed of going to Africa to work on a game reserve and this is the real deal! Their motto, 'real africa, real conservation' absolutely sums up they project. As a volunteer you are put to good use and help with the vital conservation work the team are doing. I learned how to use the radio tracking equipment that is used to locate animals such as the African Wild Dog packs, cheetahs and, on a night trip, hyenas, and along with another volunteer, I picked out photos that would be used to identify the rhinos and elephants we saw in the future. You see some of the most amazing animals on our planet and know that you are genuinely helping to conserve them. One of the most unforgettable moments I had was watching two adult bull elephants washing and playing in a water hole. Watching how the older elephant interacted with the younger male was incredible and at one point the older elephant came within 10 metres of our vehicle!
I would recommend using the facility of being picked up from the airport. This is how most volunteers get to the the meeting point before meeting who they'll be working with and going on to the game reserve where they'll be staying.
If you are thinking about going, I would say go for it! This is a once in a lifetime opportunity that you should not miss! I will never forget my time in Africa, and I am planning on returning for part of my gap year... I can not wait!!

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JC
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Wildlife ACT volunteer at Hluwhluwe-Imfolozi

In July 2011 I've participated for two weeks, worked at Hluhluwe-Imfolozi and enjoyed it very much.
A well organised project in a beautifull reserve., Good accomodation, with a communal kitchen and hot showers(!!).
The monitor, Cathy, is a very experienced, enthousiastic and responsible woman.
Monitoring the painted dogs was great, these are exceptional social animals. Working with camera traps was great fun.
Wildlife ACT is involved on four different reserves in
KwaZulu Natal. I would love to participate again.

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Wade
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Many unique experiences in the African bush.

volunteering with wildlife ACT was one of the highlights of my life. It was an amazing experience working in the field and watching the animals in their natural habitat. One does not really understand what conservation means until participating in one of these projects. Lasting friendships were made with people from all over the world. Camp life was also a unique with many fond memories.

Forget what you ever thought about working in the field in Africa.......It is totally different. This is one project that I would highly recommend to anyone interested in connecting to nature. YOu will not regret it. I look forward to a return visit.

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Christine
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing experience with Wildlife Act

I had the most amazing time, all the monitors were really friendly and very informative, it's so much better to learn about the wildlife actually being out there on the reserves and seeing it first hand than reading from a book or watching telly on the sofa.
We got to relocate rhinos, watched a post-mortem with the vet on a wild dog who sadly passed away from a tooth infection.
We also did night watching and monitoring of the hyaenas.
Being in the truck and the cheetah and lions are only feet away is a life long memory.
The accommodation was good and everyone helps out with the cooking and cleaning, most nights are spent chatting!
I would love to go back.......

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Lance
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Great Program

I was lucky enough to work in all four parks and had an absolutely amazing month in the bush. The highlights were coming face to face with lions, elephant and rhino, plus getting to be involved in a black rhino release program was amazing. Anyone who loves the bush, loves conservation or just wants the best hands on safari available should definitely join wildlife act....you will not regret it!

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PAvolunteer
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Experience of a lifetime!

I spent 3 months in Ghana as a medical volunteer with Projects Abroad. I was placed with an incredible host family in the city of Kumasi; the family took me in as one of their own, took me on weekend outings, taught me some of the language and culture, and we are still in touch frequently even though I left Ghana 4 years ago. I volunteered in a government hospital, where I had the opportunity to see many of the departments. I didn't have the opportunity to help much in the medical departments of the hospital, but worked for several weeks in the hospital lab, where I ran all of the tests performed there, including malaria testing and blood typing. I particularly enjoyed the Projects Abroad medical outreach program in the local schools; each week we would travel to a different primary school and provide free first aid to the children. They were always excited to see us and loved the attention we gave them. It was nice to know that we were able to provide some basic medical care to them, which they more than likely would not have received otherwise. The country of Ghana itself is beautiful, the people are very welcoming, and the government is relatively stable, making it a safer place to travel than many other African countries. The Projects Abroad staff were friendly and made an effort to ensure we were learning about Ghanaian culture in addition to our volunteer work. The program coordinators organized social events to help bring the volunteers together, and were available to help solve any problems or address any concerns that arose. Overall I had a fantastic and experience with Projects Abroad in Ghana. It was expensive to travel through this organization, but as a first-time overseas volunteer, the help in getting my visas, arranging air travel, and providing host families was worth the expense.