Wildlife conservation experience with the Big 5
Live the life of an assistant game ranger on a lush game reserve, home to Africa’s Big 5. Assist with promoting the survival of African flora and fauna in this beautiful conservation area on the Bushman’s River.
Take a walk on the wild side
Immerse yourself in the lifestyle of a game ranger and grounds keeper on a lush private game reserve in South Africa. Get involved in a hands-on conservation experience with the wildlife that calls this place home.
The reserve is home to Africa’s Big 5 – elephants, lions, rhino, Cape Buffalo and the elusive leopard. In addition to these African icons, you can also see zebra, hippos, giraffes, monkeys and baboons – as well as 250 species of bird! The reserve is at the forefront of conservation, and over 20,000 trees per year are planted to promote the many different habitats found here.
Taking part in this programme will give you something far better than just a safari. Whilst enjoying the incredible experience of life on a game reserve, you will also be involved in the conservation of flora and fauna in this large wilderness covering over 60 square kilometres (or the equivalent of 8400 football pitches!)
What will I be doing?
The reserve is known for its dedication to conservation and the environment. All of the work that you will be assisting with here is aimed at improving conditions for the wildlife. In addition to this, the park works closely with the local community, giving you the opportunity to immerse yourself in local life and to contribute to a worthwhile scheme helping local school children.
No day will be the same, as life on a reserve is very changeable. Whilst you are working hard on this conservation and wildlife project, you will also be getting incredible access to some of the world’s most impressive mammals. Tasks that you might help out with can include, but are not limited to:
- Lion tracking and monitoring
- Game drives/ counts
- Tree planting and landscaping
- Predator care
- Removal of alien vegetation
- Fence patrol, repairs and maintenance
- Animal management and game counts
- Game captures
- School community projects (during the school year)
You will be involved at the reserve from Monday to Friday, with the weekends free for your own relaxation and exploring. Many participants choose to head in to Port Elizabeth for the weekend to enjoy the sea, surf and sand, as well as to use it as a base from which to explore the area. Accommodation is provided whilst in Port Elizabeth for no extra charge, although you will need to budget for food. Alternatively, you are more than welcome to remain at the reserve to enjoy the fantastic facilities available to you there and simply relax.
Accommodation and Food
Accommodation is provided on site and is very luxurious in comparison to some of our other projects! All accommodation is very new, divided into male and female dormitory areas with plenty of space to store your bits and bobs.
The accommodation is in the heart of the reserve, with access to swimming pools, tennis courts and beautiful relaxation areas. Three meals a day are prepared for you by local cooks. The food is excellent and plentiful, mainly with an African and Asian theme to it.
When should I book?
Whilst late-availability is possible, we would advise booking as soon as you can to guarantee your ideal dates. Our projects are very popular and spaces can fill up several months in advance, especially for the months of June to September.
Want to go travelling afterwards?
We can arrange a week-long Garden Route tour after some of the sports coaching sessions. Follow the link to find out more about the Garden Route Tour.
- Work with local guides, and fully immerse yourself in life as an assistant game ranger on a Big 5 game reserve.
- Contribute to the conservation of a private game reserve and the wildlife in it.
- Live and work alongside Africa’s Big 5 – elephants, lions, rhino, Cape buffalo and maybe even the elusive leopards, as well as many other animals and birds.
- Become part of inspiring community programmes, helping provide kids with enough food to be able to concentrate at school and enjoy education.
- Live in a beautiful setting close to the sea and the excitement of Port Elizabeth.
Whyshould I do this?
This project blends the ideals of getting stuck in to the heart of conservation whilst experiencing an unforgettable lifestyle. It goes much further than simply doing a safari, and involves total immersion in the life of a game reserve. Rather than simply witnessing the Big 5 and other wildlife, you will be actively working alongside them. This, along with the amazing insights you will get into the lives of predators and other game animals, makes it a great opportunity for anyone planning a gap year or taking some time out of study.
We have found that this project is most suited to participants aged 18 – 30 and your group dynamic will reflect this.
You will fly in to Port Elizabeth (PLZ) on any Monday of the year, where you will be met and transported up to the reserve. Your flight should arrive before 5pm for the scheduled transfer up to the project. It’s about an hour’s drive out of Port Elizabeth to reach the reserve.
Our team of coordinators on the reserve will be your support network for the duration of the time that you are on this project. Get to know the game rangers as they teach you their craft and get you involved in assisting them on the project. The full-time team who work in the offices to coordinate your project are also there as a helping hand and can offer great advice on things to do on your weekends.
What is provided
- Before booking: Dedicated period of time on the phone or in person to discuss the project, answer any questions that you might have and find out more about you
- Access to your personal ‘My Oyster’ account – our online portal where you can find out much more about the programme and manage your booking
- Pre-departure briefing
- Advice on visa requirements
- Help and advice from our UK office before departure and whilst away
- Pre-arranged wildlife conservation experience on a private game reserve with accommodation
- Met and greeted warmly at Port Elizabeth airport and scheduled transfer to accommodation
- Accommodation with bathing facilities, lounge and BBQ
- Internet access at the main lodge
- Access to swimming pool, tennis courts and cricket pitches on site
- Excellent food full board
- Oyster will prepare you thoroughly before you leave and support you while you are out there
- ATOL financial protection (if Oyster books your flight)
- Transport to Port Elizabeth on a weekly basis. Accommodation is also included
- Return transfer to Port Elizabeth at the end of your stay
- Oyster Worldwide volunteer t-shirt
- Oyster luggage tag
On your return:
- Welcome home pack
- Certificate of Recognition (on request)
- References (on request)
What do I need
- Flights to Port Elizabeth, arriving on a Monday before 3pm
- A passport valid for a minimum of 30 days after your return date
- Insurance covering your project time and any planned independent travel, we can introduce you to a policy
- Cost of changing your return flight date if you need to
- Independent travel costs
- Any additional costs such as trips, snacks, entertainment (allow approximately £20 per week depending on lifestyle)
- Money for food if you choose to go to Port Elizabeth at the weekend (add £30 – £50)
- All home country travel costs (to airport and interview if face-to-face)
- No visa is necessary for under 90 days from UK and most western European countries