Join Our Wildlife Volunteer Projects

We have global award-winning African wildlife volunteering opportunities currently running in South Africa and the Seychelles. Conservation volunteering in Zululand forms part of our Endangered Species Monitoring Programme. Our Seychelles Conservation Project focuses on endangered species monitoring, marine conservation and ecosystem restoration.

World Responsible Tourism Awards Winners Badge
  • Winner of the World Responsible Tourism Award 2023 in the category Nature-Positive Tourism!

  • Winner of the African Responsible Tourism Award 2023 in the category Nature-Positive Tourism!

Get involved in real endangered wildlife conservation and have the ultimate African wildlife experience while doing it.

Apply to volunteer

Zululand, South Africa

Ages: 18 - 65+

Zululand is recognised as one of the most biodiverse wildlands in Africa, with much of it declared a World Heritage Site. Wildlife conservation volunteers work across unique parks, with most of them being nationally-proclaimed reserves. For every 2 weeks that you join us as a conservation volunteer, you will have the opportunity to live and work on a different park. Our work focuses on endangered and priority wildlife species, including the African Wild Dog, Cheetah, Rhino, Lion, Elephant, Leopard and Vulture.

type

Volunteer

Duration

2 weeks +

Price

R

28800

For 2 weeks

R

18200

Every Following 2 weeks

Maloti-Drakensberg Park World Heritage Site and Surrounds

Relatively fit 18 - 65+

The Southern Drakensberg Conservation Project takes place both in and around the Maloti-Drakensberg Park World Heritage Site in South Africa, a crucial stronghold for several threatened and endangered species. During their time at the Project, volunteers live in an authentic farmhouse situated in the buffer-zone surrounding the World Heritage Site, surrounded by breathtaking scenery.

type

Volunteer

Duration

1 - 2 weeks

Price

R

18975

For 2 weeks

R

Every Following 2 weeks

Zululand, South Africa

Ages: 18 - 65+

Wildlife ACT is officially contracted by the international wild cat organisation, Panthera, to conduct Leopard density estimate surveys within South Africa. This involves conducting a number of exciting, short-term Leopard Population Surveys using remote camera trapping survey methods. The survey is one of the largest on Leopards of its kind in the world where we’re working together with provincial protected areas to help inform management to improve Leopard conservation.

type

Volunteer

Duration

2 weeks +

Price

R

28800

For 2 weeks

R

18200

Every Following 2 weeks

North Island, Seychelles

Ages: 21 - 60

Our Seychelles volunteer project focuses on three key aspects: Endangered Species monitoring, Marine Conservation and Ecosystem Restoration. For a unique ecotourism experience which allows you to give something back by supporting a dedicated conservation research and volunteer team on a private tropical island paradise, come and support those volunteering in the Seychelles. Ecotourists live and experience land and marine conservation life on the exclusive North Island in the Seychelles – considered by many to be the most beautiful archipelago in the world with its luminous white beaches, granite outcrops and azure oceans.

type

Volunteer

Duration

4 - 8 weeks

Price

2500

For 4 weeks

Platte Island, Seychelles

Ages: 20 - 65

Platte Island, a mid-ocean oasis 130 km south of the inner islands of Seychelles archipelago, has just commenced a unique and exciting ocean volunteer conservation project. As an ocean volunteer, you will spend much of your time in the calm tropical water around the island, helping to conserve an array of both land and marine wildlife, including the endangered Green Turtle and critically endangered Hawksbill Turtle. Volunteer to become a valued member of our marine conservation team on this spectacular coralline island sanctuary, encircled by a 13km fringing coral reef forming a shallow lagoon (or atol) holding over 8% of seychelles’s seagrass beds, creating ocean nursery to a breathtaking array of marine wildlife.

type

Volunteer

Duration

4 - 8 weeks

Price

2700

For 4 weeks
  • Wildlife ACT was awarded First Place for both a WTM World Responsible Tourism award and for an Africa Responsible Tourism award, in the category Best Nature-Positive Tourism.
  • We are the only wildlife volunteer programme in Africa that works with and are supported by high-profile and international conservation organizations such as WWF, Endangered Wildlife Trust, Panthera and Wildlands Conservation Trust (to name just a few).
  • We work across different game reserves in South Africa, including Hluhluwe-Mfolozi Game Reserve and Manyoni Private Game Reserve. Conservation volunteers therefore get the chance to experience varied natural environments. Many volunteer organizations allow their volunteers to experience only one reserve.
  • Unlike other volunteer organizations that work solely on small, private game reserves (used as farmland in the past) we work predominantly on large, nationally proclaimed and protected game reserves that have always been home to wildlife – giving you a real sense of the true African wilderness.
  • The Wildlife ACT experience is unmatched in terms of the type of work we do and the diversity of species we work with, including the ‘BIG 5’. We have been reviewed on several online platforms and the feedback we receive is overwhelmingly positive.
  • No more than five volunteers are allowed per reserve at any given time. Unlike other volunteer projects we are not a glorified safari where up to 10 people get on one vehicle and as many as 30 volunteers on one private reserve.
  • Our team members are highly qualified and focused on real conservation work. Our one founding member, Dr Simon Morgan, holds a PhD in Black Rhino Ecology. Our other founding member, Chris Kelly, completed his studies in nature conservation before a long career in wildlife monitoring, game capture, relocation and reintroduction.
  • Wildlife ACT is a founding partner of Project Rhino KZN and sits on the advisory committee of the Wild Dog Advisory Group of South Africa. The Wildlife ACT Team founding members are also trustees of Wildlife ACT Fund.

Wildlife ACT is looking for people who want their contribution, in terms of their time and funds, to be effectively utilised in genuine conservation efforts. If you wish to be a part of a professional conservation team, make a real difference and experience important conservation work in Africa, then you are the kind of conservation volunteer we are looking for!

Anyone from the age of 18 up can join our team. All you need for wildlife volunteering is the passion to make a difference, have a good grasp of the English language, be in a reasonably good physical condition and most importantly, have a good attitude. And remember: This is Zululand, not Disneyland!

You can make a no obligation application at any time. ENQUIRE NOW

  • Make contact with us

    Fill out our simple online application form to become a conservation volunteer.

  • Ask our expert

    Bronwen Kelly is our friendly and helpful reservations manager. She will guide you through the process and make sure your plans come together.

  • Pay your deposit

    When you are happy with everything, you can secure your place by paying your 30% deposit. 70% of your remaining balance will be due four weeks before you arrive in Africa.

  • Book your flights

    You will be responsible for booking your own flights.

We collect and drop off all our participants at RICHARDS BAY, which is the closest airport. You would need to book your international flight arriving in JOHANNESBURG (O.R. Tambo International Airport), followed by a short internal flight from Johannesburg to Richard’s Bay (RCB). Please see the “How Do I Get There” tab on our Project Page for more info about flights.

Transfer Service:

When you arrive at Richards Bay airport, you will be collected by an organised responsible transfer company with a sign. All arriving conservation volunteers will be transported by the transfer company to a central meeting point, where you will be met by your respective Wildlife ACT wildlife monitors, who will then take you into the reserve, on the back of a monitoring vehicle. On the Monday of your departure you will be transported back to Richards Bay airport to catch your departing flight home.

Contact us at any time for help and advice

We guarantee you a prompt response to your enquiries. You will be able to contact the Wildlife ACT team on the reserves at any time during your preparations, so you will have access to all the latest developments live from the field. The Wildlife ACT team can also help you with specific enquiries relating to latest animal sightings and other interesting news as it happens. For the latest news, visit our blog.

Most conservation volunteers join Wildlife ACT for 4 to 12 weeks, with a minimum stay being two weeks. We maintain a small volunteer group of no more than five people per reserve and therefore recommend that you apply as soon as possible in order to confirm the dates that suit you.

Wildlife ACT runs a number of projects so we are in the unique position to offer you theli opportunity to join us on more than one reserve, giving you the chance to experience diverse aspects of wildlife conservation. The opportunity to work on multiple game reserves depends on the length of your stay. If you stay for only two weeks, you will work on one reserve, but for every additional two weeks you stay, the better your chance of experiencing another reserve.

Please Note: Once bookings fill up, placements will be made based on where there are spaces available. Although we do our best to keep to the planned schedule once bookings are confirmed, all placements are subject to change should there be a specific need at any time.

Crowd Funding:

If you are ready and excited to start planning your trip, but discouraged by a financial road block, Wildlife ACT has another solution for you. We have teamed up with FundMyTravel, who provides us with an online platform where you can fundraise for your meaningful travel experience. How does it work? You create a campaign page, complete a brief profile to build trust, add a video and tell your story!

FundMyTravel has a team of dedicated staff who want to help Wildlife ACT participants reach their fundraising goals. They can provide tips and insights on the best ways to spread your word and offer sharing tools to get your campaign greater exposure through social media and email. Click the button below to learn more and get started!

Tess Balsley
(
United States
)
May 2023

My time here was absolutely amazing and beyond exceeded the expectations that I had coming in. I learned far more than I ever thought I would about the process and methods that are used in wildlife conservation. I also have so much newfound knowledge about South Africa and its species, as well as different behavioral signs and traits. I had so many valuable moments that I will take with me through further experiences and journeys. Great food, comfy rooms, and lovely camp to spend time on. Being able to feel the breathing of a Lion that we darted and see them in all their beauty and majestic form, was an experience that will forever impact me and push me to continue supporting wildlife conservation.

Salomé Hans
(
France
)
May 2023

AMAZING! From the meetings, to the monitors, the landscapes, the camps, the animals - it's an unforgettable experience. The accommodation and field work, both way exceeded my expectations. At iMfolozi, we had the great luck to relocate a Cheetah and collar a Wild Dog during our 2 week stay. I really enjoyed the time spent with our monitor. He is super kind, patient, and he taught us a lot.

Diane Bateman
(
United Kingdom
)
April 2023

It was an incredible 2 weeks, which far exceeded expectations. Booking and making arrangements, was easy and efficient. The monitors on the reserve were brilliant - very knowledgeable, patient and fun to be with. I asked for Wild Dogs, and I certainly got Wild Dogs, and I couldn't have been happier. The accommodation was basic but adequate, and I didn't expect any more from it. It was clean and the position of it up on the hill could not have been better. I loved it there! I learnt a lot during the field work and it was great fun and such an experience. Wildlife ACT is involved in many aspects of conservation and it was good to meet other researchers that were staying at camp and learn from them.

Felix Schild
(
Germany
)
April 2023

The whole experience was super cool and chilled. Both the accommodation and field work, way exceeded my expectations. The Manyoni House I stayed in had everything we needed. There are so many highlights from the experience to be honest. It's so cool in general to see those animals in the wild. The best thing for me was when we found a lioness with a really small baby in her mouth. Our monitor was always full of energy and motivation and I also really liked to see how excited he got when we arrived at sightings or found an animal.

Tim-Lukas Richert
(
Germany
)
April 2023

I had four unforgettable weeks in Zululand, first in Tembe, and then in Manyoni. I met a lot of great people and had a lot of nice encounters with various animal species like Lions, Cheetahs, Spotted Hyenas, Wild Dogs and Vultures. I also really liked the active involvement in wildlife conservation. There were so many highlights, but helping to feed the Wild Dogs was an especially special experience. And then we saw one day a vulture-dinner, with about 100 White-Backed Vultures, four Lappet-faced Vultures and two Hooded Vultures. This was my very special highlight! A special big thank you to the reserve management, who showed and shared a lot with us.

Priska Almonte
(
Switzerland
)
March 2023

It was an outstanding experience and I would do it over and over again. I enjoyed every minute of it. It was by far the most rewarding volunteer project in terms of wildlife conservation I have ever been on. Great job to everyone at Wildlife ACT! There are so many. Each day was a highlight. Monitoring the wild dogs was my priority and I got to do that. We could even collar one of the dogs. Both the pre-arrival/booking process and field work way exceeded my expectations. Our monitor was very knowledgeable and experienced. I could learn so much from her. She‘s a legend.

Joan Bessey
(
United States
)
February 2023

My experience exceeded expectations in terms of involvement and activity. We were fortunate to receive the Painted Dogs while here. Attending to them and the daily field work, was terrific. Bronwen was incredibly helpful and professional throughout my booking, which began years ago, just before Covid. As you should know, the days are long and start early, and I appreciated having the option to pass on outings now and again to rest. Our involvement at Manyoni with the Painted Dog preparation and the field work for Lion call-ups was so rich, and the monitors there were so delightful, helpful and engaging. They communicated very well the plan for each day the night before and set expectations.

Emilie Deydier
(
France
)
March 2023

It's an experience you have to live at least once in your life. Wildlife ACT allows us to experience incredible moments in the bush, especially with Lions and Cheetahs (for my part). The sharing of experience and knowledge between monitors and volunteers is also very rewarding! The field work way exceeded my expectations. One of the most memorable moments for me during this experience is when we were able to participate in the placing of a collar on one of the Lions on the reserve... It was a very intense and impressive moment! Thank you Wildlife ACT and to all the monitors for this magical experience on all points!!

Lea von Pflug
(
Germany
)
February 2023

It was such an amazing experience. I learned so many things and had such a great time with the group. Seeing so many animals was such a dream come true. I felt very welcomed and safe. The Manyoni house is a very comfortable place. You have enough space to be all together. Seeing Hyenas so close to us the one morning (and also so many lions) was one of my highlights.

Barbara Drake
(
United States
)
January 2023

Amazing!!!! The monitors were knowledgeable and willing to share, answer questions and be entertained by the volunteers. Accommodations were much better than I had expected. The group of volunteers I was with were all excited to be there and wanted to participate and learn. I’m amazed at the work we got to do, got to watch, and got to learn about. I enjoyed the challenges we were given each day as well. I believe if you come to this project, you should be ready to accept whatever there is available, as it is made clear that this is not a safari camp but more rustic. We had great experiences and would not change a thing.

Yvonne Havenga
(
Netherlands
)
December 2022

My experience was extremely positive - mostly inspired by the passion of the monitors and others working for Wildlife ACT. The sightings were just amazing. There were some unforgettable experiences and wonderful people. I find the information on the work of Wildlife ACT and the role of the volunteers, clearly explained. Yet (of course) you only know what it is like once you actually participate :) I feel like we were so lucky. Every session we would see at least two special things - be it the Wild Dogs playing, Cheetahs fighting, Rhinos being very comfortable close to the car, a herd of 80 Elephants, about a 100 Vultures circling the air… I have a lot of respect and admiration for our monitor. He is an extremely patient person, which means he can deal with any type of volunteer. His calm manner and trustful nature also make one feel at ease and safe. And most of all, his love for all creatures great and small, shows.

Minna Viljamaa
(
Finland
)
October 2022

My experience was amazing, as I got an opportunity to participate in an important conservation work and the monitoring of endangered species. I learned a lot and also saw a lot of South African wildlife. The booking process, accommodation and field work, all exceeded my expectations. Apart from the wildlife itself, seeing the field work of professionals and how everyone is doing their best to conserve the animals and keep them safe, was wonderful.

Jeff Kraus
(
United States
)
October 2022

The whole experience was excellent and way exceeded my expectations! The work was intense in terms of time management, so we appreciated the hours in the middle of the day to wash, sleep, read and eat. The experience was much more involved than I had expected, and thank you for that! We came there to help with your work, not to be catered to. A real highlight was seeing new Cheetah cubs with their mother, and watching a Cheetah being darted and fitted with a replacement collar. Also, the pure experience of spending about ten hours a day tracking wildlife was far more than I had hoped for. I'm still marveling at the experience now since being back at home.

Alejandra Fuentes
(
Austria
)

From the booking process to the field work, it was wonderful as always! Logistics are and have always been amazing. Our monitor was super competent and professional. The animal collarings we got to experience, were not only for the opportunity of seeing animals so close, but the most valuable part is the exchange of information with the veterinarians, who share and also highlight the importance of monitoring. Having the possibility to talk to them was very enriching! Our monitoring sessions were not only fun, but full of information, and shows a huge commitment and passion for the job.

Patrick Rüegg
(
Switzerland
)
October 2022

My time in uMkhuze was just exceptional. It worked out perfectly between us volunteers and the monitors and we had many laughs, long days, late evenings and probably not enough sleep :-) As a returnee I knew what to expect, but I enjoyed the more detailed transport information on where we stop and which way we drive. The accommodation was essentially as last year, but the solar lights are an improvement and it is good to see the ongoing efforts. I can think of two main highlights, apart from many others. One was seeing a Serval for the first time. The second having just a great group where everyone got along exceptionally well, shared the work, and just enjoyed being here.

Becky Longmire
(
United Kingdom
)
September 2022

Fantastic. Volunteering with wildlife ACT gives behind-the-scenes insight into the management of a Park. It helps you understand the delicate balance between conservation of animals and the real-life pressures of close by communities, poaching, and when and why animals need relocating. Tracking the animals gives a purpose unlike a safari. You learn as much by not finding the animals as when you do get sightings. The monitors were excellent, very informative, kept all volunteers involved, and were also warm, friendly and great to be around.

Nicole Penkowski
(
United States
)
August 2022

Awesome! Considering the variety of opportunities available to experience wildlife in South Africa, Wildlife ACT provides a unique perspective. I had read much of the information available on the website, so had an understanding of the types of tasks and accommodations prior to arrival. However, the actual experience was more than I was expecting! Being immersed in the bush and experiencing the wildlife so closely was amazing! But being involved in the conservation effort was the true reward. The highlight was the monitors for sure! Any other experience with a guide might provide similar information on the bush, but the Wildlife ACT monitors have the ability to teach, guide and make one feel like part of the team. They were both personable and professional and made such a short time the experience of a lifetime!

Magali Farnir
(
Belgium
)
August 2022

Excellent! A wonderful experience in such a beautiful environment! The monitors are so professional. Even if they work hard in the field, they take good care of the volunteers, making sure we had everything we needed and made us feel really comfortable. The small group of volunteers is really ideal. An unforgettable stay. I have learned a lot! Everything is well explained on the website from the beginning and any additional questions we may have had were answered in a timely, kind and efficient manner. We had electricity, hot water for the shower and mosquito nets + all we needed to prepare the meals. Being so close to nature (nearly part of it) is such a wonderful feeling.

Bram Beckmans
(
Netherlands
)
July 2022

Fantastic! All things were sorted out perfectly. Very kind people and all the services needed were at the camp. I learned a lot about wildlife and the wonderful work that Wildlife ACT does. Amazing to be in such a nice place in an awesome nature reserve. Can recommend it to anyone. The booking process was great with a lot of useful information provided. Accommodation was very great and neat. And with the field work you learn so much! It's nice to see such beautiful nature, but I liked that the monitors provide so much info about the wonderful endangered species and also the nature conservation work. A highlight was seeing seven Spotted Hyenas the one morning, sniffing and checking the vehicle.

Eli Rex
(
United States
)
January 2022

I felt very involved with what was going on and the team is very informative and helpful. I was able to see how I was directly having an impact on the species and understood the importance of monitoring them. The work is important and is what I expected. Having the opportunity to spend so much time with the individual animals that we are scanning for was a real highlight for me.

Angela Heekmann
(
Germany
)
April 2022

I wanted to volunteer for many years. I really can say, it was the best decision of my life to do this. It was an amazing experience and a pleasure to join the monitors in the field and to work with them. It was great to meet such wonderful and passionate people (the monitors and also the other volunteers). The work of Wildlife ACT is incredibly important. There were many highlights... Tracking the animals (above all the wild dogs) was awesome. We had some great sightings of the dogs, Elephants, Rhinos, a Leopard, Cheetahs, even Crocodiles, Vultures and so much more. Being around when they managed to get a pack of Wild Dogs back into the reserve, was such a pleasure. But also the evenings in the camp, listening to the monitors and their stories, learning about the animals... everything was perfect! Both our monitors were awesome. Friendly, helpful and always fun. They both live their whole life for the animals and their protection. It was a pleasure to meet them, to learn from them, and to help them with their daily work. I enjoyed everything, even the bad weather days ;-)

Milena Orłowska
(
Canada
)
May 2022

This was probably my best time ever - an amazing experience. I'm extremely sad that it came to an end. I wish I could make it a yearly tradition to come back and volunteer from Canada. I joined all possible social media pages to get updates. Every day I'm wondering what the animals have been up to this time. I've been also considering how I can help from abroad.It’s so hard to select one specific highlight... I'll have to provide two. 1) The Wild Dog pack reuniting after 3 days of dispersal and several attempts to call each other over a couple of km. 2) A call-up operation with the Wild Dogs, leading us to witness the unexpected kill of an Impala, a hunt after a herd of 60 Buffalo, and the stalking of a Wildebeest - all within 30 minutes (play and rest included) :-)

Steffen Ahting
(
Germany
)
June 2022

It was a great pleasure to be part of the Wildlife ACT Team! Both our monitors did an amazing job. We had a lot of fun. We had to do the monitoring, recording the sightings, observe and do camera trapping. So besides the fun we had, the work was always our focus. We had a lot of good sightings with Rhinos, Elephants and the Wild Dogs. Thanks a lot!

Alina Mey
(
Germany
)
February 2022

I was totally overwhelmed by the kindness of both our monitors as well as our volunteers, who all had a passion for conservation, the bush, and also people. The monitors are definitely a make-or-break point for having a good experience. They taught me everything I could absorb about the bush, introduced me to reserve management, and also brought me closer to South African culture, habits and food. Due to them, I had the best experience I could have hoped for with Wildlife ACT and feel like I could really contribute to conservation. We had an excellent time. The monitors know the area and the animals' behavior insanely well. I was positively surprised how considerate they are with respecting the animals and their individual needs, e.g., do not get too close, do not interrupt when hunting. I do feel like Wildlife ACT makes a significant contribution towards conservation.

Elke van Gils
(
Netherlands
)
April 2022

It was wonderful! What an experience and what a pleasure to work with such great people! Wildlife ACT is a great organisation and I really like the system of taking volunteers out in the field and using the money to actually run the projects. It is very much focused on conservation, instead of a sanctuary or rehabilitation center like many other places. There are so many highlights. It is just wonderful to join the monitor in the field, tracking the species and helping them on the job. We had great sightings of Elephants, Rhinos, Leopards, Wild dogs, Lions, Cheetahs and many more. Our monitor was really skilled and devoted, and as well a very friendly guy.