South Africa Wildlife Volunteering

Gapforce program

A volunteering experience with bite! Relocate to the incredible setting of the South African bush for the animal encounter of a lifetime, working closely with the entire spectrum of safari wildlife on a working game reserve.

This special program calls for animal lovers and outdoor enthusiasts alike to join the effort to protect Africa’s iconic big game species through park patrols; predator tracking; species surveys and more.

Suitable for: Adventure Travel & Wildlife Conservation


  • The ultimate Big 5 game reserve experience
  • Gain hands-on wildlife volunteering and conservation management skills 
  • Vital field experiential education contribute to your future career goals 
  • Enjoy weekend excursions to Port Elizabeth  

The Project:

Participants on this volunteering program stay at a private Game Reserve about an hour NE of Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape. The Reserve was set up on old agricultural land and covers around 6,000 hectares, with a perimeter stretching over 80 km. On this unique project, you live and work at the park, actively helping with the effort to protect endangered species in an area home to all of Africa’s Big 5 - Lions, Leopards, Rhinos, Elephants and Cape Buffalo.

The Reserve engages in extensive and vital conservation programs, as without these conservation efforts, wildlife in the area would not be sustainable.      

Volunteer Role:

As a volunteer, the activities you can look forward to participating in include, but are not limited to:

  • Removal of alien vegetation
  • Lion tracking and monitoring
  • Tree planting and landscaping
  • Flora & Fauna workshops
  • Wilderness trail walks and patrols
  • Fence patrol
  • Game counts (in season)
  • Game captures & tracking (in season)


During your time on the Reserve, you will also learn a number of key skills from the many guides and animal experts who work there, including:

  • Orientation in the bush
  • Introduction to wild animals
  • Animal tracking (footprints) 
  • Bush survival skills
  • Various tree species and their benefits/ harms
  • Anti-poaching and fence patrol

Life on the Reserve:

You will start your days volunteering at 0830 and finish at approximately 1630 Monday to Friday, with timely breaks for re-fuelling! Food is varied and plentiful, with western favourites as well as local specialities available.

Your home away from home will be comfy dormitories shared with other volunteers. Dorms are single sex, with 2-bed partitioned areas for privacy. Volunteers at the centre come from all over the world, creating a lively community of like-minded individuals from diverse backgrounds.

Weekend Excursions:

Weekends are free time. Either relax and un-wind at the Reserve, enjoying the park and its close-knit community, or head out on a weekend excursion to Port Elizabeth. Transport and shared hostel accommodation for weekend excursions are included in your fees.

2-weeks: $1600

For available start dates check out the 'Dates & Availability' section below - you may need to scroll right to view the prices and book on! You can secure your place on your chosen adventure with a deposit of either £300 or 10% of the trip price, whichever is higher. The remainder is paid leading up to the program departing. The remainder is paid leading up to the program departing.

Should you wish to extend your stay you can add additional weeks at $800 per week. This can be done by selecting an 'extra' after clicking BOOK below. Contact one of the team for more information. 

What is included?

  • Comprehensive pre-departure support;
  • Local coordinators supervising throughout the program;
  • Airport transfers;
  • Welcome and safety briefing;
  • Accommodation;
  • 3 meals a day;
  • Weekend excursions including transport;
  • 24/7 UK emergency backup

What is not included?

  • Flights to and from Port Elizabeth
  • Travel Insurance
  • Visa and Vaccinations
  • Spending money
  • Additional excursions/activities

How much spending money do I need?

We recommend a budget of 50 USD / 45 Euro / 40GBP (per week) to cover food and activities for a weekend excursion into Port Elizabeth. While on Reserve, you won’t need spending money as your food etc. is included.

Where will I be staying?

Your home during your stay will be at a Game Reserve about an hour out of Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape. The reserve was set up on old agricultural land and covers around 6,000 hectares, with a perimeter stretching over 80 km. You will be staying in comfy dormitories shared with other volunteers. Dorms sleep a number ofparticipants together, with 2-bed partitioned areas for privacy. Sleeping areas are single sex, with shared lounge and dining areas for all.

What is the food like?

You are provided with 3 full meals a day whilst on this volunteering program. Western menus feature heavily for lunch and dinner with as much variety as possible, ranging from burgers, chicken and chips, vegetarian dishes, potato casserole etc. You definitely won't go hungry!

Who takes part in this program?

The program is designed for those with a passion for wildlife, travel and remote places, who wish to help protect some of Africa’s most iconic species. The minimum age to participate is 18 and you must also have your doctor sign our medical form confirming you are medically fit to participate. A reasonable level of fitness is also required to participate, and if you plan to take part in any water based activities you must be able to swim.

Who will be supervising me?

Throughout the volunteering program you will be supervised by the friendly and knowledgeable members of the game reserve team. You will be assigned a local outdoor volunteer co-ordinator who will work as your leader and mentor, providing you with all of the training and support you need to make the most of your time away.

A great experience!

I had a fantastic time and really enjoyed my 2 weeks. Wish I had booked an extra one. The organisation was spot on and the staff were lovely and friendly. I was surprised at how much I learnt whilst also having great fun - as met other gap year students on the same trip. We managed to visit Port Elizabeth in our free time but also Jeffries' bay and squeezed in a bungee jump before going back home. Strongly recommend!

Gabriel Morley

Great time!

The program was great, it was exactly what I wanted it to be. All the activities were good fun and weren't too hard. The staff were very energetic and positive which made the experience much more enjoyable. Also there was a good bunch of other gap year students which made the whole program very fun. And the weekend trips to Port Elizabeth and Jeffery's Bay made it even more fun.

Henry Roberts

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Or call us on 1-917-305-5404

  • South Africa
  • Duration: 2 to 4 weeks
  • Departures: Every month

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