Shamwari Conservation Experience

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Program Description

The Shamwari Conservation Experience is a once in a lifetime chance to get behind the scenes and involved with the conservation efforts of the world renowned Shamwari Game Reserve.

Weekend activities are at leisure with volunteers opting to stay on site or travel to partake in various off site adventure and other activities at own cost.

Visits and tasks at the Born Free Foundation and Shamwari Animal Rehabilitation Centre are undertaken according to the requirements at time of stay.

There are several monitoring projects which assist in capturing vital information used in the research and management of all species on reserve. The experience is diverse and unscheduled as result of the reliance on prevailing conditions. Volunteers are exposed to short and long term projects with outcomes intended to create sustainability for generations to come. Tasks may vary from physical work to leisurely lecture based interactions.

We operate in a malaria free zone and are one hour away from the closest major airport, medical facilities and other amenities in Port Elizabeth. The volunteer opportunity is as safe as it is exciting as we move about in homologated game viewing vehicles only using suitably qualified guiding and conservation staff.

This project boasts a multi-purpose centre geared to get volunteers involved in various components of conservation. We specialise in conservation with a focus on ecology, wildlife, and environmental education with local community and sporting interactions as part of our social responsibility drive. The experience is a true reflection of the day to day operational requirements needed to manage the game reserve.


Evenings and weekends are generally at leisure though volunteers may be asked to assist and conduct weekend duties from time to time. Mostly volunteers use the weekends to explore the Eastern Cape and surrounding biodiversity and the several other leisure based opportunities which include the likes of whale watching, bungee jumping and surfing lessons (at additional cost).

Game Monitoring: Rhino, elephants, predators
With regular monitoring it is possible to identify individuals, compile information about the family structure and determine feeding and special ecology.

Game count
Annual game counts are conducted to establish the carrying capacity of the reserve. Game counts assist in the decision making of predator to prey ratios and the movement of animals on or off the reserve.

Telemetry tracking
Monitoring of some high profile animals like cheetah and leopard are required using telemetry tracking equipment as a result of the neighbouring properties carrying livestock and the elusive nature of some of the species.

Restoration and rehabilitation of reserve landscapes
The need to return the once pristine landscape to its original splendour includes the likes of collection and removal of old fence lines and rehabilitating degraded and overgrazed land.

Management of breeding centre
Management of breeding centre can include anything from veld (open country or grassland) conditions assessment, mapping of breeding area, mapping of alien vegetation, monitoring animal numbers and managing water points.

Alien plant control
Alien plants were introduced to the land by the farmers for different reasons and uses. Today these invasive plant life need to be removed to increase the natural biodiversity and decrease fire risk.

Volunteering at Born Free Foundation
It is the mission of both the Born Free Foundation and Shamwari Game Reserve to promote the conservation of species and the protection of habitat while maintaining a humane and compassionate approach to the welfare of animals. It is their goal to create an awareness of the horrific way in which wildlife is exploited in captivity around the world.

Volunteering at Animal Rehabilitation Centre
Shamwari Animal Rehabilitation Centre was set up to aid in rehabilitating injured animals found on the reserve and surrounding community. The aim is to give the animal short term care and release it back into the environment.

Volunteers are sent when and if assistance is required. The centre is not a sanctuary as no animals are kept for purposes of breeding in captivity but are hosted with the aim of giving them a second chance to take on life back in the wild. The centre boasts avian, small and large stock boma (enclosure) areas which house the various species which may find their way to Shamwari volunteers may gain different types of exposure through this experience which depend on the needs and requirements of the operation and may range from assistance through observation to more hands on animal care and husbandry.

Community projects
The present role of conservation does not stop at conserving nature alone but also include the responsibility to uplift the local community. This responsibility includes educating the community as to the role and benefit of conserving biodiversity and stresses the importance of conserving our natural resources.

Weekly trips are made into the local community to assist in various community projects that range from creating and maintaining vegetable gardens and recycling projects, to painting class rooms.

Possible additional activities
• Night and anti-poaching patrols
• Orientation walk
• Sleep out on the Reserve
• Game capture

This programme runs Monday to Friday from 8am to 5pm with the need for early morning or late night activities depending on the tasks at hand.


No qualifications or special skills are required in order to join the project - just a minimum age of 18 and a willingness to get involved with all of the activities.

Volunteer Types

Animal welfare

What`s Included

•Accommodation during your time volunteering
•All meals and juice, tea and coffee.
•Volunteer activities (including at the Born Free Foundation)
•Full time English speaking ground staff

Other Programs From The Same Provider

Program Locations

Port Elizabeth, South Africa

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Program Details

The Great Projects
  • South Africa: Port Elizabeth
Throughout the year
Program Duration:
1-2 weeks, 1-3 months
American, Asian, Australian, Canadian, European, Kiwi, South African, Worldwide
£745.00 +
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