Research & Conservation Project
The Research & Conservation Project is located in a 25000 hectares Big 5 game reserve, in the Limpopo province, about an hour away from the famous Kruger Park. What is pretty amazing in this game reserve, is that there are no tourists in it, but only the volunteers and the team.
There are maximum 10 volunteers at a time, supervised by Robbie and Katie, two professional and passionate guides who will teach them everything there is to know about the management of a game reserve and will introduce them to the researches that are being carried out. This is a 4 week programme.
Arrivals and departure always happen on a Monday, on specific dates (see tab « period/costs »). The volunteers should make their way to Hoedspruit, either by bus or by plane (Comprehensive information will be provided during the booking process to assist you with internal flight timings or details of the company to contact for the shuttle transfer) and either Robbie or Katie will pick you up there and drive you to the project.
Your first week will be an orientation period during which you will learn the principles and goals of the reserve and gain a general knowledge of conservation and its importance in South Africa. It will include an introduction to important bush skills such as first aid, 4×4 driving (licence required), fence maintenance, rifle shooting etc. One of the main goals of the project is to share as much information as possible about all aspects of the bush. Many volunteers often comment that they didn’t realise just how much they would learn!
The work at the Research & Conservation Project is divided into 2 main categories – Reserve management, and Wildlife conservation & research. Each day brings a new variety of things to see and do, and at any moment the volunteers can be called upon to assist with certain situations and emergencies that arise.
You will be introduced to research and monitoring programmes and learn the various techniques for recording and capturing data. Ongoing research projects are hyenas, cheetahs and bird of prey.
Here is a list of activities that you may take part in during your stay (please note that this is for your information and that you may or may not take part in all the activities listed below):
- Predator monitoring
- Herbivore census
- Elephant monitoring
- Vegetation control
- Road maintenance
- Soil erosion control
- Camera traps setting up
- Sleep out in the game reserve
- Night drive
- Bush walks
- Anti-poaching activities
Robbie and Katie also often organise group activities and games such as movie nights under the stars, pizza night, braai, sleep outs, etc.
A typical daily schedule (please note that this schedule may vary according to the season and activities undertaken.):
6h30 – 9h30 : 1st activity
9h30 – 10h : breakfast
10h – 12h : 2nd activity
12h – 14h : lunch
14h – 17h : 3rd activity
You will have Saturday afternoon and Sundays off, you can either choose to stay at the house or to explore the area. Located at only 1h away from the Kruger Park and 2h away from the Blyde River Canyon, the project’s location is exceptional !
Volunteers stay in a large and spacious, attractively furnished house in the heart of the reserve. The house is set in a very large garden with lovely big trees, protected from the wildlife all around by an electric fence. The accommodation at askari offers a swimming pool, a volley-ball net, a weights room, hammocks, etc. Boys and girls usually sleeps in separate en-suite rooms, sleeping up to a maximum of 4 people. There is a double room for couples who would like some privacy. Rooms are cleaned once a week and laundry is made twice a week. Volunteers also take it in turns to carry out various duties on a daily basis at Askari. These include meal preparation, data collection, vehicle checks and fence checks. All ingredients are provided for cooking along with easy to follow recipes so don’t worry if you’re not a master chef!
R100 – 2 weeks
R200 – 4 weeks
The programme works with specific arrival and departure dates depending on the duration of the stay.
Period Programme fees in Pounds (£) 2018
4 weeks 1325
8 weeks 2315
12 weeks 3260
Are included in the Programme Fees: the registration fees, accommodation, three meals a day,
4 week start dates
Arrival date 2019 Departure date 2019
14th of October 11th of November
11th of November 9th of December
Arrival dates 2020 Depature dates 2020
4 May 1 June
1 June 29 June
17 August 14 September
14 September 12 October
12 October 9 November
9 November 11 December
« This programme far exceeded all expectations. I learnt an incredible amount about a wide range of conservation areas whilst getting up close and personal with the animals. The team are impressively knowledgeable and passionate about what they do. They warmly welcomed me into the team and I can honestly say I’ve has the best time of my life. I will definitely be coming back and strongly recommend this place to anyone who loves wildlife, is prepared to get their hands dirty and has a keen interest in conservation. » Natasha, England
« Where to start, and where to end after 4 amazing weeks here?! Maybe saying it was too short, but that I have enjoyed every minute, every activity, every sighting and moment. I was expecting something good, but it was more than just good. The time I have spent here is one of the best times of my life. Waking up here was a pleasure, and feeling that you are doing something for the wilderness which is today struggling unbelievably. Ed and Katie are always here to teach you new things about every type of life or vegetation you could be able to see. For that, I wanted to thank them so much. I will always miss my time here, thank you again for everything Katie and Ed. » Mathis, France
« This was my second stay at the Research & Conservation Project and the only time I’ve gone back to a holiday destination which tells you all you need to know. Different people, different activities and the same result; an incredible experience full of amazing sightings, laughs and excitement and you come away feeling that you’ve actually made a difference. Would recommend to everyone. » Mike, England