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 Katie, Bronwyn and Stuart, three 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 a member of the team 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
  • Etc.

The team also often organises 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


Days off

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, 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!


The programme works with specific arrival and departure dates.

Period                                                          Programme fees in Pounds (£)  2024

4 weeks                                                             1595

8 weeks                                                             2855

12 weeks                                                           3900


Are included in the Programme Fees: the registration fees, accommodation, three meals a day, local airport pick up/drop off, laundry, Wifi


4 week programme

Arrival date 2024                Departure date 2024

6 May                                         3 June

3 June                                        1 July

19 August                                  16 September

16 September                           14 October

14 October                                 11 November

11 November                            9 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

Projects : South Africa

Marine Conservation Project

The main objective of the project is to support marine applied research that informs conservation management decisions with scientific advice. The programme combines research, conservation and education.

Vet Programme

The Vet Programme is designed for vet or nurse students. The programme aims to offer participants a combination of veterinary and conservation activities and to be a part of community upliftment projects. 

Cheetah Rehabilitation Project

The Cheetah Rehabilitation Project is a unique project that allows the volunteers to work hands-on cheetahs & other cats while actively working for their rehabilitation in the wild.

Fauna Conservation Project

The project aims to teach as many things as possible to the volunteers about the management of a game reserve and the differents species that live in it.

Big 5 Conservation Project

The programme does not focus on one particular species but offers the once in a lifetime chance to get behind the scenes and involved with the conservation efforts of the game reserve, one of the largest of South Africa.

Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre

Founded over 40 years ago, the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center is the only registered center of Durban to the rescue, recovery and release of the wildlife indigenous to the province of KwaZulu-Natal. It is made up of a passionate team dedicated 24h/24 to the rescue of animals in danger that truly needs volunteers to lend a hand.