from EUR 2250
Duration: 2 weeks minimum
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Project Summary
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    Our project offers you a unique experience in the African bush and gives you the opportunity to observe and be a part of the research and monitoring teams on the reserve.
    In 2014, the reserve was officially classified as a Nature Reserve. This means that the land is protected as a conservation area, securing a safe haven for the wildlife for all future generations. Another landmark for 2015 is the reintroduction of black rhino, the first to roam this land in decades.
    The focus revolves around some of our key species; elephants, lions, hyenas and leopard. Habitat work also plays an important part of the monitoring process.
    The Greater Makalali Reserve is a vast Big 5 nature reserve covering an area of 25000 hectares. Situated in the Lowveld area, the home of nature conservation in South Africa, your work is vital for accurate management of the animals within the reserve. The data collected is also made available to students and researchers that we host, as well as several national conservation projects, including the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT).
    Whether on a monitoring drive, on foot, or observing the wildlife at a waterhole, all your work will be done under the guidance of our qualified rangers. As each activity has a pre-determined objective, you don’t just get to view the animals, you get to live with them for a little while. There’s nothing quite like sitting in the dark next to a lazing lion waiting for it to start its nightly call or being surrounded by a herd of elephants and being able to spend time observing their individual traits and family dynamics.

    Your home during your stay at the Main Camp in the heart of the reserve with all the wildlife on your doorstep, quite literally! There are twin share rooms with shared bathrooms.
    Your home during your stay at bushcamp will be in our eco-friendly tented camp set amongst the trees which overlooks a water course. There are large, comfortable twin share tents set on raised platforms, ensuring each has its own unique view of the African bush! There are shared ablution facilities with flushing toilets and bush showers.
    All meals are cooked by the group. Your evenings will be spent hearing tales from your experienced ranger, listening to the sounds of the bush, star gazing before you fall asleep under the African sky.
    Join us for an experience of a lifetime!

    Your role:
    While working as a volunteer you are considered ‘Assistant Field Rangers’. All the work done and data collected by you will be utilized by the Reserve. As a volunteer you therefore derive a good deal of satisfaction from your work, as your efforts directly contribute to improving the reserve and conservation as a whole

    Some of the activities may be hard physical work, and a certain level of determination from your side will be required. All we require is that you help with the tasks to the best of your abilities and to do everything with lots of enthusiasm. As long as you try your best, it is good enough for us!
    Is the work dangerous?
    Is there a potential risk?
    Yes It can be.
    Any work done in a `Big 5` Reserve can be potentially dangerous, as we are sharing the space with wild animals therefore it is necessary to have respect and be mindful of the wildlife we live with
    Every Monday
    Flights into Hoedspruit airport on Mondays before 3pm
    There are also shuttle that can take you from Johannesburg airport to Hoedspruit
    Flight departing Hoedspruit as well as shuttles on Mondays
    2 weeks minimum
    Additional per week:
    Our Wildlife project was founded on Makalali in 2004 in order to help the reserve with monitoring the elephants as part of the contraception program. The initiative also evolved to include the monitoring of all Big 5 animals as well as other predators.
    In 2005 the Bush Camp was established, providing volunteers with the opportunity to really experience life in the bush.
    In late 2014, due to the change in monitoring requirements on Makalali, It became a full research camp, providing dedicated monitoring requirements for rhino, cheetah and ground hornbill


    Wildlife Wonderland is a conservation initiative committed to the conservation of habitats, cultures and wildlife. Our main objectives are as follows:
    • - Give volunteers an opportunity to learn about and experience the African bush whilst making a personal contribution.
    • - Provide up to date and valid data for management, students and researchers.
    • - Develop a conservation business, where land can be bought and kept under conservation, without having to over develop the land.
    • - To provide employment opportunities and give assistance to community projects in the region.

    Our conservation initiative is separated into two key components:
    Data collection for long term analysis pertaining to animal movement patterns, reproductive behaviour, grouping/association patterns and predator/prey interaction of all big game daily.
    The analysis of data collected during monitoring episodes over the long term to assist in the decision-making processes and challenged associated with management of enclosed game reserves.
    With the data that volunteers help to collect we hope to create a management model which can be applied to other conservation areas, in order to prove there is indeed a future for long term private conservation development. Because of fragmented habitats, small reserves an conservancies retain a central role in the conservation of animal and plant populations, particularly through metapopulational management.

    Elephant Monitoring
    Makalali introduced elephants in 1994 and 1996 and was the first reserve to have intact family groups relocated to it. The reserve was also the first to take part in the Elephant Contraception Program, headed by Audrey Delsink, to regulate its total elephant population. Makalali understands the importance of alternative population controls other than culling and translocation. The program started in 2000 and is the longest running of its kind; it is the benchmark on which all other similar projects are based. This is a pioneering study and it is important that we continue to monitor the elephant herds as Makalali has the most extensive and longest continuing database of elephants on contraception in the world.
    -recording their movements to determine daily and seasonal ranging patterns.
    -observe and record long term behavioural aspects, focusing primarily on herd/bull associations and sexual behaviours.
    Elephants are a key-stone species and require constant information collection for effective management decision making.

    Lion Monitoring
    -our lion population is done to assess their movements, behaviour and predator-prey interactions.
    Lions, like elephants, are key-stone species and, within restricted wild environments, require constant monitoring to assist with management interventions when required.
    Interventions are done to vary genetic diversity within the population and to control population size. Makalali has participated with various population control methods and research
    89 lions were born at Makalali. Numbers however need to be kept between 20 and 30.

    Buffalo Monitoring
    We have had our buffalo in a 400-hectare breeding camp since 2009. We started with 8 individuals and the population grew to 53 by 2019.
    To date all our buffalo have been released into the open system and the population has grown and stands roughly at 150 individuals
    This is the first time in over 100years that buffalo have been free roaming in this area.

    Rhino Monitoring
    With the ever-present threat from poaching, close monitoring of these animals is crucial for the future of the species. The rhinos are monitored to ascertain their movement around the reserve and interaction with each other.
    This forms part of the anti-poaching measures in place, working closely with reserve management and anti-poaching teams on the reserve to ensure 100% sighting and safeguarding of our rhino. Our Siyafunda projects also work closely with The Rhino Protection Trust www.rhinoprotectiontrust.com to raise awareness and funds to support our efforts to save these magnificent but vulnerable animals.

    Leopard Monitoring.
    As with all predators, we also monitor prey selection and reproductive behaviour to effectively assist the reserve management. In 2014, Siyafunda teamed up with the Panthera Leopard Research Project, who are monitoring and determining the leopard population in the area. This project is 10 years of data collection.

    Cheetah And Wild-dog Monitoring
    Cheetahs are one of Africa’s most endangered large predators and wild dogs being the second most endangered predator in Africa, It is vital that we stay on top of monitoring their movement as well as the condition they are in. With dedicated, long term monitoring we can be sure to effectively understand their lives and better protect them for future generations.

    Habitat Conservation
    Alien Vegetation Control: Under the guidance of Working for Water (WFW), volunteers will assist with identifying and monitoring stands of alien and invasive vegetation within the river and across the reserve. Volunteers will participate in the mechanical removal and chemical control of these species as well as the follow-up monitoring of problem areas.
    This is an important project as alien invasive plants can encroach on areas and prevent other indigenous plants from growing, as well as using up large amounts of moisture from the soil. This has a detrimental effect on your ecosystem and therefore requires constant monitoring and removal.
    Habitat Rehabilitation: Volunteers will have the opportunity to assist in ongoing habitat rehabilitation initiatives in the reserve, including erosion control, the construction of rock gabions, brush-packing as well as river clean ups.
    Minimum age:
    Police clearance:
    Special skills required:
    - No special skills or previous training is required.
    - All we require is that your help with the tasks to the best of your abilities, and to do everything with lots of enthusiasm.
    - Some of the activities may be hard physical work, and a certain level of determination from your side will be required. As long as you try your best, it is good enough for us!
    Language requirement:
    Volunteers should have a decent understanding of English
    What's included:
    - transport to and from the reserve on Monaday
    - 3 basic meals per day - breakfast, lunch and supper.
    - Accommodation - shared bedrooms and shared bathrooms.
    - Laundry – done on your own
    - Town-trips once a week(Mondays)
    - walks/drives daily
    What's excluded:
    - flights and transport to Hoedspruit
    - Sunday outings(kurger trips, hiking, boat cruise) extra cost
    Closest town:
    Surrounding area:
    We collect in Hoedspruit on Mondays.

    Volunteers can fly from OR Tambo airport Johannesburg or take transfer to Hoedspruit from there.

    Number of flights Jhb to Hoedspruit daily.

    Transfer company we use. SAFARILINK https://safarilinksa.com/

    The flights arrive between 11h30 and 14h30.
    - Volunteers are accommodated in our volunteer house(maincamp) or our bushcamp (which consists of tent rooms) comfortable but not luxurious.

    - You will be sharing bedrooms and there are communal bathrooms.

    - There is a lecture room, a lounge with a T.V, dining area outside the kitchen and a fully equipped kitchen with a fridge, stove, microwave,cutlery, crockery and cooking utensils.

    - Maincamp has Lovely plunge pool to cool off and relax in (volunteers from both camps are able to use the pool)

    - Both camps are unfenced and in the middle of a `Big 5` game reserve, so therefore one cannot walk outside the boundaries set on arrival.

    - Wi-Fi is available at a small cost of R100per week if volunteers are staying at our main camp and R50per week if they are staying at our bushcamp

    - All the ingredients for 2 meals a day are provided.

    - A basic Breakfast is provided (cearal,coffee,tea,bread,jam,peanutbutter)

    - Volunteers are divided into cooking teams, Lunch and Dinner are made by the volunteers themselves at the house.

    - Volunteers are also responsible for washing up and keeping the kitchen clean and tidy.

    *The meals are basic but wholesome, for example cereals and toast for breakfast; sandwiches for lunch and tomatoe chilli pasta for dinner.
    If volunteers wish to add ingredients to meals that are not available to them at the volunteer house, they can buy it in town at their own expense.
    A step by step menu is provided to help volunteers cook as well as staff are available if assistance is needed
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