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From Famous Kruger to Remote Okavango

From a pioneering story of animal relocation to the epic wilderness of two vast ecosystems: take a 360° view of wildlife research conservation in Africa 

Do you know what impact the size of a conservation area has on the wildlife? How about the size needed to support a population of elephants or lions? Or the value of hands-on wildlife management work versus scientific research in one of the last remaining intact wilderness areas in Africa?

By visiting three projects in two countries, you’ll engage with the varied challenges and impacts of working across different sizes and types of conservation areas.

Volunteering alongside experts in these diverse settings will build a picture of the relationship and tensions between agriculture, tourism and conservation. You’ll see how vast intact wildlife areas are of key significance and also, how a large community-owned reserve can have a massive impact in protecting species such as rhinos, cheetahs and the most trafficked animal in the world – the elusive pangolin. 

You will gain hands-on wildlife management experience in one of the largest community-owned reserves, a project working in partnership with pioneering WWF relocation and repopulation efforts. You will be one of a privileged few who get to learn the ancient skills of tracking lions and elephants on foot in the Greater Kruger National Park, alongside a master tracker and highly trained anti-poaching dog. And you will explore and camp out in the vast wilderness of the Okavango Delta, studying how wildlife adapts to the changes in this seasonally-flooded landscape.

For wildlife conservation in Africa, size does matter. This is your chance to experience it all.

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3 out of 5 rhino rating
Category

Wildlife research and management

Species

Rhino, lion, leopard, pangolin, cheetah, giraffe, hippo, wild dog, buffalo, elephant

Impact

Wildlife research and management
Reserve management

Country

  South Africa

  Botswana

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  • Do
  • Learn
  • News
  • Costs

HIGHLIGHTS

HIGHLIGHTS

Get a hands-on animal management experience

Work in a project where successful animal management is at the heart of what they do and understand the impact of partnering with international conservation organisations such as WWF and Panthera.

Protect the most trafficked mammals in the world

Pangolins are said to have magical medicinal properties, and despite the lack of scientific evidence to back this up, they are still the most trafficked animals in the world. You will contribute to ground-breaking research on this incredible species.

Experience two important sides to rhino conservation 

From a project where numbers are successfully increasing to an area where protection against poachers is key to maintaining rhino numbers, you will have the chance to learn from experts intent on protecting these magnificent animals.

Stay in a fantastic range of accommodation

Everywhere you stay has its own unique thing. From a traditional farmhouse to an idyllic setting, on a hill high above the African plains, with 360° views of the surrounding bush. Or a totally remote (yet still very comfortable) camp, where the endless stars and a flickering campfire offer the perfect place to unwind after an exciting day.

Visit the two largest natural ecosystems in southern Africa

Large ecosystems are vital for sustaining large populations of wildlife including lions and elephants and learning about these areas is a must for anyone passionate about wildlife.

Where wild means wild

In Botswana, the Okavango Delta is an area of true wilderness. Volunteering here is a chance to switch off from the modern world, become fully immersed in nature and learn a huge amount from your surroundings.

Track animals on foot in the African bush

Learning to track animals on foot alongside an expert tracker and highly trained anti-poaching dog is a totally thrilling and unique experience that only a privileged few volunteers will get to do.

Increasing numbers of elephants

There’s very few areas in Africa where elephant numbers are increasing, in Greater Kruger and the Okavango they are. You will be able to observe and research these incredible animals in their natural habitat.

Monitor a mega population of lions across two settings 

There are only five areas left in the whole of Africa that are large enough for a mega population of over 2000 lions to sustain themselves. You will be volunteering in two of them and learning the importance of large intact wildlife areas.

Monitor and work with Africa’s most iconic species

You’ll monitor and record information on key species such as elephants, rhinos, cheetahs, leopards, lions, pangolins and wild dogs.

DO

There’s no one way to approach conservation. With each landscape comes a totally unique set of challenges and the only way to really understand this is to experience them first hand.

Wildlife research and monitoring

Research is key to conservation. Each area and ecosystem tells its own story and it’s only by consistently monitoring species and recording data that we can improve conservation efforts.

  • Record wildlife sightings and map their movements to build up a detailed database of animals’ territories
  • Monitor priority species and identify individual animals such as black and white rhino, elephants, cheetahs and lions, to help protect from poachers
  • Study the behaviour and population dynamics of animals such as elephants and predators
  • Use GPS equipment to record transects and wildlife sightings
  • Record specific animal’s age and gender as well as predatory, feeding and breeding behaviour
  • Track animals on foot through the bush
  • Set up infrared camera traps at waterholes to monitor elusive species
  • Take a riverboat trip and see animals from a unique and tranquil perspective  
  • Gain insight into the behaviour of nocturnal animals such as leopards, hyenas, porcupines and bushbabies during night drives
  • Witness natural wild behaviour in expansive settings, such as lions hunting or elephants playing in a waterhole

Wildlife management 

You will be directly involved in animal management with the opportunity to learn alongside highly-skilled professionals. Activities will vary dependent on the animals being managed:

  • Watch rhinos ears being notched, enabling researchers to identify, monitor and protect individual animals
  • Assist with humane rhino de-horning, an effective anti-poaching strategy
  • Learn about contraceptive programmes to manage the populations of elephants and predators
  • Get involved with wildlife relocation programmes, helping to move species such as rhino, lion, cheetah and antelope
  • Go behind-the-scenes at an animal rehabilitation centre and work alongside the team on the ground

Learn

By visiting three very different wildlife research projects, across two countries, you will be introduced to the value of conservation in vast, large intact wildlife areas as well as the specific impact of a large community-owned reserve.

Conservation

  • The different wildlife conservation approach in different sized areas
  • The roles that animal rehabilitation centres play in protecting species
  • Rhino poaching, anti-poaching methods in the field, and relocation programmes
  • Breeding programmes for rare and endangered species – such a black rhino custodianship programme
  • Wildlife relocation programmes – including the WWF’s black rhino range expansion project, the rhinos without borders programme, and lion relocation to Rwanda
  • How wildlife conservation in Africa is funded

Ecology

  • How large areas of protected wilderness differ from smaller reserves
  • The natural environment of the Big 5 and other African species
  • The role of different species in the ecosystem
  • The impact of population growth or decline of certain species, such as lions and elephants, on the ecosystem as a whole

Bush skills

  • Tracking animals on foot
  • The medicinal uses of various plants and trees
  • How to approach animals safely on foot
  • How to identify some of the many insects, reptiles and birds in the area

Behaviour

  • The hunting, breeding and social behaviour of Big 5 and other African species 
  • The relationship between predator and prey species
  • Behaviour of animal groups, such as the hierarchy systems in prides of lions, troops of primates and herds of elephants
  • Predator hunting behaviour and the differences between social predators such as lions and wild dogs, compared with solitary predators such as leopards and cheetah

Biology

  • The physiology and natural diets of the Big 5 and other African species
  • Native African plants, reptiles, amphibians and birds
  • The movement of herd species such as elephant, buffalo and antelope
COSTS

Our costs include:

Accommodation

Airport Meet & Greet

Transfers

24/7 Support

Personal Guidance

Meals

Cost Calculator

TOTAL COST: £0000

Looking for something bespoke?

If you love the look of one of these projects but feel it would suit you better by combining or extending it with a different one, we can offer bespoke packages to make sure you get exactly the experience you are looking for. Just get in touch with our team and we can discuss the options.

Payment

Prices are subject to change but will be confirmed in writing at the time of booking.

What Makes Us Different?

ACE have been operating as a conservation travel company since 1999

Southern Africa's original conservation travel company

We are qualified zoologists and conservationists

Personal guidance before you book

Join real wildlife conservation projects

Enjoy total peace of mind, with 24/7 in-country support

Empower vital conservation initiatives

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