When To Volunteer - choosing your dates

Giraffe at waterhole

Conservation volunteering in southern Africa is rewarding during any month and season with the ever changing landscapes developing from dusty, arid and earthy Africa to the emerald green and flourishing summer months after the rains have fallen.

With the 3rd highest biodiversity in the world, South Africa is a wildlife haven throughout the year, however there are a few particular months when some projects are particularly busy or when specific work takes place...

South Africa’s diversity is vast, with varied terrain, habitats and wildlife - a photographers dream!

The seasons in South Africa generally fall as follows:

  • Spring - September & October
  • Summer - November to February
  • Autumn - March & April
  • Winter - June to August


One of the hottest months of the year, the rains allow for flourishing vegetation to support the wildlife and with food at capacity the breeding season is in full swing in the lowveld. The first Game Ranger Course of the year introduces you to conservation, ranger tracking and reserve management in the iconic greater Kruger area.


Ornithologists can enjoy migrant birds during the summer with diverse birdlife and over 800 species recorded! A good time of year to observe predator behaviour also.


Start of the game capture season and a very busy time for wildlife vets in southern Africa as the cooler months allow for more veterinary work with wild game. An ideal time to join wildlife conservation and management projects studying young animals and developing behaviour of family herds.


A beautiful time of year in southern Africa, with warm temperatures and breeding herds dispersing through dense bush...a great time to advance your tracking skills - join our challenging Wildlife Tracking Course in Botswana


The famous Sardine Run generally takes place between May and July, along the Eastern Cape and KZN coast - visit Phinda Wildlife Research Project and take a trip to the coast for this unforgettable sight!


June to October is a great time for whale watching off the coast of South Africa, join DWRC or Mauritius Marine Research Project to see these magnificent migratory species.

July & August

Winter in South Africa, with wildlife relying on waterholes after little or no rain for months. Wildlife congregate in dense herds around waterholes which makes for excellent game viewing. Predator prey behaviour is at its prime in close proximity with prey.

  • The Majestic African Elephant
  • Leopard sightings in the Kruger
  • Critically Endangered Black Rhino
  • Lion Viewing
  • The African Buffalo
  • Brown Hooded Kingfisher

The Majestic African Elephant

Study one of Africa's most charismatic species, watch young calves learn social skills from their extensive families.

The Majestic African Elephant

Leopard sightings in the Kruger

Catch a glimpse of the elusive leopard on your placement. An often persecuted predator, learn how to we are trying to reduce the conflict between this beautiful cat and its community neighbours.

Leopard sightings in the Kruger

Critically Endangered Black Rhino

The impressive black and white rhino of southern Africa are currently under huge threat from illegal poaching.

Critically Endangered Black Rhino

Lion Viewing

The Lion, classed as vulnerable in the IUCN conservation status, is one of the four large cats of the genus, Panthera.

Lion Viewing

The African Buffalo

Due to its unpredictable nature, the African or Cape Buffalo has never been domesticated and is classed as one of the Big 5 species in Africa.

The African Buffalo

Brown Hooded Kingfisher

Birdlife is diverse in South Africa with over 800 species recorded! Summer is a fantastic time to see migrant and endemic bird species.

Brown Hooded Kingfisher


Game capture season comes to an end as the temperature increases and the breeding season starts.


Coming into Summer, the weather is warmer and the projects traditionally have a wide range of ages volunteering. A great time to volunteer if you are looking to avoid the “gap year” season.


Summer is officially in South Africa, with the first rains of the season dramatically changing the vast bush from dry and arid to green and leafy...a much needed food source for the upcoming months.


Enjoy Christmas with rhino, caracals, bushbabies, lions and more at Khulula Wild Care and Moholoholo Rehabilitation Centre. Become part of the family have a rewarding and sun filled christmas time! The Drakensberg Mountains are stunning at this time of year, with sunsets throughout South Africa providing a shot of pinks and reds against a beautiful emerald green bush.


African Conservation Experience establishes, maintains and supports conservation projects in southern Africa.

We are driven by two specific aims; To give volunteers the opportunity to experience conservation work in southern Africa. To provide financial support and information exchange for conservation projects in southern Africa.

ACE are passionate about ensuring our support extends to the projects throughout the year, enabling a sustainable approach to the conservation work.

To say thank you to you for volunteering during the months they need you most, we are offering you twice the benefit!

Do you want to make the biggest conservation impact you can during your placement?

Check out the "Twice the Benefit" section for opportunities to make an even bigger impact during your placement.