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Cape Nature Conservation

Volunteer at a reserve that aims to promote the conservation of the indigenous fauna and flora of the Zandvlei wetland in Muizenberg. The programme is very broad and every day will be a new adventure. Interact with people from across Africa and make a difference in the conservation of the reserve.

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Overview:

Location Muizenberg (near Cape Town), South Africa
Duration From 2 weeks
Dates All year round
Requirements
  • You must have an upper intermediate level of English
  • Special skills: You must have compassionate heart and an interest in conservation & community work
Minimum Age: 18
Your impact
Documents required Enrolment form, curriculum vitae, letter of motivation, passport copy, proof of medical insurance
Day of arrival Thursday
Day of departure Saturday

Highlights

  • Volunteer at a reserve close to Cape Town.
  • Help to capture, relocate or rehabilitate birds and animals.
  • Experience the working with local schools.
  • Experience amazing tours and adventures in and around Cape Town.
  • Receive personal support from the volunteer coordinator.

Project Information

The Cape Nature Conservation project is situated in Muizenberg, on the outskirts of the city of Cape Town. The reserve spreads through the suburbs of Muizenberg, Lakeside and Steenberg, extends over about 250ha and includes an estuary, freshwater wetlands, saltmarshes, a stretch of beach, and several endangered terrestrial vegetation types. The reserve is home to a wide variety of flora and fauna including 433 plant, 150 bird, 32 fish, 28 reptile, 23 mammal and 7 amphibian species. The estuary is the only functioning estuary in False Bay and plays a major role as a nursery area for recruiting fish such as the endangered White Steenbras. 

The project tasks at the reserve include bio-monitoring and research, ecological management and rehabilitation, visitor management, construction and infrastructure maintenance, stakeholder and community engagement and environmental education. You can expect to be part of all of these functions or a subset, as desired. Activities vary widely and may include monitoring in the form of fish counts, nocturnal mammal counts, bird counts, prawn counts, etc., path maintenance, litter collection, bird hide construction, presentations to children, guided walks, administration and many similar activities. The education programme is large, with presentations reaching over 6000 children in the last year (most from underprivileged backgrounds), so the project is particularly well placed to accommodate volunteers who are interested in education.

Your Role

You will work from Monday to Friday.

The daily activities are highly varied and may include:

  • Bio-monitoring and research.
  • Ecological Management and rehabilitation.
  • Visitor management.
  • Construction and infrastructure maintenance.
  • Environmental education.
  • Education programme – presentations to children.

The work that you are engaged in varies a great deal. No single activity is guaranteed, as all activities vary seasonally and by chance and many are only undertaken quarterly or annually.

Other possible activities that you might be asked to do include:

  • Helping to capture, relocate or rehabilitate animals (including birds, fish, small mammals, reptiles, antelopes, grysbok, eland, hippo, etc.),
  • Controlling erosion; engaging in botanical rehabilitation,
  • Pollinating certain rare plant species by hand,
  • Removal of invasive alien species,
  • Counting birds, animals and plants,
  • Assisting with administration,
  • Assisting with structured environmental education programs and community involvement,
  • Assisting with environmental emergencies like oil spills, fish kills, fires (in a support/logistics capacity, unless adequately trained and equipped),
  • Mowing and path maintenance,
  • Cleaning up litter, and a host of other ad-hoc tasks.

You can expect to walk fair distances or have to paddle by canoe or boat to your work site within the reserve for the day. 

It is important to note that this description serves as an example only. The daily tasks and challenges depend on the volunteer, the time of year and the work that needs to be done. The final job description can therefore vary substantially from the above.

Accommodation 

You will live at the Volunteer House. It is a private house in an upmarket residential area and consists of rooms with 2 single beds and 2 bunk beds. There are 4 bathrooms to share, a communal kitchen, a dining room, a lounge with TV and DVD and a beautiful garden with a swimming pool. A commercial laundry service is close by. Bedding is provided. Towels will be not provided. In addition to the self-catering option, you can order homemade lunch and/or dinner which are delivered on a daily basis.

Testimonials

Maria from Brazil

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"South Africa is amazing. Volunteering here is one of the best experiences in my life. Here we can travel to amazing places, beaches, mountains, great food, historical places and at the same time work and make your mark here. In the Nature reserve we got in touch with South Africans and really got to know the different cultures. We also listened to different ways of speaking English because of the different accents and it was a great way to improve our English skills. We also worked on nice research like water quality and prawn monitoring so we learnt so much about different equipments. We also spent time with kids from schools and it was amazing to see the kids paying attention to you as they learn. We love it here!"

Eduardo from Brazil

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"Thanks a lot, I loved everything about Cape Town and the project! I am so thankful for goodhope, the best one, I'm going to tell everybody about good hope!"