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Big 5 Game Reserve Conservation

This game reserve spans over 6000 hectares. The project was founded some 20 years ago to offer education and perpetuate nature conservation in an affordable and accessible manner, both for local and international visitors. It is designed for volunteers interested in having a truly African experience while making a difference to the local wildlife and environment. Their work will play a valuable part in the sustainability of the region.


Location Paterson (closest town: Port Elizabeth), South Africa
Duration From 2 - 12 weeks
Dates all year round
  • You must have an Upper Intermediate level of English
  • Special skills: You should have a passion for animals and wildlife conservation.
Minimum Age: 18
Your impact
Documents required Enrolment form, curriculum vitae, letter of motivation, passport copy, proof of medical insurance
Day of arrival Monday
Day of departure Sunday


  • Enjoy the beautiful, peaceful, scenic location of this game reserve.
  • Get to experience the famed African Big 5 out in the wild.
  • Work behind the scenes with wildlife enthusiasts and learn about nature and conservation.
  • Gain exceptional hands-on learning experience in the African bush.
  • Get the chance to do wildlife monitoring, e.g., lions and rhinos.
  • Make new friends from all over the world.
  • Explore other parts of South Africa, including the Garden Route and some of its adventure offerings.

Project information

Activities are dependent on weather and other factors. Volunteers will be divided into groups, depending on the number of volunteers available. Each group will have an outdoor volunteer coordinator as a leader and mentor. The groups will be engaged in different, daily activities but will all do the same type and number of activities by the end of the week.

In some cases, all the groups might do the same activity at the same time depending on the type of activity, e.g. game capturing.

Your role

There is an itinerary of all the activities which are scheduled for each week and the programme varies on a day-to-day basis and generally runs from Monday to Friday with two sessions per day. Weekends are usually free.

Volunteers are expected to get involved in various wildlife and conservation activities of the reserve. They will  assist the team leader/s in a variety of tasks, which would depend on various factors including the weather and time of year. However, activities may encompass the following tasks:

  • Fence patrols and help in fixing fences when necessary
  • Wildlife monitoring, e.g. of lions and rhinos
  • Road building and maintenance
  • Game counts
  • Anti-poaching efforts
  • Removal of alien vegetation
  • Planting of indigenous trees
  • Monitoring of the water tables and sources for animals
  • Land rehabilitation
  • Land contouring 

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. The project, however, tries to keep the activities as exciting and varied as reasonably possible and allowed for by the various dynamic factors.


Your accommodation lodge is located directly on the Game Reserve so there is no additional transfer needed; you are already there.

Volunteers will sleep in dorm style rooms, allocated by gender. The bathroom is shared. The lodge is very clean and modern with lots of spacious communal areas to hang out in such as an entertainment room with a pool table, table tennis, darts and a big screen TV.

There is also a little kitchenette where volunteers may get drinks or a cup of tea any time they want.
The outside area invites one to relax and enjoy time at the pool or get involved in sporting activities out on the cricket field or tennis-court. Wi-Fi is available at the lodge.  

The accommodation offers full board. A vegetarian option is available and it is also possible to cater for special dietary requirements.


Good Hope Volunteers Silvan from Germany

"I had a great time at this beautiful Game Reserve. The work is not too hard and I had a lot of fun with all the other volunteers and the funny and friendly coordinators. If you like to work and live with people from all over the world and want to change something with your work I would highly recommend you the Big 5 Game Reserve Conservation Project."