Conservation & Community

This project offers a rare opportunity to combine community development and environmental protection. Volunteers will work directly on community projects but will also support environmental conservation efforts on a working game reserve.

Conservation & Community


Location Paterson (closest town: Port Elizabeth), South Africa
Duration From 2 weeks
Dates All year round
  • You must have an Intermediate level (B1) of English
  • Special skills: You need to be physically fit.
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 Monday


  • Hands-on volunteering offers an insight into conservation and environmental issues as part of managing the game reserve.
  • You will experience the Wild Five on your safari drives and many more animals like giraffes, warthog and cheetahs.
  • Learn about the various animal species on the reserve and get close to them.
  • Learn about various plants and insects and how they all fit into our ecosystem.
  • Work with children in the Xhosa community and animals in one project.
  • The project is involved with the Conservation of Rhino.
  • 1 FREE Safari Lodge night for bookings of 2 weeks or longer.
  • 2 FREE Safari Lodge nights for bookings of 5 weeks or longer.
  • VERY special dinner, bed & breakfast rate at the project's Safari Lodge when replacing one or more nights of the actual project accommodation while at the programme. (subject to availability)
  • There are a variety of activities to take part in after hours.
  • You will make new friends from all over the world.

Project Information

This pioneering conservation project is the result of several farming families working together to form a private game reserve approximately 8500 hectares in size. It is actively managed as a protected area.
It is a unique conservation initiative that allows animals to be re-introduced to the area where they once roamed freely and so is making a contribution to the conservation of the natural heritage.
This project provides an insight into the environmental issues and management of a game reserve by assisting the Conservation Centre. It also contributes to community upliftment through a local day-care centre, whilst also providing an element of fun for those who participate.

Your Role

Monday to Friday (8 hours a day), weekends are off. Time to start and finish work will depend on the activities of the day and time of the year. (temperatures and general weather conditions etc.)
There is a dedicated volunteer coordinator at the project who arranges the work and activities for the volunteers. Usually, you will spend your time at a day-carecentre two days a week, and on the other three days, you will stay at the game reserve.
Typical tasks with the community or the two primary schools include working with children of all ages. You may be reading, teaching or playing with the kids. There are also organisational tasks: fixing things, gardening, etc.
You will also get involved with community clean-ups, craft projects, yard sales and more.

At the game reserve, you are involved with tracking lions and monitoring their well-being, game counts (mostly in winter), road maintenance or clearing alien plants. There are also lectures and discussions on various topics like birding and hunting. You may be sure that all aspects of conservation are addressed during your stay at this project.

It is important to note that this description serves as an example only. Activities vary a lot and are not guaranteed. The daily tasks and challenges depend on the volunteer, the time of the year and the work that needs to be done. The final job description can therefore vary substantially from the above.


Your accommodation is in the renovated Old Railway Station in Sandflats. Sandflats is part of the Paterson Village, which is 10 km from the reserve. You are accommodated in a 11-bedroom house, which overlooks a large garden and is within walking distance of the local bar and basic shops. Two volunteers usually share a room, and there are 5 bathrooms (with hot showers) to share.
Bedding as well as towels will be provided. Laundry is available. There is a communal dining and sitting room with Netflix and Wi-Fi as well as a well-equipped kitchen with adjoining office space.

The house also has a swimming pool, an outside seating area with a braai (BBQ) and a fire pit for chilly nights and social gatherings.

SPECIAL: the project offers 1 FREE Safari Lodge night for bookings of 2 weeks or longer, and 2 FREE Safari Lodge nights for bookings of 5 weeks or longer. 
It also offers volunteers a VERY special dinner, bed & breakfast rate at their Safari Lodge in case they want to replace one or more nights of their project accommodation while at the programme. (subject to availability)




Good Hope Volunteers Giulia from Italy

"It is always complicated to return from such an important trip and be able to find the right words to share so much beauty. I feel that once again Africa has been able to make me a better person. Thank you for everything, from the bottom of my heart."

Good Hope Volunteers Loris from Germany

“It was a really amazing and cool time, the people are so friendly and funny. I saw so many different animals, they were sometimes so close. The children are so cute and I really enjoyed to learn with them. We had also enough free time, you can do so many cool things in your free time."

Good Hope Volunteers Yan from France

“I volunteered at the Conservation & Community Project for 2 weeks with fauna and flora. It was my first volunteer experience and I definitely liked it. It was so impressive because I had never seen the big 5 who are known to be dangerous. Wildlife in general was totally unknown to me. I’ve been satisfied to see them and to participate in tasks to preserve animals and take care of the reserve. Rangers were so kind and so passionate. I learnt so many things. I spent a third week in Cape Town where I stayed and played with children. I was looking for a social aspect to help the local community and was so happy to see kids smiling while their economic situation and sometimes their life is difficult. They are an example to me. I will not forget this extraordinary experience and this life lesson. Good Hope Volunteers has supported me throughout my experience and I thank the staff.

Good Hope Volunteers Monique Mendes

"Thank you so much for everything, how beautiful this project was, I was thrilled at each end of the day. My goal on the trip was to participate in the care of fauna and flora, together with the community (children). It was then that it was recommended to go to Conservation and Community. It was all perfect. The house is comfortable, I made friends for my whole life, it was difficult to leave them. All the activities we performed during the week were extremely important and unforgettable moments. Lucky me that I met you on my way, it's worth every second. You are important to the world! Keep it up, congratulations on being kind and empathizing with the world. ”

Good Hope Volunteers Vitoria from Brazil

"This was the end of the most different and incredible journey I've ever had! If I could say just one thing to all the people who feel like doing a volunteer program: do it! It is worth all the hassles and nothing in the world buys you that smile from ear to ear, as a child gaining a little bit of attention from you. Come, but you have to come with your mind open! An open mind helps you to understand that you will not be the centre of attention here, that your limit ends when the other's space begins and that means, for example, that you will not have that selfie you wanted feeding one of the animals - they are not there for you, you are in their space. 

They are born to be free and not caged. You'll also need to leave your luxuries at home. It was completely impossible to leave the house here and not get dusty all over. There were days when we came home and we just wanted to take a shower and then there no water at home! But it's okay, they run out of water every day from 5:00pm to 9:00pm. The animals are the most incredible thing that a lot of people think about when coming to Africa - they are beautiful, but you have no idea how much more beautiful the children are! We spent a few days at a local school and I was completely enchanted with the children's eyes here & how we get upset for nothing and care about things that aren’t worth our time. Most of the children do not speak English, which complicates the communication, but that's where the best part happens, you learn that the language of love is universal! Everyone understands a hug, a caring gesture and a little attention. I’m going home happy, leaving a little of me here and taking Africa to heart!"

Good Hope Volunteers Lucien from France

"I'm leaving Paterson and the humanitarian project in a couple of hours. Those 3 weeks were absolutely incredible. I first really missed my family and my friends to be fair, but after a couple of days, I was really appreciating everything we did. This project permitted me to discover a new way of life. Here, the life isn’t the same as in my country: the people are really more friendly, everyone say hello to each other even if they don’t know him, and I really appreciated that. Even if some days were quite hard physically (digging some holes, cutting some cactuses or bushes, etc…), I liked everyone of them. I also met children. I passed 3 days with them. To be fair, I preferred the day I passed with the orphans. I felt a better proximity with them than with the children of the schools. I thought I would have passed more days/afternoons with them but I couldn’t. Finally and maybe the most important thing, I saw animals in the game reserve. I first of all want to thank my guide because he was really professional and really friendly. I saw every animals I wanted to see: lions, cheetahs, elephants, rhinos, giraffes, and a lot more. Thanks to the guide I could also make a lot of activities (bungy jumping, visit of PE, canoe, and more). So to conclude I really enjoyed those 3 weeks: I met new people, I discovered a new way of life, I practiced my english, I saw every animals I wanted to see. So I really recommend that humanitarian project to anyone who hesitate to do it!"

Good Hope Volunteers Giovana from Brazil

"My experience there was amazing, a little bit different from what I expected, but still amazing. Knowing the culture from another country, and be able to know the people that live there was really special. I hope that I could bring some love for the kids there, because they filled my heart with love! Hope I can go back soon!"

Good Hope Volunteers Poulette from Chile

"I came to South Africa chasing the adventure, I wanted to travel to a place that was completely different to my country. I never thought that I could find what I found here. Simple people, beautiful souls. I met other volunteers that became my friends. I met people with real problems, but as happy as anyone else in the world, it made me think of how my life has been and how lucky I was. I started a little campaign on facebook to help the locals, I wrote all my experience here and most of the people from my country (Chile) had an amazing response, they sent me a lot of money and I could buy stuff for a little school here, I bought the food, clothes, shoes. We made a party and it was so incredible to see how a bag of ballons made such a huge difference to those kids, just to see their faces made me happy and totally paid here. South Africa changed my life in a way that I could have never imagine before. I heard once that a trip is not measured in km, it is measured in friends; and after this trip I strongly believe it. It was the first time that I travelled alone, but I come back to my country with a whole bag of friends around the world, with my heart full of love and with the most amazing experience of my life. I will always remember this trip as the one that made most impact in my life. Thank you for this opportunity!!"