Wildlife Rangers

“To Learn and To Teach” are the objectives on which this project is founded and the basic principles that drive all its activities. Its main aim is to obtain a greater understanding of wildlife and the environment in which it thrives and to teach this knowledge to all who assist at their sites.


Location Closest town: Hoedspruit, South Africa
Duration From 2 - 12 weeks
Dates From mid-January to mid-December
  • You must have an Intermediate level (B1) of English
  • Special skills: You should have a passion for animals and wildlife conservation.
  • 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


  • Gain and share a greater understanding of wildlife and the environment in which it thrives.
  • Be part of the world’s longest running elephant contraception behavioural monitoring project.
  • Work as an assistant field ranger performing research and monitoring African wildlife.
  • Live in the main camp based in the heart of the reserve with all the wildlife on your doorstep.
  • The Kruger National Park is at only 45 minutes away and great for excursions on the weekends.
  • You will make new friends from all over the world.

Project Information

The project lies in the heart of a wild Big 5 game reserve with roughly 25 000 hectares of land. All animals on the property are completely wild. It is located at only 45 minutes west of Kruger National Park. 

The project was founded in 2004 to assist this huge game reserve with monitoring their elephants as part of the contraception program, which is the longest running elephant contraception project in the world. This has now evolved to include the monitoring of all Big 5 animals as well as other predators. All project activities have been established to provide dedicated assistance to the partnered conservation areas. The project provides a unique and professional experience for individuals experiencing these fascinating natural environments.

The actual field rangers have a vast knowledge of the reserve and its animals. They facilitate all the field work for the volunteer programme and ensure the territorial and biological integrity of the conservation area under their management. Time spent with them is guaranteed to be fun and full of learning. Their overall responsibilities include:

  • ensuring the day-to-day health and well-being of the wildlife
  • research and monitoring
  • game capture and introductions
  • population management
  • burning programs
  • infrastructure and equipment maintenance
  • public relations
  • environmental education
  • local community relations, liaison, and involvement
  • day-to-day financial controls
  • human resource planning and administration

The main focus revolves around some of the key species: elephants, lions, hyenas and leopards.

Your Role

Volunteers collect data on monitoring drives as well as on foot, of all different species seen during the drives, on monitoring walks or at a waterhole. Data from the AI camera-trap system is also collected, and cameras reset and placed. Volunteers will assist in all of this as well as with maintenance on the reserve (e.g. tree clearing, fixing roads, etc.) Habitat rehabilitation initiatives in the reserve are an important part of the tasks as well, which includes erosion control, the construction of rock gabions, brush-packing and re-seeding.

This is what a week could look like for a volunteer:

Monday: Arrival/Departure and restock of supplies in Hoedspruit.

Tuesday:  Early start setting out on a set route drive as part of the game counting program to determine populations of general game. In the afternoon, departure for a monitoring drive to locate one of the key species of interest: lion, elephant, leopards or hyena.

Wednesday: Waterhole monitoring in the morning to determine species utilisation of the area. Drive to the breeding boma in the afternoon to monitor the buffalo, Livingstone eland and nyala.

Thursday: Habitat work, e.g. exotic plant removal, erosion control or bush clearing. In the afternoon or evening, hyena monitoring and night patrol is on the programme.

Friday: Early morning start, locating the elephants as part of the ongoing research into the elephant contraception program. The afternoon will be set out to monitor bird species on the way to a sleep out under the stars.

Saturday: Habitat work in the morning, followed by an afternoon monitoring drive focussing on the reserve’s lion population. On return in the evening, rangers and assistant field rangers (volunteers) may head out to the local pub or have a typical South African braai (BBQ).

Sunday: free

In-between activities, volunteers will receive a series of presentations on the work of the reserve, or how to approach dangerous game on foot, or a history lecture. This time will also be used to transfer all data collected onto the computers and compile the weekly research report as well as helping with vehicle checks and cleaning.

Each activity has a pre-determined objective; volunteers don’t just get to view the animals, they get to live with them for a little while. 


Your accommodation is in the very heart of the reserve, the main camp, with all the wildlife on your doorstep, quite literally! There are either double or dorm-style rooms with shared bathrooms. Bedding is provided, towels are not. A comfortable lounge area offers a library with books and magazines, TV and DVD players. The main camp also offers a small swimming pool, a volleyball court and a braai (BBQ) area.
In the evenings, while sitting around the open fire, you can listen to the nightly calls of the lions and sounds of the bush while doing some star gazing and sharing stories of your day.

Electricity and hot running water is provided through solar panels. On overcast days, it occasionally runs out.
Wi-Fi is not included, laundry is available.

Food is supplied but you need to prepare your own meals. The stock is supplied once a week on Mondays.  
A vegetarian option is available and it is also possible to cater for special dietary requirements with prior notification.