Monitor cheetahs, buffalo and leopards in a beautiful South African wildlife reserve
All food and accommodation provided
Gain great conservation experience in an amazing setting
Come face to face with cheetahs in a spectacular wildlife reserve
How you can help
Tracking, collaring and monitoring cheetahs and other wildlife
Game capturing, management and relocating
Reserve management and maintenance including fence monitoring and poaching prevention
Community education and awareness
Why your help is needed
Volunteers work on a conservation reserve and immediately get stuck into the day-to-day responsibilities. In order to protect South Africa’s incredible wildlife and habitats it’s vital that detailed information about its animals are collected and that reserves are maintained to a high standard.
Volunteers responsibilities include (but are not limited to) cheetah research and monitoring, leopard and hyena project assistance, buffalo monitoring, fence checks, reserve maintenance and all aspects of wildlife conservation and management. The range of responsibilities that volunteers hold means that they are able to make a number of genuine contributions to the reserve, making the project an extremely worthwhile and rewarding experience. The project is focussing their attention not just on cheetahs but across the board – they also do leopard research and brown hyena monitoring, for example.
How long can I go for? Placements last either 18 or 32 days and include a 4-day arrival orientation.
Working hours: 6 hours a day, 5 days a week
Eligibility: British/Irish, 18+ Volunteers must have a love of wildlife and be willing to get their hands dirty!
The African Cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus hecki)
Approximately 12,000 in Africa today. The cheetah is threatened by habitat loss and hunting for their spotted pelt; they are also targeted by farmers who see them as a threat to their livestock. Inbreeding, high infant mortality and a reduction in its prey base also contribute to its decline. The cheetah is classified as an endangered species, and listed in Appendix I of the Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).
Where will I be living?
Staff, volunteers and guests all stay onsite in a permanent tented camp. Each tent has 2 beds and an open air bathroom with flushing toilet and hot running water. The tents are basic but very comfortable. All meals are prepared for the volunteers.
The reserve is located approximately 450 kilometres north of Pretoria. It is privately managed with the goal of creating a safe environment for indigenous wildlife. The main focus of the reserve is research and conservation, though a small number of paying guests are welcomed.
Who will I be working with on my project?
Volunteers on the programme work alongside local people and other volunteers.
What’s the local area like?
Unlike BUNAC’s other wildlife conservation programmes, the location of the Cheetah project means that it is not easy to access South Africa’s major cities. Volunteers must really enjoy the Great Outdoors, as free time and weekends while on the programme are most likely to be spent on the reserve or in local villages.
The nearest city is Polokwane, where volunteers can:
Visit a reptile park
Head to the theatre
Enjoy a spot of golf
Make a few rand at the casino
From Polokwane, volunteers can travel to Pretoria of Johannesburg by road or train.