• Welcome to
    Internship with wildlife research

    Greater Kruger, South Africa

Internship with wildlife research

8 - 12 weeks / from 4,545 - 5,945 EUR
  • About

    This internship will give you an incredible opportunity to explore African wildlife ecosystems and particular animals of interest in conservation.

    The research team is based on a privately-owned lodge situated in the Kruger Canyons, on the border of the Greater Kruger National Park in South Africa. The programme’s main goal is to protect leopards and large predators through the conservation of land and wildlife and the involvement and education of local communities. Working with the team on the ground, you’ll be able to select a species of your choosing to study. This programme is perfect for those looking to collate data to support your studies, or simply to gain work experience within this competitive industry. Utilizing a comprehensive approach that tackles monitoring of behavior and forefront conservation initiatives, interns will help build large-scale quality identification kits on the species of their choosing, providing technical clarity on movements and home ranges of these animals. This data is vital for local reserves and wildlife managers as it helps them make conservation decisions that will benefit the species. If you have any other ideas about what you would like to study, please do share it with us and we will look into whether it fits in with the programmes current plans. The project is very lucky to share their surrounding land with the “Magnificent Seven”; lion, elephant, rhino, buffalo, leopard, wild dog, and cheetah, so those are just a handful of the species you could choose to study. The programme is also open to those looking to study botany, ornithology, ecology or even entomology – altogether an amazing experience if you dream of a long-term involvement in wildlife conservation in Africa.  

    You will:

    • Gain insight and knowledge into the conservation of your chosen species and get access to quality data collection opportunities
    • Learn about and gain practical experience in wildlife research methods
    • Familiarize yourself with wildlife research software for your study
    • Learn about the process of collecting and analyzing raw data and help create useful reports for land and wildlife management
    • Setup camera-traps to survey the species of your choosing for research in the area
    • Be supported by an internship mentor and professional development coach to help you realize and achieve your objectives
    • Work alongside a team of international and local experts, as well as fellow interns and volunteers
    • Take advantage of the beautiful area of South Africa in which you’ll be staying, home to South Africa’s “Magnificent Seven”; lion, elephant, leopard, rhino, buffalo, wild dog and cheetah
  • Activities

    What can you study?

    We are incredibly lucky to live smack-bang in the middle of one of the most diverse and exciting wildlife hot-spots in the whole of South Africa, home to the iconic ‘Big 5’; lion, leopard, elephant, rhino, and buffalo. As well as cheetah, and even wild dog. This gives you an extraordinary opportunity to study some of the most famous African wildlife, while also opens doors to studying some of the lesser-known creatures of the bush and these African safari animals. Mammals aren’t your thing? Then how about birds, botany, or climate change? If your chosen species or topic aligns with our greater mission here in the Kruger, you are welcome to study it on your wildlife internship!


    Regular research game drives and bush walks will allow you to collect data on the location, and behaviour, of your chosen species, while at the same time spotting some of Africa’s most amazing other animals. You will also join volunteers during game counts, which will enable you to assess prey and predator populations and distributions. From this, you will then help analyze the data and turn it into reports that are given to our partner reserves and conservation partners to assist in the preservation of your chosen species. Through training on useful analysis techniques such as QGIS, you will learn how to map the data we collect to determine things like distribution, social networks, family relationships, and corridor use.


    If you choose to study an animal species, our camera trap surveys will allow you to assess animal movements out of hours and collect data on your chosen species in their natural habitat. As part of this wildlife internship, you will be responsible for organizing and uploading these images to our Camerabase software and helping to produce comprehensive reports that help our wider conservation team. It is this data, as well as what you have collected on your research game drives, that will be presented to our team at the end of your placement.

    If you are studying botany or birds, we’ll ensure that you get time to undertake other observation sessions by-foot and work with you to provide opportunities for learning.


    You will also get involved in physical conservation tasks like clearing encroaching bush or invasive plant species removal, which helps us restore animal habitats and provides you with a greater understanding of how the ecosystem is connected.

    Physical conservation work is a vital part of wildlife conservation (and a lot more fun than you would think it would be), so you will have plenty of opportunities to get your hands dirty. Whether you assist in getting rid of snares or removing invasive species, the work you do is key to the survival of wildlife and the success of wildlife conservation in the area. It transforms the land back into a healthy habitat where wildlife can flourish.


    You will take part in weekly meetings with your internship mentor and a professional researcher to discuss the project’s aims, your strengths, and identify weaknesses so that you are able to grow not only as a person but professionally as well. Outside of these meetings, you will also enjoy a myriad of presentations on wildlife, ecology, habitats, and threats predators face.

  • Location

    Situated in the heart of South Africa’s most famous ‘Big 5’ area, you will be surrounded by beautiful game reserves including the world-renowned Kruger National Park, which is a 45-minute drive from the lodge. The nearest town is Hoedspruit, which is a 30-minute drive from the lodge and a great place to spend some relaxing downtime. There is an optional weekly town trip on Fridays to visit supermarkets and souvenir shops or you can simply relax whilst drinking coffee or eating ice-cream.

  • Facilities

    During your internship, you will stay at the project’s lodge – Olifants River Camp, within the Greater Kruger Area.  The spacious lodge has a swimming pool, several spacious areas to lounge around and socialise in, a large boma for braais (BBQ) as well as a sunny courtyard. There is also have a small shop where you can buy basic toiletries, yummy snacks, local crafts and a small bar. The lodge all situated on 18 hectares of land. This beautiful landscape serves as home to impala, warthog, bush pig, nyala and a great diversity of birdlife. Here, you’ll dine, relax and socialise. There is not a better place to sit than around a campfire and admire the stars!

    • Accommodation

      The accommodation is bunk beds and 4-8 people share each room. It is possible to upgrade to a private room with private toilet facilities at the costs of 25 USD/person/day.

    • Laundry

      Laundry services are available for R60 per load.

    • Food & Meals

      In-house chefs will cook three fresh meals for you each day. The project can cater to most types of dietary needs, but please make sure to inform us of any special requirements when you make your reservation. Drinking water and tea or coffee will also be available throughout your stay. Cold drinks can be purchased at the bar. The lodge also provides a volunteer fridge for your own shopping if you fancy extra snacks or drinks.

    • Internet & Phone Reception

      Wi-Fi vouchers are available for purchase at your accommodation. The vouchers cost approximately R600 for four weeks.

      Cell phone reception is available. Check with your service provider for costs or purchase a local SIM card at the airport.

    • Credit Cards & Cash

      The South African currency is the rand. Cash can be withdrawn at the airport. There are also ATMs available in the nearest town, Hoedspruit (Please note: There may be a fee to withdraw from ATMs in Hoedspruit). Most shops and restaurants accept both debit and credit card payments.

      When you arrive at the project, we will open a tab for you. All fees for trips and items that you buy from our shop will be added to your tab and you’ll be expected to pay-in-full during check out. You can pay using cash or a credit card (Please note: Credit card payments can be made for trips with an additional 6 per cent fee).

      If you plan on using your bank cards overseas, don’t forget to tell your bank that you will be in South Africa. Otherwise, your bank may freeze your cards.

    • Shops

      The nearest town, Hoedspruit, is a 30-minute drive from the lodge. It’s a great place where you can take some relaxing downtime. The project runs an optional weekly trip to town each Friday to give people the chance to visit supermarkets, browse souvenir shops or just relax with a coffee or ice cream.

  • Travel info

    This page will guide you on how to book your flights, how transportation to and from the project works and which vaccinations are required for your trip.

    • Flight Itinerary

      Arrival and departure are on Sundays. It is recommended that you arrive at Hoedspruit airport (HDS) as it is only around 30 min. drive away from the project. The alternative, Nelspruit airport is located roughly 2-3 hours away from the project and to join the transfer from Nelspruit your flight will need to land before 1 PM. When going home (Nelspruit) you need to book your flights with departure after 1 PM. There are no time restrictions when going/departing from Hoedspruit on the specified arrival/departure day.

    • Airport Transfer

      You will be picked up from and dropped off at the airport by a representative from the project. The cost of transportation to and from the airport is included in your project fee when arriving/departing on Sundays (on the specified dates). Off-schedule transfers are possible at additional costs.  

    • Vaccinations

      We recommend you consult with your doctor to ensure you have the appropriate vaccinations before your trip. Below is an overview of vaccinations that are likely to be recommended:

      Tetanus: Recommended
      Polio: Recommended
      Hepatitis A&B: Recommended
      Tuberculosis: Recommended
      Malaria: Kruger is in a malaria risk area, so you should bring anti-malarial tablets and mosquito repellent with you.

    • Visa

      People from most countries will automatically get tourist visas valid for up to 90 days upon arrival in South Africa. If you are unsure about whether this applies to your country, please see the government’s list of exempt countries: http://www.dha.gov.za/index.php/countries-exempt-from-sa-visas

    • Travel Insurance

      It is mandatory that you have valid travel insurance for your entire trip. The insurance will cover all costs involved with any kind of an emergency or incident, i.e. an air rescue, hospital or medical costs and flights. Please contact your local travel insurance agent, otherwise, we can recommend the travel insurer World Nomads: https://www.worldnomads.com/

  • FAQ

    • Is it possible to get a private room?

      Yes. You can request a private room with a private toiletfacilities at the cost of around 25 USD/person. Please ask for exact prices.

    • Are there any ATM's?

      Cash can be withdrawn at the airport. There are also ATMs available in the nearest town, Hoedspruit (Please note: There may be a fee to withdraw from ATMs in Hoedspruit). We strongly advise against bringing travellers’ cheques.

    • Is there transportation to and from the project sites?

      Yes. The cost of daily transfers between projects sites is included in your project fee.

    • Do I need vaccinations?

      We recommend you consult with your doctor to ensure you have the appropriate vaccinations before you trip. Below is an overview of vaccinations that are likely to be recommended:

      Tetanus: Recommended
      Polio: Recommended
      Hepatitis A&B: Recommended
      Tuberculosis: Recommended
      Malaria: Kruger is in a malaria risk area, so you should bring anti-malarial tablets and mosquito repellent with you
    • Do I need a visa?

      Yes! People from most countries will automatically get tourist visas valid for up to 90 days upon arrival in South Africa. If you are unsure about whether this applies to your country, please see the government’s list of exempt countries: http://www.dha.gov.za/index.php/countries-exempt-from-sa-visas

  • Reviews

    ”I feel privileged to have been able to do the things I have done; the research work is so important and so to be able to contribute is amazing. I loved every minute of the game drives and the other research-based work. It also has been incredible to have been involved with the community projects, as I felt this was very rewarding. Not only was the work aspect great, but so was the lodge itself and the staff within it. The staff at every level were amazing, some of the nicest people I’ve ever met.” – Liam Hicks, UK

    “This experience was nothing like I expected it to be, but that’s what made it so special. I never expected to become a part of a family that consisted of volunteers and staff from around the world. I never expected to gain an in-depth understanding for African Wildlife and to be able to actively apply this new knowledge as I was out in the bush collecting data. I never expected to have such astonishing sighting of the diverse wildlife. And of all, I never expected to understand and observe the impact research can have on African wildlife.” – Ali Weaver, USA

  • Prices & Dates

    Start dates: Every second sunday. Please contact us for specific start dates and availability. 

    Number of participants: Max 3 for this programme (max 50 in total at the lodge)

    Prices (2022) (per person sharing): 

    8 weeks - 4,545 EUR 
    10 weeks - 5,245 EUR 
    12 weeks - 5,945 EUR




Why you'll love it

  • You will get an amazing experience around the beautiful and world-renowned Greater Kruger next to Kruger National Park

  • The project has great facilities and the helpful staff will take great care of you

  • The project has a steep learning curve, you will get out of your comform zone and learn a lot about yourself, the nature and the amazing wildlife

  • You will get the opportunity of a real African experience - sleep-out in the bush at the research camp

  • You will get the opportunity to increase your knowledge about conservation and wildlife research

  • There are lots of extra activities (outside the programme) such as horse-riding or hiking

  • You will enjoy this experience with like-minded people from all over the world!


We work with volunteer projects that offer meaningful learning experiences and the space to experience the remarkable wildlife you’ll be supporting. Most projects only take between 10 and 20 volunteers, so the earlier we start planning your trip, the better. The best time to start making arrangements is six to eight months before your planned departure date – especially if you want to volunteer during peak seasons, including around school holidays.

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