Shamwari Conservation Experience

South Africa

2 - 12 weeks

1,400 - 8,400 Euro

Get behind the scenes at the world-renowned Shamwari Private Game Reserve - a 23,000-hectare Big Five Reserve, featured in documentaries on Nat Geo Wild & Animal Planet.

Welcome to Shamwari Conservation Experience

In the heart of South Africa, the famous Shamwari Big Five Private Game Reserve spreads over 25,000 hectares, showcasing South Africa's love for wildlife conservation and eco-tourism. Experience the raw beauty of the African bush, where every trail unveils a new adventure and where wildlife and nature harmoniously converge.

Why Choose the Shamwari Conservation Experience?

  • Hands-On Wildlife Conservation:
    At Shamwari, volunteering goes beyond just watching. Dive into the African ecosystem, join in telemetry tracking, see the big five on game drives, and help keep the reserve beautiful and thriving.
  • Worldwide Recognition:
    Through its partnership with the Born Free Foundation and features on channels like Animal Planet, Discovery, and Amazon Prime, Shamwari's dedication to animals and nature stands out.
  • Learn and Grow:
    Along with practical tasks, Shamwari offers a chance to learn through expert talks, guided game drives, and understanding the ups and downs faced by game reserves in South Africa.
  • Weekend Fun:
    Weekdays focus on conservation, but weekends at Shamwari are all about adventure on the famous Garden Route. Enjoy activities like canoeing, horse riding, exploring local culture, or just relax and enjoy the peaceful reserve.
  • Excellence in Every Way:
    The Shamwari Conservation Experience has earned its name as a top choice for combining wildlife conservation with exciting eco-tourism.

Join the Shamwari Conservation Experience

For animal lovers, those interested in conservation, or anyone looking to make a real difference, Shamwari is the place to be. Connect with nature, help protect wildlife, and make memories you'll always cherish. Contact us and start your amazing African adventure.

More insights

QUICK FACTS

GENERAL
  • Up to 20 volunteers, 2-12 weeks, starting each Monday.
  • Minimum age: 18
TRAVEL AND TRANSFERS
  • Arrive at Port Elizabeth Airport (PLZ) by 12:30 PM Monday. Depart after 14:00 Monday.
  • Shamwari airport transfers available for an extra 110 Euro/person (return).
MEALS & MORE
  • Full-board meals, drinking water, coffee, and tea are included.
  • Cell service available; purchase local SIM/data at the airport or buy Wi-Fi vouchers on-site.
ADDITIONAL ADVENTURES
  • Explore on weekends: Garden Route, beach horseback riding, skydiving, and more.

Enquire

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Activity Overview

Rhinos at Shamwari Conservation Experience in South Africa.
Game Drives & Monitoring

Participating in regular game drives not only promises unforgettable experiences with diverse wildlife but also significantly contributes to the project's understanding of the reserve's inhabitants. By assisting the dedicated team, you'll play a crucial role in collecting valuable information on various species' social dynamics, dietary patterns, and other essential ecological aspects. These game drives enable the project to monitor and track the animals' behaviors, movements, and population trends. In turn, this information helps to maintain a healthy and balanced ecosystem within the reserve. The data collected during these drives is instrumental for the project team in making well-informed management decisions, such as the potential relocation or introduction of certain species to maintain biodiversity and the overall well-being of the reserve.

Restoration & Rehabilitation of the Reserve

Volunteers play a significant role in restoring the reserve to its original, unspoiled state by assisting in the removal of non-native plants introduced by former landowners. By contributing to the restoration of the area's natural biodiversity, you'll actively support the preservation of native food sources for herbivores, safeguarding vital water resources, and minimising the risk of wildfires. Additionally, you'll aid in dismantling old constructions and fences that could potentially endanger the wildlife living in the reserve. This collaborative effort ensures the protection and sustainability of the reserve's ecosystem, benefiting both the flora and fauna that call it home.

Camera Traps & Telemetry Tracking

By using camera traps, Shamwari can consistently monitor the reserve's wildlife, gaining a deeper understanding of the habits and patterns of nocturnal and elusive animals. These continuous observations provide valuable insights that contribute to the overall knowledge of the reserve's inhabitants. For certain high-profile species, such as cheetahs, remote tracking methods like telemetry are employed. This advanced tracking technology is especially useful in managing the interactions between wildlife and livestock on adjacent properties. By monitoring the movements of these predators, Shamwari can take proactive measures to prevent conflicts and protect both the wildlife and the domesticated animals in the surrounding areas. Annual game counts are conducted to determine the reserve's carrying capacity. These counts assist in making decisions about predator-to-prey ratios and the movement of animals on or off the reserve.

Born Free Foundation

The Born Free Foundation has gained a well-deserved reputation for its exceptional work in tackling and spreading awareness about the awful treatment faced by wild animals in captivity across the globe. At the heart of Shamwari Game Reserve, you'll find the foundation's sanctuary and educational center, which provides a home for rescued lions and leopards that cannot be returned to their natural habitats. By participating in this behind-the-scenes tour, you'll have the opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of the sanctuary's daily operations and the level of care given to these majestic animals. This rewarding experience not only furthers the Born Free Foundation's mission but also educates you on the significance of wildlife conservation, fostering a deeper connection with the natural world.

The Animal Rehabilitation Centre

The Shamwari Animal Rehabilitation Centre was created with the purpose of assisting in the recovery of injured wildlife found within the reserve and its neighboring areas. As a volunteer, you'll have the opportunity to join a tour of the center, during which you'll gain a deeper understanding of the entire process involved in rehabilitating injured animals, from the moment of their rescue until their ultimate release back into the wild. There may also be occasions where you are invited to support the veterinary nursing team or the vet, however, please note that such opportunities are not guaranteed and depend on the specific needs at the time. Regardless, your time spent volunteering will provide you with valuable insights into wildlife rehabilitation and the ongoing efforts to preserve these precious creatures.

Off-Day Activities

During weekends, you typically have free time to explore and participate in a range of activities outside the reserve together with your fellow volunteers. The Shamwari team is more than happy to provide guidance and information on reputable local adventure and leisure providers, ensuring you have access to top-quality off-site experiences. These activities span from immersive cultural tours to exhilarating adventures such as canoeing, quad biking, horseback riding along the beach, and various coastal and marine excursions. It's important to note that these off-site activities are optional and come at your own expense, allowing you to tailor your weekend experiences to suit your personal interests and preferences.

Research Projects

At Shamwari, the research projects you will have the opportunity to be involved in are often carried out in partnership with a diverse range of research and academic institutions, both from South Africa and around the world. These fascinating initiatives encompass an extensive variety of topics, such as examining the reproductive patterns of elephants, collecting valuable data on elusive and lesser-known species like the brown hyena, and many other intriguing subjects. The primary goal of these research efforts is to enhance the team's understanding of these extraordinary animals, as this knowledge is crucial for devising more effective conservation methods and ensuring the protection of their natural habitats. By delving deeper into the distinct behaviours, requirements, and obstacles encountered by each species, the team is better equipped to create customised conservation strategies that address the specific needs of these animals.

Community Projects

While participating in the Shamwari project, you will have the opportunity to connect with neighboring communities and assist with the dedicated Shamwari team to promote the importance of safeguarding wildlife and emphasising the crucial role of conserving natural habitats within Shamwari and the adjacent areas. Your involvement can span various initiatives aimed at improving local living conditions and environmental sustainability. These may include creating and tending to vegetable gardens that promote self-sufficiency, engaging in inventive recycling projects to reduce waste and pollution, refreshing learning spaces by applying new coats of paint to classrooms, or building enjoyable and safe play areas such as jungle gyms for the community's children. These combined efforts contribute to a greater understanding and appreciation of the interdependence between humans and the natural world.

Additional Activities

Throughout your stay at the project, you will have the chance to engage in a wide range of thrilling activities, and the longer your visit, the more diverse and enriching experiences you may encounter! These activities may include assisting with wildlife capture and relocation efforts, embarking on guided nature walks to learn more about the local flora and fauna, participating in memorable sleep-outs under the stars within the reserve, supporting the dedicated anti-poaching team during their vital patrols, and even lending a hand with essential veterinary tasks to ensure the well-being of the animals. Your days will be filled with adventure and purposeful work, as you contribute to the ongoing efforts of preserving the natural environment and its inhabitants. With a variety of tasks and experiences, you can expect to be fully immersed and constantly occupied during your time at this dynamic and action-packed game reserve.

Volunteers on a game drive at Shamwari Conservation Experience in Port Elizabeth.
Volunteers doing plant research at Shamwari Conservation Experience in South Africa.
Wildlife volunteers doing telemetry search in South Africa.
Lion roaring at Born Free Foundation in South Africa.
Wildlife volunteers at the vet clinic at Shamwari Conservation Experience in South Africa.
Group photo of Volunteer at Shamwari Conservation Experience in South Africa.
Volunteers doing elephant research in South Africa.
Volunteers doing community work in South Africa.
Anti poaching unit at Shamwari Private Game Reserve in South Africa.

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Your Activities

Cross (Close)

Participating in regular game drives not only promises unforgettable experiences with diverse wildlife but also significantly contributes to the project's understanding of the reserve's inhabitants. By assisting the dedicated team, you'll play a crucial role in collecting valuable information on various species' social dynamics, dietary patterns, and other essential ecological aspects. These game drives enable the project to monitor and track the animals' behaviors, movements, and population trends. In turn, this information helps to maintain a healthy and balanced ecosystem within the reserve. The data collected during these drives is instrumental for the project team in making well-informed management decisions, such as the potential relocation or introduction of certain species to maintain biodiversity and the overall well-being of the reserve.

Game Drives & Monitoring

Game drives serve as a vital tool for both the enjoyment of nature and the ongoing efforts to preserve and enhance the reserve's rich wildlife.

Read more

Cross (Close)

By using camera traps, Shamwari can consistently monitor the reserve's wildlife, gaining a deeper understanding of the habits and patterns of nocturnal and elusive animals. These continuous observations provide valuable insights that contribute to the overall knowledge of the reserve's inhabitants. For certain high-profile species, such as cheetahs, remote tracking methods like telemetry are employed. This advanced tracking technology is especially useful in managing the interactions between wildlife and livestock on adjacent properties. By monitoring the movements of these predators, Shamwari can take proactive measures to prevent conflicts and protect both the wildlife and the domesticated animals in the surrounding areas. Annual game counts are conducted to determine the reserve's carrying capacity. These counts assist in making decisions about predator-to-prey ratios and the movement of animals on or off the reserve.

Camera Traps & Telemetry Tracking

By participating in frequent game monitoring, you'll help identify animals, study family dynamics, and assess dietary and spatial ecology.

Read more

Cross (Close)

Volunteers play a significant role in restoring the reserve to its original, unspoiled state by assisting in the removal of non-native plants introduced by former landowners. By contributing to the restoration of the area's natural biodiversity, you'll actively support the preservation of native food sources for herbivores, safeguarding vital water resources, and minimising the risk of wildfires. Additionally, you'll aid in dismantling old constructions and fences that could potentially endanger the wildlife living in the reserve. This collaborative effort ensures the protection and sustainability of the reserve's ecosystem, benefiting both the flora and fauna that call it home.

Restoration & Rehabilitation of the Reserve

Shamwari tracks its predators using telemetry and collaborates with research institutions to achieve meaningful conservation results.

Read more

Cross (Close)

The Born Free Foundation has gained a well-deserved reputation for its exceptional work in tackling and spreading awareness about the awful treatment faced by wild animals in captivity across the globe. At the heart of Shamwari Game Reserve, you'll find the foundation's sanctuary and educational center, which provides a home for rescued lions and leopards that cannot be returned to their natural habitats. By participating in this behind-the-scenes tour, you'll have the opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of the sanctuary's daily operations and the level of care given to these majestic animals. This rewarding experience not only furthers the Born Free Foundation's mission but also educates you on the significance of wildlife conservation, fostering a deeper connection with the natural world.

Born Free Foundation

Learn about the Born Free Foundation's inspiring work in wildlife conservation at their sanctuary within Shamwari Game Reserve.

Read more

Cross (Close)

The Shamwari Animal Rehabilitation Centre was created with the purpose of assisting in the recovery of injured wildlife found within the reserve and its neighboring areas. As a volunteer, you'll have the opportunity to join a tour of the center, during which you'll gain a deeper understanding of the entire process involved in rehabilitating injured animals, from the moment of their rescue until their ultimate release back into the wild. There may also be occasions where you are invited to support the veterinary nursing team or the vet, however, please note that such opportunities are not guaranteed and depend on the specific needs at the time. Regardless, your time spent volunteering will provide you with valuable insights into wildlife rehabilitation and the ongoing efforts to preserve these precious creatures.

The Animal Rehabilitation Centre

Discover the essential work of the Shamwari Animal Rehabilitation Centre, dedicated to helping injured wildlife recover and thrive.

Read more

Cross (Close)

At Shamwari, the research projects you will have the opportunity to be involved in are often carried out in partnership with a diverse range of research and academic institutions, both from South Africa and around the world. These fascinating initiatives encompass an extensive variety of topics, such as examining the reproductive patterns of elephants, collecting valuable data on elusive and lesser-known species like the brown hyena, and many other intriguing subjects. The primary goal of these research efforts is to enhance the team's understanding of these extraordinary animals, as this knowledge is crucial for devising more effective conservation methods and ensuring the protection of their natural habitats. By delving deeper into the distinct behaviours, requirements, and obstacles encountered by each species, the team is better equipped to create customised conservation strategies that address the specific needs of these animals.

Research Projects

Join research projects at Shamwari in partnership with local and international institutions to better understand wildlife and develop effective conservation methods.

Read more

Cross (Close)

At Shamwari, the research projects you will have the opportunity to be involved in are often carried out in partnership with a diverse range of research and academic institutions, both from South Africa and around the world. These fascinating initiatives encompass an extensive variety of topics, such as examining the reproductive patterns of elephants, collecting valuable data on elusive and lesser-known species like the brown hyena, and many other intriguing subjects. The primary goal of these research efforts is to enhance the team's understanding of these extraordinary animals, as this knowledge is crucial for devising more effective conservation methods and ensuring the protection of their natural habitats. By delving deeper into the distinct behaviours, requirements, and obstacles encountered by each species, the team is better equipped to create customised conservation strategies that address the specific needs of these animals.

Research Projects

Join research projects at Shamwari in partnership with local and international institutions to better understand wildlife and develop effective conservation methods.

Read more

Cross (Close)

While participating in the Shamwari project, you will have the opportunity to connect with neighboring communities and assist with the dedicated Shamwari team to promote the importance of safeguarding wildlife and emphasising the crucial role of conserving natural habitats within Shamwari and the adjacent areas. Your involvement can span various initiatives aimed at improving local living conditions and environmental sustainability. These may include creating and tending to vegetable gardens that promote self-sufficiency, engaging in inventive recycling projects to reduce waste and pollution, refreshing learning spaces by applying new coats of paint to classrooms, or building enjoyable and safe play areas such as jungle gyms for the community's children. These combined efforts contribute to a greater understanding and appreciation of the interdependence between humans and the natural world.

Community Projects

Work with the local community and participate in various initiatives aimed at improving local living conditions and environmental sustainability.

Read more

Cross (Close)

Throughout your stay at the project, you will have the chance to engage in a wide range of thrilling activities, and the longer your visit, the more diverse and enriching experiences you may encounter! These activities may include assisting with wildlife capture and relocation efforts, embarking on guided nature walks to learn more about the local flora and fauna, participating in memorable sleep-outs under the stars within the reserve, supporting the dedicated anti-poaching team during their vital patrols, and even lending a hand with essential veterinary tasks to ensure the well-being of the animals. Your days will be filled with adventure and purposeful work, as you contribute to the ongoing efforts of preserving the natural environment and its inhabitants. With a variety of tasks and experiences, you can expect to be fully immersed and constantly occupied during your time at this dynamic and action-packed game reserve.

Additional Activities

During your stay at Shamwari you may get the chance to experience exciting activities such as wildlife capture and relocation to nature walks, anti-poaching patrols, and veterinary support and more.

Read more

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WHY we love it

Embark on an unparalleled conservation journey at Shamwari Game Reserve, where you'll get hands-on with vital game monitoring and research projects, directly contributing to the preservation of the Big Five and gaining deep insights into the intricacies of wildlife management.

Leopard graphic outline.

Benefit from a comprehensive learning experience with presentations and talks on conservation, offering a rare behind-the-scenes look at how eco-tourism and dedicated conservation efforts work hand-in-hand to safeguard Shamwari's diverse ecosystem.

Leopard graphic outline.

Engage in meaningful community projects and visits to the Born Free Foundation Charity and Animal Rehabilitation Centre, showcasing the reserve's commitment to wildlife protection, rehabilitation, and ethical conservation practices.

Leopard graphic outline.

Located near the scenic Garden Route, Shamwari offers not just a conservation experience but also the chance to explore South Africa's rich landscapes and adventure activities, from surfing and horse riding to bungee jumping, making every moment off-duty as enriching as the work itself.

MAKE AN ENQUIRY FOR

Shamwari Conservation Experience

Once we receive your enquiry, we will swiftly check for availability and aim to get back to you within 2 business days. Please note that sending this enquiry does not create any obligations for you.

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