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Head into the African bush
with the big five at

Assist behind the scenes on ongoing conservation projects

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  • Duration
    1-12 Weeks
  • Accompanied age
  • Minimum age
  • Start dates
    Every Monday
  • From
  • Duration
    1-12 Weeks
  • Accompanied age
  • Minimum age
  • Start dates
    Every Monday
  • From

South Africa Amakhala big five conservation

Do you want to experience and explore South Africa and all of its inhabitants? Well, Amakhala will not disappoint! Assist behind the scenes on various ongoing conservation and community projects, where you will help to protect and reintroduce a vast array of wildlife into an area that it once called home.

You will spend your days out in the game reserve where around any corner, behind any bush and at the top of any brow could be wildlife – how exciting! This is your chance to go on an extensive safari at a fraction of the cost, while doing your bit to help with important conservation work.

Every day you will see a different part of the 18,000 hectare game reserve (it’s bigger than you think!) and come across new animals – some you never knew even existed! Meet “Norman the nuisance,” the elephant that seems to destroy everything in his path, be brave and try some termites (they taste of mint!) and keep an eye out for the giraffes heads as they hide behind the bushes.

Background to the programme

This area was once densely populated with wildlife. However, diversity changed dramatically after the onset of intense animal hunting. The hunting was followed by farming practices that saw a clash of domestic and wild animal interests and the systematic eradication of problematic animals. Substantial parts of the area are currently undergoing a transformation back to wildlife and nature-based land usage after 200 years of various forms of domestic animal and agricultural farming.

You will play an important part in continuing this process and maintaining the large game reserve to ensure it does indeed transform back to it's former glory.

Where will I be volunteering?

You will spend all of your time volunteering on the 18,000 hectare game reserve located in the Eastern Cape of South Africa - approximately one hour from Port Elizabeth. The game reserve is actively managed as a protected area and successfully run through a combination of the experienced owners, an exceptional local team as well as the amazing help received by you and other volunteers.

Home to some of the world’s most iconic animals including the king of the jungle lions, timid leopards, clumsy rhinos, graceful elephants and mystic buffalo that make up the big five. There is also a diverse abundance of a variety of antelope, giraffe, hippo, warthog, cheetah, zebra and over 25 other species that roam the plains of the game reserve, providing you with everlasting memories!

The diverse landscape will allow you to enjoy far reaching views across the bushveld, see the natural slender of the Bushman's River that meanders through the reserve, climb up rocky peaks and so much more.

What is my role?

As a Volunteer at Amakhala, your responsibility is helping to manage all aspects of the game reserve. Be prepared to get really stuck in and get your hands dirty, where your varied role will mean no two days are the same. With sprawling savannah and bushveld that is simply bursting with a whole host of amazing wildlife, it will leave you in awe of life’s abundance, beauty and spectacular scenery.

Being a large game reserve that is leading the way in conservation, there are a lot of activities to get involved in. You could be tracking predators using telemetry equipment, monitoring and identifying the wildlife for health checkups and population control, breeding monitoring, fence patrols, checking for snares, seeding eroded areas, clearing old fence lines, alien vegetation control, erosion control and wetland and watering hole management - to name but a few! Every now and again animals also need to be darted to either be checked over by the vet or to be relocated to another part of the game reserve. This incredible opportunity is a once in a lifetime experience to get up close to these iconic animals and you won’t want to miss out!

Amakhala also prides itself on its strong involvement within the local community, where you will get to help on one or several community projects currently run at the Isipho Multi Purpose Center, Môreson Primary School and Sidbury Primary School. You will spend at least one or two afternoons per week helping within the community where you will get involved in providing basic pre-school education, playing sports and games and assist in growing and renovating the local vegetable plots.

It won’t all be work though! Apart from driving around the reserve monitoring the wildlife, you will get the chance to camp out in the bush under the starry night with the lions and other animals! A once in a lifetime opportunity where you will learn bush survival skills and hopefully survive the night! 

Not only this, but for anyone staying 2 weeks or more you will get to stay in one of the luxury safari lodges for a night! You will dine out with one of the most delicious meals ever, relax in your private plunge pool and have a drink or two while watching the wildlife roam right past your door! The lodge is tucked away in a valley of indigenous bush, making it the perfect place to relax and to spot wildlife. This intimate thatched lodge with its unique safari huts offers all the comforts of a graded 5-star lodge and is an undisturbed retreat where you can regenerate your soul and tune into the sounds of nature.

You may also get the chance to go canoeing down the spellbinding Bushman’s river that runs right through the reserve, fish, head on a night time game drive, visit the famous Addo Elephant Park, go horse riding in the reserve and maybe even visit the Born Free Big Cat Sanctuary.

Make sure to ask as many questions as you like! You will learn so much about the animals that call Amakhala home, from how often the lions feed to telling the gender of a zebra! You will gain in-depth knowledge about each animal from our local team and also be taught about population management, conservation practices and so much more.

What will a typical day look like?

As you will be volunteering on an active and busy game reserve, every day will provide something new. Your weekly schedule will be based around the needs of the reserve and wildlife at that time and will generally see you volunteering within the game reserve for around 8 hours per day from Monday to Friday.

You could be out early in the morning before the sun rises or assisting into the night to monitor the more nocturnal animals, so please be prepared for some unsociable hours!

Depending on your day's schedule, you will have several hours of free time at some point each day. Many volunteers use this time to relax in the pool at the volunteer house or to visit the small pub at the end of the drive way to socialise with the game rangers or to play pool.

Where will I be staying?

You will be staying at the volunteer accommodation that has been renovated from an old railway station and is located in the centre of game reserve country – around a 10 minute drive to Amakhala. With the monkeys swinging around and playing in the trees that surround the garden, this is your first amazing glimpse at the wildlife you are about to encounter at the reserve! 

Just because you are volunteering does not mean you have to stay in basic dorm like conditions. The accommodation will become your home away from home and has everything you need. The spacious and clean bedrooms have comfortable beds, there are large communal areas, an amazing garden with a pool and there are several amenities nearby.

Other things to consider

Weekends and free time - You will have every weekend off from volunteering and this is the perfect time to explore everything this beautiful country has to offer. You are more than welcome to simply relax around the accommodation but most volunteers will use this time to travel and see the country. Further down this page you will come across many suggestions and ideas on where you could go. Alternatively, if you are looking to head further afield, then you may be interested in one or more of the organised weekend trips we run.

Amakhala Big Five

Best 5 weeks of my life. So I got back from the Big 5 project at Amakhala this week and all I want to do is go straight back. I really do have a bad case of the Africa blues.

From the moment i arrived all of the other volunteers (8 in total)... Read More

Liam JonesFebruary 2020

South Africa Amakhala

I recently went on a trip with TMR to there Amakhala Big 5 Conservation. While the trip itself was fantastic there were some issues surrounding the booking of my trip - you can see my previous review for details, however I’d now like to amend my review as Chris has since been in touch and has ... Read More

Rachel StephenDecember 2019

Amazing time at Amakhala

I arrived home today after two weeks at Amakhala.

What an incredible experience. It was everything I hoped for and so much more.

So many things that were amazing. The highlights have to be helping with the release of two Cheetahs into the reserve and the moving of a couple of Lione... Read More

Matt AinsleyDecember 2019

Volunteering at Amakhala

I recently got back from volunteering at Amakhala. The mighty roar were brilliant, very efficient, I had no issues. They were very quick at replying to my email queries, often replying a few hours later. My time at Amakhala was amazing, would recommend it to anyone. The local volunteer coordin... Read More

Laura AlveyNovember 2019

Amakhala Game Reserve

I did the amakhala game reserve trip and absolutely loved it!!! The ranger who took us around each day was lovely and the community was amazing and we got to help out with building a community centre too which was amazing!! Would definitely recommend!

Amy StokerOctober 2019

Take me back to Amakhala

I went to Amakhala for 2 weeks and absolutely loved it! It’s hard to choose some favourite activities because every day was amazing. However, I really enjoyed the sunrise safari, and helping to move some buffalos from one side to the other of the reserve. I’ll never forget the feeling of seein... Read More

Sara RoccisanoSeptember 2019

Amakhala Game Reserve

I have just returned from volunteering on the Amakhala game reserve in South Africa. I was there for two weeks and the people that I met definitely made this trip for me. All the locals in the town were very friendly and appreciative of us and I made some great friends amongst the volunteers. ... Read More

Rachel HalsteadAugust 2019

Amakhala Big 5

It was such an amazing experience where I learnt so much about all the animals and South Africa. I have made so many lifelong friends and I would recommend it to anyone who loves an adventure!! Thank you Mighty roar for setting this up, I will never forget it.

Lila SeamarkJuly 2019

Amakhala Game Reserve

I had a lovely experience. The local community were so welcoming as well as the local staff. I had the opportunity to meet such a nice group of people and share this experience with them. That being said I h... Read More

Nadia ShivlaniMay 2019

Safari volunteering in South Africa

Volunteering in South Africa, well what can I say, but wow wow wow! The fellow volunteers and the local team are so friendly and make the experience even more fun. I would definitely recommend The Mighty Roar and a big shout out to Ebin and Chris for making my trip fantastic.

Lynette AdamsOctober 2018

Volunteering at Shamwari Game Reserve

  • December 2019
Hear all about my experience in South Africa at the Shamwari Game Reserve in August 2019. Being able to get so close to all of the different animals every day was a dream come true.

Hannah's story

A great two weeks at Amakhala!

  • October 2019
Our two weeks volunteering at Amakhala included so much, with something new everyday. Getting close to amazing wildlife, helping the community and exploring South Africa.

Sara's story

Heading off on safari in South Africa

  • October 2018
Between the UK and South Africa teams, I felt fully supported and had the best two weeks at Amakhala. I saw so many animals and learnt so much, I cannot wait to volunteer again.

Lynette's story

Four months helping penguins in South Africa

  • March 2018
Even though I was volunteering for several months, which is longer than most, the time flew by and I really wished I stayed longer! If you like penguins or birds, then I can highly recommend this programme

Stephanie's story