Volunteer on the frontline of
wildlife conservation at
Mapesu

An up-close & personal experience with 43 mammal species

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  • Accompanied age
    12+
  • Minimum age
    18+
  • Start dates Every other Wednesday
  • From
    £646
  • Accompanied age
    12+
  • Minimum age
    18+
  • Start dates Every other Wednesday
  • From
    £646

South Africa Mapesu wildlife conservation

Come and volunteer on the frontline of wildlife conservation by helping prevent the extinction of endangered species and their habitat. Volunteering at Mapesu game reserve will give you an enriching and unforgettable time with an up-close and personal experience of the 43 mammal species that call the reserve home.

Situated in northern Limpopo and spread across 7,200 hectares (18,000 acres!), come and witness a game reserve like no other. Forming part of the Greater Mapungubwe Transfrontier Conservation Area, the aims of which is to drop fence lines across all reserves to create one large transfrontier park, of nearly 6,000km2!

"My time on the reserve was life changing. The day to day activities were informative and educational and we all learnt so much every single day. A truly incredible experience which I am so grateful for - definitely will be coming back for more next summer!"

You will spend all of your time out in the reserve alongside the herd of elephants, cheetahs, many leopards, buffalo, 12,000 or so antelopes, giraffes, over 400 bird species and so much more.

You will play a vital role in preserving and restoring the environment and to re-establish biological diversity back into the area. Working along side our dedicated and qualified local team, you will assist by taking part in essential research, important species monitoring and reserve tasks – all of which have been created specially to combat the growing endangered wildlife crisis.

This unique project also offers you the chance to experience the raw, untamed South African bush by taking part in the hands-on survival-training course! You will be taught skills by experienced and qualified staff to exist in the wild without any modern conveniences, just like the original San people in the area.

With just your backpack and a few essentials, you will spend one to two nights (two to three days) out in the wild where you will learn how to track animals, create shelter for the night, find firewood and light a fire with flint, find water, prepare and eat traditional foods by cooking on the fire and so much more – a once in a lifetime experience.

Unfortunately, this region was once focused on cattle farming, which had led to overgrazing and the removal of problematic animals that would destroy crops.

As a volunteer you will have adventures in all aspects of conservation from researching leopard populations, cheetah and elephant monitoring, bird and ecological surveys, to analysing game transects, translocations and releases and hands-on work projects of evaluating and restoring fauna.

The project is in the process of rewilding the land to create optimum biodiversity. Volunteers will provide baseline data on the species, ecology, and interactions of all organisms in the area. The baseline data is essential in knowing that we are creating a safe, enriching and efficient space to protect endangered species.

Every day you will explore the African wilderness, providing valuable assistance to animals and habitats. Our aim for your visit is to not only ensure you enjoy every minute of the African bush, but to also provide you with the best experiences where you leave feeling you have really helped with conservation.

You will also have the opportunity to go on game drives at the neighbouring Mapungubwe National Park (for a small additional fee) to see even more animals, including lions and rhinos!

Volunteering at Mapesu will not only provide an unforgettable experience in the wilds of Africa, but also give students the vital field experience for their future careers, along with a certificate of completion and a reference. Not only this, but if you want to come and help as a specialist group (e.g. veterinary students) then we can provide a custom schedule so you can obtain the skills and experiences that will match your interests.

Be apart of something special that is more than just a tourist safari and be prepared to get your hands dirty.

Accommodation & meals

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Volunteer fees

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What's included

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Frequently asked questions

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Activities

A great two weeks at Amakhala!

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

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

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