Big Five Conservation <strong>Province</strong>: Eastern Cape<br />

Big Five Conservation

Town: Kenton On Sea

Tracking Leopard
Tracking Leopard Putting on Lion Collars
Beach Walks Elephant Studies
Wildlife Inoculations Camping Out
Helping Local Kidds Volunteer House
Field Trips Rhino Relocating
Rate per week in ZAR: 6000
Rate Extra Weeks in ZAR: R 4000 per week when extending for longer than one month.
Duration: The minimum time period for a booking is a 2 weeks placement and maximum time period is 12 weeks. Please note that our activities are based on a minimum stay of 4 weeks. Although many of the activities listed below may take place in 2-3 week placements, not all are guaranteed. So the longer your stay, the more in depth your experience.
Dates: There are no set arrival/departure dates for this project, but please note no arrivals or departures over weekends (Saturdays and Sundays). Arrivals and departures are preferred to be scheduled for a Monday. Volunteers are required to sign an indemnity form acknowledging and accepting the consequences of working in close contact with wild animals.
Introduction: Interested in doing conservation work on a Big 5 Game Reserve? 
Come and join as a conservation volunteer. Make a real difference, grow your skills in conservation and have the experience of a lifetime! The Project is an extraordinary and exciting conservation project, at the forefront of numerous species reintroductions and conservation drives. If you want more than just a safari � come and get your hands dirty and learn more about conservation management on a Big 5 game reserve
The Wildlife Management Volunteer Programme is the ultimate Big 5 experience, where volunteers from across the world, get the opportunity to get hands-on involved in conservation management on the reserve. During your stay with us, you may see yourselves as �Assistant Conservation Managers� as all the work done and data collected by you will be utilized for conservation on the reserve
A dedicated coordinator will endeavour to ensure that you have a wonderful learning experience and leave with a stronger understanding of conservation issues feeling like you made an important contribution. Our volunteers also get the opportunity to explore South Africa�s amazing coastline as we are a mere 16 km from the sea... the beautiful Indian Ocean is literally on your doorstep! This coastline has particularly rich marine fauna and flora as well as endless sand dunes and beautiful beaches. To top it all off, we have a brilliant community outreach programme
Our volunteers assist at a local rural farm school by teaching children basic subjects like English. Come and make a real difference and have fun doing
Location: The reserve is one of the oldest and most established game reserve in the beautiful Eastern Cape of South Africa. About 2 hours drive from Port Elizabeth.
Getting to Project: You will be collected from arrivals at Port Elizabeth airport. The taxi company should have a sign with your name on it. If they are a little bit late, please just stay put at arrivals. Should your connecting flight from Johannesburg or Cape Town be delayed, please call us so that the taxi company can be informed about your delay.
You will need to pay the driver of your taxi directly for your transfer from the airport to the reserve. The current price is R700 per person for a one way transfer (R350 per person sharing a vehicle). Please make sure you have South African Rands with you to pay the driver. The same applies for your return transfer. Where at all possible, we will organize for volunteers arriving/departing on the same day to share a taxi and therefore reduce the per person transfer fee.

Project: Your Experience - Research Projects
Leopards in the Lower Albany Area
Population status and the role of  The Game Reserve as a key habitat refuge.
One of our main research focus areas on the Game Reserve is our new and exciting leopard (Panthera pardus) project. The project is being undertaken in collaboration with the Centre for African Conservation Ecology of the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University. Leopards have been persecuted in the Eastern Cape for the last three hundred years, resulting in a decline in numbers and fragmentation of populations, placing the local population at risk of extinction. Virtually the entire landscape was hostile to them, and few leopards survived in only the most isolated areas. Recently attitudes towards large predators have shifted, and leopards are now legally protected. There has also been a recent shift in land use, with an increasing number of private nature reserves that complement the state-owned reserves in supporting conservation of biodiversity. The Game Reserve is one of the oldest of these private nature reserves. These shifts suggest that the landscape is now more leopard-friendly, with decreased persecution and increased refuge areas. This project therefore aims to assess the status of leopards in the Lower Albany area and investigate the role of the The Game Reserve as a refugee habitat for leopards, which may move across the Lower Albany area
Specific questions to be addressed with this project include:
* How many leopards occur on The Game Reserve and in the Lower Albany area?
This will be addressed by collecting data on sightings, camera trap records and possibly genetic analysis. 
* Is leopard activity in the Lower Albany area focused on conservation areas such as The Game Reserve?
This will be addressed by analysing the spatial distribution of leopard sighting records, and if resources are available, through the tracking of collared leopards
* Is there evidence for an increase in leopard numbers and wider distribution within the Lower Albany Area?
This will be addressed by relating the above-mentioned information to historical records of leopards in the study area.
Elephant Impact Monitoring: 
Volunteers will help monitor elephant movement patterns, range utilization and vegetation impact with the aid of telemetry (certain individuals are fitted with radio collars). A part of this research project that volunteers are very involved with, is recording the unique ear markings of each elephant for management purposes. Elephant identification sheets are given to each volunteer, who in turn will assist the conservation department in this regard.

Lion prey selection monitoring
One of the volunteer programme�s responsibilities is to record as many lion kills as possible. This data provides the conservation department with valuable information regarding prey selection. Certain lions on the reserve are fitted with radio collars, so volunteers will learn how to use telemetry tracking.

Birds in Reserve Project (BIRP)
This project involves preparing a catalogue of the birds, bird numbers and their breeding status in the reserve as part of a project headed by the University of Cape Town�s Avian Demography Unit.

Hyena tracking and monitoring
Movement patterns and breeding rates of these interesting predators are monitored. None of the hyenas are fitted with radio collars, so it can be quite a challenge finding them on the reserve. Our recent volunteers found a den site � one of our females gave birth!

Conservation Management
Conservation management activities form a large part of the volunteer programme. Some of these activities involve physical work and therefore a certain level of determination from the volunteer�s side is required. Keep in mind that the "reserve needs" are always taken into account and you will help to fulfil those needs as a volunteer. 

Daily activities are interesting and varied, and could include assistance with some of the following

Game Counts
Sex and age ratios recordings of specific species like eland and giraffe
Alien Vegetation Control
Volunteers will assist in the eradication and control of alien (non-endemic) plant species. Bush encroachment control through selective clearing is also done in certain areas on the reserve. This aspect involves physical hard work!

Soil Erosion Control
Previous land utilization practices like cattle ranching has caused erosion gulleys in certain areas on the reserve. These sites need to be rehabilitated.

Reserve Clean-Up Operations
Volunteers assist in pulling out remaining old cattle fences and water pipes on the reserve.

Road maintenance and repairing of river crossings

Parasite control
This involves the making-up and administering of anti-parasite meds to specific species (when required by the reserve)

And any other conservation management activity that might �pop-up� at the time and the reserve requires your assistance in Volunteers may also have the opportunity to experience the following additional conservation activities:

Capturing of Wild Animals
Our recent volunteers had the AMAZING once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to assist with the capture of the following species on the reserve: elephant, lion, rhino, hyena, giraffe, wildebeest, zebra and impala!! Please remember that captures only occur when required by the reserve and not for the sake of the volunteers.

Game Introduction
There is an ongoing programme for the introduction of additional game, especially as the reserve has just acquired more land that will need to be stocked with various different African mammal species.

Fire Management
An important driving force in savanna ecosystems (depending on the time of year and fire regimes)Education / Theory Each volunteer will be given a field booklet, which can be taken home at the end of the placement. Before you start with each practical task, the relative theoretical background on the subject will be discussed in the form of informal lectures. The theory provides insight into the value of the practical activities in which you may participate. Mammal, plant and bird checklists are included in the booklet and will help you to identify different species. 

Practical education will be provided throughout your stay:

Bush Walks, Game Drives and night drives - identification and discussion of various mammals, plants and birds

Sleep Outs - Camping out in the bush around a campfire under the African sky (weather dependent)

Field Skills & Survival
Learn to look after yourself in the wild Community development We have identified an under-funded farm school near the reserve where our volunteer programme can make a real difference. The school is small, yet very under-staffed and local kids aged 4 to 15 years attend the school. Volunteers visit the school one day a week (not during school holidays or rainy days (most of the children walk about 10 km to attend school so if it rains, no one goes to school!), and make valuable contributions to the children�s education. Our volunteers take many of the classes themselves and teach 6-12 year olds subjects like English, Maths and Science. You might also help with the maintenance of the school�s facilities or by giving sport lessons to the kids. A recent group of volunteers renovated a classroom (with a completely collapsed ceiling and floorboards!) for the pre-primary school kids. Your contribution here is real, and both the children and the headmistress are very appreciative. Guaranteed to leave you with a feeling of satisfaction.
Animals: This Game Reserve is a Big 5 reserve that is abundantly stocked with numerious species of African mammals. We guarantee excellent game viewing!
Accommodation: Volunteers are accommodated in a renovated, fully furnished house on the reserve - comfortable but not luxurious. You will be sharing bedrooms (bedding provided for you) and there are communal bathrooms (2 bathrooms in the house). There is an entertainment / lecture room, a lounge with a T.V (South African channels), dining room and a fully equip kitchen with a fridge, stove, microwave, cutlery, crockery and cooking utensils. There is a safe for cash and small valuables on site. Please bear in mind that the house is in the middle of a "Big 5" game reserve, so therefore one cannot walk outside the boundaries of the garden fence. A plunge pool is situated in the garden for volunteers to cool off in after a hard day�s work. There is also a �braai� (BBQ) area outside in the garden.
Upgrade to Single: Not Available
Upgrade Dbl/Twin: If volunteers book well in advance, couples can request to share a double room.
Includes: Prices include accommodation for the duration of your placement, all work activities on the reserve and three meals per day.
Excludes: Airport transfers to and from Port Elizabeth airport are not included. This is payable directly to the taxi driver . Also not included are entertainment expenses over weekends and socializing costs (drinks and meals volunteers choose to have while out in town.
Applicants: Applicants must be between the ages of 18 and 50. No previous conservation experience is required. We take on enthusiastic volunteers who are eager to learn and prepared to work hard and play hard!
Hours: Working hours on the reserve are generally speaking Monday to Friday 7.30am to 5.00pm with and hour or two for lunch (please note working hours are dependent on weather and nature of activity).
Freetime: Working hours on the reserve are generally speaking Monday to Friday 7.30am to 5.00pm with and hour or two for lunch (please note working hours are dependent on weather and nature of activity). The evenings and weekends are at leisure.

Saturdays are generally reserved for town trips to allow volunteers to stock up on everyday essentials and to make use of internet and phone facilities. Sundays are off time for both the volunteers and the volunteer coordinator and volunteers are to entertain themselves. Additional activities that can be organised for you on a Saturday are at own cost and on condition that a few others in the group also want to partake in the activity. Below is a list of activities and , which have proved popular with past volunteers. This will help you with your budgeting.

Horse riding on the beach or on a game reserve
Sky-diving (tandem) � this means you are strapped to an instructor!
Deep sea fishing
Quad bike rides R250
Field trip to Addo Elephant National Park �
Two day canoe trip
Volunteers are also welcome to go away for the weekend to explore the area and perhaps book into a B & B, hotel or a backpackers. Due to strict access control on Kariega Game Reserve, we cannot allow anyone to come and go as they please. Volunteers who would like to go away for the weekend, will need to organize themselves a taxi to collect them from Kariega reception on a Saturday morning and to drop them off again on a Monday morning (we do not collect anybody from reception on a Sunday as there is no one on duty). Weekend trips away from the reserve are done on your own accord and Kariega cannot be held liable for anything that might happen to a volunteer on a weekend outing. The area however is very safe and crime is minimal, so please tell everyone at home not to worry! There is plenty to do and plenty to see in the area and most of our volunteers make full use of all of this and have a fantastic time
Volunteers Feedback: Just a short testimonial from our message book in the volunteer house: (copied word for word)

"I had a great stay here on Kariega Game Reserve. My absolute highlight was the capture of rhinos on the reserve. It is amazing how involved the volunteers could get and how close to the tranquilized animals we could get. I also had the privilege to meet and get to know a lot of great, interesting people whilst staying on Kariega. They definitely made my stay worth remembering forever. My recommendation to future Kariega volunteers is to put as much energy as you can into every activity. You will get so much satisfaction out of it. And remember: T.I.A - This is Africa! Thank you for this great experience!"

- Damien (22), Zurich, Switzerland, 12/11/2012 - 14/12/2012 (5 weeks).

My name is Adam Howson and I joined The Game Reserve�s volunteer programme for a month during 2007. I left the UK and headed to South Africa not knowing what the road ahead had in store. However, I can honestly say that it was the experience of a lifetime. My reason for joining this volunteer programme was to collect data and information for my third year university project. On my arrival, the team provided me with a wealth of information, time and support in helping me complete my tasks. The team here are so talented and working in the field with such people was awe inspiring!I was really shocked at how much I was involved in during my short stay. I remember thinking back in the UK � �come on, as if I�ll get to do that�. The next thing you know I�m in the back of a truck with a sedated zebra! I was actually involved in all the research and conservation projects the web site advertised � no joke. However, they always made time for my individual needs � sorry for all the questions guys! The team have great personalities too and play just as hard as they work! They allowed me to explore local towns, visit the beach, party (oh!) and skydive from a plane at 10 000 feet. Yes people, I have video evidence � what a day that was! This has been so much more than a uni trip for me. The memories I brought back to the UK, I will keep with me for the rest of my life.� �
Adam Howson, UK
Some places come into our hearts and quickly go, but this experience stayed leaving footprints in my heart. Being a volunteer on The Game Reserve was an experience that I will never forget. I learned so much in my six weeks out there. My personal favourite work activity was tracking and studying the elephants. The work we did was satisfying and rewarding and I really felt that my contribution helped improved the reserve. This is definitely an experience that I would recommend to anyone.� -
Jane Scott, Scotland

�I cannot say thank you enough to the volunteer programme team at The Game Reserve. I left the UK not sure what to expect on the other side � well, was I in for the surprise of my life! I can truly say that this was an experience of a lifetime. My memories at you will stay with me for the rest of my life. I did things that I have never done in my life before (and probably never will, unless I return to Africa one day!), and learnt about things that I never even knew existed. I enjoyed every single work activity (even the hard, physical ones!), and the sense of satisfaction that we got as a group watching the African sunsets after an exciting day in the bush � well, that is something that I can�t explain. All that I can say is that I will talk about this for the rest of my life and I encourage everyone to go there and to experience it for yourself. I can assure you, it is certainly worth it!� �
Fiona Roberts, UK
"I really enjoyed my stay at Kariega Game Reserve. Justine, the volunteer coordinator here made my stay unforgettable. Her stories and explanations were always great and interesting. Thank you very much and I hope to be back very soon in South Africa to see and learn more about your country!" - Sylvine Teston (Paris, France), August 13 - 27, 2012
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Rate per week in ZAR: 6000
Rate Extra Weeks in ZAR: R 4000 per week when extending for longer than one month.
Duration: The minimum time period for a booking is a 2 weeks placement and maximum time period is 12 weeks. Please note that our activities are based on a minimum stay of 4 weeks. Although many of the activities listed below may take place in 2-3 week placements, not all are guaranteed. So the longer your stay, the more in depth your experience.
Dates: There are no set arrival/departure dates for this project, but please note no arrivals or departures over weekends (Saturdays and Sundays). Arrivals and departures are preferred to be scheduled for a Monday. Volunteers are required to sign an indemnity form acknowledging and accepting the consequences of working in close contact with wild animals.
Rates Valid till Oct this year, All Rates subject to change

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