Thanda Safari, a world-class private game reserve in South Africa’s KwaZulu Natal province, is seeking dynamic volunteers to advance conservation onsite and in the communities around it through its Ulwazi Research & Volunteer Programme.
The reserve has a lot to offer in return. For those wishing to spend 2 or 4 weeks in the bush these include up close encounters with South Africa’s wildlife, including the Big Five, with about seven hours each day spent in the bush; Involvement in hands-on Wildlife and Veld Management; Participation in basic data collection and conservation activities; Big Five walks, stargazing experiences, learning basic tracking skills and participating in plant and animal identification workshops; Meaningful involvement in Thanda Safari’s work to inform and engage with the communities surrounding the reserve on wildlife conservation, and all across 35,000 acres of spectacular landscape where the Great Rift Valley meets the Lebombo Mountains.
Right from the outset Thanda Safari’s vision has been to advance conservation by restoring and maintaining the balance between wildlife populations, natural habitats and ecological processes. Ulwazi was established to provide volunteers with extended stay opportunities of contributing to wildlife and conservation research whilst also providing invaluable insight into conservation management on the reserve. Taking this further, Ulwazi has just expanded volunteers’ work in nearby communities where they will be encouraged to engage and educate locals, particularly school children, on the merits of wildlife conservation, the work it entails and offer first hand insight with invitations to join them on their daily activities.
“Another essential element that is critical to conservation is the involvement of local communities. In keeping with its name – the Zulu word for knowledge – Ulwazi also works closely with the communities surrounding Thanda, visiting schools and sharing knowledge and information about nature with children. Our volunteers will participate in these activities and help to make a tangible difference to both the children’s lives and conservation”, says Lorraine Doyle, Programme Manager.
Furthermore, as part of their vision for a centre of learning excellence, Thanda Safari has also partnered with Africa Nature Training (ANT), an established South African company offering a range of professional guiding courses and educational experiences for nature enthusiasts. Their expertise allows the Ulwazi programme to incorporate a fresh range of exciting bush-learning opportunities not included in traditional volunteer programmes.
Ulwazi offers rewarding opportunities for everyone: from students on gap years or seeking experience in pursuit of degrees in the natural sciences, to travellers on holiday desiring to do their part for the conservation of Africa. No formal or pre-existing qualifications are necessary, but volunteers do need to be at least 18 years of age. The programme will introduce them to the many aspects of game reserve management; offer first-hand insight into conservation practices, including learning exciting bush skills and working with local communities; and enable them to experience the African Bush in ways not possible on traditional safaris.
5 Reasons to Volunteer with Thanda Safari’s Ulwazi
- Spending about seven hours each day in the bush.
- Involvement in hands-on Wildlife and Veld Management.
- Participation in basic data collection and conservation activities.
- Big Five walks, stargazing experiences, learning basic tracking skills and participating in plant and animal identification workshops.
- Meaningful involvement in Thanda Safari’s work to inform and engage with the communities surrounding the reserve on conservation.