Shamwari Game Reserve offers the ultimate placement for conservation volunteers in a malaria-free environment. Shamwari means ‘my friend’ and this reserve is the southernmost premier big 5 game reserve in South Africa, boasting a huge variety of game over a vast 24,000 hectares.
At Shamwari game reserve we can promise you the experience of a lifetime! You will assist the award-winning conservation team. If exposure to the African wildlife is your dream – perhaps even working with lions – then gap year voluntary work at the Shamwari Game Reserve will exceed your wildest expectations
“I would definitely recommend going on a Worldwide Experience placement! My time at Shamwari Game Reserve has to be one of the best experiences of my life. I met some great friends and was able to get the hands on experience of conservation that I really wanted. Not only the conservation, but the community projects that you are able to be involved with makes you feel like you have really made a difference. I wish I could have stayed longer. It’s worth every penny. I will definitely going back. Also Worldwide Experience are a great team!!”
– Clare Jones
Conservation volunteers at Shamwari Reserve will have the chance to assist with many on-going short and long term projects, however, as your placement will only be a relatively short time there is no guarantee that you will be involved in all projects during your placement. Conservation at the Shamwari Game Reserve is about the management, development and rehabilitation of the environment to create a sustainable ecosystem through the implementation of conservation principals.
The conservation department at Shamwari has a highly effective team including a qualified wildlife veterinarian, an ecologist and an environmentalist. The Wildlife Department also boasts a breeding and rehabilitation centre, an education centre and an anti-poaching unit. Working alongside conservation volunteers, the department strives to protect and to improve the environment to ensure the lasting sustainability of the reserve as an ecosystem rich in biodiversity.
The reserve is constantly monitoring existing game and introducing new game throughout the year, making Shamwari one of our most exciting conservation projects. The wildlife department where you will be working has received the Global Nature Fund Award for Best Conservation Practice, and Shamwari Reserves wildlife director, Dr Johan Joubert, was voted one of South Africas Top Ten conservationists by the Endangered Wildlife Trust.
The working week at Shamwari Reserve is Monday to Friday, between 08:00 and 17:00 (Some days may start as early as 05:00). Evenings and weekends are spent at leisure. During the evenings conservation volunteers can organise board games and other activities or relax with a drink at Sandlflats pub in the local town of Paterson. During weekends you can explore some of the surrounding attractions. Popular choices include Storms River Bungee jump, or surfing at Jeffreys Bay.
Shamwari Game Reserve is situated in the Eastern Cape of South Africa, only an hour’s drive from Port Elizabeth. This area historically had an abundance of wild game roaming free.
The Eastern Cape is justifiably famous for a number of other game reserves. The great herds of Knysna Forest elephants were almost totally eradicated at the turn of this century, and yet, miraculously, the man most responsible for nearly wiping out an entire species had a dramatic change of heart and spent the balance of his life fighting for a safe haven for these rare and wonderful animals.
Addo National Park and the Mountain Zebra Park saw almost exactly the same thing happen to the rare mountain zebra. Shot to the brink of extinction, in the 1930s this rare species struggled to come back. Today, there are over 200 in the park.
Conservation volunteers are accommodated at Pote’s Lodge situated in the Southern area of Shamwari Game Reserve which is located two minutes from Shamwari’s wildlife centre.
There are 15 bedrooms as well as a communal living area and lecture room, all rooms are twin bedded and ensuite. Pote’s boasts many facilities including TV with DSTV (Sky) and DVD player, CD player and a computer is shared between allconservation volunteers. There is also a Braai (BBQ) area and a swimming pool for all volunteers to relax and use at leisure.
The accommodation is based on a predator free section of the reserve allowing total freedom and safety to all ourConservation volunteers.
Volunteer placements allow you to become part of the conservation team at the Shamwari reserve and to assist them in their long term projects, including:
- Game Monitoring
- Community Project
- Wilderness Experience – Camping out under the stars in the wilderness area (Weather dependent)
- General Shamwari reserve Maintenance
- Orientation of camps and facts
- Fence, wire and rubbish clearing
- Fence Patrol
- Survival Sleep out
- Road Maintenance and Bush Clearing
- Rock packing along fence lines
- Game Counts
As part of your placement there may also be the opportunity to help and observe behind the scenes at the Born Free Foundations Big Cat sanctuary situated within the Reserve. It is the mission of both The Born Free Foundation and Shamwari Game Reserve to promote the conservation of species and the protection of habitat while maintaining a humane and compassionate approach to the welfare of animals.
Over years of working with lions and other big cats, Born Free has been able to rescue animals from situations of serious danger, and provide them with excellent life-time care.
As a conservation volunteer you may also be involved with the feeding of these big cats as well as the maintenance of their enclosures.
Working at Animal Hospital and Rehabilitation Centre;
Examples of husbandry:
- Preparation of food and feeding of the animals e.g.
- Milk mixtures for orphans
- Cutting up of meat for predators
- Collecting of branches for browsers
- Feeding hay for grazers
- Cleaning of cages
- Cleaning of water troughs
Examples of nursing:
- Babysitting and monitoring of young orphaned animals
especially after rescues
- Veterinary care of injured and orphaned animal
- ICU treatment of injured or sick animals
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