South Africa has long been regarded as one of the premier destinations when it comes to wildlife watching. From big game safaris to diving with Great White Sharks, animal lovers are spoilt for choice on a holiday in South Africa. Yet if you’d like do more than just see the animals, there are plenty of opportunities to do so. Many of the animals in South Africa have suffered from decades of hunting, poaching and habitat destruction, and continued conservation efforts are the only thing standing between them and extinction. Wildlife conservation holidays are an increasingly popular way of helping this effort, with visitors undertaking voluntary placements for weeks or months to help protect the South African wildlife.
If you’re all set on South Africa as your destination for a wildlife conservation holiday, here are four of the places you could go to…
Amakhala Game Reserve
Amakhala is one of the mostly recently founded game reserves, established in 1999 in the Eastern Cape, and a wildlife conservation holiday here will give you the opportunity to be involved in a reserve that is still very much in development. Lions have recently been introduced to the reserve, and many of the conservation efforts are now focused on monitoring their integration into the ecosystem, so big cat fans will naturally to be drawn to working here! Add in the stunning natural beauty of Amkhala, with the Bushman’s River being a particular highlight, and it is easy to see why this reserve is such a popular destination.
Kariega Game Reserve
Another recently established game reserve in the Eastern Cape, Kariega has the additional appeal of being located just 15km from the beaches at Kenton-on-sea, giving conservation volunteers the chance to relax on the beaches after a hard day’s work in the reserve. Kariega is also notable for its eagle population, with crowned eagles, fish eagles, and martial eagles all present in considerable numbers. So if you are either a beach lover or an avid bird watcher, Kariega could be the place for your wildlife conservation holiday!
Moholoholo Rehab Centre
Many animals in South Africa are unfortunate enough to fall ill or suffer from poisoning, often due to human carelessness, and the Moholoholo Rehab Centre (located in the Limpopo province) focuses on restoring these animals to health and reintroducing them into the wild. This is the perfect placement for those interested in the veterinary aspect of conservation. Alongside its rehabilitation efforts, the Centre also has a highly successful breeding program, currently focused on the extremely rare Taita Falcon.
Addo Elephant Park
Many people, if they are considering taking a wildlife conservation holiday, will have an animal in particular they are interested in working with. If you want to work with elephants, the Addo Elephant Park in the Eastern Cape will be the natural choice for you. Established in 1931, when only 11 elephants remained in an area that was once populated by hundreds, the Addo Elephant Park now has a population of over 450. Managing herds this size takes a considerable effort, and the Park is always looking for volunteers to help them track and monitor the elephant herds.