This program allows you to witness nature in its simplest form. In the African bush, you can never tell just what will be around the corner. Some participants have been lucky enough to witness a stand-off between two elephants, or even to see newborn cheetah cubs playing, while taking part in the programme. Journey to the home of the Big Five in the South African bush, with unforgettable experiences like these, while assisting the GVI team with important conservation research in the process.
The Elephant Research program gives you a real and unfiltered look into this incredible species and others. Unlike in a tourist safari, you will play an active and meaningful role in the research and long term conservation of this species, including tracking, logging and collecting data, while studying their behaviours along with our international team. Our research is conducted in conjunction with Elephants Alive who have been actively involved in elephant conservation for over 20 years.
You may also participate with collecting vital behavioural data on reintroduced predators and large herbivores on the reserve. In order to assist with this, you will be trained to use research equipment to help locate predators in the reserve as well as invaluable training in large mammal identification, tracking and behavioural study skills.
No special skills or qualifications are required to join this program, as all training will be provided by our qualified field teams. Please note, this program offers a duration of up to 24 weeks. Speak to your Country Expert for more details of extending your in-country stay in South Africa should you wish to do so.
- Experiencing a unique African bush adventure at the heart of a spectacular game reserve;
- Mastering radio telemetry techniques and learning to track animals through the bush;
- Getting acquainted with big game and apex predators - predominantly elephants, but also including lion, cheetah, leopard, and rhino;
- Exploring nearby regions to experience such breathtaking views as from the Blyde River Canyon in the Drakensberg Mountains and Kruger National Park;
- Living and working alongside FGASA qualified South African Guides receiving ongoing training and practical experience.
Taking part in this programme has been one of the best decisions I have made in my life, I had a fantastic experience and have found a career that I am determined to follow in. Every experience that I had was incredible.
One of the best parts about being a volunteer for GVI is that I immediately felt a part of the team amongst both the staff and the other volunteers – we all worked together and helped each other out. The staff are incredibly knowledgeable and keen to share their ideas and experiences which meant I came away with a new mind set.