Big 5- wildlife reserve

Price From. 1390 GBP

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  • Help & Support
  • 2-24 Weeks Travel

South Africa has an amazing wildlife and just outside the Krüger Park lies this amazing project. Here you will work on a reserve that aims to become self-sufficient and are working for a sustainable environment. You live among Africa’s wildlife and participate in the daily work at the camp. An unforgettable adventure, where you have the chance to see Big 5 for real!

Volunteer at a Big 5 wildlife reserve in South Africa


Project fee from EUR 1,320

Your role as a Volunteer

In Balule Nature Reserve you can stay and work in the African Bush for a few weeks. Reserved which is located on the outskirts of the famous Krüger Park, you will find the amazing Big 5 along with a host of other animals.

As a volunteer, you will learn the importance of a sustainable ecological environment and how to achieve this practically in a country like South Africa. During the summer (October – April) the temperature reaches 30 – 40 degrees. During December – February it can also rain very heavily. The rest of the year can be very dry periodically. This allows the daily schedule to vary to suit high temperatures and high precipitation or drought.

Big 5-wildlife reserve project:

Here you can work from two weeks up to several months. Here live elephants, lions, hyenas, leopards, rhinos, giraffes and zebras to name a few of the animals in the park. You live in the middle of the African Bush, an experience beyond the ordinary. Here you will have a unique experience on site and learn how to work among the animals in a large reserve that works for an environmentally-friendly, long-term and sustainable future. Everything from the soap you use to the fuel in the cars is created on the reserve. The idea is that eventually with the help of you as a volunteer, the reserve will be self-sufficient.

Some of the coolest things you can experience is to sleep up in a tree by the pond. There you can see and listen to the animals close by while sleeping under a starry sky.

Work tasks

  • Conservation and development of the reserve-An important job is to make the entire reserve a well-functioning circuit where you recycle materials and build up from existing ones.
  • Remove “alien plants” that are not part of the natural fauna.
  • Keeping the roads functioning and throughout the reserve
  • Nourish- You will educate locals and helps them in their daily life to strengthen the people living in the society. For example, you can help with planting, aquaponic systems, building walls for houses and other things that are necessary for more self-sufficient people. (Once a week full day)
  • HALO – work with community dogs. You do this every other Saturday and then you help keep the dogs healthy in different villages.



5-6 days a week you work with what is needed to be done on the reserve.

There is no printed schedule, here you live in “African time”

Day off: Sundays

Field / Nature guide

Do you dream about working as a guide in the African bush?

There is also the opportunity to book FGASA (field guiding association of Southern Africa)

It is a three-month course to work as a qualified guide in nature in place in South Africa. A chance to learn all about Africa’s animals and wildlife and then work as a guide.

If you want to know more about this just contact us!

The Project’s Mission

Balule Private Game Reserve was established to create a safe place for these animals to live in their natural environment. As a volunteer you will work for a sustainable reserve and learn a lot about the animals who live here. The project aims to teach you as much as you can learn about the wildlife and environment found in this reserve and be able to take it with you wherever you might go.


The Big Five wildlife reserve project is run by a local organization with extensive experience in animal care, ecology and conservation training, as well as volunteering. The project is located in Balule Nature Reserve adjacent to the famous Kruger National Park in South Africa. Thanks to this cooperation, we can offer you a well-organized and safe experience. It’s a guaranteed to be a meaningful and exciting stay.

How do I book a trip?

You can book your trip with Volunteer Travels by calling us on (+46) 08-23 93 00 or by booking through our website by clicking on “Book a trip”. You can also email us on [email protected] When you have registered yourself we will send you an invoice with a registration fee of £200.00. The registration fee is later incorporated into the trip price and the amount is then deducted from your final invoice. When you have paid the registration fee you are formally registered. You will then receive preparatory information from us in good time to plan your trip.

Your Everyday Life

During the summer (October – April) the temperature can reach 30-40 degrees. During December to February, it is rainy season and can have medium to heavy rains. The rest of the year, it is generally very dry. Therefore, depending on what time of the year you travel to the project, your daily schedule will vary to adapt to the weather conditions.


You will be met at the airport in Hoedspruit and transferred to the reserve and your project site. Once in place, you will get an overview of how things work at the reserve and what kind of park chores you will be involved with. Given that you will be staying among dangerous animals, much of introduction will be about safety and how to behave around these animals.

Accommodation and Food

The project is located less than two miles north of Hoedspruit, inside Balule Private Game Reserve. Volunteers are accommodated in either the traditional round stone houses or a mobile caravan. An observation tower is also available to sleep in, where you can stay safe under the open sky while roosting in the bush. Running water and electricity is available at the camp. If you did not bring your own towels they are available for purchase at the camp, along with mosquito nets. Food is included in the tour price. Volunteers will need to organise their own breakfast and lunch with the food provided, while dinner is cooked and eaten together. At the camp’s classroom there is also a pool which can be used during your free time as well as free internet, to stay in touch with the outside world. Volunteers can also get their clothes washed in camp, for a small fee.

Local Transport

Along with other volunteers, you will go to the Hoedspruit for joint activities and shopping. Please note that due to the location of the project, there is no local transport, such as taxis. Transport in connection with the project itself and its activities will also be provided. Remember this is the bush and most roads will be small and rather bumpy.

About South Africa

South Africa is one of Africa’s most exciting countries. It is an interesting mix of Europe, Africa and Asia. Some of the challenges South Africa faces is to reduce poverty and injustice, to consolidate democracy and promote respect for human rights. The landscape is as diverse as the cultural characteristics, aptly named the “Rainbow Nation”. South Africa provides the excitement of Africa with the luxury of the “first world”.

The country’s democratization process has been on-going since the early 1990s, and although much progress has been made there is still much to do. Some of the challenges that South Africa still faces is poverty and injustice, to consolidate democracy and promote respect for human rights. But the biggest challenge is the HIV/AIDS epidemic that is ravaging the country.

With regard to the animals, poaching is probably the largest threat with many species being the victims to the trade in exclusive products and animals skins, causing devastating consequences on the biodiversity of the country.



Flight tickets are not included in the tour price. You can book flights through a travel agency of your choice, please just be sure to arrive in Hoedspruit on your allocated start date (Arrival day and leave day: Wednesday). Make sure to double check this and let us know of your travel arrangements.


It is the volunteers responsibility to acquire the right visa for the trip. Different visa rules may apply depending on your nationality. Visit the embassy web page of your destination to find out what the visa terms are between your country and that destination.


You are responsible to get insurance that covers you for illness, injury and theft while working as a volunteer in South Africa. You can get these options from the travel agent you book your flight ticket through. Included in your tour price with Volunteer Travels is insurance called “Living Abroad”. This is classified as liability insurance and will cover you for time when you as an individual are required to pay for damages you unintentionally have caused, either to someone or to someone’s property. Please feel free to email us at [email protected] for more information about this insurance.

Infectious diseases

HIV / AIDS and TB are common diseases in South Africa and they appear on all of our health care and social-oriented projects. During the introduction, training about how infection is passed on and how to protect yourself from infection is taught. It is very important that you are aware of the risks and that you follow the instructions given.


For any questions about vaccinations, you should contact a vaccination centre close to you or consult your doctor. We do recommend however, that you get Hepatitis A, B and tetanus (these are normally recommended when traveling abroad). During the dry season (June-September), there are few mosquitoes in the area, however, the project is located in a high risk area for malaria, and most choose to take malaria prophylaxis during their project period. Please consult your doctor on this as well.

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