Devoted to the conservation of the most vulnerable plant and animal species, eco-volunteering is an excellent way to discover South Africa and the generous nature of its welcoming people.
South Africa is a top destination for wildlife lovers with close to 600 national parks and reserves spread across its territory offering a variety of experiences for travellers in search of the great outdoors. Whether you’re dreaming of getting close to the Big Five, discovering the unspoilt, lush vegetation or crossing landscapes of great diversity, the Rainbow Nation is home to a veritable concentration of nature.
And to preserve this unique biodiversity, more and more tourists are choosing to swap their holidays for an eco-volunteering mission that is planet-friendly, useful, supportive and rewarding.
Several organisations accompany travellers in their eco-volunteering projects in South Africa. The African Conservation Experience is one such case that has been offering these stays since 1999. Most of the proposed missions involve protecting animal species that populate the country and can include different actions such as feeding an orphaned hippopotamus with a baby bottle, helping a vet to care for a wounded zebra, accompanying the work of researchers by taking part in the population census of elephants, lions or cheetahs in their natural habitat, or patrolling on horseback to avoid poaching in the reserve. A way to act for and with the local population.
Eco-volunteering also helps to make the people of each region more aware of the richness and fragility of the ecosystem around them. The Daktari Bush School and Wildlife Organisation in Limpopo works to raise awareness among disadvantaged children in the surrounding villages with special classes and an animal orphanage. Dakatari also targets young adults with an outreach program to help them reintegrate professionally. Travellers from all over the world volunteer to help unemployed people in the region to write job applications, develop self-confidence and know more about the environmental problems around them.
The Tuli Nature Reserve is another interesting proposal in the African savannah on the border between South Africa and Botswana, which offers a veritable concentration of nature and welcomes young travellers who are willing and ready to be trained in direct contact with the animals. Projects Abroad is another platform with volunteer programs across the globe and suggests combining this experience with another Cape-based animal care mission to rescue penguins and seabirds. This is an excellent opportunity to discover the lush African vegetation of the area at the same time.