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Elephant Research & Community Conservation

Wildlife Volunteers South Africa Addo Elephant National Park


Volunteers gain hands on experience with elephant conservation initiatives and also participate in educating the wider community about conservation and nature.

Volunteers on this project will have the opportunity to make a real and tangible difference to sustainable conservation projects. Not only will volunteers work hands on with local conservation initiatives but will also participate in educating the wider community about conservation and nature – as well as learning a great deal themselves!! By educating the local community we aim to sow the seed of respect and passion for South Africa's natural heritage – we believe that conservation relies on community appreciation and understanding.

Addo Elephant National Park Experience

After a long history of poaching and human encroachment, today Addo Elephant National Park is home to over 400 elephants in a fenced area of 12,500 hectares – the entire park is over 148,000 hectares. Addo has one of the highest concentrations of African elephants in the world!!

Volunteers will have the opportunity to take part in a 3 day (2 nights) excursion to Addo where they will have the privilege of camping in this beautiful National Park.

Please note this excursion is only guaranteed on 4 week plus projects.


Elephant Sanctuary:

  • Stable cleaning
  • Fruit chopping
  • Cleaning the night pen
  • General maintenance
  • Conducting behavioural observations contributing to long term research goals

Please note: Volunteers will have the opportunity to get close to and interact with the elephants however please be aware that it is not possible for volunteers to be constantly interacting with the elephants due to the fact that constant human contact could lead to difficulties when the elephants are to be released from the Sanctuary.

Volunteers may be asked to assist with tasks that do not directly relate to the care of the elephants but are necessary for the general upkeep of the Sanctuary.

Kayalethu Eco-Trail:

  • Planting indigenous species
  • Removal of alien invasive trees and plants
  • Mending paths and walkways
  • Clearing river debris
  • Helping the guides with tourists from abroad, and the surrounding communities
  • New business plan development
  • Assisting at Judah Square Education Centre
  • Conservation & Nature Lessons:
  • Teaching lessons on Elephant Conservation & Management
  • Teaching lessons on Biomimicry*

*Biomimicry may be a concept that you haven't come across before so here is a brief explanation! – the basic idea of biomimicry is to be inspired by and imitate nature's designs in order to conserve life and create a more sustainable way of life.


This Project aims to expose volunteers to all aspects of conservation and involves the following elements: working with members of the Rastafarian community on their "Kayalethu Eco-Trail"; assisting at a local Elephant Sanctuary; assisting with our "Recycling Swop Shop"; experiencing one of South Africa's many National Parks; educating the community about conservation and nature; and of course educating themselves about conservation and nature!

Key Info





You will be based in simple, clean, dorm style accommodation at our cosy volunteers house, located in Knysna, as well as on-site at the various reserves and national parks. Private, twin or family rooms are available on request.

Should you wish to travel outside of the project during your stay, we will happily recommend safe, comfortable accommodation in the Garden Route.

All meals will be provided - all healthy, hearty food - some ready made and some do-it-yourself.

Breakfast: Light selection of breads, fruits, tea, coffee and juice

Lunch: Sandwiches, salads, pitas, bread rolls or wraps

Dinner: A few ready cooked dinners and the rest left to your own tastes. All ingredients and menu plans will be provided.

You can expect a range of many different dishes. All meals are prepared according to your specific tastes as best as possible. Specific food requirements, however, are only subject to request.

The Garden Route is situated on the east coast of South Africa and is true to its name - being world famous for its diversity, beauty and mild climate. Spectacular scenery includes a pristine coastline, huge wetlands, salt marshes, rivers, mountains crowded closely to the shoreline, tall indigenous forests, vividly coloured wild flowers and the unique fynbos flora.

Projects are based in various areas of the Garden Route, including near the popular holiday destinations of Mossel Bay and Knysna. Both have all amenities that you will need and are situated along a picturesque coastline.

What's included in the project cost?

  • The confidence that every effort will be made to ensure your safety and enjoyment during your stay
  • Rapid pre-departure support and information
  • Airport pick up (on our arrival days onlyplease ask us for these dates)
  • Travel arrangements to and from the project (On allocated days)
  • Accommodation
  • Food
  • Project related transport
  • Thorough orientation to the area and chosen project
  • First day introduction and orientation to project and colleagues
  • Project support and feedback sessions throughout your stay
  • Assistance with optional activities and tours
  • 24/7 emergency support
  • Sim Card for your phone
  • T-Shirt
  • Community and Cultural Tour
  • Post-project involvement and updates

What is not included?

  • Flights and Visas
  • Travel insurance (necessity!)
  • Excursions and optional activities
  • Post placement transport

2 weeks: US$1,392
4 weeks: US$2,528
6 weeks: US$3,888
8 weeks: US$5,248
+ 1 week: US$680

Contact Project: Elephant Research & Community Conservation

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