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Endangered Species Project

The Siyafunda Endangered Species Project will allow you to participate with on the ground, hands on monitoring of some of Africa’s endangered species:  Rhino,  African Wild-dogs, Cheetah and Southern Ground Hornbill. 

It is ideal if you want to truly experience the “wild” side of Africa.  Our camp is based in a Limpopo game reserve which is home to the 'Big 5'.  This means you will get to encounter, and live with, elephant, lion, leopard and buffalo while working with us.

During your stay, your days will be spent mostly on foot walking through the reserve, learning how to track the animals.  You will be approaching endangered species on foot and recording their behaviour, location and condition.  You will, quite literally, be walking in their footsteps!

The information collected is then used by the reserve management and anti-poaching teams, as well as national conservation efforts to help save these species.  You will also take part in vehicle based monitoring to see the amazing Big 5, as well as habitat work to help with the monitoring process. 

This is a unique experience for people who want to get more out of visiting a game reserve in South Africa.  Everyone who joins us on this exciting program will get to experience the African bush in its extremes, from elephants strolling through camp to the tropical heat or the surprisingly cold winter nights. 

If you have a love of nature and want to participate in helping to save Africa's endangered species, this is the project for you.  Come enjoy the simple life and let the bush seep into your soul!

Endangered Species

IMPORTANT UPDATE JUNE 2015:

Effective June 2015, there are new South African regulations for minors travelling on their own to South Africa (under 18).

http://www.intergate-immigration.com/blog/new-south-african-regulations-traveling-children/

It appears that unaccompanied minors will require the following documentation –

  1.       Copy of birth certificate
  2.       Notarized letters from both parents consenting to the trip, including contact details
  3.       Notarized identification documents for both parents
  4.       If one parent has full legal custody, then a copy of the court order stating as such
  5.       Letter from Enkosini containing contact details/address of host in South Africa
  6.       Copy of ID document for host in South Africa

It appears that minors accompanied by one parent will require the following documentation –

  1.       Copy of birth certificate
  2.       Notarized letter from non-traveling parent consenting to the trip, including contact details
  3.       Notarized identification document for non-traveling parent
  4.       If traveling parent has full legal custody, then a copy of the court order stating as such
  5.       Or death certificate of non-traveling parent, as case may be

Duration:

Siyafunda Endangered Species project has a minimum duration of 1 week.

Start dates:

All collections and drop offs of volunteers are done on Mondays throughout the year so please arrange your travel to coincide with this. If you are unable to do so, please advise us promptly and alternative transport can be arranged for you at your own expense.

Arrival and Departure:

•By Air: You can fly direct to Hoedspruit's Eastgate Airport on South African Airways Express. Make your bookings through www.flysaa.com

•By Transfer bus: Ashtons Tours departs from OR Tambo International every day. For arriving/departing on Monday please book to and from Hoedspruit. For off schedule arrivals/departures (Tuesday to Sunday) please book to and from Makalali/Karongwe.  For more information and bookings please go to: www.ashtonstours.com  State you are a Volunteer with us to get a discount.

•By bus: City to City has a daily bus service between Johannesburg and Hoedspruit.  They can be contacted via www.citytocity.co.za

If you need to stay overnight in Hoedspruit before or after joining our projects, we can arrange to pick you up or drop you off at the Blue Cottages Guesthouse.  For more information please go to www.bluecottages.co.za

Bookings:

We do not take direct bookings at our Siyafunda Endangered Species Project. All arrangements are made through our trusted partners. For information on bookings and rates please email us at info@siyafundaconservation.com

Frequently asked questions

What kind of people volunteer at Siyafunda?

You don't have to be a wildlife expert to volunteer with us and we don't have an age limit either. You should be 18 years or older (if you are younger - you need permission from your parents) ...and you should be reasonably fit to join in with our activities.

What time do we start work?

Times do vary depending on the season. You must expect early starts in the morning and sometimes late nights. We work when the animals are out and about.

Summer: Leave at 5:30am and are out for 4 to 5 hours. In the afternoon we leave at 16:00 for another 3 to 4 hours

Winter: Leave at 6:30am and are out for 4 to 5 hours. In the afternoon we leave at 15:00 for another 3 to 4 hours

We also give lectures and presentations 2 or 3 times during the week over the lunch period. For the remainder of the time between monitoring, volunteers are required to enter all the data they have collected onto our databases.

What is the weather like?

Siyafunda projects are situated within the Limpopo Province which is characterised by very hot weather in summer, where temperatures may exceed 40ºC from September to April.

The cooler months are May to August with temperatures reaching as low as 5-6 ºC and average daytime temperatures around 20ºC. Check the actual weather for SA on www.weathersa.co.za.

What should I pack?

Due to the fluctuating temperatures experienced during the day whilst out on activities, we recommend that you bring lots of layers, especially during the winter.  It can feel surprisingly cold on the back of a safari vehicle, even in summer!

Clothing

We recommend that you wear neutral coloured clothes for drives and especially walks – khaki, green, brown and navy blue.  Black and white are not suitable, especially when walking, as they are most recognisable by the wildlife.

Closed-toe shoes such as hiking boots or trainers/sneakers are mandatory for all drives.  Open shoes such as flip flops/thongs are not permitted to be worn on the vehicles.  Hiking boots/shoes with good ankle support are also recommended for walking in the bush.

Habitat work involves some manual labour, so please bring some clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty or possibly ripped on thorns!

In addition, the following items are essential for all projects:

•Hat/Cap

•Sunscreen/Sun-block

•Sunglasses

•Water Bottle/s 1Litre minimum

•Binoculars and Camera

•Insect repellent (DEET)

•Torch/Flashlight

•Working gloves

•Day Backpack (for walks & drives)

•First Aid Kit (if you have one)

•Sleeping bag

•Bath towels

•Raincoat (if you're coming during summer: Nov-March)

•Scarf and gloves (if you're coming during winter: June-Aug)

•Converter/Adapter

•Batteries and/or charger for cameras

Laundry:

There are washing machines available for use at Siyafunda camps, washing powder is supplied. Clothes are line-dried, no dryers available.

What about electricity?

There is no electricity at the Endangered Species Project, however you will be able to charge batteries etc at a nearby camp.  South African electricity is 220/230 volts AC at 50 cycles a second, plug outlets are 15amp, three-pin (round). There are NO 2-point outlets for shavers.

Cell phone reception:

Your cell phone will automatically switch on to the South African Vodacom or MTN-service if you have international roaming activated. Alternatively you can purchase a South African SIM for your mobile phone or an international calling card.

Will I have internet access during my stay?

If you require internet access at the Siyafunda camps, you can arrange this for a small cost with the camp manager. On our weekly town trip you will also have the opportunities for internet access at the internet café in town to check your emails and do bookings.

Beverages & Food:

Cordial fruit drink, tea and coffee are provided. Soft drinks, alcoholic beverages (beers and ciders) and snacks like chocolate are not available in camp but you can buy them on the weekly town trips.  All food for breakfast, lunch and dinner is provided, as well as fresh fruit.  However, food is only re-stocked once a week so once it’s gone it’s gone!  If you have any special dietary requirements please inform us before your arrival so that we can accommodate them if possible.

Is the water safe to drink?

Fresh, drinkable water is available from the taps and is absolutely safe to drink at all the camps– we have our own boreholes. Bottled water is also available for purchase from town when we do weekly town trips.

Should I take precautions against Malaria?

Malaria is endemic throughout the Kruger National Park and surrounding private reserves. Note: The projects occur in a Malaria Low Risk areas. Peak transmission occurs between November to May, with little between June to October. Please consult your doctor with regards to a good and suitable malaria prophylactic. Best of all is to minimize your contact with mosquitoes by using repellent lotions, sticks or sprays such as 'Tabard' or 'Peaceful Sleep'. You can find more information about malaria on the internet: www.southafricalogue.com/malaria-guide.

What is the time difference?

The South African Standard Time is 2 hours ahead of the Greenwich Mean Time.

Money / Credit Cards:

The South African currency is the Rand. For up to date currency conversions, visit www.xe.com . It is helpful to carry a small amount South African Rand (e.g. ZAR 500) with you; you will find a currency exchange bureau at the international airport or in Hoedspruit. In town you also have the opportunity to access ATMs with your credit card and purchase items with your card.

Security:

There is no concern about safety at the Siyafunda projects.  Our game reserves are guarded / fenced and town is also safe during our town trips. But, like everywhere in the world, security is everybody's responsibility.

VISA:

Most visitors to South Africa receive a 90 day tourist/travel visa. However check with the South African embassy before you leave your country.