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Greater Makalali Private Game Reserve

Our Makalali project offers you a unique experience in the African bush and gives you the opportunity to observe and be a part of the research and monitoring teams on the reserve.

The focus of the Makalali project revolves around some of our key species; elephants, lions, hyenas and leopards.  You will also be involved with monitoring our breeding initiatives comprising buffalo, Livingston eland and nyala. Habitat work also plays an important part of the monitoring process.

The Greater Makalali Reserve is a vast Big 5 nature reserve covering an area of 25000 hectares.  Situated in the Lowveld area, the home of nature conservation in South Africa, your work is vital for accurate management of the animals within the reserve.  The data collected is also made available to students and researchers that we host, as well as a number of national conservation projects, including the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT). 

Whether on a monitoring drive, on foot, or observing the wildlife at a waterhole, all of your work will be done under the guidance of our qualified rangers.  As each activity has a pre-determined objective, you don’t just get to view the animals, you get to live with them for a little while.  There’s nothing quite like sitting in the dark next to a lazing lion waiting for it to start its nightly call, or being surrounded by a herd of elephants and being able to spend time observing their individual traits and family dynamics.

At the end of the day, you return to the camp to share your experiences over dinner around the open fire and then fall asleep to the sounds of the bush.  Join us for the experience of a lifetime!

Makalali

Duration

Siyafunda Makalali project has a minimum duration of 1 week.

Start dates

The project start day is every Monday throughout the year, with volunteers being collected from Hoedspruit.

Typical Project Schedule

Monday: Project start day. Town trip to pick up volunteers and restock supplies

Tuesday:  Early start setting out on a set route drive as part of our game counting program to determine populations of general game.

In the afternoon we depart for a monitoring drive to locate one of our key species of interest; lion, elephant, leopards or hyena.

Wednesday: Waterhole monitoring in the morning to determine species utilisation of the area.

We set off for a drive in the afternoon to the breeding boma to monitor the buffalo, Livingstone eland and nyala.

Thursday: Habitat work; we could be busy with exotic plant removal, erosion control or bush clearing.

In the afternoon or evening, we head out on hyena monitoring and night patrol

Friday: Early morning start and we will be out locating the elephants as part of the ongoing research into the elephant contraception program

The afternoon we will set out to monitor bird species.

Saturday: Habitat work in the morning, followed by an afternoon monitoring drive focussing on our lion population.

On return in the evening, we may head out to the local pub or have a typical South African braai (BBQ)

Sunday: Either an outing will be planned or it will be a free day for volunteers to relax or head out on their own tour.

In between activities, volunteers will receive a series of presentations on the work of Siyafunda, or how to approach dangerous game on foot, or possibly even a Zulu lesson. This time will also be used to transfer all data collected onto the computers and compile the weekly research report, as well as helping out with vehicle checks and cleaning.

Accommodation

Your home during your stay will be the Twines Research Camp, in the heart of the reserve with all of the wildlife on your doorstep, quite literally! There are twin share rooms with shared bathrooms and all meals are prepared by the group. In the evenings, while sitting around the open fire, you can listen to the nightly calls of the lions and sounds of the bush while doing some star gazing and sharing stories of your day.

What is included?                                                                                                

*  Transfers for arrivals and departures on Mondays to/from Hoedspruit
*  All food (except snacks, soft drinks and alcohol)
*  Accommodation
*  All linen (except towels)
*  Monday to Friday housekeeping service
*  All training for assistance with our research
*  All travel within the reserve
*  Assistance to organise travel in the local area
*  An outing every two weeks to interesting local attractions outside of the reserve (entrance fees to be paid by volunteers)

 

What is excluded?    

*  Flights to South Africa
*  Transfers to town Tuesday to Sunday if required
*  Personal insurance
*  Internet (small fee payable for access at camp)
*  Towels
*  Entrance fee to local attractions
*  Other personal items such as alcoholic drinks, soft drinks or snacks