Wildlife Learning Experience


It is difficult to put into words how it feels to see your first giraffe, zebra, wildebeest or even impala in it's natural habitat, even harder to describe how it feels to be up close to these magnificent animals and almost impossible to describe the feeling when you are on foot and up close!  On this project you will have the opportunity to try and describe this feeling for yourself! Oh!! Did we mention that you may also see lion and elephant this closely as well?! 

 

This project is part of the Balule Nature Reserve, a 35,000 hectare 'Big 5' reserve with no borders to Kruger National Park, making it part of the Greater Kruger National Park. It is an open system where game is allowed to wander freely over several privately owned farms that make up Balule. Because the project does not have animals in cages or in captivity this is not a 'hands on' animal project, rather it enables you to encounter animals in their natural habitat. 

The aim of this project is to give you an introduction to all aspects of game farm management. That's why their motto is 'Conservation Through Education'! You will be studying (yes, really studying:-) ecology, conservation and wildlife specific to the owning and running of a game farm, through a structured lecture program combined with a practical approach, like anti-erosion work and alien plant control. Daily bush walks with your guide will give you plenty of chances to spot wildlife on foot and will give you the opportunity to learn navigation, tracking and survival skills, as well as learning all about the wildlife, flora and fauna. Theory and practical combined will give you a unique behind the scenes view of South Africa's most renowned National Park!

 

This project is an ideal initiation to the whole African bush experience and is a great way to start your adventure. It is a family run project and you are treated not as a guest but as one of the family, which is important whether it's your first time away from home or your hundredth! During your stay you will get ample time to relax and enjoy Africa's peace. Also, the project leaders have built in time to accompany you to your choice of the awesome excursions in the area. They are really not to be missed!



As part of the curriculum you can expect to learn about:

 

Ecology:

  • Educational bush walks, game drives and hikes
  • Ecology definition, understanding and protecting global, macro, micro and microscopic ecosystems
  • Identification of mammals, birds, insects, snakes and other reptiles (in short: from elephant to rhino beetle!), tracks, droppings, trees, shrubs and grass species
  • Habitat: definition, identification, threats and protection
  • Animal behaviour, speed and comfort zones: 'The dangerous nine'
  • The food chain and energy flow - 'Thank you Mr. Elephant'
  • Elephants: family structure and their impact on the environment
  • Pollution of eco-resources (water, soil, air) and sanitation
  • Educational wildlife videos and documentaries
  • Nature's 'Clean up Company'
  • Geology and basic study of the Lowveld region


Management:

  • Conservation and preservation
  • A game farm or nature reserve: planning, designing, building, maintenance, management, marketing and budgeting for it
  • Hunting, culling, problem animals and green hunting
  • Poaching and anti poaching techniques
  • Erosion: causes, cures and prevention
  • Alien plant identification and control
  • Foreign objects, dangers, prevention and removal
  • The ranger: his function and responsibilities
  • Fencing, patrolling and maintenance ~ consequent status of the land
  • Classification of South Africa's animals and exotic species
  • 24-Hour waterhole monitoring and game assessment
  • Animal rehabilitation projects and breeding projects
  • Animal diseases
  • Fire: a management tool


Knowledge of and competency in the bush:

  • Navigation by day and night
  • 24-Hour practical survival in the bush
  • Astronomy of the southern hemisphere
  • Camouflage of game and people
  • Rifle handling and shooting
  • First aid - snake and insect bites and general first aid
  • The art of game tracking: ground and aerial track
  • Bush craft: weapons, snares, rope, fire, water, sundial and finding north
hyena baby female


Accommodation:

 

There are five separate rondawels to accommodate from 1-8 persons as well as five caravans to accommodate from 1-2 persons. Apart from this, there is a 3 storey tower where you can sleep out under the stars above tree level. The separate ablution block has got hot and cold running water, flushing toilets, showers and a bath. All bedding is provided, but bring your own sleeping bag for sleeping on the tower or in the bush. 

 

mountains free volunteer

Facilities:

  • Kitchen/Dining Area
  • Lapa/Braai area
  • Lecture and games room
  • Laundry
  • Internet/e-mail 
  • Telephone
  • Satellite TV/video
  • Tower for game viewing
  • Swimming pool 


Price includes:

  • Accommodation
  • 3 Meals a day (breakfast and lunch self service) dinner 
  • Tea, coffee, juice, fruit
  • Bush walks
  • Night drives
  • Educational program
  • Transport to and from the project

Not included:

  • International and domestic flights / transport (we're happy to assist you)
  • Medical and travel insurance
  • Visa costs if your stay in South Africa is going to exceed 90 days (we're happy to offer advice and assistance)
  • Laundry, which will be done for a nominal fee
  • Internet and telephone costs
  • Personal expences such as toiletries, excursions, etc

Group size: 1-15 Students, from July until October upto 22 students

 

Maximum stay: 2 Weeks. 




Or are you just looking for a two-week break in sunny South Africa with a difference?

 

Wildlife Experience: holiday with a difference!

 

The all-inclusive package, with no hidden extra costs, runs for 14 days.  The price includes wifi, accommodation, 3 meals a day (special diets catered for), laundry, Eastgate Airport pick-up & drop-off, weekly town trips for shopping and bush walks & game drives.  The following experiences are included as standard:

  • 2 Days in Kruger National Park
  • Wildlife Rehabilitation tour
  • Rural community outreach work
  • Reptile Park interactive guided tour
  • Visit to 2000-year-old Baobab and pancake restaurant (cost of 1 pancake and 1 beverage included)
  • Trip to waterfall and pools for swimming, including picnic lunch (or when closed for filming, trip to mountain view-point and thereafter swimming area)
  • Guided walking tour of local village
  • Trip to local restaurant (cost of standard meal covered)
  • Sleep-out in the bush

Special activities may be included as they arise, at no extra cost, for example, accompanying the local wildlife vet on call, visiting a game farm, attending a conservation event, etc.

 

In addition, there will be short, informal lectures, designed to give participants an understanding of both animals and nature to enhance their experiences on bush walks and game drives. They will also participate in the conservation of the area with hands-on experience in the Bush, which could include alien plant control, erosion management or working on sustainable projects.  

 

Participants must please be made aware that we are in a BIG 5 area and that the programme may be disrupted at any point by game viewing opportunities, whether it be elephants visiting at the camp fence, giraffes passing by or an early morning wake-up call to go see lions…!

 

On arrival, participants may also choose from a variety of optional extra excursions (prices vary per excursion) which can be fitted into the two week programme:  Panorama Drive – touring the natural beauty of Limpopo’s breath-taking landscapes and waterfalls, Horse-back Safari, airborne Microlight Safari, Blyde Canyon Boat trip, additional day-trip into Kruger National Park.   

 

Restrictions: Participants must be over the age of 18 or accompanied by a parent or guardian. There is no upper-age restriction.