Big 5 Wildlife Conservation In The Kruger Area Of
South Africa

Big 5 Wildlife Conservation In The Kruger Area Of South Africa
Teach English in Thailand TravelBud Enrollment Coordinators

Do you want to find out more about this volunteering experience? Fill out the form below and we’ll get back to you!

Highlights of this experience


Contribute to a project that works toward the preservation and conservation of the African Big 5 – the elephant, lion, leopard, rhino and buffalo.


Be part of daily game drives where you will be collecting and compiling compiling conservation data used to protect animals from poaching, starvation and misinformed culling.


Get to see nocturnal animals in their natural environment, catching often unseen behavior on game-spotting night drives.


Live in the heart of the world famous Greater Kruger Area, in our very own private volunteer lodge situated on 18 hectares of land, surrounded by impala, warthog, bush pig, nyala and a great diversity of birdlife.


Have the chance to camp out at our overnight research camp – a truly African experience.


Get hands on with conservation tasks such as game counts, alien plant removal and snare sweeping.


Get stuck in with essential data collection which is used to protect these fascinating animals and their natural habitats.

Catch often unseen behavior on game-spotting night drives

Learn how to collect and compile data conservation data used to protect animals from poaching, starvation and misinformed culling

Volunteers collecting data on a daily game drive

Volunteers pose for a group photo at sunset

Game drives are the highlight of this volunteering experience


During your volunteer placement, you will stay within the Greater Kruger Area wildlife hotspot in South Africa, just 45-minutes from the world-famous Kruger National Park and the extraordinary Blyde River Canyon. 

The Greater Kruger area is filled with wildlife, acres of natural beauty, spectacular sunsets and captivating night drives.

You’ll get to see Rhino in their natural habitat

Photograph, track and collect data on Lions


  • We have 8 rooms which sleep up to 6 participants and 4 rondavels (a traditional circular African dwelling with a conical thatched roof) that can accommodate single occupancy or sleep up to 6 individuals.
  • Our rooms are en suite with an air-conditioning unit in each room.
  • The lodge also has an amazing outdoor area with a large pool, braai (barbecue) area and a courtyard for volunteers to lounge around on afternoons or evenings off.
  • A small cafe is available on site for participants to purchase some local snacks and necessities, the shop also hosts a small bar.
  • Wifi is available on site at an additional fee for you to keep in touch with friends and family back home.
  • We do offer an in-house weekly laundry service at a small additional cost.
  • We can accommodate most dietary needs

Dumela Lodge where you’ll be staying during your volunteering experience

Accommodation options at the lodge

The Lodge in Hoedspruit South Africa

Relax at the pool, have a drink at the bar, watch a movie or enjoy a games night with other volunteers.

Impact & Focus Areas

This program aims to assist local organizations with protecting and conserving endangered species in the Greater Kruger Area of South Africa.

While you will be going on fun and exhilarating game drives you will be doing very serious work, which is critical to the future survival of these animals and their natural habitat.

You will be learning some invaluable conservation and data collection skills and gain practical experience in this field through the work you’ll be doing throughout the program.

You’ll get your hands dirty with hands-on tasks like alien plant removal and snare sweeps, and you’ll also have the opportunity to get involved in community development initiatives.

These include teaching young local children in the nearby schools and assisting with the vegetable gardens they grow on the grounds, which provide much-needed nutrients for lunches.

The Project

With each of the ‘Big 5’ facing serious threats respectively, there’s never been a greater need for this type of volunteering.

From the rhino-poaching crisis, the continuous disappearance of lions and the misinformed culling of many of our wild animals, you will be helping to monitor and collect data to assist in conserving these precious animals.

Daily game drives

This is arguably the most exciting part of the program – getting to watch these phenomenal wild animals roam around in their natural environment – there’s nothing quite like it anywhere in the world.

While on these game drives with our awesome guides and research team, you will be given all the necessary tools and guidance to collect data which is critical for the better understanding and protection of wildlife in the Greater Kruger Area. This will include working with camera traps, GPS and various modern mapping tools.

Conservation work

This is where you really get down and dirty in the African bush. We’ll be removing alien plants and invasive species to help return the land to its original habitat for the animals to thrive on. Another important feature here is where we do snare sweeps, which is the removal of poaching traps which kill thousands of wildlife.

Community Development work

During this volunteer program, you’ll be involved with various community development initiatives. You will be involved in our insightful and exciting reading club, which helps local kids gain confidence in their English conversational and reading skills, all in an effort to give them a brighter future. Not only that but as part of our Farmers of the Future initiative, you will be looking after vegetable gardens in the local school, which help to provide lunches for the kids.

Data Collection

One of the major parts of this program is teaching you how to collect and compile data, which we study to make reports and the latest profiles for the animals we monitor. And in order to observe the Big 5’s movement and health for the foreseeable future, our expert guides will teach you to create ID kits using secret tools, only known in the African bush.

Travel Opportunities

Weekend trips volunteering with TravelBud

Use your free time to explore nearby sights and attractions such as the Blyde River Canyon, the famous Panorama route.

Lion at the Kruger National Park

Visit the world-renowned Kruger National Park for another tick off the safari bucket list

Daily Game Drive

Daily game drives in search of the Big 5 and other African wildlife.

Cultural presentations, poaching debates and star-gazing activities.

Cultural presentations, poaching debates and star-gazing activities.

During your time off, why not visit Hoedspruit just 30km from Dumela Lodge, where you will be staying. You will get a chance to explore, relax and do a bit of shopping.

This little town has a unique story which directly translates to Hat Creek. The name comes from a farmer who lost his hat in a flooding river so make sure you pack in a hat as it can get really hot – we’ll do our best to keep you out of any flooding rivers!

You’ll find coffee shops, restaurants, roadside markets and a supermarket giving you time to relax and taste the local cuisine.

TravelBud Staff

We understand it’s hard to take this all in.

With TravelBud, you’ll always be talking to someone who has taught or volunteered abroad before, so you’ll get informed, first-hand advice to guide and prepare you for your experience.

Dates & Costs


Currency Converter

Change to your currency. Default prices in US Dollar (USD). Please take note that the amount reflected above is based on the current exchange rate and may fluctuate due to exchange rate volatility on the day of being invoiced.


We recommend spending a minimum of 4 weeks to fully explore and experience all the program has to offer.

Program Costs

The fees below includes a $500 enrollment fee which secures your spot on the program.
The remaining balance is due 8 weeks prior to your chosen start date

12 weeks


What's included?

2 weeks


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3 weeks


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4 weeks


What's included?

5 weeks


What's included?

6 weeks


What's included?

7 weeks


What's included?

8 weeks


What's included?

9 weeks


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10 weeks


What's included?

11 weeks


What's included?


We have intake dates running generally twice a month for this program but with limited availability on each intake and the popularity of this program, they can fill up well in advance.

It’s best to speak to our Enrollments Team about intake availability and reserve your spot on the program sooner than later.

Intake DateCan I still apply?
19 May 2019Intake OPEN
02 June 2019Intake OPEN
16 June 2019Intake OPEN
30 June 2019Intake OPEN
07 July 2019Intake OPEN
14 July 2019Intake OPEN
28 July 2019Intake OPEN
04 August 2019Intake OPEN
11 August 2019Intake OPEN
18 August 2019Intake OPEN
25 August 2019Intake OPEN
08 September 2019Intake OPEN
22 September 2019Intake OPEN
06 October 2019Intake OPEN
20 October 2019Intake OPEN
03 November 2019Intake OPEN
17 November 2019Intake OPEN
01 December 2019Intake OPEN
15 December 2019Intake OPEN
29 December 2019Intake OPEN

What’s Included

  • Airport pickup and dropoff
  • Transport to program activities
  • Accommodation for the duration of your stay at our volunteer bush house.
  • 3 meals per day cooked by our local in-house chefs (Monday to Friday only)
  • Thorough pre-departure support
  • 24/7 in-country support and 24/7 emergency contact number
  • All training relevant to this program
  • Destination and program orientation
  • Welcome meeting on arrival
  • Certificate of completion

What’s not included?

  • Flights
  • Travel
  • Meals on weekends
  • Visa
  • Travel insurance (we have great partners who can assist with the best insurance cover for your trip)
  • All personal items and toiletries
  • Criminal background check

Support & Safety

Our organization prides itself on health, safety, and security.

Upon arrival, you will receive extensive safety briefing regarding the dos and donts of the local area.

Our coordinators are there to provide you with 24/7 support given the fact that they live and work with you.

Our lodge is located within a game reserve and has secure fencing surrounding the property, as well as 24/7 security procedures in place.


TravelBud’s savvy safety tips:

  • A safe will be provided on base for you to store passports and important belongings.
  • Buddy systems are great when exploring.
  • You are tucked away in a reserve so do not wander around alone at night.
  • Hidden pockets and belt-bags are a must-have when keeping your valuables safe.
  • Hydration is of utmost importance so, keep those water bottles filled and close by.
  • Remember you are a guest within our wildlife habitat. Please be cautious, calm and collected at all times.
  • Be an active listener towards staff and be mindful of the cultural sensitivities and customs of the locals.
  • Be wary of the harsh African sun! Use sunscreen and wear a wide-brimmed hat daily.
  • Make sure your in-country coordinators are aware of your whereabouts and keep emergency numbers at hand.
  • Our Support team will share many more tips and advice to help you feel prepared for the experience of a lifetime that awaits you on this program.

Testimonials & Reviews

Why Volunteer with TravelBud?

It can be scary and intimidating traveling to a foreign country and the complex documentation and requirements can be overwhelming and confusing.

With TravelBud, you’ll always be talking to someone who has volunteered abroad before, so you’ll get informed, first-hand advice to guide and prepare you for your experience.

Pre-departure support

Our support managers will assist with all planning, packing, visas, costs, documentation, booking flights and answering any questions you might have.

24/7 In-country support

Our in-country partners will be available for the duration of your volunteering experience. If you need any assistance or advice, or in the event of an emergency, we’ll be on hand!

Volunteering placement guaranteed

Destination and program orientation

Certificate of completion

Accommodation, transport and spending money

Chat to our enrollment coordinators for more specific details about budgeting.

Knowledge and advice

Our enrollment coordinators have volunteered abroad and have first-hand insights on our volunteer abroad destinations and programs.

Airport pickup

So you don't have to worry about getting to your accommodation.


Flight and Visa assistance

Travel insurance

We'll assist you with the additional purchase of your travel insurance via our insurance partners.

We’re Here to Help

We’ll answer all your questions and guide you every step of the way!

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