Gondwana Game Reserve, an 11 000 hectare private Big 5 reserve on the Garden Route is launching a 6 day conservation experience for individuals, families or groups who want to get more involved in Africa on their safari. Participants will be involved in wildlife and veld management, learn important bush skills and interpretation, as well as volunteer with the local community. The research and findings from the program are fed back to Gondwana’s conservation department to assist in decision making enhancing the reserve management plan. The itinerary will include plenty of game drives, bush walks, and down time in an utterly inspiring landscape. This is your chance to get involved with the important conservation work of a Big Five game reserve and not only enjoy but contribute.
06:00 – Wake up
06:30 – Breakfast (cold buffet & Ranger’s fry up)
07:00 – Depart on Morning activity (Example – locating cheetah/monitoring/leopard cameras)
10:30 – Move to conservation project site (Example – Erosion site/vegetation survey site)
13:00 – Packed lunch in bush or @ camp
14:00 – Continue with conservation/field project
16:00 – Depart on evening game monitoring drive
18:30 – Return to camp and freshen up
19:00 – Dinner (homemade, hearty meals as well as a potjie & braai night)
20:30 – Evening talk and prep for next day’s activity
Your base during the program will be in our eco-friendly tented camp set in a valley blanketed in Fynbos in the heart of the game reserve. The camp facilities include 5 large, comfortable twin share tents set on raised platforms each with a bathroom and covered deck area (2 additional tents are for staff). All meals are provided in the recreational communal tent which includes kitchen, lounge, working computer station, and indoor and outdoor dining. Relaxation areas with hammocks and pool also provided.
Visual monitoring, research and tracking of wildlife:
- Learn how to identify animal tracks and use radio collar technology to track and follow key species throughout the Reserve.
- The data collected is key for determining species distribution and habitat utilization.
Monitoring of the Cape Leopard cameras established on Gondwana and surrounding area
- The Cape Mountain leopard is a critically endangered animal. Learn how to participate in photographic surveys and radio collar data to determine species distribution within the surrounding area.
Bird identification and monitoring
- Learn the skill of bird identification and use it to determine bird distribution and movement on the reserve in different habitats and seasons.
Translocation & Veterinary care of wildlife – season dependent
- Gondwana frequently introduces new animals onto the reserve and distributes certain species to other reserves throughout South Africa. Different live game capture techniques are used for different species.
- While Gondwana’s wildlife population is completely self-sufficient and free roaming there are certain endangered and specialty species, which require human intervention for injury, vaccinations, parasite control, or collaring for monitoring purposes.
- (Note: veterinary and game capture/release is not guaranteed during your program and is done on an as needed basis.)
Feeding and monitoring of animals in Boma – season dependent
- Certain wildlife are kept temporarily in a boma (holding enclosure) when they are released onto the reserve in order to safely settle them into their new environment, such as predators and elephant.
- While enclosed they need to be fed and maintained. Volunteers will be involved in the various boma feeding programs
- (Note: no animals are guaranteed to be in the bomas during your program.)
Bush Skills and Interpretation
- Bush skills are an ancient art. Participants will learn much of this art and use it in their day to day activities while on Gondwana:
- Track/spoor identification
- Antelope and bird identification
- Tree identification
- Fynbos identification
- Map Utilization (road, contour, aerial Google maps & GPS navigation)
- Approaching wildlife by vehicle and on foot
- 4×4 Driving skills
- Basic survival skills
- Basic first aid
- Learning to make a shelter, fire, fishing rod, and compass
- Learn how to forage and fish
- Celestial identification and navigation
- Erosion control
- Erosion sites
- Participation in eradication of alien vegetation (Black Wattle, Port Jackson)
- The encroachment of alien vegetation on Gondwana is one of the reserves’ greatest environmental threats.
- Gondwana has embarked on one of the largest environmental rehabilitation programs in the region. Participants have the opportunity to learn more about the vegetation, and to participate in the eradication of the targeted species.
- Vegetation surveys
- Transect surveys to determine species diversity and wildlife carrying capacity
- Development of herbarium
- Help with Gondwana’s nursery
- Organic vegetables
- Indigenous tree seedlings
- Fence patrols
- Road maintenance
- Boma Maintenance
Gondwana is closely associated to the local community. Participants will have an opportunity to interact with the community and participate in:
- Community kids programs
- Community adult development programs