The nature of this trip is all about making a difference, contributing to an important wildlife conservation research project.
Your hard work enables the project to study important questions. The results of this research have the potential to be extremely influential for private reserves in Africa, for example by better understanding lion prey selection and the effects of contraception on elephant behaviour. Answering these questions is vital for effective conservation management of the reserve, and since the volunteer project began, they are now able to look at these issues in detail.
Private game reserves now collectively represent more land under conservation than national parks. These reserves often don’t benefit from national government funding and are reliant on self funded conservation research projects such as this to create essential data from which to develop best practice policies for private reserve managers.
Volunteers are also involved in other essential hands on activities that are critical to conserving the environment on the reserve.
A large part of your fee is used for your on site costs such as transport, accommodation, meals and research activities. The local host conservation organisation also has normal operating expenses such as salaries, telecoms, insurance, etc. which are defrayed from your fee. A percentage of your fee goes directly to the reserve conservation fund from which the ongoing research project is financed.
We also try to make sure the trip is as responsibly run as possible including:
Before volunteers depart we provide them with a detailed information pack on the area they will be visiting. We try to educate and encourage our volunteers to understand and respect the local cultures and customs and get involved with local communities.
For over 10 years we have been providing volunteers to help at charitable projects around the world. A UK charity has now been launched to build on this success by providing financial assistance to overseas causes as well. The organisations we work with are often struggling to fund the work they are doing so every penny raised makes a real difference.
The majority of the fee that volunteers pay goes directly to the reserve. The reserve provides employment for many local South African staff. Accommodation is on site and food and produce are locally sourced. While volunteers are in-country, we encourage them to buy locally and support local businesses.
One of the main negative impacts of our volunteers traveling, is the carbon dioxide created from flights. We work with a 'carbon neutral' charity to help ensure that an amount of carbon is sequestered through tree planting or the promotion of low energy technologies. The accommodation used is permanent tents so is extremely environmentally friendly! While our volunteers are overseas, we identify and encourage simple steps to minimise their impact on the local environment.