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Wildlife Conservation Volunteer Project in Botswana

Wildlife Conservation Volunteer Project in Botswana

Purpose
Protect & preserve endangered wildlife
Start dates
Programs start every Monday
Duration
Choose from 1-12 weeks
Volunteer hours
Up to 6 hours per day
Age
Volunteers aged 18+, and 16+ accompanied
Accommodation
Semi-permanent tents
Program fees
From $1189 for 1 week
What's included
Find out here
Apply for free
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Group video calls

Once you have secured your place, join regular video calls to meet your Program Manager and other volunteers before your trip.

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This program is ideal for:

Animal-loving volunteers who want to get out of their comfort zone and contribute to conservation efforts protecting amazing creatures and their habitats.

Project details

Explore the untamed and vast landscapes of Botswana while studying iconic African species in our Wildlife Conservation volunteer project. Become a key player in preserving habitats and welfare of indigenous wildlife as you study and observe wildlife from elephants, zebras, and giraffes to lions, leopards, and hyenas. In this volunteer project, you will gain experience working with various organizations focused on expanding protected areas for these animals, contributing to the enhancement of Southern African biodiversity.

What to expect and how you'll make an impact

Nestled in a sanctuary for iconic African species, this experience promises a true wilderness immersion. You will be surrounded by vast landscapes and indigenous wildlife, while contributing to the conservation objectives of the area and creating memories that last a lifetime. While on this program volunteers will encounter herds of elephant, zebra and giraffe, with opportunities to learn to identify species in the African bush and track leopards, lions and hyena.

The project partners with adjacent protected areas, game reserves, and national parks, and aspires to remove fences and create a larger protected area. This collaborative effort aims to reach the ultimate goal of enhancing biodiversity in Southern Africa.

Your work day will be divided between early morning and late afternoon tasks, assisting with research, conservation projects and wildlife observation, with activities that can include:

  • Conducting mammal and bird surveys
  • Studying migration patterns throughout the year
  • Develop elephant identikits
  • Monitoring camera traps and document nocturnal activities
  • Undertaking activities based on conservation needs
  • Assist with fence repair, waterhole construction, soil erosion control, and more
  • Play a vital role in protecting and maintaining the wilderness area
  • Observe wildlife in their natural habitat
  • Immerse yourself in the sounds and sights of the African bush

Volunteers will also have the opportunity to join sleep-outs, where you will experience the magic of Africa’s starlit sky, witness breathtaking sunsets over the plains and fall asleep under the vast African sky while listening to the sounds of nearby animals.

Please note, these animals are wild. Do not expect to conduct any hands-on research or touch the animals.

Contributes to United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal #15: Life on Land

Contributes to United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal #15: Life on Land

Human activity has altered almost 75% of the earth’s surface and around 1 million animal and plant species are threatened with extinction. Nature is critical to our survival. We must promote kindness to animals and use regenerative techniques to combat deforestation, conserve biodiversity and protect wildlife.

Why do Wildlife Conservation volunteering in Botswana with IVHQ?

As a wildlife conservation volunteer in Botswana you’ll be adding value to conservation efforts, while also developing personally and professionally by:

  • Supporting efforts to enhance biodiversity in Southern Africa.
  • Helping protect endangered animal populations
  • Developing your communication skills
  • Gaining a wide range of conservation knowledge
  • Learning about wildlife and the challenges it faces

Volunteer requirements

  • To join this program independently volunteers must be at least 18 years old.
  • If you are under the age of 18, you must be accompanied by a parent or guardian over the age of 18 and have parental consent to join the program (minimum age of 16).
  • All volunteers over the age of 18 must have a clear criminal background check. For those aged 16 or 17, 2 character reference letters will suffice in lieu of a background check.
  • Medium level of fitness is required for this project
  • All volunteers are required to have adequate volunteer travel insurance
  • All volunteers must speak fluent English.
Are you eligible to volunteer?

Submit a free application so we can confirm your eligibility and check availability for your preferred dates.

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'Who is going' users image
Who is going?
Group video calls

Once you have secured your place, join regular video calls to meet your Program Manager and other volunteers before your trip.

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Academic course credit

Academic course credit through International Volunteer HQ and Intern Abroad HQ.

Academic course credit

Gain course credit from your college or university and meet your academic requirements when completing a volunteer abroad program with International Volunteer HQ!

Learn about course credit

Location

Volunteer Abroad in Botswana with IVHQ

Location

The IVHQ Botswana Wildlife Conservation project is located in Botswana’s Central Tuli Block which is a captivating region known for its diverse wildlife, scenic landscapes, and rich cultural heritage. Located in the eastern part of the country along the Limpopo River, this area is characterized by its rugged terrain, including rocky outcrops, riverine forests, and open savannas.

Arrival and orientation

The program begins every Monday, and volunteers need to arrive in Johannesburg on the Saturday before their Sunday orientation. Volunteers can fly into either O.R Tambo International Airport (JNB) or Lanseria International Airport (HLA) anytime on Saturday to receive their airport pick-up, which is included in your program fee.

When you arrive, you will be greeted at the airport by a member of the local team and transported to the Curiosity Backpackers hostel accommodation in Johannesburg. Your accommodation is covered by your Program Fee and includes the Saturday night before your program orientation.

If you are traveling in South Africa prior to your volunteer program, we can arrange for you to be picked up from a Hotel or place of accommodation on your Saturday arrival day, should it be within close radius of the city center or Airport.

Orientation is hosted by a member of the local team at the Johannesburg accommodation and is split across the Saturday and Sunday. When you arrive on Saturday you will receive your welcome pack, and be given a briefing on your volunteer program – an introduction to the local culture and customs, rules and expectations, safety, travel opportunities, and an introduction to your project. After breakfast on Sunday morning, you will get to embark on a captivating exploration of Johannesburg and Soweto, enjoy lunch, shop for local arts and crafts, and delve into the rich history of some of the city’s most dynamic neighborhoods.

On Monday you will be transported to the bus station in Johannesburg to catch the bus to the Polokwane station (approximately 6 hours travel time). At the station you will meet your shuttle driver who will take you to the Botswana border to meet your project leader (approximately 3 hours drive to the border) Alternatively, to skip the bus trip, you can fly from JNB - Polokwane Gateway Airport (PTG). Please note the bus ticket is included in your program fee, if you opt to fly this will be at your own expense.

Volunteer schedule example

First Day You will be provided with your orientation and introduction to your placement by a local team member.

Weekdays and Saturday: Volunteers can expect to work approximately 6 hours per day, split between early morning and early afternoon (with a long lunch break to avoid the midday heat).

5:30 - 6:00 AM Breakfast at the volunteer accommodation.
6:30 AM Volunteers typically head out to begin work for the morning on the reserve or surrounding area.
11:00 AM Volunteers return to the accommodation to clean up before lunch.
12:00 - 12:30 PM Lunch is served.
4:00 - 6:30 PM Volunteers head out for work on the reserve or other afternoon activity, then return to the center to clean up before dinner.
7:00 - 7:30 PM Dinner at the volunteer accommodation.

During lunch and the early afternoon, you have free time to indulge in reading, relaxing, playing games, or even taking a nap! For more active individuals seeking less downtime, there are multiple activities available around the camp, such as downloading camera trap data, identifying spoor, and capturing images of birds and insects for identikits.

The late afternoons typically culminate with a breathtaking sunset atop a rocky outcrop, and if the weather permits, evenings are spent enjoying the night sky around a campfire. Sundays are off for relaxation and local exploration.

Accommodation and WiFi

Volunteers are accommodated in a fully equipped semi-permanent tented camp. Volunteers can expect to be sharing a tent with 1-5 other volunteers usually of the same gender. However; please note that due to limited space we cannot always guarantee this and mixed gender tents may occasionally be required.

The tents are walk-in safari tents with bunk beds, sheets and pillows provided. Volunteers need to bring their own sleeping bags. Bathrooms are shared, with hot and cold showers and flush toilets. There is a common area for eating, relaxing and reading and a beautiful boma for fireside evenings. The camp is run on solar power and there is a communal charging station for devices, in the common area.

The kitchen is equipped with gas appliances and all meals are provided. Pizza nights are a highlight with the home-made pizza oven.

Please note that during the winter months (June-August), temperatures can drop significantly at night and early morning and we recommend volunteers bring warmer clothing and an appropriate winter sleeping bag during these months.

WiFi is not available at the volunteer accommodation. Volunteers can purchase a local SIM card during their orientation to stay connected with home, but please keep in mind reception can be spotty.

Meals

Volunteers are provided with three meals per day at their volunteer accommodation. Breakfast is self-service and includes simple oats, breads, spreads, cereals with tea and coffee. Lunches and Dinners are substantial home-cooked meals. You can expect meals like chicken and vegetables, burgers, Lasagna with salad or even homemade made pizzas in the evenings.

The local team is happy to accommodate special dietary requests. Please let your IVHQ Program Manager know of any special dietary needs in advance so we can ensure the local team is prepared for you. Please keep in mind that due to the program location volunteers should not expect to eat as they would at home and special meals might need to be brought from home or bought at own cost. Volunteers need to be flexible, and those that are taking part for a longer duration can expect meals to be repeated.

Pricing

  • USD

Spots are limited. For a Registration Fee of just US$329 (approximately $329) you secure your spot and unlock all our preparation and training tools.

You don't need to worry about paying your Program Fee until you get closer to your start date.

Duration
Program Fee
Due 30 days before you start, or within 48 hours if you register inside of 30 days. Covers the cost of hosting you.
  • USD
1 week $1,189 Equivalent to $170/day
2 weeks $1,868 Equivalent to $133/day
3 weeks $2,547 Equivalent to $121/day
4 weeks $3,225 Equivalent to $115/day
5 weeks $3,904 Equivalent to $112/day
6 weeks $4,583 Equivalent to $109/day
8 weeks $5,941 Equivalent to $106/day
10 weeks $7,298 Equivalent to $104/day
12 weeks $8,656 Equivalent to $103/day
  • All programs attract a Registration Fee of US$329 (approximately $329) in addition to the Program Fee. This covers all pre-departure support services.
  • A 5% international banking fee is added at point of payment.
  • Airport pick-up
  • Return bus and shuttle transport to/from Johannesburg to Botswana
  • Breakfast, lunch and dinner
  • Accommodation
  • 24/7 in-country support
  • In-country program orientation
  • Pre-departure support from your Program Manager
  • Personalized preparation tools, guides and check lists
  • Access to IVHQ’s preferred insurance and flights partners
  • Certificate of International Volunteer Service

Learn more about what's included in your IVHQ Registration Fee and Program Fee.

  • Flights
  • Visa (if required), travel insurance (mandatory), vaccinations, criminal background check.
  • Personal spending money for snacks, laundry, public transportation, drinks and leisure activities during your free time.

Check what's required to visit Botswana

Safety and support

Safety and support with IVHQ

Safety and support

IVHQ follows best practice and industry-leading health and safety procedures, which are regularly reviewed and optimized as part of the B Corporation recertification.

  • All volunteers encouraged to complete our interactive pre-departure training.
  • All local teams trained on best practice volunteer management & First Aid.
  • All IVHQ programs are required to adhere to IVHQ's Risk Management Policy.
  • All volunteers have access to 24/7 in-country support from our local team.
Learn more about IVHQ's safety

Essential country information

Essential country information

Capital Gaborone
Population 421,907
Languages English, Setswana (Tswana), Kalanga, and Kgalagadi
Currency Botswana Dollar
Time zone UTC+02:00

Weather and climate

In Gaborone, the summers are long, hot, and partly cloudy and the winters are short, cool, dry, and clear. Over the course of the year, the temperature typically varies from 5°C to 32°C and is rarely below 1°C or above 36°C. Based on the beach/pool score, the best time of year to visit Gaborone for hot-weather activities is from mid September to early April.

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