Do something different during your vacation, gap year or career break and help our conservation efforts by volunteering with us. Live and learn amongst one of the most beautiful places in South Africa’s Garden Route and become part of our local community. You’ll get a completely unique insight into what working in conservation is all about with plenty of hands-on activities: participate don’t spectate! With only 5 volunteers at any one time, you can be sure of a personal, inclusive experience.
What to expect:
This is not going to be your usual 9 to 5! Working hours can be long, often flexible, but plenty of fun. There’s lots of getting stuck in and being hands-on whether it’s building sand castles with the kids at our holiday programme or catching fish for estuary surveys. We also like to give you a personal project to call your own if we can, so we’ll talk through the options with you when you arrive so it can be tailored towards your interests and expertise; there’s always plenty to do!
We have two areas that you can focus on during your time with us: Conservation Education and/or Research Ecology, or a mix of the two.
As a Conservation Education volunteer you’ll engage with a wide range of stakeholders, from the local community to conservation professionals. Our community programmes are award-winning, with over 5000 participants per year, making them an ideal way to get the inside scoop on conservation education. Typical activities you’ll help with are facilitation of school groups, helping out at events, environmental calendar days, research support for updating environmental education resources, general administration assistance and planning and preparation of outdoor activities for eco clubs and school camps, community projects and events.
As a Research Ecology Volunteer you’ll work alongside acclaimed biologists who are well published professionals with decades of experience doing conservation based research in Africa. You’ll work on the important long term ecological projects we run in the region. Over a relatively short period of time you’ll be exposed to conservation based research in several different biomes and habitat types including beach, estuary, river, fynbos, forest and even urban areas. We work on a range of systems and study plants, insects, mammals and birds, giving volunteers a range of different wildlife experiences.
As a general rule volunteers can normally expect to work from 08.30-16.00, Monday-Friday. However, some projects do require a bit extra now and again or unusual hours (you’ll need to be at our bird ringing sessions at 05.30!).
The volunteer house is situated in Nature’s Valley; a four bedroom wooden property with an open-plan kitchen, lounge and dining room. Rooms are generally shared. There is a garden as well as an outdoor deck, braai (BBQ) facilities and even a dog, Chewy, who often lives up to his name. There is a washing machine and tumble dryer at the house to do laundry when needed.
Why we do it:
We are a small, passionate team who love what we do, and love sharing it with others! By volunteering with us you’re helping to keep our work going; we couldn’t do what we do without the help of our amazing, dedicated volunteers. We also recognize that volunteers may have skills in other areas that can help us make even more of an impact whether it’s an SEO guru, an accountant, a teacher or just someone with a lot of passion and energy.
In order to volunteer with us you’ll need to commit to a minimum stay of 2 weeks, be in good physical condition and aged 18 years or older by the time you arrive. You don’t need previous experience, but an interest in either environmental education or conservation research is a must as well as commitment, integrity and the ability to use your own initiative. You’ll need to be willing to work long hours and work with a flexible and ever-changing schedule. We expect you to uphold the scientific integrity of our projects and get hands-on with a wide range of field work activities. A good understanding of the English language is also required.
How do you apply to Volunteer NVT?
Don't take our word for why you should volunteer - why not browse through our previous volunteers and see what they each got up to? Alternatively, check out what our previous volunteers had to say about their time with us on our blog.