SOUTH AFRICA: Endangered Animal Conservation.

South Africa

Adventure Overview:

  • 3 weeks

This programme is a dream come true for anyone who has a passion for endangered animals or if your pursuing a career in animal care / welfare. The project is based in a renowned endangered species sanctuary which is home to Cheetah, Wild dogs, Black-Footed cats, Lions, African wild cats, Ground Horn Bills, Sable antelope and much more!

Whilst here you will have the exclusive opportunity to form part of the "hands-on" team which mediates the well-being of all animals at the centre as well as learning from the specialist lectures which are provided. The Centre has established itself as one of the leading private research and breeding facilities for endangered species in the country. Governed by a progressive and modern management approach, it concerns itself with the breeding and maintenance of several endangered indigenous wildlife species in southern Africa.

The centre places particular emphasis on the breeding and maintenance of cheetah in captivity. The excellent condition of these animals and the premises on which they are maintained, reflect the attention to detail, which is the hallmark of this facility. But it's not all work and no play! During this adventure you will also have the opportunity to visit numerous places of interest and attractions in the area, including the renowned Kruger National Park. Included in the programme is the unique and memorable experience of an elephant-back safari with the resident herd of elephants.

The program includes: Interactive involvement in the daily running of the centre and tours to renowned attractions in the area. It also includes: daily lectures on all major aspects of conservation and includes specialist input on animals, grasses, trees and basic biodiversity. Practical exercises specialist input include a trip to the reptile park, identification of plants on walking excursions, tracking in the bush, a visit to a local tribal village, an excursion to the world famous Kruger Park,, stargazing, natural and traditional food preparation and game drives.

The centre has established itself as one of the leading private research and breeding facilities for endangered species in the country. Governed by a progressive and modern management approach, it concerns itself with the breeding and maintenance of several endangered indigenous wildlife species in southern Africa. The centre places particular emphasis on the breeding and maintenance of cheetah in captivity. The excellent condition of these animals and the premises on which they are maintained, reflect the attention to detail, which is the hallmark of this facility.

What is Included?

  • Accommodation
  • Food
  • 24 / 7 Support
  • Training
  • Adventure Package
  • Information Pack
  • Accommodation: The accommodation here is quite unusual. You are get to live in modern clean thatched huts (each sleeps 2 people) which are very comfortable eco-friendly bases. Please see pictures for more details.
  • Food: All your meals are provided whilst with the team - meals are prepared on site and are a great opportunity for you to discuss the work with the rest of the team and to share experiences. Food is very nutritious and well preprared.
  • Training: During your time with Agapé Adventures, we offer a series of training events, which aim to focus and encourage you in your service. Our training brings together experienced insights & knowledge of the voluntary sector, and utilises up to date project management skills to offer a training programme that is personal, pastoral & professional. For this project you will receive pre-departure training, and an optional re-entry debrief on your return. You will also receive daily training from the experienced staff team in project as you learn the hands on care involved in looking after and protecting these amaing animals. In addition there are daily lectures for you to take part in which are given by experts in the fields of conservation, veterinary care & bush survival.
  • Support: Agapé Adventures respects that each person is unique, and thus has different needs, and we endeavour to meet those genuine needs as effectively as we can. All volunteers are supported by Agapé every step of the way. You will be allocated a line manager to assist you in the day to day aspects of your adventure and staff at Agapé’s main base who will be available 24/7 for any out of hours emergencies. All staff involved in supporting you, work together to provide coordinated, personal and professional support throughout your adventure. 
  • Adventure Package: During your time in this project you will have plenty of adventures included in your package such as: an Elephant back safari, Star Gazing trips, Treks & tours around Kruger park, a trip to local tribal village, Natural and traditional food preparation & more game drives than you can shake a stick at! You also have to hand additional adventures which you can enjoy during your stay such as river rafting, paint balling, hot air balloons & horse riding etc. (these additional adventures are not included in the cost)
  • Airport Collection & Drop Off:  You need to make your way to the town of Hoedspruit - you can either catch a bus from Johannesburg or hop on a local flight for the last leg of your journey. From there you will be met by the staff team and taken to settle in to your lovely accommodation and to meet the rest of the team.

What Isn't Included

  • Stipend
  • Visa
  • Flights
  • Insurance

What will I do?:

This study tour offers you the opportunity to experience, first hand, the work of the Centre, during an intensive, 21-day programme.

The programme is divided into 3 main sections: Participation, Conservation and Sight Seeing.

Participation:

The focus of the programme is on the cheetah and during the course participants are involved with the everyday care of the cheetahs. This includes, cleaning, feeding, and where required, assisting with or observing any veterinary activities that may occur during their stay. The same activities apply to other species being cared for at the centre. The knowledge gained about the animals and work of the project through this kind of participation is both specific and personal.

Conservation:

This section of the programme involves lectures on all major aspects of conservation and includes specialist input on all animals, grasses, trees and basic biodiversity.

Sight Seeing:

This aspect of the trip enables participants to put the theory learnt into practice; either through directed observation in the wild or at other centres that specialise in other areas of research or conservation.

During this time you might expect to see and be involved in some of the following:

Darting of wildlife and possible translocations.

  • Tranquilization of a cheetah for health examinations and possibly sampling of blood and other tissues to check for various disease statuses.
  • Tuberculosis testing in wildlife.
  • Lectures of darting equipment, drugs and their safety.
  • Oestrus manipulation *
  • Procedures requiring an external veterinary specialist
  • Hand rearing (previously an elephant, white rhinos, zebra and many tiny creatures have been hand reared in the past).
  • Wildlife casualties.
  • Post-mortems.
  • Collection of samples for genetics, blood parasite studies and ticks.
  • Work with exotic species such as frogs, snakes, birds and any cases that do happen to come into the centre.
  • Work together with the curators and the animals.

* Oestrus manipulationis largely based on the interactive involvement of participants, who in the process gain valuable knowledge of and experience in nature conservation.

The Local Area

Directly translated from the Afrikaans the town of Hoedspruit, which lies at the foot of the Klein Drakensberg on the old Selati railway line from Phalaborwa to Kaapmuiden, means “hat creek”. The story involves one of the town’s pioneers who took off his hat, after a particularly arduous trek over the mountains into the heat of the Lowveld, and threw it into the Sandspruit River, making an impulsive decision to stay. Hoedspruit finds itself in an enviable position today because of its access to the private game areas of the Timbavati and Klaserie.

Hoedspruit is essentially an agricultural town located a stone’s throw away from the Kruger National Park and is surrounded by game-rich country that makes it an obvious stopover. As a result, what began merely as a couple of shops, a bank and a little rondavel that served as a station building, has grown into what is today marketed as a premier eco-tourist destination because of its association with some of the best ‘Big 5’ viewing in South Africa.

Map of the Area

Interested?:

To start your very own adventure click below and apply to join one of our projects.

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