Field Research and Learning
Zululand, South Africa


Whether you would like to complete a research study as part as your undergraduate course, a dissertation, or simply complete an experiential learning module in South Africa, there are a wealth of options for you to consider. Join a team of professional conservationists and wildlife monitors in the field for a hands-on, practical learning experience in Zululand, South Africa.

Project Type:
Student Internship
2 weeks +
R18,900.00 First 2 weeks
R13,500.00 Every following 2 weeks.
Choose your currency
Outputs & Project Ideas
Outputs Not Using GIS
Outputs Using GIS
Dates and Costs
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Whether you would like to complete a field research study as part as your undergraduate course, a dissertation, or simply complete an experiential learning module in South Africa, there are a wealth of options for you to consider.

To give you a better idea, below is an example of the wildlife monitoring we are responsible for on Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park: Volunteer at the majestic Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park where we currently assist with the monitoring of the African Wild Dog, Cheetah, Leopard, Lion, Black Rhino and Vultures. On a daily basis we find the resident packs of African Wild Dogs and follow up on sightings of cheetahs. These animals are fitted with VHF collars which enable us to find them with telemetry equipment.

The Black Rhinos have transmitters in their horns, but the monitoring of these animals is also done using camera traps and incidental sightings – which means if we do see a Black Rhino from the vehicle we record its location and behaviour. The lion and vulture monitoring is done incidentally, meaning we record them only if we chance upon them.

Volunteer Button


There is space on the application form for you to fill in your groups’ name (competition for the most imaginative name!) and the list of other members in your group.


We work on a 2-week cycle in South Africa, starting and finishing on a Monday (therefore pickups and drop-offs are done on the same day), the cheaper flights also arrive then.


Endangered Wildlife Field Research and Learning

Please note that this video was produced in 2009. Please get in touch for updated info.


Currently our students and researchers are operating on various game reserves in KwaZulu-Natal including, Somkhanda Game Reserve, uMkuze Game Reserve, Tembe Elephant Park, Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park and Manyoni Private Game Reserve (previously known as the Zululand Rhino Reserve).

Outputs & Project Ideas

There are a number of outputs from the data we collect. Some of these require the use of Global Information System (GIS) software which analyses the information spatially. You may be able to complete a GIS course at your university before coming to Africa, following which we could organise you additional GIS tutorage for the data you are using. GIS is used widely by conservationists and animal behaviour scientists throughout the world and is a valuable skill to add to your CV.

Undergraduate Students will be given a choice between two different pre-defined datasets that they can analyze and a list of outcomes that they need to address in their report. One will be GIS based while the other will be more behavioural depending on the affinity of the student. Please note that data will only be issued when you are with us.

Internships – an opportunity to gain work experience with no data or projects being completed. What will be required is an unassisted, 2-pager report on a subject that interests you, followed by a written feedback report from us which can be submitted to your institution and added to your CV.

Other Data Collection: While out on the daily monitoring activities with the monitor there are a number of other forms of data wildlife conservation volunteers could collect. All of these must however fall in line with the daily monitoring activities. Please note that this should be discussed with us before you arrive so we can ensure your student project is feasible.

Outputs Not Using GIS

Outputs Which Do Not Require GIS:

Animal Behavioural Studies

For example you could calculate whether animal behaviours change during different times of the day and whether these changes occur seasonally.

Distances Between Locations

This can be done with a formula in a spreadsheet using the longitude and latitude information. You can assess the straight line distance an animal moves from one day to the next or the straight line distance between two animals on the same day.

Example 1: You can test whether elephants travel further during the dry season while searching for food.

Example 2: You can test whether African Wild Dogs keep at a minimum distance from the lion pride.

Distance From Locations to Known Points

Using a similar formula you could calculate the distance an animal is from certain points of interest.
 Example: You can calculate the change in distance an individual is from permanent water sources since the first seasonal rains. You might expect the distance to decrease as water becomes more readily available across the landscape.

Analysis of Prey Selection

You can understand how a predator’s selection of prey species changes over different seasons in conjunction with the abundances of available prey (you can access the game counts which are done on an annual basis).

Example: You could test whether there is an increase in impala and wildebeest prey numbers during the spring calving season when juveniles are easy prey.


Outputs Using GIS

Outputs Which Make Use of GIS

GIS software is very powerful and will be able to supply you with many different angles of analysis. We list only a few examples here, but realistically the applications are vast. Ultimately if you would like to use GIS you will be able to develop a project specifically moulded around the software’s capabilities. Remember that we will be able to organise additional GIS tutorage if need be.

Home Range Analyses

This will allow you to ascertain the area an animal requires, whether males range further than females, whether individuals or different species share the same space or if animals have different ranging behaviours from one season to the next. The software can calculate the sizes of these home ranges and the overlap between individuals.

Habitat Analyses

Using a habitat map and an animal’s home range you can ‘cut out’ the area the animal uses and assess which habitats it uses and if this changes seasonally. GIS software can also calculate the size of these areas enabling you to assess which habitats are more preferred than others.


Using GIS, gap year volunteers can calculate the distance each animal’s location is from the closest source of a number of different features. For example, the distance to the nearest fence, road, water point or building. This will allow you to analyse whether any of those features have any effect on their movement across the landscape.


Please fill in the student application form. We will then process all applications and confirm your placement on the project, following which you will need to pay the deposit.

Note: Preference will be given to research projects that have a management application. We will work closely with students to design a project that meets their needs as well as answers critical questions for the reserve. Students are expected to design the project and write up a suitable proposal for approval.

Examples: Rhino home ranges and applications for anti-poaching activities; wild dog home range sizes relative to number of packs to assess impacts; effect of lion densities on wild dog movements to inform predator management.

Students will be asked to sign a confidentiality clause where applicable and will also have to commit to sending through a draft report for input from us as well as the reserve managers.

Please Note: Research projects must be approved by protected area managers and ecologists. In some cases getting these approvals can take months so must be planned for. We will always accommodate deadlines but will require time to review drafts.


Dates and Costs

2 Weeks 18900.00 1326.78 1141.56 1005.48
4 Weeks 32400.00 2274.48 1956.96 1723.68
6 Weeks 45900.00 3222.18 2772.36 2441.88
8 Weeks 59400.00 4169.88 3587.76 3160.08
10 Weeks 72900.00 5117.58 4403.16 3878.28
12 Weeks 86400.00 6065.28 5218.56 4596.48
TRANSPORT FEE 1850.00 129.87 111.74 98.42

Starting Dates


13 August
27 August
10 September
24 September
08 October
22 October
05 November
19 November
03 December


14 January
28 January
11 February
25 February
11 March
25 March
08 April
22 April
06 May
20 May
03 June
17 June
01 July
15 July
29 July
12 August
26 August
09 September
23 September
07 October
21 October
04 November
18 November
02 December
Outputs & Project Ideas
Outputs Not Using GIS
Outputs Using GIS
Dates and Costs
Apply Now