Kruger National Park
About Kruger National Park Project
The world-renowned Kruger National Park (KNP) offers a wildlife experience that ranks with the best in Africa. Established in 1898 to protect the wildlife of the South African Lowveld, this national park of nearly 2 million hectares, is unrivalled in the diversity of its life forms and a world leader in advanced environmental management techniques and policies. Truly the flagship of the South African National Parks, KNP is home to an impressive number of species: 336 trees, 49 fish, 34 amphibians, 114 reptiles, 507 birds and 147 mammals - including the ‘Big Five’ of Lion, Leopard, Rhino, Buffalo and Elephant. Man's interaction with the Lowveld environment over many centuries - from bushman rock paintings to majestic archaeological sites like Masorini and Thulamela - is very evident in the KNP. These treasures represent the cultures, persons and events that played a role in the history of the KNP and are conserved along with the park's natural assets.
WorkTravelSA.org has partnered with a local community based tourism company, and has contracted traversing rights and access to a 6500 hectare concession area inside the Kruger National Park. This concession area stems from an agreement between SANParks and the Mdluli Tribal Authority where this valuable piece of land, inside the main borders of KNP, was handed back to the tribe in restitution for a successful land claim in the late 1990’s. The volunteer base camp directly benefits the local community with employment opportunities, and income generated from the volunteer project is utilised for conservation efforts in the reserve concession. The concession area is part of the Kruger National Park and shares the same external boundary along the western fence line parallel to the Nzikasi River near Numbi Gate.
Volunteers are housed at the Nzikasi Wilderness Camp. This authentic wilderness camp is in a designated wilderness area in the Kruger National Park. The camp consists of dome tents equipped with beds, mattresses and bedding. Meals are prepared by staff. The ablution facilities are separate and have warm and cold running water as well as standard toilet facilities. The camp itself has sweeping views over the undulating hills in the area, as well as a main lounge with a fully serviced bar.
What will you do?
During their time in the African bush volunteers will gain hands-on experience in conservation and the practical application of biodiversity management in a game reserve. Volunteers will live on the reserve and in their daily activities be educated on the environment and its wildlife and also receive instruction on animal behaviour, dealing with potentially dangerous game, bush trekking and navigation. Volunteers also assist staff and management with animal counts and data collection for existing research projects. There are a number of research projects on the reserve for which data is collected for management and best practice policies.
Volunteers will also acquire many new bush skills and further knowledge about animal, tree and bird identification on game drives and walks in the field. Game walks are guided by qualified rangers and volunteers learn about bush interpretation skills, tracking and following animal spoor. Other daily activities may include bush patrols to monitor electric fencing, vegetation monitoring to manage carrying capacities, identification of alien plant species, clearing of invasive vegetation, building of gabions, creating seed banks and other veld reclamation measures.
The reserve has strong links with the surrounding communities and volunteers will help with the teaching of crèche children and work on sustainable development projects such as vegetable and permaculture gardens at schools, crèches and clinics.
Volunteers that are studying in relevant areas of interest, i.e. conservation & wildlife, environmental & natural sciences, biology & botany – may be assigned to specific tasks that could be related to practical components of their studies, depending on their skills and whatever activities are ongoing. The location of our camp within the KNP and its proximity to rangers, wardens, conservation staff and researchers mean that we have many varied activities and projects with which our volunteers may be involved.