Volunteer – Askari Wilderness Conservation Programe

ASKARI

WHAT WILL BE EXPECTED OF ME?

Volunteers become full-time members of the management, monitoring and research team. Days are filled with a variety of activities shared between our wildlife monitoring work and reserve management projects. Projects vary according to the season but may include prescribed burns, game capture and release and veterinary darting’s. More common events however include alien plant eradication, anti-poaching patrols, rehabilitation of eroded areas and removal of bush encroachment. Wildlife monitoring includes all aspects of the bush from Birds of prey to herbivores, large predators, elephants and rhinos and amphibian and reptiles. Days can be long and hot and involve physical work but you will be immersed into every aspect of what it takes to manage a reserve and make a genuine contribution to our wilderness.

HOW LONG CAN I VOLUNTEER FOR?

You can join Askari for a minimum period of 2 weeks up to a maximum of 16 weeks. The average stay is 4 weeks and this includes an orientation period to learn about the work you will be doing and why it’s important as well as the chance to try some 4×4 driving and rifle shooting.

WHAT QUALIFICATIONS, IF ANY, DO I REQUIRE?

No specific qualifications are required. Volunteers must be physically fit, enthusiastic and happy to work as part of the team. Some work will involve physical exertion and you may be in the hot and strong African sun for long periods.

WHAT LANGUAGE WILL I NEED TO KNOW?

Volunteers must have a good understanding of English for safety purposes and to get the most out of the programme.

HOW DO I GET TO YOUR LOCATION?

Volunteers should first fly into Johannesburg’s OR Tambo international airport. You can then take either an internal flight (operated by SA airlink) or a road transfer (operated by Ashton’s tours) to our local town in the Limpopo province, HOEDSPRUIT. The Askari team will then collect you from there for the transfer back to the reserve. Airport pickups are only scheduled twice per month on set programme start dates.

ARE THERE ANY COSTS INVOLVED TO VOLUNTEER?

Click HERE to find out up to date costs and requirements for volunteering with ASKARI – Wildlife Conservation Programme.

Costs do not include international or domestic flights/tranfers or travel and medical insurance.

WHAT TYPE OF ACCOMMODATION, MEALS AND FACILITIES CAN I EXPECT TO BE AVAILABLE TO ME?

Accommodation

Volunteers stay in a large house in the heart of the reserve surrounded by the African bush. The garden is protected by an electric fence to keep out dangerous animals but regular visitors to the fence include elephants, giraffe, waterbuck, impala and baboons. Your bedroom and bathroom are shared with a maximum of 3 other volunteers; a double room is available for couples if requested in advance. A laundry service is provided twice per week.  There is electricity at the house, both hot and cold running water, safe drinking water and a mosquito net over every bed. All bedding is provided as well as large wardrobes for all your bush gear. Various sofas, chairs and hammocks are scattered throughout the garden for a spot to rest in the shade or read a book. A lookout tower also gives a fantastic view of sunrise, sunset and the stars or a platform from which to watch the animals in the neighbouring rare antelope breeding camps.

Food

Programme costs include all meals, a self-service basic breakfast (cereals, toast, yoghurt and fruit) and home-made lunch and dinner. Special dietary requirements such as vegetarians can be catered for. Volunteers work on a rota system to prepare meals for the group but all ingredients, recipes and instructions are provided.

Communication

Wi-Fi internet is available at the house for a small fee. Phone signal is poor but it is possible to send an sms in a few spots around the house and garden.

WHAT WILDLIFE SPECIES ARE THERE?

The reserve hosts more than 50 mammal species and over 200 species of birds. All general game indigenous to the area including 4 of the ‘Big 5’ can be seen. Nocturnal monitoring drives allow an opportunity to see the shy and rare nocturnal creatures. Everyone’s favourites at Askari surely include; The big cats (lion, cheetah, leopard), Elephant, Rhino, Giraffe, Zebra

WHAT ATTRACTIONS CAN I EXPERIENCE DURING FREE-TIME?

Askari is just one hour away from the world famous Kruger National Park and the world’s second largest green canyon, the Blyde Canyon. Volunteers regularly join together to hire a car or take a private tour to make local sightseeing trips to these areas.

Other possibilities include micro light flights, kloofing, white water rafting, horse riding in the bush and more. Surrounding wildlife rehabilitation centres can also be visited.

Volunteers staying for 4 weeks or more will visit the local reptile park and Giant baobab tree as well as local towns for lunch to try some local cuisine.

IN CONCLUSION

Askari is based on Pidwa Wilderness Reserve in South Africa’s Limpopo province. Sadly humans have taken their toll on many wild areas of Africa and natural processes have been affected. The goal of Askari is to restore the balance that existed prior to man’s interference and that requires a little assistance. Askari volunteers are hands on members of the team responsible for all aspects of this assistance from varied reserve management projects to the research and monitoring of the reserve’s flora and fauna. Our goal at Pidwa is to create a benchmark wilderness reserve which can lead the way for the future of conservation in South Africa. Askari gives volunteers the opportunity for the trip of a lifetime. You can make a genuine, valuable and hands-on contribution while enjoying world class game viewing and seeing wildlife in its natural habitat.

For more information on ASKARI, please visit www.askariwcp.com

For important information on travelling overseas, please read KNOW BEFORE YOU GO WILD!‘