Volunteer – Siyafunda Bush Experience

EKOSINI

WHAT WILL BE EXPECTED OF ME?

The Siyafunda Bush Experience provides practical experience on living in the bush.  The programme is very hands-on with plenty of staff/volunteer interaction.  Daily activities are interesting and varied, including:

•Bush survival skills (how to find food & water, how to stay warm & dry, how to make fires, etc).

•Bush orientation/navigation skills (finding your way day & night)

•Tracking skills

•Approaching animals on foot and walking amongst dangerous game (theory & practical)

•Field work methods (game census, carrying capacities, game capture, etc).

•Sleep-outs and bush-walks

•Big Five game drives

•Biodiversity conservation and history of the area

•Plant and tree identification, uses and mirths/traditions

•Birding walks

HOW LONG CAN I VOLUNTEER FOR?

1 week and up. Most volunteers stay for 2-4 weeks, but longer is possible.

WHAT QUALIFICATIONS, IF ANY, DO I REQUIRE?

Full training will be given in all aspects of the African bushveld, including wildlife conservation, tracking and survival skills.

Siyafunda accepts volunteers of 16+ years of age.  Volunteers under 16 years old are only considered when accompanied by a parent/guardian.  There isn’t a maximum age limit, though a reasonable fitness level is necessary.

WHAT LANGUAGE WILL I NEED TO KNOW?

English

HOW DO I GET TO YOUR LOCATION?

The closest towns to Makalali are HOEDSPRUIT and TZANEEN – nearly 500kms from Johannesburg.  Hoedspruit and Tzaneen are approximately 70kms, or an hour away from Makalali.

Flights and buses are available from Johannesburg to Hoedspruit or Tzaneen.  Arrangements will be made to collect incoming volunteers from either the Hoedspruit Eastgate Airport or the Tzaneen Bus Station.

If you need to overnight in Hoedspruit either before or after your program, the Makalali staff can pick you up or drop you off at the Blue Cottages Guesthouse (www.countryhouse.co.za).

By Plane – Jo’burg to Hoedspruit Eastgate Airport

Flights leave from the domestic terminal at Johannesburg International Airport. The flight is ± 1hour, 15 minutes.  These flights are conducted by SA Express (www.flysaa.com).

By Bus – Jo’burg to Tzaneen

Buses leave from the Johannesburg Park Station or Pretoria Bus Station.  To get to these stations, you will need to organize transport with your hotel/backpackers or catch a taxi.

Translux buses depart every day from Jo’Burg at 09h30 and Pretoria at 10h30, arriving into Tzaneen at 15h40.   For bus reservations, contact Veena at veena@apx.co.za – email her with your name, dates of travel and where you will be traveling to/from.  Volunteers need to arrive at the bus station at least 30 minutes before departure to pay for your bus ticket or the ticket will be forfeited.  Try to book your bus ticket at least a month in advance as they definitely fill up!

ARE THERE ANY COSTS INVOLVED TO VOLUNTEER?

Click HERE to find out up to date costs and requirements for volunteering with SIYAFUNDA BUSH EXPERIENCE.

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

The tented camp is situated on the banks of a tributary of the Makutswi River. The camp has 4 semi-luxury double tents (with interior dividers) built on wooden decks – each tent with two comfortable cots, linens/duvets, dressers and deck chairs.  There is no electricity in the camp, but there is hot water and plenty of paraffin lamps as well as gas stove/fridge/freezer.  The camp is wonderfully rustic!

Volunteers participate in the creation of menus, the preparation of meals and general upkeep of the Camp on a rotational basis.  Electronics can be charged at main camp every couple of days.

WHAT WILDLIFE SPECIES ARE THERE?

The program is based in the 60,000 acre Makalali Game Reserve, home to Africa’s “Big Five” – lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo and rhino.

WHAT ATTRACTIONS CAN I EXPERIENCE DURING FREE-TIME?

Siyafunda is remote and there is no public transport to town. However, volunteers will have an opportunity to visit town approximately once a week (Mondays) in coordination with trips to collect food and pick up/drop off volunteers. The nearest town, Hoedspruit, is small but has all the usual amenities, including medical doctors, supermarkets, restaurants and Internet cafés.

Sundays are generally off-days to just relax in the bush!

IN CONCLUSION

The Siyafunda Bush Experience is ideal if you want to truly experience the “wild” side of Africa.  The program is based in the 60,000 acre Makalali Game Reserve, home to Africa’s “Big Five” – lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo and rhino. The eco-friendly tented camp is set deep in the bush overlooking a watercourse, providing a real Hemingway-style wilderness experience. Hot water for showers is supplied by gas/fire methods and hot meals are prepared by the open fire. Makalali’s Siyafunda Bush Experience is an amazing project on its own or in combination with spending 2 weeks at Makalali’s Siyafunda Conservation Initiative.

By day, walking safaris through the reserve, approaching wildlife on foot and learning skills essential for surviving in the bush.  By night, cooking food and telling stories around an open fire, listening to the melodious sounds of the bush and sleeping under the African sky.  You will definitely walk away from the Siyafunda Bush Experience with a feeling of true intimacy with Africa and its wildlife…

For more information on ENKOSINI ECO EXPERIENCE, please visit www.enkosini.org

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