Samara's Conservation Volunteer Programme

Samara's Conservation Volunteer Programme is designed to showcase the 'behind-the-scenes' running of a game reserve and get volunteers involved in meaningful conservation management. Activities include land rehabilitation, cheetah & elephant monitoring, community outreach and assisting with research projects.

Overview Started in 2010, Samara's Volunteer Programme offers young people from around the world the opportunity to contribute to Samara's conservation vision - the restoration of a fully-functional Great Karoo ecosystem in a Global Biodiversity Hotspot.

Who is it for : 

 The programme is open to enthusiastic nature-lovers from all walks of life. No prior experience is necessary. The only requirement is a sense of adventure and desire to get stuck into the projects. Ideal for gap-year trips, school leavers needing experience in the environmental sector and university students. Minimum age is 18 on the start date of the project. We also welcome mature volunteers.

Activities :

Cheetah monitoring and tracking on foot Land rehabilitation (soil erosion control & vegetation re-establishment) Alien vegetation control Elephant monitoring & research Tracker Academy (partaking in the trackers' morning lessons) Cape mountain zebra population research Rhino monitoring and tracking on foot Community outreach with the Vuyani Safe Haven, a centre for abused and abandoned children in Graaff-Reinet Ad hoc lectures from visiting conservationists or academics (subject to availability) Other activities include hiking, game drives, night drives, camping (weather permitting) Tours of surrounding attractions (e.g. Valley of Desolation, Addo Elephant National Park) can be arranged on request at extra cost.

Important information :

The Volunteer Camp sleeps a maximum of 10 in basic single or double rooms. Camp facilities include a kitchen, living room, braai area, outdoor seating, wifi, TV and telephone. The programme runs in June, July and August every year.

A typical stay will include:

• Cheetah monitoring and tracking on foot

• Land rehabilitation: soil erosion control including digging hollows, brush-packing and vegetation re-establishment to rectify degradation through old farming methods

• Alien vegetation control: removing various invasive plant species and testing the most effective methods

• Vervet monkey research: helping to observe and collect data on Vervet monkeys with students from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and others to explore how our monkeys survive in the harsh Karoo environment

• Tracker Academy: Samara hosts the first ever Tracker Academy in South Africa. Volunteers spend time accompanying the tracker students and Master Tracker Pokkie Benadie on their morning walks to learn about how they interpret animals’ tracks to follow them through the bush

• Cape Mountain Zebra population research: evaluating sex and age ratios and population density

• Rhino monitoring and tracking on foot (both desert-adapted black and white rhino)

• Community outreach with the Vuyani Safe Haven, a centre for abused and neglected children in Graaff-Reinet

• Ad hoc lectures from visiting academics or conservationists (subject to availability)

• Other activities: hiking, game drives, night drives, camping (weather permitting), swimming in rivers (weather permitting).

• Tours of surrounding attractions (e.g. Valley of Desolation, Addo Elephant National Park) can be arranged on request and at extra cost.