Is wildlife conservation volunteering in Botswana right for me?
This wildlife conservation volunteer opportunity in Botswana is open to all ages. It’s especially suited to anyone with a passion for the great outdoors and preserving African wildlife.
If you’ve been craving a break from constant connection and city or suburban life, this off the beaten track adventure is just what you need.
Pursuing a career in conservation? This environmental conservation project offers a perfect balance between research and doing hands-on work. You will also be learning from conservation experts, giving you a good all-round experience to add to your CV. You can use this experience in interviews and talk about what you learned and the challenges you faced while working with wild animals.
Your work will be divided into four main categories:
Help us conduct elephant research
The Tuli region is home to a large elephant population, which is one of the most exciting things about the area. However, these gentle giants do have quite an impact on the environment with their 12 - 18 hour-a-day feeding habit.
For this reason, it’s important for us to keep track of their population growth and movement. As an environmental volunteer, you’ll have the opportunity help us do this by taking part in elephant research. For example, you'll help identify and record individual elephants and their family groups. You'll also learn how to spot and record movement patterns.
Illegal poaching of bush meat is a major challenge to wildlife conservation in Botswana. As a conservation volunteer, you will help reduce poaching in the Tuli area. You will mainly do this by joining local staff members in removing snares around the wildlife reserve.
In 2017, our Conservation volunteers removed over 1,500 snares in Botswana. We've seen a decrease in the number of snares as well as an increase in the amount of wildlife in the past years. We hope that this might indicate a decrease in poaching activity, but we need you to help us continue these efforts.
You will never be expected to take part in any anti-poaching activities that could risk confrontation with poachers.
Water is scarce in Southern Africa, so we have to work to conserve it.
As a wildlife Conservation volunteer, you will help us construct and repair waterholes, boreholes and rainwater tanks. This will ensure that water is caught up during the wet season and that there is lots of fresh water during the dry season.
Keeping tabs on the movements of wild animals is no easy feat, but we manage to do a pretty good job with our ongoing surveys. During your time in Botswana, you may help us with a bird census, a crocodile census, spoor identification or compiling an inventory of all the mammal species in the reserve.
We’re currently conducting a survey of all the baobab trees in the reserve and doing a thorough vegetation mapping project.
By doing these surveys, you will help us prove this area of Botswana is unique, wild and an essential area for protecting biodiversity in Southern Africa. In turn, this helps us achieve the longer-term aim of establishing a legally binding conservancy for the central Tuli area.
Who are our project partners?
We partner with the Wild at Tuli Reserve in Botswana.
The reserve is owned by Dr Helena Fitchat and Mrs Judi Gounaris, two unique women who share a spirit of adventure and undying passion for the magic of the African Wilderness and its wildlife.
Where in Botswana will I be working?
Wild At Tuli
During your time doing conservation volunteer work in Botswana, you will be based at the Projects Abroad Wild at Tuli reserve, which is close to the border of South Africa.
Located on the banks of the mighty Limpopo River you will find yourself in the very heart of the bush. With a large elephant population, crocodiles lazing happily in the warm river sand and a nightly lullaby of hyena giggles and lion roars, Tuli is truly a wild place.
The Wild at Tuli camp where you will be staying has a rustic, safari feel to it. You can spend starry evenings exchanging stories about the Big Five animals next to the campfire with other volunteers and local staff members, and hot afternoons cooling down in the pristine pool.
We encourage you to fully-immerse yourself in the experience. However, while the project is thoroughly risk assessed and supervised, please do remember there will be wild animals around. Therefore, our policy is that you must never leave camp without a qualified staff member.
A typical volunteering day at Wild at Tuli
As a Conservation volunteer in Botswana, you can expect to work five or six hours a day. Your workload will be divided as follows:
- Four hours of hard work during the cool morning hours
- Two hours of less demanding tasks in the late afternoon
In the mornings, you will typically help our local staff members do things like dig water holes, join an anti-poaching patrol to remove snares and do some spoor identification.
Because mid-afternoon can be incredibly hot, you’ll use these hours to eat, sleep, swim, relax, and read.
Late afternoons and early evenings are the perfect times to conduct surveys, as animals and birds emerge from their midday slumber to quench their thirst at waterholes. You may also join rangers on another anti-poaching patrol.
Since you will be sharing accommodation with your fellow volunteers, you will be able to spend your evenings and weekends getting to know each other better. Share knowledge and go on memorable excursions, such as bush walks or game drives in the African wildlife reserve.
What are the aims and impact of this African Conservation Project?
The aim of this volunteer Conservation Project is to preserve and protect the environment and ensure the survival of precious African wildlife species facing a range of threats.
Located at the place where Botswana, South Africa, and Zimbabwe meet, Tuli has seen a decrease in wildlife populations. This is due to:
- encroachment of human settlements
- illegal hunting
- land degradation
By doing species research, soil erosion control, necessary construction, and anti-poaching drives, we are helping preserve what is left of this highly sensitive Botswana wilderness.
The ultimate goal is to create a legally binding protected conservancy by combining Wild at Tuli reserve with other game reserves, national parks, and conservation areas in the region. So your work volunteering with animals abroad helps reach that goal.
By joining forces with these other reserves and parks, we can create one powerful voice. This will help boost the message of conservation even more in Botswana. Become a wildlife volunteer in Africa to help make this happen!
We set out the aims and objectives of our projects in documents called Management Plans. We use them to properly plan the work you’ll do. They also help us measure and evaluate our achievements and impact each year.
Ultimately, our Management Plans help us make our projects better. This in turn means you get to be part of something that makes a real impact where it’s needed. Read more about our Management Plans.
Measuring our impact
Our projects work towards clear long-term goals, with specific annual objectives. Every volunteer and intern we send to these projects helps us work towards these goals, no matter how long they spend on our projects.
Every year we take a step back and look at how much progress we've made towards these goals. We put together a Global Impact Report, which documents our achievements. Find out more about the impact our global community of volunteers, interns and staff make, and read the latest report.
Leisure activities and free time
Volunteering in Botswana with us is a chance to experience a completely different way of life. By living and working in a wildlife reserve, you’ll be able to connect with nature and experience the beauty of Africa.
You’ll spend most of your time in the reserve. You can spend your free time connecting with like-minded volunteers who are passionate about making a difference.
Quiet afternoons are perfect for enjoying a good book or relaxing under the shade of an acacia tree. In the evenings, you can roast marshmallows around a campfire or play board games together.
You’ll also spend a lot of your time going on safaris, spotting the majestic African wildlife like rhinos, elephants, and leopards.
Safety and staff support
Your safety and security is our prime concern. We have many procedures and systems to ensure you have the support you need to enjoy your trip with peace of mind. Our Projects Abroad staff are available 24 hours a day to help, and will be on-hand to make sure you settle in well at your accommodation and placement. If you encounter any problems, they will be available to help at any time.
Find out more about safety and backup.
Meet the team in Botswana
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