This project has recently moved to the spectacular Thanda game reserve. It is situated ideally, as the reserve features over 14,000 hectares of bush and is home to extremely rare wildlife. The area is home to the Zulu tribe, a group of people with a very lively and colourful culture, and it is an ideal setting to improve your photography skills, get a chance to photograph rare and phenomenal wildlife, and to help raise awareness about conservation in the local communities.
About the project
This project has a number of long-term goals, with the ultimate goals to raise awareness and help preserve the precious African environment. These goals include hands-on conservation efforts, creating a photographic database, and conservation research. Originally located in the heart of St Lucia, volunteers have made a significant contribution in the last three years. Recently moving to the beautiful settings of Thanda game reserve volunteers will continue to support and assist with the development of the local surroundings. Past volunteer photos have been used in conservation-education efforts, as local community involvement is a core belief in the methodology of conservation in this project.
Improve your photography skills in a 3 day intensive course taught by an experienced professional photographer
Stay in the heart of a Big 5 Game Reserve
Take pictures of the extensive wildlife on regular game drives.
Learn and photograph smaller species of flora and fauna on bush walks
Help to create a photo database for awareness and educational purposes
Help raise awareness in the local community about the importance of conservation
Assist on conservation initiatives within the Park e.g. Snare Sweeps and Alien Plant control
Project OrientationUpon arrival you will have a comprehensive orientation and a 3-day course, which is included in your fee. This is facilitated by your project volunteer coordinator and includes:
A 3-day wildlife photography course taught by an award winning photographer
Overview of the aims of the project and your role as a volunteer
An introduction to where you are staying
A brief introduction to all our other projects that we are involved in KwaZulu Natal.
Optional basic language lessons - You will learn some basic words & sentences in Zulu, the local language.
An introduction to the Green Vision Foundation and the Photographic database.
A typical day in St. Lucia:Here is how a typical day imight take shape. Please note that your itineraries may differ, depending on your own experience and the number of other volunteers on the placement at the same time; this is simply to give an example:
07:00 - Get up, eat breakfast, and start getting ready to depart for your project*
08:30 - Head off to the photography area for that day and start taking photographs of wildlife. You may focus on finding different animals on different days
12:00 - Lunch break. You will be picked up, and taken to your volunteer house, where lunch will be waiting for you
14.00 - Start of your afternoon projects. You may be working on adding your new pictures to the database, or you may work on a conservation activity with local children
16.30 - End of the working day*. You will be picked up from your project and taken home, where you will evaluate the day with fellow volunteers and project coordinators, and discuss the schedule for the next day
18.00 - Dinner at your volunteer house. After dinner, you may wish to go for a few drinks in one of the local bars
*Morning times and end of day times do vary depending on where you are visiting and best conditions for taking photographs, for instance if you are going on a day game drive you will start much earlier e.g. 05:00 am
Throughout your stay at your placement, you will have the support and guidance of experienced field-workers and coordinators. They are part of our greater support team, and will provide you with competent 24-hour field support and assistance.
During your placement you will stay in comfortable twin cabins set in the Game Reserve overlooking a water hole commonly visited by the animals in the park. There is a large communal thatched building with areas to dine, relax, watch the animals or to take a dip in the swimming pool. The accommodation is staffed with cooks and cleaners and all bed linen is provided
You can spend the evenings sat around a fire under the stunning African sky or chatting on the viewing deck to see what animals visit the area as night falls.
These are not included in your volunteering fee, but on-site coordinators are able to assist you with making the necessary booking arrangements:
4 day photographic workshop in the Drakensberg Mountains
Weekend trips to swim with Dolphins in Mozambique
Visit the rugged scenery of Swaziland and experience the cultural heritage
Game drives to the Tembe Elephant park, home to the largest Tuskers in Southern Africa
Boat trips on the Kosi Bay lake systems to see ancient Fish traps and snorkel in the Estuary mouth
Weekend trips to the seaside town of St Lucia to do Whale Watching (seasonal), to spend time on the beach or take a boat trip to see Hippos and Crocodiles up close.
Volunteers will need to bring their own photographic equipment - they should bring an SLR digital camera with at least an 18-55 mm lens, battery charger and 2GB memory card. Through past feedback we now have listed a tripod and digital storage devices (in the form of at least a 4GB flash drive or external drive) as essential items to bring with you.
Min age 18 - Max age 80
Good physical fitness
Full travel & medical insurance
Immunizations (please consult your doctor)
To apply for this program, see Wildlife Photography and Conservation