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
Siyafunda Bush Experience is an amazing project on its own or in
spending 2 weeks at Makalali's Siyafunda Conservation
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...
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:
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)
animals on foot and walking amongst dangerous game (theory &
•Field work methods
carrying capacities, game capture, etc).
Five game drives
conservation and history of the area
and tree identification, uses and mirths/traditions
Sundays are generally off-days to just relax in the bush!
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
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.
For further information, visit
Makalali 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.
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.
1 week: GB£545 / US$895
2 weeks: GB£795 / US$1345
3 weeks: GB£1095 / US$1895
4 weeks: GB£1395 / US$2395
Extra weeks: GB£295 / US$495 per week
Volunteers can also choose to experience
both camps at Makalali (two weeks at Research Camp, two weeks at Bush
Camp) for a discounted rate of GB£1395 / US$2395.
Volunteers receive a $100 discount when joining multiple Enkosini
uses USD rates as standard due to currency fluctuations. GBP rates
are indications of approx recent values. Currency convertor at
Volunteer contributions cover meals,
accommodation, activities, transfers from Hoedspruit/Tzaneen to Makalali,
and project donation. Flights and travel/medical insurance are NOT included.
The only additional spending money required will be for personal purchases,
social excursions away from Makalali, and pre/post project travel. We do not have discounted rates for partial
Please bear in mind that the sooner you
apply, the better your chances of securing your placement!
We organize arrivals/departures on Mondays
to coincide with weekly town trips for food/supplies/etc.
There is no charge for Monday transfers, but off-schedule transfers will
cost R500 South African rands. Volunteers just need to inform
Enkosini Eco Experience of the date they are planning to arrive.
Volunteers are required to sign an indemnity form acknowledging and
accepting the consequences of working in close contact with wild animals.
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
Arrangements will be made to collect incoming volunteers
from either the Hoedspruit Eastgate Airport or the Tzaneen Bus Station.
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
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
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
firstname.lastname@example.org - 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!
Hoedspruit area borders a malarial zone and it is incumbent upon each
person to take medical opinion on vaccinations and whether or not to follow a
malaria prophylactic programme. There are no formal vaccinations
requirements for entering South Africa. See
FAQs for complete packing list.
"I've just completed a month at Makalali,
staying at the Siyafunda Bush Camp and had the most fantastic time of my
life. A month in the African bush has had a long lasting and positive effect
on me. I don't want to use the word 'amazing' as it overused and doesn't
even come close to accurately describing my experience. I have met some
fantastic people who have become good friends and some incredible wildlife.
The back to basics lifestyle at camp was brilliant and has made me realise
just how easy we have it back at home but also just how wasteful we can be.
The game rangers are quite outstanding at what they do and they have a
perfect mix of professionalism and friendliness that really puts you at
ease. They too have become good friends. It was my first time in Africa and
the first time I have ever done anything like this and will certainly not be
the last. I can't wait to return. Thanks to everyone who helped me arrange
the trip and to everyone I met along the way who made bush camp and the
Siyafunda Bush Experience such an unforgettable time."
-Luke Harding, England
"I just wanted to let you
know what an absolutely amazing time I had at Siyafunda. The set up there is
fantastic and Patson, Andrews, Mike and Hannes are brilliant. They were so
welcoming and taught me so much. Thank you for your help in organising my
stay and I hope to return next year. -Sam Barley, Australia
"Just back from Africa. What a
marvelous adventure! Especially enjoyed 'Bush Camp' and learning from
Patson. Everyone at Siyafunda was lovely. I will share my
experience with others and encourage them to see Africa this way!" -Robin
trip to South Africa was great! The 2 projects I volunteered for,
Siyafunda and ORCA, were full of experiences I will never forget. It
was very interesting and all the people working for the organizations and
the other volunteers were friendly, sincere in their efforts and helpful
in many ways. Thank you for all your help and for having a great
website that helped inspire me to make it happen. I went over with no
expectations other than see and experience some of South Africa's
wilderness, its creatures, its conservation programs and its
culture. I did. Hopefully , I gave something back to the
projects and helped further their conservation initiatives. It was
nice hanging out with like minded people who truly care about the animals,
mammals, birds, fishes, insects, trees and the general well-being of all
life on this planet. Everyone's willingness to share their knowledge and
to share in experiences made for a relaxing and educational time.
Siyafunda, I felt like I was in Africa. Seeing my first lion as we walked
along the dry river bed made my senses alive and my heart pound. Seeing so
many healthy animals in a reserve of this size showed me the efforts are
working. Marius was awesome. He was extremely knowledgable in all
areas of nature and made each day interesting and purposeful. He also had
a good sense of group dynamics and kept things flowing. Considering that I
was only there for 2 weeks, it was a great way to both understand and help
with the efforts at Siyafunda and the overall big picture of South
Africa's wildlife." -Dana Kimball, USA