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VOLUNTEER  

PROJECTS

Lapolosa Wilderness
Makalali Game Reserve
Siyafunda Bush Experience
Kariega Conservation Project
Amakhala Game Reserve
Zingela Endangered Species
Modisa Wildlife Project
Bambelela Wildlife Sanctuary
C.A.R.E. Baboon Sanctuary
Noah's Ark Wildlife Centre
Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary
O.R.C.A. Marine Conservation
Great White Shark Project

 

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Enkosini Eco Experience

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SIYAFUNDA BUSH EXPERIENCE

(Hoedspruit, South Africa)

Tracking Camp

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... 

 

Volunteer Work

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

 

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

 

Field Conditions

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.

 

For further information, visit www.siyafundaconservation.com.

 

Other Activities

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.  

 

Training / Qualifications

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

 

Age Requirement

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.

 

Costs

Volunteer Contribution:

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.

 

Please Note:

Volunteers receive a $100 discount when joining multiple Enkosini programs.

Enkosini uses USD rates as standard due to currency fluctuations. GBP rates are indications of approx recent values. Currency convertor at www.xe.com.

 

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 weeks.

 

Please bear in mind that the sooner you apply, the better your chances of securing your placement!

 

Dates

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.

 

Transport

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!

 

Other

The 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.

 

Testimonials

"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 Petrey, USA

 

"My 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. 

 

At 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

 

 

 

To contact our South African office:

Enkosini Eco Experience

P.O. Box 1197, Lydenburg 1120, South Africa

E-mail: info@enkosini.com, Web: www.enkosini.com

 

To contact our US office:

Enkosini Eco Experience

4111 East Madison Street, Suite 76, Seattle, WA 98112, USA

Tel: +1.206.604.2664, Fax: +1.310.359.0269

E-mail: info@enkosini.com, Web: www.enkosini.com

 


Copyright © The Lion Foundation/Enkosini

 

 

To contact our South African office:

Enkosini Eco Experience

P.O. Box 1197, Lydenburg 1120, South Africa

E-mail: info@enkosini.com, Web: www.enkosini.com

 

To contact our US office:

Enkosini Eco Experience

4111 East Madison Street, Suite 76, Seattle, WA 98112, USA

Tel: +1.206.604.2664, Fax: +1.310.359.0269

E-mail: info@enkosini.com, Web: www.enkosini.com

 


Copyright © The Lion Foundation/Enkosini