Two great conservation projects, Zingela and
Siyafunda, have recently partnered to offer a fantastic experience for
individuals who are interested in Rare and Endangered species in Africa.
The 55,000 acre Zingela Game Reserve is based
in the Northwestern Limpopo province of South Africa. The project focuses on
breeding rare and endangered species and reintroducing them into their
natural habitat, as well as managing and balancing the current wildlife
populations. Two of the Big Five, buffalo and leopard, are already present
on the reserve along with 45 other mammal species, including rarer
carnivores such as brown hyena, spotted hyena, bat-eared fox and cheetah.
Roan antelope, sable antelope, and disease-free buffalo are currently being
bred. Plans to reintroduce lion and elephant are in the making.
Volunteers stay in a typical South African
Farm house with large rooms and verandahs to enjoy during the sweltering hot
summer days. The Farm house is situated next to a dam which is teeming with
animals throughout the day and leopard and hyena are observed regularly at
night. The house has permanent electricity supply which is essential for
onsite data capture and analysis.
The Zingela experience requires a minimum
stay of two weeks, allowing volunteers to truly immerse themselves into
project activities and become part of the close team.
During the first week, volunteers will have a
thorough introduction into reserve activities and wildlife monitoring
protocol, and assist with feeding, observing and monitoring of rare antelope
species and buffalo. Volunteers will also enjoy daily monitoring
drives and water point observations to understand utilization by free
roaming species within the reserve.
In the second week, volunteers must be
prepared to spend 3 nights out on foot hiking and camping (see list of
required equipment). We've found this is the most effective way of
recording sightings and other signs/tracks of the rare predator species as
well as other species such as leopard, cheetah and hyena. For the
remainder of the week, volunteers will assist with habitat work and reserve
maintenance, and visit the local community.
This project is fantastic for a true
conservation-minded volunteer who wants to be deeply involved with the
establishment of a protected area where endangered species can roam freely
and thrive, and eradicated species, such as lion and elephant, can be
Zingela is very hands-on, providing practical
experience with conservation management and plenty of staff/volunteer
interaction. Daily activities are interesting and varied, including:
• Assisting breeding projects of rare
species. This entails feeding and locating calves during the calving season,
and monitoring the health and behavior of animals such as buffalo, roan, and
• Planning the introduction of lion and
determining their effect on other predators by monitoring predator movement
and behavior, and mapping predator composition.
• Planning the introduction of elephant and
determining their effect on reserve sustainability through vegetation
surveys and mapping.
• Maintaining “bomas” (enclosures where
species are kept before reintroduction), look-out points at water holes, and
habitats (invasive plant removal, bush encroachment and erosion control).
• Developing protocols to monitor and
interpret animal movements and distribution, such as vehicle/walking routes
for game counts.
• Monitoring animal activity through these
drives, walks, and waterhole observations.
• Monitoring bird species and introduction of
Ground Hornbills in partnership with Siyafunda Makalali.
• Developing outreach projects for the local
communities to help them grow, and to raise awareness for conservation
The Farm house sits by a large dam with
lovely hill views to the south. The house has 4 large bedrooms, 3 bathrooms,
and a large lounge which opens onto a large veranda that surrounds the house
on 2 sides. The kitchen is typical of old South African farm houses,
being large with a walk in pantry. The kitchen is the focal point of
the house and opens to the outside dining area and campfire. There is
permanent electricity and hot running water at the house.
Volunteers participate in the creation of
menus, the preparation of meals and general upkeep of the Camp on a
Zingela is remote and there is no public
transport to town. However, volunteers will have an opportunity to visit the
local hamlet of Tolwe approximately once a week and every 2 weeks a larger
town in coordination with trips to collect food and pick up/drop off
The closest town for pick up of volunteers is
Mokopane, which is small but has all the usual amenities, including medical
doctors, supermarkets, restaurants and Internet cafés.
The Blouberg Mountains, meaning “Blue
Mountain” in Afrikaans, are a beautiful nearby attraction. The Blouberg is
one of the most spectacular rock climbing areas in South Africa, famous for
its sheer 350 metre “Moonshadow” wall.
Training / Qualifications
A reasonable level of fitness is important to
fully participate, especially during the hiking component of the program.
Training will be given in all aspects of the project on arrival.
Zingela 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$795
2 weeks: GB£695 / US$1195
3 weeks: GB£945 / US$1595
4 weeks: GB£1195 / US$1995
Extra weeks: GB£245 / US$395 per week
From a location perspective, our Makalali,
Siyafunda and Bambelela programs are great add-ons with the Zingela project,
and any of these project combinations include a $200 discount.
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 Mokopane to Zingela, 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 Zingela, 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.
The closest town to Zingela is MOKOPANE -
nearly 250kms from Johannesburg. Mokopane is approximately 180km or 2 hours
from Zingela. Buses are available from Johannesburg to Mokopane.
Arrangements will be made to collect incoming volunteers from the Mokopane
Bus Station. If you need to overnight in Mokopane either before or after
your program, the Makalali staff can pick you up or drop you off at the Casa
By Bus - Jo'burg to Mokopane
Buses leave from Johannesburg Park Station or
Pretoria Bus Station. Translux buses depart every day from Jo'Burg at 09h30
and Pretoria at 10h30, arriving into Mokopane at 13h00. For bus
reservations, contact Thandiwe at
TShingange@prasa.com - 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!
The Zingela reserves 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.