Siyafunda Conservation


The focus of the Makalali project revolves around some of the key species; elephants, lions, hyenas and leopards. You will also be involved with monitoring our breeding initiatives comprising buffalo, Livingston eland and nyala. Habitat work also plays an important part of the monitoring process.The data collected is also made available to students and researchers that they host, as well as a number of national conservation projects, including the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT).

Whether on a monitoring drive, on foot, or observing the wildlife at a waterhole, all of your work will be done under the guidance of our qualified rangers. As each activity has a pre-determined objective, you don’t just get to view the animals, you get to live with them for a little while. There’s nothing quite like sitting in the dark next to a lazing lion waiting for it to start its nightly call, or being surrounded by a herd of elephants and being able to spend time observing their individual traits and family dynamics.

At the end of the day, you return to the camp to share your experiences over dinner around the open fire and then fall asleep to the sounds of the bush.

For more information please contact


Minimum 7 days


Spaces available


£480 a week
+ Return flights+ £50 Admin fee


Minimum 7 days


Spaces available


£480 per week
+ Return flights to South Africa+ £50 Admin Fee


South Africa




Dates available throughout the year.

Any questions?

+44 1725 557225


Siyafunda Makalali project has a minimum duration of 1 week.

Start dates

The project start day is every Monday throughout the year, with volunteers being collected from Hoedspruit.

Typical Project Schedule

Monday: Project start day. Town trip to pick up volunteers and restock supplies

Tuesday: Early start setting out on a set route drive as part of our game counting program to determine populations of general game.

In the afternoon we depart for a monitoring drive to locate one of our key species of interest; lion, elephant, leopards or hyena.

Wednesday: Waterhole monitoring in the morning to determine species utilisation of the area.

We set off for a drive in the afternoon to the breeding boma to monitor the buffalo, Livingstone eland and nyala.

Thursday: Habitat work; we could be busy with exotic plant removal, erosion control or bush clearing.

In the afternoon or evening, we head out on hyena monitoring and night patrol

Friday: Early morning start and we will be out locating the elephants as part of the ongoing research into the elephant contraception program

The afternoon we will set out to monitor bird species.

Saturday: Habitat work in the morning, followed by an afternoon monitoring drive focussing on our lion population.

On return in the evening, we may head out to the local pub or have a typical South African braai (BBQ)

Sunday: Either an outing will be planned or it will be a free day for volunteers to relax or head out on their own tour.

In between activities, volunteers will receive a series of presentations on the work of Siyafunda, or how to approach dangerous game on foot, or possibly even a Zulu lesson. This time will also be used to transfer all data collected onto the computers and compile the weekly research report, as well as helping out with vehicle checks and cleaning.

Your home during your stay will be the Twines Research Camp, in the heart of the reserve with all of the wildlife on your doorstep, quite literally! There are twin share rooms with shared bathrooms and all meals are prepared by the group. In the evenings, while sitting around the open fire, you can listen to the nightly calls of the lions and sounds of the bush while doing some star gazing and sharing stories of your day.

The Twines camp has no fence around it so you will see free roaming animals and birdlife during the day. They visit us in the garden and we regularly see the elephant herds coming to drink at the waterhole. The main building with the office has a large comfortable lounge with a book and movie library where volunteers can spend their free time reading field guides and other books, or watching documentaries in the evening. We also have a volleyball court at the camp, or you can jump into the pool for a cool off!

The Siyafunda volunteer house accommodates a maximum of 10 volunteers in five cosy rooms which has two people shared sleeping arrangements. Each room has a washbasin and an en suite bathroom, which is shared with the adjoining room, consisting of a shower with hot running water provided by eco-friendly solar heaters and flushing toilets.

Next door is the kitchen with an outside eating area. The kitchen offers cooking facilities for volunteers to prepare their breakfast, lunch and dinner. The fridge is always filled up with fresh veggies and fruit, cheese and a variety of meat. Volunteers help themselves with tea, coffee, cereal and toast in the morning. For a late brunch you can do sandwiches or salads or have a tasty fry up. In the evening, after game drive, the volunteers cook a delicious meal together or just braai (South African BBQ) in our Boma, where we light up the fire after sunset.

Volunteers must be a minimum of 18 years old and have a passion for wildlife.

Start dates:

All collections and drop offs of volunteers are done on Mondays throughout the year so please arrange your travel to coincide with this. If you are unable to do so, please advise us promptly and alternative transport can be arranged for you at your own expense.

Arrival and Departure:

•By Air: You can fly direct to Hoedspruit's Eastgate Airport on South African Airways Express. Make your bookings through

•By Transfer bus: Ashtons Tours departs from OR Tambo International every day. For arriving/departing on Monday please book to and from Hoedspruit. For off schedulearrivals/departures (Tuesday to Sunday) please book to and from Makalali/Karongwe. For more information and bookings please go to: State you are a Volunteering with Sifyafunda Conservation to get a discount.

•By bus: City to City has a daily bus service between Johannesburg and Hoedspruit. They can be contacted via

If you need to stay overnight in Hoedspruit before or after joining this project Siyafunda can arrange to pick you up or drop you off at the Blue Cottages Guesthouse. For more information please go to

Included as standard

Accommodation & Airport Transfers

Not included as standard

International Flights, Meals, Travel Insurance, Vaccinations

What to pack

Volunteers should take practical / comfortable clothes to work in e.g (scrubs). If you would like to purchase a WVS scrub top please contact the office or visit our online shop.

  • Practical / comfortable clothes to work in (eg. scrubs)
  • Wet weather gear and warm clothing for the evenings
  • Towel
  • Sunscreen
  • Bug spray
  • Ear plugs and eye mask
  • Headlamp
  • Toiletries
  • Prescriptions & over-the-counter medication (eg. Imodium, Paracetemol etc)

The project may be extremely short on certain supplies and would likely be very grateful for donations. Please get in touch with us to find out if there is anything in particular that would be helpful to bring with you. If you have any spare room in your bag on the outbound flight, it would be highly appreciated if you are able to bring some spare supplies to use during your trip. This is at your discretion and entirely optional.

Travel Insurance

It is essential that you obtain comprehensive travel insurance for this project which also covers you for veterinary work. We recommend Go Walkabout who offer tailor made travel insurance policies for WVS volunteers. Please note that fully paid members of WVS also receive a 10% discount on Go Walkabout policies.

Health & Vaccinations

This information should be used as a guide only. For up to date information on immunisations please consult your doctor. You will need to allow plenty of time before travelling for your immunisations to be effective. DO NOT LEAVE THIS UNTIL THE LAST MINUTE. As you will be working with animals the Rabies and Tetanus vaccines are essential. We have provided links below to websites with useful information on immunisations and travel advice which we highly recommend that you visit.


​UK passport holders are required to obtain a visa before travelling. Please visit the Foreign Commonwealth Office website for further details: All WVS volunteers are required to organise their own visas.