Monitoring of Wildlife, South Africa


By joining this project, you will participate in the monitoring of wildlife in South Africa. The hosting project is dedicated to the preservation of bush wildlife and more specifically to the conservation of endangered species in public and private reserves. These species play the role of "sentinels" in the ecosystem, that is, they play a crucial role in the balance of the ecosystems studied. 

DUREE : 2 minimum weeks

DATES : all year

ACTIVITY : Full nature, reserves

SPECIES : all wild species

WORK LANGUAGE : English (minimum level B1)

PHYSICAL LEVEL : easy to moderate

INVOLVEMENT : 7 days a week, 8 hours per day

PUBLIC : Any public over 18 years, individuals, eco-solidarity holidays, students



The project is supported by biodiversity and wildlife experts in South Africa. Highly involved in the conservation of endangered species, the program is supported by larger conservation organizations, such as WWF.

Wildlife monitoring and conservation measures are necessary for the survival of natural areas. Without a large number of reserves (private or national) do not have such programs (too expensive) and are thus unable to sustainably protect the species and their habitats. The project proposes to these reserves to ensure the sustainability of their local biodiversity by carrying out this scientific field work. This work could not take place without the contribution of ecovolunteers.

This eco-volunteering project is the only one in South Africa to work in both private and national reserves, so this is a unique opportunity to experience the South African bush. To date, ecovolunteers participate in wildlife monitoring in 4 reserves of Zululand, each of them being different from the others because of its vegetation and the species that one observes there. All shelter the famous "big 5" (lion, leopard, rhinoceros, buffalo and elephant) and are true treasures of biodiversity.

In Africa there are more than 400 animal species in danger of extinction. Monitoring and inventorying these populations is essential to ensure their conservation. The information collected through the daily work of ecovolunteers is used in many ways: planning the movement of certain individuals from one reserve to another, local management of reserves but also in national or even international conservation campaigns.

You will be involved in the daily activities of field research:

  • by locating and following the animals

  • using radio telemetry and GPS

  • assisting the project in behavioral studies of animals

  • helping to update the animal identification kits, and helping to monitor populations (size, habitat, etc etc ...)

  • helping (depending on the duration of your mission) in special operations on animals (laying collars, taggings or reintroduction ...)

Since 2014 the project is involved in a short-term study on the leopard. This exceptional opportunity will take you to participate in follow-up video tracking and field tracking of this magnificent animal. This program intervenes in 5 reserves, including 2 news specially opened for the latter. To participate specifically in this project you will have to indicate it during your registration.

Participating in this mission is actively helping to save endangered wildlife. You will be able to contribute to an exciting conservation project in South Africa. The various sites on which the project works enable him to get involved in research and conservation work on the Cheetah, Dog Lycaon, Black and White Rhinoceros, Vultures, Elephant, Lion, Leopard, Hyena, Buffalo, etc.

Location / Habitat

The welcome project is located in "Zululand" territories in South Africa. 4 Nature Reserves (Tembe Elephant Park, Manyoni private game reserve, Mkhuze game reserve, Hluhluwe-iMfolozi park), each corresponding to a particular research program.

The local ecosystem is one of the most diverse and productive in the world. A measure of this rich biodiversity, the conservation challenge is huge.

Zululand is a place where nature is unspoiled and where cultures are as diverse as the landscapes. The green hills are intersected by rivers; and the beautiful coastlines are framed by lush forests. Zululand is a rare place where culture, traditions and nature reserves are among the oldest ... A balance between modern cultures and conservation efforts.


The mission takes place on 4 different reserves. The ecovolunteers participate in the research work during 2 weeks per reserve (the choice of the reserve (s) remains dependent on the needs of the project). Each reserve has its own specificities. Some, like Mkuze, have been recognized as UNESCO World Heritage. Tembe Elephant National Park is home to 200, one of the largest African elephants in the world. Hluhluwe-Imfolozi National Park is one of the oldest in South Africa and has an incredible diversity of flora and fauna. The Manyoni Reserve is home to more than 70 mammal species and exceptional bird diversity.

The project is located in a fragile and complex ecosystem, and the wild landscapes of Zululand are renowned for their unusual concentration of endemic species of birds, insects, plants. The habitat consists of African savanna bush.

Summer (October to March) is very hot and humid, with daily temperatures around 40 ° C. During autumn and spring the temperature is around 20-25 ° C, and in winter 10-15 ° C maximum.

For more information on local weather conditions


The reserves in which this mission takes place are all richer in biodiversity than others. Four of them house the famous "BIG 5" (Lion, Leopard, Black and White Rhinoceros, Buffalo and Elephants), but we can also observe other species: many species of antelopes, giraffes, vultures, dogs Lycaons, zebras, baboons and monkeys, vervets, etc.

Birds are the bird of happiness, with more than 420 species!

The presence of river and lakes at several sites also allow you to observe hippos, crocodiles, pelicans ....

The project focuses on monitoring species in danger of extinction: lion, cheetah, vultures, leopards, elephants ... African Wild Dog Dog populations are followed carefully. This species is a victim of its bad reputation and was widely massacred, the population increased from 400 000 people in Africa in the early twentieth century within 3000 now concentrated in small isolated territories.

Involvement ecovolunteer

Depending on the number of participants and the needs of the moment, you will be assigned upon arrival in one of the reserves. Every two weeks you will always based on need, go to another subject.

You will perform daily bush outings, 4x4 with project members. The return to the camps takes place early, well before sunset. During the summer, departures are early in the morning to avoid the heat of the afternoon. Therefore, the breaks of the afternoon are longer.

Some nights outputs can be held to monitor nocturnal species.

You will be involved in research and conservation monitored under the supervision of a member of the project. Daily tasks are:  

  • monitoring of species representing an interest through radio telemetry

  • mapping and geolocation (GPS)

  • creation and updating of identification kits

  • Research on animal behavior

  • estimate population densities

Other activities may take place. Depending on the length of your stay or period you may be lucky enough to help:

  • placing radio collars on animals

  • the marking of animals (eg rhino)

  • the reintroduction of animals

  • the bird baggage

  • control of invasive plant species

  • nocturnal animal tracking (eg hyenas)

  • the care of animals kept in pens time to organize their transfer to another reserve

Regardless of where you are assigned, you will actively and positively participate in fieldwork. Keep in mind that this mission requires a sustained and physical activity contribution, THIS IS NOT A PHOTO SAFARI!
One day a week will be spent at the camp to gather the information collected in the field and prepare them for analysis.


The project accepts interns. Applications must be made at least 6 months in advance and will be accepted on a case by case, depending on availability and the candidate's profile. The project will offer in advance, in consultation with the student and the university, the subject of the course.

Mission costs are the same for eco-volunteers and trainees.

Internship applications must be made to Cybelle PlanèteWe will help you in your efforts.

Requirements and constraints

To participate in this mission:

  • You must be over 18 years
  • You must speak English
  • You must be in good physical condition,
  • You must have a positive attitude toward field work and group life.
  • You must have travel-cancellation insurance.

Before you register:

  • It is important to read the detailed documentation to download.
  • You will need to return the medical fitness form (attached to the detailed documentation) completed and signed by you and your attending physician.
  • In order to optimize your mission, we ask you to send us a letter of motivation written in English (by email).

  • You will need once enrolled in this mission, contact the project at least 15 days before your arrival date to communicate the necessary information to organize your transfer to the project.

Language (s) used (s)

English - The minimum required level of English is B1 : view details you self-assess

Conditions for minors

Minors are not accepted.


1 Day: collection of eco-volunteers in Richards Bay and road to reserves

2 13 days to: Daily field trips, one day a week went to camp for data analysis

14 day: return to the airport.


You stay inside the reserve in the research camp. You will share the common rooms with 1 or 2 other ecovolunteers. According to the reserve where you work, the camps are different, and some are more basic than others.
The living conditions are very basic and are the daily of reserve employees! There are showers (hot water) and toilet.

The kitchen is common, food preparation is done jointly with other eco-volunteers, you will also participate in daily tasks (dishes, household).

You help make supply runs weekly in local grocery stores. Luxury goods such as sweets and soft drinks must be purchased in town, and at your own expense. Vegetarians are welcome, they will report to the project prior to arrival.


The project works in 4 reserves, it accommodates up to 5 ecovolunteers both in each.


Your arrival and departure must take place on a Monday, you can choose your dates below. The minimum duration of participation is 2 weeks, and a maximum of 12 weeks. The possible dates for your arrival and departure are:


  • July 12 or 26
  • 09 or 23 August
  • September 06 or 20
  • 04 or 18 October
  • 01, 15 or 29 November
  • 13 (2) or December 27


  • January 10 or 24
  • 07 or 21 February
  • 07 or 21 March
  • 04 or 18 April
  • May 02, 16 or 30
  • June 13 or 27
  • July 11 or 25
  • 08 or 22 August
  • September 05 or 19
  • 03, 17 or 31 October
  • November 14 or 28
  • 12 (2) or December 26

(1)  The project organizes two team meetings per year, allowing eco-guides from the different reserves to meet and organize joint work, in May and November. The volunteers who will participate in the wildlife mission in South Africa during these periods will have to spend two nights in St Lucia. This stay will be the responsibility of the ecovolunteers but at prices negotiated especially by the project. These meetings are an opportunity to meet with the whole team and to participate in extraordinary activities (eg visit of the St Lucia estuary recently declared World Heritage by UNESCO).

(2) This project closes two weeks at Christmas and accepts on this date only registrations for missions of more than 4 weeks.


Due to the pandemic, Cybelle Planète has set up specific conditions for participation. Please consult our conditions of participation before signing up for a mission.

See information related to Covid-19

Travel Information

You have to go on your own to Johannesburg Airport (Tampo International Airport). Then you have to take a domestic flight to Richards Bay Airport. A professional transportation service will pick up ecovolunteers (and bring them back) on Monday morning. Due to the pick-up schedule for the Monday morning transfer, you will need to arrive at Richards Bays on Sunday and sleep in town (in a hotel), or plan to arrive in Richards Bay. Monday before 12h50.

In all cases you will need to organize yourself your appointment by contacting the project at least 15 days before arrival. The transfer with the professional service is included in the expenses of mission.


Your eco-volunteering mission involves your voluntary participation in the project as well as your biodiversity donation. For each mission, the amount of the Biodiversity Donation is calculated according to the needs of the project and the time you will spend there. 70% of your donation is donated to the hosting project, it will largely be used to cover its material and personnel needs for its sustainability, and also to cover the hosting costs of eco-volunteers. learn more about Don Biodiversity

The costs of the ecovolunteers' missions consist of : your biodiversity donation and your membership in the mission, and non-tax deductible costs (ex: insurance, additional heating costs, over-classification of your accommodation - if offered)

Compensation for the impact of your trip

Cybelle planet pledges to reduceimpact of long-haul flights on the environment. In order to offset greenhouse gas emissions and the impact of your trip, Cybelle Planète has set up specific measures :

  • We no longer accept entries of less than two weeks involving long-haul travel.
  • Flat-rate contribution of 200 € to a territorial and carbon compensation fund for missions of less than 3 weeks.

We consider that a stay of at least 3 weeks, during which you have a positive action for local biodiversity (ex: eco-volunteering mission), and where you adopt a responsible mode of travel, partially offsets your emissions at the regional level. 

Amount of Don Biodiversity

  • two weeks of participation: € 1692
  • 4 weeks of participation: 2428 €
  • Next 2 weeks: € 936

tax deduction : For individuals, participation entitles you to a tax deduction of 66%. So a donation of 1692 € will only cost you 575 €.

For companies, the participation of your employees gives you the right to a tax deduction of 60%. So a donation of 1692 € will actually cost you only 677 €.

Annual fee

Cybelle Planète is a French law association 1901, ecovolunteer stays are reserved for members who are members of their annual subscription of 50 €. This membership automatically gives you access to insurance (including liability, repatriation, medical expenses). Membership in Cybelle Planète is subject to a tax receipt. Learn more about memberships

Your budget

The hosting project supports:

  • The accommodation and food,
  • transfer from and to the airport to the project,
  • framing.

You remain at your expense:

  • the trip A / R to South Africa,
  • expenses incurred (drinks, restaurant, ....) that remain at your expense,
  • your complementary travel insurance (mandatory), including a Cancellation, Air / Train Delay, Baggage, Interruption of Stay.

Travel arrangements

You must organize your own trip to the project: transport, visa, vaccinations if necessary, ....

You will find on our website information concerning visas.

Cybelle Planet can arrange for you to book your airline ticketsThis service is optional.

Conditions of participation

The general conditions of participation in eco-volunteering mission from Cybelle Planet are available online.

Commitment ecovolunteer

Before committing yourself as a Volunteer, you must have read and accepted the charter of ecovolunteers.


In addition to the insurance included in your membership, you must take out cancellation insurance, loss or damage to luggage, and flight delay. Cybelle Planète will offer you insurance during your pre-registration or you can subscribe one by yourself. A certificate of insurance will be required before departure. To learn more about insurance

ethical commitments Cybelle Planète

The Cybelle Planet associationcommitted to the ecovolunteering charter. We have always chosen sharing, equity and solidarity for all our actions.

Tax deduction

Participation in our eco-volunteering mission is reserved for our "support" members.

Ecovolunteers pay Cybelle Planète a Biodiversity Donation in addition to their commitment in the field. 

Only the Biodiversity Gift and membership entitles you to a tax deduction (For companies or persons subject to corporation tax or income tax in France).

Medical fitness form

Your registration can not be validated unless we have received your medical fitness form completed and signed by you and your attending physician.

In order to avoid possible difficulties, we ask you to describe to us, as honestly as possible, your physical and emotional state.
Regardless of the medical situation, all projects are designed to accept as many participants as possible. For this reason, they remain attentive and are very understanding of the various health problems a candidate may have. All solutions are considered to enable the candidate to participate in the project, regardless of his or her state of health, and to the extent possible.
The consequences of misleading and / or omitted medical declarations can be very restrictive for the entire team involved in the mission, and in some cases dangerous (missions on the high seas, in very isolated sites, etc.). So, Any false declaration, omission or false information may be sanctioned by the immediate and definitive exclusion of the participant At its own expense and upon the exclusive and unilateral decision of the project. 

Download the form for a francophone mission

Download the form for an English speaking mission


An ECOVOLONTAIRE T-shirt is offered for any registration to an ecovolunteer mission.

Note that no resumption or exchange is possible, we invite you to consult the description and the size guide .

Testimonials for this mission ecovolunteers