Conservation Volunteer Projects
With the many national parks and reserves in Eswatini, volunteering with wildlife is an option for those interesting in the conservation and future of Eswatini’s wildlife. Local provider All Out Africa has a dedicated volunteer programme which has a unit for field research, as well as a wildlife fund that manages projects for threatened wildlife.
As a volunteer, you will experience hands-on field research relevant to the conservation of savannah ecosystems in Africa. Whilst a volunteer with All Out Africa you will get to study birds, reptiles, ungulates, rodents, small predators, bats, vegetation and a variety of other plant and animal life in one of southern Africa’s most unique conservation areas within a global biodiversity hotspot. Investigate the interface among protected areas, rural communities, and commercial agriculture in the Lubombo Conservancy while based in the private Mbuluzi Game Reserve and also working in neighbouring Hlane Royal National Park and Mlawula Nature Reserve.
Although savannahs are well represented in African conservation areas, they are subjected to increasing degradation as a result of human influences through land use and climate change. Though well known for a large charismatic game such as elephants, rhinos, and lions, there are a variety of smaller species that are threatened and are arguably more important to the functioning of savannahs. Although the All Out Africa volunteer project is based in areas containing big game, their research activities are focused on a large variety of fauna and flora including birds, ungulates, small predators, rodents, reptiles, bats, and vegetation. You can be involved in biodiversity monitoring, radio telemetry movement studies, small mammal trapping, mist netting to gain valuable field experience.
The research may involve weighing, measuring, tagging and banding young birds (especially raptors), bats and reptiles (lizards and tortoises) to monitor their condition and enable the study of their population dynamics and dispersal. It also may involve fitting radio-transmitters to track the animals to determine their home range, distribution and movements.
Some of the activities you will get involved in may include:
Biodiversity Monitoring – Seasonal Savannah systems are under constant threat from human activities resulting in biodiversity losses, shrub encroachment and pollution. Understanding and monitoring trends in plant and animal habitat use and population dynamics are critical in combating savannah loss and degradation.
Leopard tortoises – Tortoises are being radio-tracked to better understand how they move through the landscape. We are looking at how changes in vegetation communities and different boundary types affect home range size and movement patterns.
Helmeted guineafowl – One of only two species of guineafowl, little is known about how agriculture affects their habitat use and breeding success. Using GPS and radio-tracking technology in addition to nest monitoring, we are gathering rewarding & impactful data on this important species.
* Please note that the activities listed above are based on availability and may vary by season. These are samples of activities that are volunteers are likely to participate in.
Accommodation & Meals
During your stay, you will be accommodated at the Savannah Research Centre located in the Mbuluzi Game Reserve*. Accommodation will be in 2-man tents, fitted with mattresses and pillows. Three meals a day will also be provided, some on a self-serve basis and others cooked for you.
*Depending on availability, you may be placed a satellite research camp within a partner Game Reserve and not at the main Savannah Research Centre in Mbuluzi. Please inquire for more information.
Project Start Dates
The start day for this project is the first Monday of the month throughout the year, with the exception of November & December when the project is closed.
Included in the Cost
- Comprehensive 24 hours, 7 days a week support from All Out Africa
- Research projects specifically designed to enable you to make an active contribution During your stay,
- Developing research and field techniques which support any additional assistance which may be required
- Support of volunteer project coordinators who are experts in their fields which ensure the volunteer experience is rewarding & impactful
- Comprehensive orientation to the country, its culture and your role As a volunteer, upon arrival
- All food and accommodation throughout your stay
All Out’s conservation projects are multi-award winning.
Over the last 12 years All Out Africa has enabled 500 international volunteers to contribute meaningfully to conservation through data collection and supported and trained over 100 local students in field-based conservation and ecological research. With activities in Eswatini, Mozambique and South Africa they have supported the education of 15 local students at MSC level & more than 1000 undergraduate students from both local and international universities. This work has seen them Gold Winners in the prestigious African Responsible Tourism Awards in 2017 and Finalists in 2018. They were also Global Youth Travel Awards Finalists in 2017 with the Judges particularly impressed by AOA’s social- entrepreneur approach to solving the problem of insufficient ecological information and capacity to enable successful conservation.