Askari Wilderness Conservation Program in South Africa

This month’s featured volunteer program is Askari Wilderness Conservation, one we had the opportunity to visit while in South Africa. From a first-hand view, we recommend the staff, accommodations, and projects all to be of the highest quality. The Askari Facebook Page gives an entertaining inside glimpse of life on the reserve. Getting close to the animals for research and doing valuable work within a working reserve is what this program believes in. Here you’ll be a part of a true African bush experience!

Joining this program means you can make a genuine and valuable, hands-on contribution to conservation. Assist the full time reserve team with their management projects and wildlife research while enjoying an amazing safari experience with Africa’s special wildlife.

Askara is based on the 14,000 hectare Pidwa Wilderness reserve and aims to create a benchmark wilderness area. The full time management team needs assistance with projects such as alien plant eradication, rehabilitation of eroded areas, anti-poaching and improvement of habitats. Askari is also responsible for the monitoring of all wildlife on the reserve which includes lion, elephant, leopard, cheetah, rhino, hyenas and general game such as giraffe, zebra and many antelope species. Specialized research and conservation projects are in place for certain vulnerable and endangered species.

Program Highlights:

Projects vary throughout the year but volunteers assist with everything taking place on the reserve during their stay. This may include veterinary dartings, new game introductions, game capture, prescribed management burns and all other aspects of managing a conservation area. Volunteers assist with the ground breaking Brown hyena research taking place at Askari, assessing the feasibility of translocation as a conservation tool for this vulnerable species. Special projects for cheetah and ground hornbill are also in place.

   

Costs in US dollars:

Minimum 2 weeks, maximum 6 months (Rates from www.xe.com)

2 weeks: US $1105

4 weeks: US $1975

24 weeks: US $6478

What’s included:

  • Local  Limpopo airport pick up and drop off
  • Accommodation
  • Food (3 x meals/day)
  • Training week activities (for stays of 4 weeks or longer)
  • Bush 1st Aid introduction
  • Training for identification, research techniques and telemetry
  • All equipment, reserve and management activities, game drives
  • Training manual
  • Long term, fully FGASA qualified, knowledgeable staff
  • Reptile introduction and orientation (4 weeks or longer)
  • Laundry service twice per week
  • Askari backpack, T shirt and baseball cap

What’s not included:

  • International flights
  • Domestic flight/bus transfers to local airport
  • Visa costs
  • Personal travel insurance
  • Personal medical insurance
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Internet usage (available for small additional fee at house)
  • Optional weekend excursions

We’ve had the pleasure of meeting these wonderful people at Askari and know they would be happy to answer any questions you might have on their upcoming projects. Their program e-mail is askariconservation@gmail.com. Volunteering in South Africa is a life-changing opportunity and spending your time at Askari is a wonderful way to make this experience even more fun!

 

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