No special qualifications are required but you do need the enthusiasm and drive to get involved and the ability to work as part of the team. At times it will be uncomfortable; too hot, too cold, too tired. There are plenty of thorns to scratch and cut you……you will get injuries! You will work out in the heat of the African sun, sometimes on physical labour tasks. You therefore need a fair level of fitness but no special education or conservation background is required.
At Askari we pride ourselves on how much you will learn about the African bush and the species that live here. Learning starts with safety, and safety is our primary concern at all times. English is essential to understand all safety instructions and keep you safe. Through a combination of lectures (in the training week) and time spent in the bush, you will be continuously learning. A good understanding of English is needed to benefit from these sessions. Additionally you will need to record data for us which will involve reading and writing in English.
No day is ever the same in the bush so this is hard to answer….its’ also the reason why we love it 🙂 You never know what’s going to happen and what you’re going to see next! Days normally consist of a combination of reserve work and projects and wildlife monitoring. The first session begins around 6.30am, heading out for a few hours. You will be back at Askari around 10am for a half hour breakfast break. We then carry on with another session to take us to lunch. There may be an hour or two free in the afternoon before we set off for a final session taking us through to dark. Evenings are spent at the house where we join together for dinner. Some activities such as nocturnal monitoring drive, sleep out, braai, pizza and potjie nights and movie night under the stars will mean you are busy in the evening as well. Activities and plans change according to season and the time of year and what is happening on the reserve….animal sightings can also change our plans!
Yes, everyone takes it in turns to cook and clean. There is a rota system and you will be with a partner for your duty. Do not worry if you’re not a good cook; there are easy to follow ingredients lists and instructions to assist you. Washing up duty after meals is also part of the rota and will be your job a few times during the week.
You will have a maximum of 3 room-mates with whom you share a room and bathroom. As far as possible we try to make a boys room and girls room but if ratios don’t allow then rooms may be mixed. The double room is available for couples at the time of booking only.
Volunteers work every day of the week from Monday to Friday; Saturday morning is also spent at work & you are expected to take part in all sessions. You will have Saturday afternoon off as well as the whole of Sunday. You can choose to leave the reserve at this time and do some sightseeing in the local area; Kruger National Park and Blyde River Canyon are the most popular trips. If you choose to stay, all food is still provided but no activities are scheduled. You will have free time in the evenings, sometimes during the day and at the weekend. Bring a book, games, whatever you like to do to entertain yourself & relax.
Unfortunately not. Everyday we are out on the reserve working, travelling around and viewing wildlife. All animal sightings always take priority but it is the bush and nothing is guaranteed. All animals are completely wild and can be anywhere at any time. You will see the general game most days, by this we mean impala, warthogs, zebra, giraffe etc. The predators, rhinos and elephants exist in much smaller numbers so sightings are less frequent; that special leopard is the most rare and elusive of all. While we try to see as much as humanly possible please remember it’s the wild and there are no guarantees.
Work at Askari can be physical and tough in the heat of the African sun. The shared living conditions may also not be favourable to all, private rooms are not available. If you are above the age limit but confident Askari is for you then please feel free to contact us independently to discuss.
We hope not! The only time you might touch an animal is when it is being treated by a vet. This will most likely mean it is injured or in some type of trouble. On rare occasions we may call for the assistance of a vet, in which case we will be involved but this is by no means guaranteed.
Under South African immigration regulation, most nationalities are issued with a free 90 day visitor visa on arrival. Longer stays involve a complex application procedure before you leave home, requiring the sponsorship of a South African host. Due to the administration involved, we are unable to provide the sponsorship paperwork required for this. If you need a visa due to the passport you are travelling on it is YOUR RESPONSIBILITY to apply for the right visa in plenty of time. If your correct visa does not come through in time, our normal cancellation policy applies.
Absolutely yes. Most people travel to Askari alone and you will immediately be surrounded by new friends with similar interests. You are more than welcome however, to join with friends or your partner. We just ask you to remember that Askari is a team effort and relies on everyone joining in together and not just sticking with their own group of friends or partner. You really get out as much as you put in.
Every month is good in the bush! Summer (October-April) is our rainy season, daytime temperatures from December to February are extremely hot! In the dry season (June-August) the bush is thin and there are less migratory animals, reptiles and insects to see. Temperatures can drop to 4°c at night.
Every day means new tasks, and you will get to participate in and contribute to many of the various challenges and tasks that managing a game reserve is.
Plus, I now have the best stories to tell in the pub about holding scorpions, camping next to rhinos, hearing a wild lion roar, watching cheetahs hunt.
It’s fantastic because we are not only working but enjoying the wildlife of the place and the staff are always able to answer every question and explain you the features of the animals.
I especially liked the focus on creating a wilderness area, as large as possible, to house endangered animals while developing the native habitats those animals need, rather than creating a maximally stocked reserve built for taking tourists on safari.
Well where to start - every aspect of my two week trip on the Askari Wilderness Conservation project was amazing. If you’re looking for a volunteer project with a huge variety of activities, wildlife everywhere, great food, fantastic homely accommodation, no two days the same, great value, friendly and knowledgeable staff, then Askari is for you.
My time at Askari was amazing! I really want to come back and stay longer. The surroundings are beautiful and you really feel like you are doing something useful.
I have been on a few volunteer projects around the world but especially in Africa and I can honestly say Askari is by far the best value and the most amazing project. I highly recommend it anyone and think you are crackers if you don’t consider spend some time there.
This month has been one of the best of my life! I feel like I now have a greater understanding of the ecological balance of life out here.
You leave Askari knowing that the time you spent as a volunteer did make a difference to the running of this benchmark reserve. The experience will change your life and leave you wanting to return again and again.
It isn’t one of those volunteer programs where the project is running and the volunteers are extras. Here the volunteers are vital for the functioning of the program. We were always doing something important and were always aware of the rationale behind every activity.
Unforgettable! Unmissable! Sensational!
The closeness to the animals you get to experience here teaches you an even greater respect for them and their habitat. Definitely an experience I will remember with great joy for the rest of my life.
My four weeks at Askari have been at times exhausting, at other times breathtaking, but always inspiring and rewarding. The dedication and enthusiasm the team here is very contagious.
Having been at Askari 3 years ago I have been following it’s progress on facebook with Katie’s great picture. 3 years later I am back in South Africa and it would have been rude to not pop into Askari for 2 weeks. It was just as much fun as I remembered , if not even better with the additions of the pool, sable station and the bird loving South African bloke. So cheers guys. - December 2015
I very much enjoyed my time here in the African bush and was so happy to return as the intern. It just goes to show that hard work and commitment really pays off. It was almost 5 years ago since I was last here, so I’m really pleased this opportunity came to fruition. I enjoyed every sighting, big or small. Seeing the big 5 was just the icing on the cake. - January / February 2016
This experience has been extremely life-changing. The knowledge and experiences I gained here have helped me learn a lot more about myself. The small group sizes allow for a more intimate experience with the wildlife.
As someone who has been involved in quite a few volunteer projects, I can honestly say Askari is one of the best. Fun, interesting and you leave feeling you have done good with your time. The staff are awesome and make your experience here fun and rewarding.
Best way to learn about wildlife and vegetation, conservation and reserve management. Came here with the idea to learn a lot about the animals, leaving Askari with way more knowledge that only about the animals. Thanks for everything. - February 2016
Having returned for a second time, I was continually blown away by the knowledge and passion shown by the Askari staff. My time at Askari will push on to be the highlight of my year. This programme is highly recommended.
My stay at Askari has been one of the most fulfilling experiences of my life. The amount of things I learned and saw was unique and soul-satisfying. Katie & Ed are amazing people in so many ways and I would love to come back for another stay at Askari
Askari was hands down the greatest experience of my life. The staff are amazing and friendly and the backbone of this reserve is strong. When you're not enjoying the countless wildlife you are partaking in meaningful activities that lead to the longevity of this reserve's ecosystem. I would suggest it for all who want to make a difference in their own and this earth's life.
Askari is a unique project where one can truly get to experience the African wildlife. Do not come here expecting to find lions or cheetahs that you will pet and touch, because this is not that type of project. But what you can find in very friendly staff, extremely knowledgeable guides such as Ed and Katie and memories to last a lifetime. Thank you Ed and Katie. - June 2016
I'm so very happy that I chose Askari for my south Africa volunteer program. The quality and knowledge of the team here is well above average - they are a superb team! I learned more than I expected and most importantly, I felt that I contributed to a highly ethical conservation program. "July 2016"
Askari was more than a satisfying experience for someone looking to see a great part of South Africa. I think you all do an excellent job of maintaining the reserve and properly teaching the importan and current values of wildlife conservation. I recommend Askari to anyone trying to visit South Africa for its wildlife.