Private game reserve Thanda Safari has launched a volunteer research programme offering Volunteer Research Assistant positions to professional career breakers, university graduates and gap year students.
Lasting between two and 12 weeks, depending on the level of experience sought, the Ulwazi Research Programme is available to those wanting to contribute to conservation whilst visiting Africa, seeking field experience in wildlife and conservation, or looking to carry out doctorate level research.
Volunteers can gain valuable research experience along with new life skills and enhanced career opportunities, through varied activities and engaging work, whilst participating in research projects with a number of leading conservation organisations and universities that contribute to a greater understanding of wildlife and environmental management.
Volunteer work can include participating in the day-to-day management of the reserve, including the monitoring of endangered species and habitat management involving practical field work, as well as general data collection and analysis.
Volunteers will also be encouraged to engage in community support activities with the neighbouring Zulu communities, notably through Thanda’s Star for Life initiative and those supported by the Thanda Foundation Trust.
Safari-style accommodation is provided in thatched chalets at Thanda Safari’s Intibane Research & Training Centre. Each chalet (double occupancy) features an en-suite bathroom and views over the reserve with wildlife viewing opportunities from the chalets’ decks. Facilities include a restaurant, cash bar, swimming pool and boma, with Wifi also available. Chef Nonnie offers delicious, freshly-cooked meals and all dietary requirements can be accommodated.
Thanda Safari is a 14,000 hectare Big Five private game reserve situated in the heart of Zululand, widely known for offering award-winning guided safari experiences to guests staying at the luxurious safari lodge. The Ulwazi Research Programme is run alongside but independently to this core offering.
Thanda Safari’s vision from the outset has been to advance conservation on the reserve by restoring the balance between the wildlife populations, natural habitats and ecological processes. In 2014 Thanda Safari was officially proclaimed as a Protected Environment within South Africa’s Biodiversity Stewardship Programme.
Thanda Safari also partners with the neighbouring Zulu communities in a range of educational, job creation, skills enhancement and cultural preservation programmes. Many of the people from these communities are part of Thanda Safari’s wildlife and management teams, presenting a fine example of conservation and communities coming together for the benefit of people and wildlife.