Rhino Poaching Awareness in South Africa

Travel to the African savannah to participate in rhino poaching awareness efforts and wildlife research studies.

Durations: 1 - 12 weeks
Critical science

Critical science

You'll contribute to vital conservation research targeted at protecting the earth's most valuable ecosystems.
Ethical engagement

Ethical engagement

Using the UN's SDGs as a framework, we've made a commitment to positive, constructive and sustainable impact.
Beautiful adventures

Beautiful adventures

You'll spend your days exploring some of the world's most breathtaking, exhilarating and remote wildernesses.

Program information

Work as part of our international team on rhino anti-poaching awareness efforts and other conservation efforts. Gain a thorough understanding of the African ecosystem and conservation issues and contribute through environmental education, learning about fundraising, and contributing to further research. Get an unfiltered look into some of the most remarkable wildlife and landscapes the African continent has to offer while contributing to UN Sustainable Development Goal #15, Life on Land.

Book by 31 August 2022
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Overview
Dates & Prices
Life On Base
Covid-19 Response
publications
What's It like?
ExperiencesNew
Arrivals
Your Impact
Our Ethics
Flights
MEET THE TEAM
Program ethics
Qualifications
Training
Free time
Cultural Immersion
Parent Info
Support & Safety
What's Included
Live Updates

Program overview

South Africa is home to several species under threat, like the critically endangered black rhinoceros and near threatened white rhinoceros. Our international conservation team in Karongwe Private Game Reserve, only an hour from Kruger National Park, works toward conserving the species found in the protected area by partnering with local and international organisations like the South African National, SAN Parks authority and the Endangered Wildlife Trust.   

This program gives volunteers the opportunity to learn about the global issue of poaching and how international and South African organisations are working on prevention. The focus specifically concerns the poaching of rhinoceros. Volunteers will assist with fundraising efforts and create promotional materials to support these initiatives, as well as deliver environmental education workshops in the local community. There might also be the opportunity to attend lectures on the topics of poaching, the impact of losing important animals on the ecosystem and how anti-poaching efforts are set up and run.

Please note you can spend up to 12 hours a day collecting data which can be tiring, in the heat of the African sun.

Highlights

  • Learn what is being done in Southern Africa to prevent rhino poaching and contribute in a safe way to conservation efforts.
  • Go on a wildlife safari adventure in a private South African nature reserve.
  • Listen to the quiet hush of the wild open spaces, waking each morning to a chorus of savannah birds and drifting off to the nighttime hum of endemic frogs and crickets.
  • Capture data on animal identifying factors, movement, behaviour, invasive vegetation removal, and monitoring cheetah feeding habits.
  • Learn how to use telemetry equipment and tracking techniques to monitor rhinos.
  • In your free time, visit the famous Kruger National Park, only an hour away from where we are based or visit the nearby Drakensberg Mountains where awe-inspiring vistas are afforded over the Blyde River Canyon.
  • Live and work alongside Field Guide Association of South Africa, FGASA, qualified guides, growing personally and professionally by learning from their experiences.

Program details

Program type
Volunteering
Group
program
Location
GVI Africa, South Africa, Limpopo
Focus
Wildlife Conservation

Dates and prices

Select a start date:

Exclusive offer. Book before the end of the month and receive up to 0 off this program.
COVID-19 flexibility. If COVID-19 prevents you from travelling, change your location and dates free of charge.
Payment plans. Flexible payment plans allow you to pay in instalments.

What happens next?

Once you apply, a personal Enrollment Manager will be assigned to walk you through the rest of the process.

Life On Base

Live in the heart of the South African savannah, sharing a renovated farmhouse with qualified guides from the Field Guides Association of Southern Africa, other GVI staff, and participants from around the world. The base is incredibly remote, and tourists are unable to visit. Completely open to the bush and close to a dam, animals frequently visit the property, including elephants, buffalo, impala and leopards. 

Boasting more than 20 thousand acres of open savannah, Karongwe features some of the best wildlife viewing of any private South African wildlife reserve. It’s home to all of the Big Five, including the elusive leopard, as well as cheetahs and spotted hyenas.

Rise each morning to the sound of African birdsong at dawn, before heading out in an open-topped safari vehicle to conduct research vital for the conservation of key predator species, like cheetahs and lions. Heading back to camp when the sun is at its height, you’ll input data, study, assist with cooking or tidying, or relax with the team in our shared outdoor social space. In the early afternoon, when the sun starts to set over the Drakensberg mountain range, you’ll head out again to conduct further research. Returning when the stars are at their brightest, you’ll share a meal and the day’s stories with your team. In your free time, visit  Kruger National Park, an hour’s drive from your accommodation, or travel to the scenic Panorama Route, which takes you through the magnificent Blyde River Canyon.

With one of most biodiverse ecosystems in the world, and home to many of the most threatened African wildlife species, South Africa is a nature, wildlife, and adventure lover’s paradise.

Accommodation

Lodgings consist of large dorm-style rooms with shared bathrooms. The base is solar-powered to ensure less impact on the environment. When it’s time to relax, there are hammocks...

Transportation

Transport to conduct field research is provided by our vehicles and drivers. We have one 15-seater taxi for organised transfers, which includes weekly trips into town, fortnight...

Communication

Our base has good connection to local cell phone towers, and participants with unlocked mobile devices can purchase local SIM cards during weekly trips into town. There is Wi-Fi...

Meals

Participants make their own breakfast, which is continental style, including bread and spreads. For lunch, it’s usually sandwiches and salads. Dinner might be anything from a tr...

Climate

Limpopo is well-known for its warm climate. Sunny days and low rainfall are the norm on most days throughout the year. Summer, starting in October and ending around March, coinc...

COVID-19 Safety

Enhanced cleaning and social-distancing measures in place.

Learn more

Download our Travel Smart Checklist

Essential information you need to travel safely during the COVID-19 pandemic - including destination ratings, flight bookings and tests.

Covid-19 Response

Health and Hygiene

For over 20 years, GVI has prioritised the health and safety of our staff, participants, partners and local community members. In response to the global COVID-19 pandemic, GVI has created the GVI health and hygiene team to put in place new standards of cleanliness, norms and behaviours that meet or exceed international recommendations to ensure the ongoing safety of GVI’s participants, staff and communities around the world. Internationally recommended practices, such as advice from the World Health Organization (WHO), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the governments Australia, UK and US, continue to be monitored and the standards are likely to change if and when international advice changes.

The work GVI is contributing to across the globe remains important and the following measures allow our participants to continue to join GVI’s programs and continue impacting positively on their world and the communities we work with. The following changes to our existing protocols have been made by the GVI health and hygiene team to strengthen our health and hygiene protocols and ensure that international standard safeguards are in place to protect our participants, staff and host communities.

Download our Travel Smart Checklist

Essential information you need to travel safely during the COVID-19 pandemic - including destination ratings, flight bookings and tests.

Read up on our COVID-19 protocols

Publications

The best decisions in international development and conservation cannot be made without accurate and up-to-date data or informed research.

Our many field teams around the world collaborate with local and international partners to analyse data and draw conclusions. In addition, many of our participants have used research they have collected on their various GVI projects to complete their Masters, Doctorate, or postdoctoral studies.

We also run a fellowship program which connects postdoctoral researchers at globally-respected universities with our many sustainable development programs around the world to support their research and ensure continuous improvement of our best practices on base.

Cap Ternay Newsletter, Last Quarter 2019

Newsletter

2019

Reef Conservation UK 13th Annual Meeting, Zoological Society of London

Author(s)

Patsy Theresine1, Christophe Mason-Parker2, April Burt3, Pierre-Andre Adam4, Anna Koester2, Jennifer Appoo5, Nicholas Graham6, Shaun Wilson7, Rodney Quatre1, Isabelle Ravinia1, Dainise Quatre1, Mariliana Leotta2, Joanna Blumel4, Elke Talma8, Arjan de Groene5, Aurelie Duhec4, Richard Jeanne4, Jan Robinson9, Phillip Haupt3, Savi Leblond10, Josep Nogues11, Ariadna Fernandez11, Christopher Narty11, Jude Bijoux12

‘The Current Status of Coral Reefs along the North West Coast of Mahe, Seychelles Following the 1998 Mass Bleaching Event’

Newsletter

2019

Reef Conservation UK 13th Annual Meeting, Zoological Society of London

Author(s)

Patsy Theresine1

What's It like?

If you’d like to find out what the experience of joining a GVI project is really like, simply contact us and we’ll put you in touch with one of our many Alumni.

We’ll try to match you to an Alum based on your location, nationality, age, stage of academic career, gender, and program interests. This allows you to gain insights into the experience that is most relevant to you.

Depending on your location you might be able to speak to an Alum over the phone or online, or meet up with them face-to-face at a coffee shop nearby. We also run a series of small events around the world where you can speak to GVI Alumni, Ambassadors and staff members.

Get a first-hand perspective

Meet us

GVI experiences

Make the most of your chance to live in – and contribute towards – diverse, unique wildernesses and communities. Introducing GVI Experiences – immersive adventure, cultural and wellness activities exclusive to GVI and specially designed in collaboration with our local partners to support and stimulate sustainable economic development. Enhance your impact. Expand your adventure. Explore your world.
Exclusive local GVI experiences
Learn to make a potjiekos
Learn to make a potjiekos
One-pot wonder...
Develop your wildlife photography skills
Develop your wildlife photography skills
Picture perfect...
Discover the medicinal uses of indigenous plants
Discover the medicinal uses of indigenous plants
Herbal remedies...
Master basic bush survival skills
Master basic bush survival skills
Into the wild...
Watch a magical sunset at a watering hole
Watch a magical sunset at a watering hole
Golden hour...
 Enjoy a night sky safari
Enjoy a night sky safari
Written in the stars...
Walk through a prehistoric cycad forest
Walk through a prehistoric cycad forest
Dinosaurs of the plant world...
Sleep in the open bushveld
Sleep in the open bushveld
Under African skies...

Arrivals

When it comes to support, we ensure that each participant is provided with unparalleled, 360 degree support, from your initial contact with the GVI Family, all the way through your program, and even after, as you become part of the GVI Alumni Team.

As part of this promise, we will ensure, whenever possible, that one of our dedicated staff will be available to meet you at the airport. In most locations, we also set up a Whatsapp group to help with managing airport arrivals. We will arrange with you prior to your departure that, should you arrive in the agreed upon pick up window, a member of our staff will be there to welcome you, easily identifiable in a GVI t-shirt or holding a GVI sign and wearing a friendly smile. This means there will be someone there to greet you as you land, and from there you will be transported to your GVI base to start your adventure and meet the rest of your team.

COVID-19 safety

Enhanced cleaning and social-distancing measures in place.

Learn more

Your Impact

All of our programs have short-, mid- and long-term objectives that align with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs). This enables us to report on our collaborative impact across the world in a streamlined manner, measuring which UN SDGs we are making a substantial contribution to. Furthermore, this will help our local partners and communities measure and visualise their contribution to the UN SDGs.

Prior to your arrival on base, you will be educated about the UN SDGs. Then once you arrive on base, you’ll learn about the specific goals we have in this particular location, our various objectives, and also clarification of how your personal, shorter-term involvement contributes to these.

Our aim is to educate you on local and global issues, so that you continue to be an active global citizen after your program, helping to fulfil our mission of building a global network of people united by their passion to make a difference.

Our Limpopo based programs are primarily aimed at developing the wildlife conservation sector, boosting the local economy by providing additional skills in the field, and providing high quality training to students from all over the world.

As such, the main UN Sustainable Development Goals of this project include #15, Life on Land, #10, Reducing Inequality and #8 Decent Work and Economic Growth.

Project objectives

GVI Mahlahla, Limpopo’s Long-term Objectives:

1. Focusing on training students to the highest standard possible, in both theoretical knowledge and practical experience.

2. Improving the employability prospects of field guides within the conservation industry, providing them with the skills necessary to specialise within their areas of interest.

3. Teaching up to field guiding level 2 field guide standards, providing more than just the basics offered at training providers elsewhere on the continent.

4. Growing Bushwise Recruitment, a branch of the business dedicated to finding jobs for participants after the successful completion of a six month program, and a six month placement.

5. Protecting and preserving the natural wildlife habitat of the Limpopo area.

Our Ethics

Below is a list of core ethics and best practices we believe are essential to the operation of high quality, ethical volunteer and sustainable development programs. We believe that all responsible volunteer and sustainable development operations should focus upon these principles. If you are considering volunteering, these are some of the key considerations you should question, to ensure that your time and money contributes towards positive change.

 

We want to constantly develop our own understanding of ethical best practice. In so doing, we aim to provide an exemplary industry standard for other education institutions, international development organisations, and social enterprises. Our Badge of Ethics stands for the drive to always do good, better. Find out more, click on the Badge below.

Our 10 ethical commitments

01

Locally Driven, Collaborative Projects

We aim to design all our projects in collaboration with local organizations and communities and ensure that they are locally driven.

02

Clear Objectives & Sustainable Outcomes

We aim to clearly define short-, mid-, and long-term objectives with sustainable outcomes for all our projects.

03

Impact Reporting

We aim to track, record, and publish the impact of each of our projects.

04

Working Against Dependency

We aim to build in-country capacity by assisting local organizations in becoming self-sustaining.

05

Responsible Exit Strategies

For each local organization we work with, we aim to have a plan in place for withdrawing support responsibly.

06

Clear Roles & Specialized Training

We aim to ensure that every participant is assigned a clear role and that they are fully trained and supported to carry out their work by specialized staff.

07

Respect for all

In all our actions we aim to respect the skills and efforts of all and seek to protect the rights, culture and dignity of everyone who engages with GVI.

08

Local Ownership

We work to ensure that credit for the results of any project, along with any data collected, research conducted, or Intellectual Property developed, remains the property of local organizations.

09

Transitioning from the Orphanage Model

We do not condone and aim to withdraw support of orphanages and residential care centers.

10

Child and Vulnerable adult policies

We will live by our Child Protection and Vulnerable Adult policies.

Continual Development

As an organization, GVI is committed to striving toward best practice, and to educating both our potential participants, our partners, and the world at large about them. Both the volunteering and sustainable development sectors are increasingly, and rightly, under scrutiny. Many recent local and global articles highlight poor practices and questionable ethics. GVI is widely recognized for striving to apply global best practice in the volunteering, education and sustainable development sectors throughout our operations by reputable organizations such as ChildSafe.

However, global best practice is always evolving and we dedicate both time and resources to engage with internationally respected experts and learn from the latest research to ensure our programs both fulfil their potential to create maximum positive impact, and minimise their potential to create unintentional negative impact. Along with and as part of the sustainable development and volunteering community, we are constantly learning and applying this learning to practice. We do not always get everything right, but we seek feedback from our community members, partners, participants and our staff, and react accordingly. We know are already doing a great job, and feedback we have received confirms this, but we aim to do even better and are continuously refining our operations to improve upon our already excellent reputation.

Flights

Download our Travel Smart Checklist

Essential information you need to travel safely during the COVID-19 pandemic - including destination ratings, flight bookings and tests.

Meet the team

Sophie

Assistant Program Manager

This is Sophie, she is our Assistant Program Manager at GVI Limpopo here in South Africa. Originally from Northern Ireland, Sophie’s journey with GVI started after attendi...

Zoe Biggs

Program Manager

Pleased to introduce you to Zoe, who is the Program Manager at our base in Limpopo. Her journey started out with a six month internship with GVI back in 2016. Prio...

Program ethics

NO ORPHANAGE PROGRAMS

We don’t support or allow participants to work in institutional residential care facilities, also known as orphanages. We partner with ReThink Orphanages and Freedom United.

Learn more
CHILD AND VULNERABLE ADULT PROTECTION POLICY

Our Child and Vulnerable Adult Protection Policy requires all our staff and participants to complete a criminal background check and to learn why you shouldn’t reveal a child’s identifying factors in photographs. We support the ChildSafe Movement.

Learn more
NO MEDICAL VOLUNTEERING

We don’t offer any programs where our participants engage in medical treatment. This is because our participants aren’t typically qualified to do this work and would therefore not be able to do this work in their home country. Our participants only assist with public health programs.

Learn more
NO DISABILITY SUPPORT PROGRAMS

We don’t offer any programs where our participants work directly with people with disabilities. This is because our participants aren’t typically qualified to do this work and would therefore not be able to do this work in their home country.

Learn more
ALIGNED TO LOCAL OBJECTIVES

Each one of our initiatives is aligned to objectives set by a local organisation or professional. Our staff and participants work to support these local actors in achieving their specific goals.

LOCAL EMPLOYEES REMAIN EMPLOYED

Our participants don’t replace the staff employed by local organisations. Rather, they support currently employed staff with achieving their objectives. Our goal is always to increase local capacity to address local problems.

LOCAL EMPLOYEES REMAIN FOCUSED

Participants require training and support to ensure that they carry out tasks correctly. Our staff provide this training and support so that local staff can focus on what is truly important to their organisation at the time.

NO ENTERTAINMENT-BASED ACTIVITIES

We don’t support the use of wild animals for entertainment purposes. This includes riding animals, having them perform tricks, feeding or bathing them or getting close to them to take photos

NO ORPHANED ANIMAL SANCTUARIES

We don’t encourage, support or allow the rearing of “orphaned” wild baby animals kept at a “sanctuary”. The conservation value of these types of programs is negligent and would only ethically be used in extremely rare cases

GUIDELINES FOR TOUCHING OR MOVEMENT RESTRICTION

When wild animals are restricted for conservation purposes we follow the guidelines of Fair Trade in Tourism South Africa (FTTSA), approved by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council.

ANIMAL WELFARE GUIDELINES

We ensure that the Five Freedoms of Animal Welfare are followed. These include the freedom to express normal behaviour and freedom from distress, discomfort, hunger, thirst, fear, pain, injury or disease.

LOCAL COMMUNITY EMPOWERMENT

We ensure that conservation efforts are also always locally led, that community needs are front-and centre of any conservation effort and that our participants, projects and partners work to increase local community engagement in local conservation efforts.

Learn more
NO VETERINARY PROGRAMS

We don’t offer any veterinary programs or animal rescue and rehabilitation programs. We don’t allow participants to do any work they would not be able to do in their home country.

Learn more

Qualifications

GVI Online Wildlife Conservation course (optional)

If you have a passion for wildlife conservation then this course will provide you with the foundational skills and understanding needed to achieve your conservation-related goals. You’ll learn about the various methods of wildlife monitoring, as well as exploring the delicate balance involved in terrestrial ecosystem management. After successfully completing the course, which you have the option of doing prior to your in-country program, you’ll receive a certificate from the University of Richmond.

This online course, valued at £295, is included in all volunteering programs. Full course details can be found here.

Training

A GVI program is an investment in your career. No matter which you choose, you will be working toward improving your employability by mastering new social skills, gaining further technical expertise and earning qualifications in many cases. Most of our staff are, in fact, GVI Alumni, and we have helped many of our Alumni discover, move toward, and earn their own personal dream jobs. Each program includes introductory workshops, ongoing presentations, as well as on-the-ground professional support provided by our very own trained staff members. In addition, our training programs are critical for helping us to ensure the long-term impact of our sustainable development projects around the world.

For all GVI participants

Orientation: Your Health, Safety and Wellbeing

Learn about COVID-19 pre-departure guidelines, base expectations, personal and area hygiene practices and what we are doing to keep you safe.

Orientation: Travelling Responsibly and Ethically

Learn about the importance of child and vulnerable adult protection best practices and how to apply them while on project.

Orientation: UN Sustainable Development Goals

Introduction to the history and evolution of sustainable development, the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) and how these related to your project work.

Orientation: Further Opportunities for Impact

Learn about our country locations and further opportunities available to you during or after your program.

For all participants at Limpopo

Community: Women’s Empowerment

Learn about gender equality, skills development and examples of income generating activities.

Community: Human Empowerment

Learn about our empowerment principles.

Conservation: Survey Techniques and Logistics

An introduction to different survey techniques and best practice guidelines for surveys; introduction to different types of data and how to record information via a datasheet.

Conservation: Biodiversity & Target Species Identification

Learn about biodiversity and how biodiversity is measured, and classifying different species and how to identify species that indicate the health of the habitat.

Emergency First Response Training

Learn how to apply first aid protocols and carry out cardiopulmonary resuscitation, CPR. This is only offered for participants staying for two weeks or longer.

Teaching Training

Learn different teaching techniques and develop your confidence teaching students in a range of age groups. 

GPS Data Recording

GPS, global positioning system, coordinations are a popular means of recording locational data important for conservation work. It is used to determine a specified area, record distances between points of interest and locate previously recorded points, animal sighting data. Participants receive training on how to use GSP systems to record this data.

VHF Telemetry

Learn how to monitor the movement of animals using VHF, Very High Frequency, telemetry.

Bird identification

Learn about the many birds in Southern Africa and specifically those that are found in Karongwe Private Game Reserve. Find out how to identify key bird species.

Sustainability awareness

Using the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, learn how small changes to your daily routine can make a big difference to the planet’s resources.

Conservation awareness

Learn about measures South Africa, and other countries, are taking to preserve their iconic natural habitats and wildlife as well as how you can contribute. This includes exploring about the importance of wildlife and wilderness for the wellbeing of generations of humanity.

Data Handling

Data is collected daily and recorded by an allocated data person under the supervision of a staff member. This is to ensure that the data is kept as accurate and consistent as possible. We use numerous data sheets and participants will learn how to complete each of these during the training week.

Bio-surveying Techniques

 Learn about best practices for conducting a biological survey in any environment.

Reptile Identification

Learn about the many reptiles in Southern Africa, and how to identify the main ones of importance in Karongwe Nature and Wildlife Reserve. This is only offered for participants staying for two weeks or longer.

Mammal Identification

Most of the research we carry out in Karongwe is on mammalian species. Learn about the main mammals found in the reserve and how to identify them.

Free time

Joining a GVI program not only allows you to collaborate with communities or work toward preserving unique ecosystems – but it also offers plenty of opportunities to explore the surrounding area or travel further to see what other parts of the region have to offer over weekends.

Field staff are a great source of advice and have helped us put together the following information on local travel options. You can choose to travel before or after your experience with GVI (subject to immigration restrictions), solidifying the lifetime friendships you’ve established on the program. Please note that the below options are not included in the program fee, and would be up to you to arrange at your own expense.

Weekend Trips

Panorama route

The Panorama Route in Mpumalanga Province is one of the most scenic parts of South Africa. This area is most often visited en route to Kruger Nat...

Hoedspruit reptile center

Learn more about Southern African reptiles at the nearby Hoedspruit Reptile Centre, where you’ll see species of chameleon, snakes and lizards, to...

Further Travels

Zululand

Further south, In the province of KwaZulu-Natal, you’ll find the historic Zululand, as well as the grave and memorial of the famous leader, King ...

Durban

Experience the unique cultural milieu of the coastal town of Durban. On the coast of the Indian Ocean, its warm waters make the city a haven for ...

Cape Town

Watch the sunset from the top of Table Mountain (you can hike to the top or take the cableway up and down) or walk the circular route to the top ...

Kalahari Desert

The rusty sandy expanse of the Kalahari stretches from South Africa to Namibia and Botswana. Home to dunes reaching the heights of several buildings and a diverse range of wildl...

Bungee jumping and ziplining

The Drakensberg mountain range is dotted with canyons, and many people experience the exhilarating thrill of bungee jumping for the first time he...

Skiing

South Africa might not be top of mind when considering skiing destinations. Tiffindell Ski Resort in the Drakensberg mountains is South Africa’s ...

National parks

There are 19 national parks you can visit during your stay in South Africa. Run by South African National Parks (SANParks) the closest park to us is the famous Kruger National P...

Cultural Immersion

Engaging intimately with a new context teaches global awareness, adaptability and critical thinking – skills highly valued in the modern marketplace. Local and cultural immersion is encouraged on all our programs around the world, and will also be one of the most enjoyable aspects of your experience. Luckily, there are many different activities that you can get involved in during your free time, or before and after your program.

On our community programs, the focus is on cultural topics, while on marine or wildlife programs the emphasis is more on the environmental element. Use your evenings and weekends to explore topics like local cuisine and religion, or how sustainable development challenges are affecting local contexts.

Karongwe private nature and wildlife reserve

Boasting more than 20 thousand acres of open savannah, Karongwe features some of the best wildlife viewing of any private South African wildlife ...

Limpopo

The Northernmost region of South Africa and home to the Kruger National Park, the Limpopo province features some of the best opportunities for wi...

South Africa

Possessing one of the highest biodiversities in the world and the home to many of the most threatened African wildlife, South Africa is a nature, ...

Parent Info

‘If only every student could do this. It changes your life in all the right ways,’ says Chris Heritage, parent of Luke Heritage, one of our teen volunteers who has participated on two GVI programs, one in Costa Rica and another in South Africa.

We are a parent-run organisation that is incredibly serious about health and safety, and increasing the impact, as well as the long-term career benefits of our programs. Our programs help young people develop the skills to select a career path that is personally fulfilling, and live a life aligned to the well-being of our planet and the global community.

Ken and Linda Jeffrey, whose son Sam volunteered with GVI in Thailand, talk about how the experience affected Sam. He also went on to volunteer with GVI again in South Africa. ‘I know it sounds like a cliche but in a sense, he did go away as a boy and he came back as a young man. Both of us could recommend GVI without any hesitation to any other parent thinking about exploring an opportunity for their children to explore the world and to see different parts of it.’

Parent Info Pack

Download the Parent Pack and learn more about:

Our staff: All our projects are run by staff, selected, vetted, trained, and managed by our central office.
Health and safety: Our safety practices include a child and vulnerable adult protection policy and high participant ratios.
Staying in touch: See what’s happening on base, by following a hub’s dedicated Facebook page.
Free parent consultations: We would love to talk to you about exciting opportunities available for your child.

Download parent pack

Support & Safety

We won’t sugarcoat it — traveling abroad is usually a complex process that carries an element of risk. But this is exactly why we’re passionate about providing extensive support throughout the process as well as the highest safety standards during the in-country phase. We believe that volunteering abroad should not only be impactful, but an enjoyable experience that carries as little risk as possible. This is exactly how we’ve been able to maintain our reputation as the most highly respected volunteering organisations in the sector over the past two decades.

COVID-19 safety

Enhanced cleaning and social-distancing measures in place.

Learn more

Safety

Upon arrival at the airport, participants will be greeted by a GVI staff member. All GVI staff are our own and all our programs around the world are run by our staff. All GVI field staff are background checked, Emergency First Response and safety trained. The minimum staff to participant ratio on GVI’s programs is one to six, although on several bases we have a ratio of one to three. When finishing the experience, participants will provide feedback on all aspects of their program.

Support

Once a participant books, they will be assigned a personal support coordinator who will oversee their pre-departure journey. The support coordinator helps to bridge the gap between program enrolment and arrival at one of our field bases. Your personal support coordinator will ensure that you are provided with all the necessary information required to apply for visas, background checks, and any other documentation.

Download our Travel Smart Checklist

Essential information you need to travel safely during the COVID-19 pandemic - including destination ratings, flight bookings and tests.

Health and safety case studies

How GVI upholds health and safety

It takes courage to book a GVI program, get on a flight, and head off to somewhere new. Volunteering offers a level of cultural immersion that typical backpacking or holidays ju...

GVI's commitment to safety and security

As the saying goes: ‘Expect the best, plan for the worst’. Cliched or not, we take it to heart. This tenet is at the core of how GVI operates when it comes to promoting the heal...

How GVI remains prepared for natural disasters

The weather isn’t just a topic for polite small-talk here at GVI. We have emergency action plans in place for all scenarios. So when the weather, or other natural forces, takes ...

How GVI manages participants expectations

Once GVI has matched a participant to a program that suits their passions and goals, our team aims to set the right expectations for them. In the event that false expectations a...

What’s included?

What's Included
General
Volunteer
Intern
24-hour emergency desk
24-hour in-country support
Airport pick-up (unless otherwise stated)
All project equipment
Food (except on long-term internship placements
Safe and basic accommodation (usually shared)
Pre-program training
Volunteer
Intern
Group introductory call
Welcome presentation
Endorsed GVI Specialisation Course
Endorsed Leadership Course
Project work
Volunteer
Intern
Sustainable project work
Leadership responsibilities
Data collection and research
Real projects with partners
Remote support
Volunteer
Intern
Program training
Remote Internship Supervisor
Remote Academic Internship Supervisor
Remote Career Internship Supervisor
Post-program
Volunteer
Intern
Preferential recruitment on GVI positions
Job portal access
Endorsed Careers Course
Career coaching sessions
Certificates and achievements
Volunteer
Intern
PDF reference - upon request
Linkedin reference and skills endorsement
What's Excluded
General
Volunteer
Intern
Additional drinks and gratuities
Extra local excursions
Flights
International and domestic airport taxes
Medical and travel insurance
Personal items and toiletries
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GVI Limpopo is based on the Karongwe Private Game Reserve, an 8000 hectare “Big 5” game reserve in the Limpopo region of South Africa. Volunteers on the wildlife research expedition track and collect data on the large carnivores and mega-herbivores of the reserve daily, monitoring spatial utilisation, feeding ecology and inter-specific interactions. The information gathered is vital for assisting in reserve management decisions and data is also shared with various conservation research projects including those run by the Endangered Wildlife Trust and a number of Universities worldwide. Volunteers at Karongwe will also have the chance to work in the community providing support in schools with environmental education and take part in other biodiversity studies on the reserve. The project aims to promote and assist with responsible and sustainable conservation of the local ecosystem.
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Included in your program

Make the most of our unique programs with these exclusively curated local adventure and wellness experiences.

Learn to make a potjiekos

Develop your wildlife photography skills

Discover the medicinal uses of indigenous plants

Master basic bush survival skills

Watch a magical sunset at a watering hole

Enjoy a night sky safari

Walk through a prehistoric cycad forest

Sleep in the open bushveld