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Petrina Darrah

If you’re passionate about wildlife conservation, you can learn more about the field and gain practical experience through GVI’s Africa animal volunteer programs

The best part about volunteering in Africa is that you’ll get to learn more about and help safeguard some of the planet’s most intriguing wildlife. 

From mighty savannah elephants to furtive spotted hyenas and brightly-feathered birds, Africa is home to an array of wildlife. But Africa’s animals are facing threats. Habitat loss, wildlife trafficking, and illegal hunting are driving the decline of many animal populations. 

Join the ranks of people working for African wildlife conservation. Take a look at these Africa animal volunteer programs and find out how your actions can help to safeguard species. 

1) Research big cats in South Africa

This close up image of a male lion was captured by a GVI participant while volunteering in Africa with animals.


Volunteering with animals in South Africa is particularly alluring when your focus is on some of the most impressive creatures of all — big cats. 

On GVI’s Big Cat Research internship in South Africa, you’ll get to see Africa’s big cats, including lions, leopards, and cheetahs, in their natural environment. 

Your tasks as a volunteer will include carrying out biological surveys, and tracking and recording the movements of the big cats. The practical conservation skills you’ll learn over the course of this project make it a great starting point for a career in this field. 

2) Contribute to safeguarding sicklefin lemon sharks and turtles in Seychelles

GVI participants record data on a sicklefin lemon shark pup while on one of our animal volunteer programs.


GVI’s Sicklefin Lemon Shark and Turtle Conservation program in Seychelles aims to conserve wildlife on the island of Curieuse, including hawksbill and green turtles, as well as sicklefin lemon sharks. 

Take part in GVI’s sicklefin lemon shark catch-and-release program, and monitor shark pups to keep an eye on populations around the island. You can also observe the nesting habits of turtles and collect data on hatching success rates. 

The research station where this project is based is set in a remote island location. As well as learning more about the biodiversity of Seychelles, you’ll be able to explore pristine beaches, warm tropical waters alive with corals, and dense jungles. 

3) Research South Africa’s cheetahs

A female cheetah peers through the South African grassland. She is monitored as part of the GVI animal volunteer programs.


Cheetahs are classified as near-threatened by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. They face human-related threats such as poaching and habitat loss, as well as competition from other fiercer savannah predators, including hyenas and lions. 

The world’s fastest land animal is also an elusive creature with a wide-ranging territory and a nomadic nature. This can make these animals difficult to study. As a result, there are large gaps in our knowledge about cheetah behaviour. 

Africa animal volunteers can help to bridge that gap by contributing to research efforts investigating their kill behaviour. This can help to inform cheetah conservation efforts. 

4) Study elephants in South Africa

Why volunteer in Africa? You might witness behaviours such as this an African elephant throwing dust over its back in Karongwe Private Game Reserve.


The first time you see a wild elephant in Africa is likely to be a surreal experience. 

Volunteer in elephant research in South Africa, and you’ll be able to recapture that awe every day on the project. Adding to the conservation of the world’s largest land mammal is no small task, but it comes with great rewards. 

You’ll learn how to track animals and record data on the age, sex, and behaviour of individuals, while enjoying the ultimate wildlife safari adventure in South Africa. 

This program runs in partnership with the Endangered Wildlife Trust , an organisation that has played an important role in elephant conservation over the past 40 years. 

5) Raise awareness of rhino poaching in South Africa

As a participant in African wildlife conservation you might assist in the preservation of African rhino such as this.


When volunteering in Africa with animals, you’ll undoubtedly come across the problem of poaching. Volunteering to raise awareness of rhino poaching in South Africa will give you the opportunity to learn more about the complexities of this issue, and the various actions organisations are taking to prevent poaching. 

The focus of this program is on the poaching of the critically endangered black rhino, and near-threatened white rhino. Your day-to-day volunteer activities could include attending lectures on the impact of poaching on the ecosystem, or delivering environmental education workshops to the local community. 

6) Become a safari field guide in South Africa

A GVI animal volunteer abroad sets up a camera trap to record animal movement and behaviour.


Train to become a safari field guide for the ultimate Africa animal volunteer opportunity. The Field Guides Association of Southern Africa Field Guiding and Conservation Career internship in South Africa will equip you with in-depth knowledge of African wildlife and conservation threats. 

You’ll learn about aspects of environmental education, animal rehabilitation, luxury ecotourism, wildlife research, and anti-poaching efforts. 

The course is focused on practical skills you can apply to a conservation career, so this internship could give you a head start in the safari tourism industry. 

GVI’s animal volunteer programs will give you a unique insight into Africa’s wildlife. Contribute to safeguarding the future of African species and browse our animal volunteer vacations today.