Research South Africa

Where: Kariega Game Reserve, South Africa. When: Sept 2 – 11, 2024

As an elephant research volunteer, you can help Bring The Elephant Home and Kariega Game Reserve with an exciting research project focusing on range expansion and elephant well-being in South Africa. As the reserve has recently removed internal fences, we have the exciting opportunity how this impacts elephants. We have collared elephants to track their movement and assist in monitoring their behaviour before and after fence removal. You will actively participate in elephant identification and monitoring of elephant behaviour, and in collecting dung samples to monitor stress levels. Besides Kariega’s dedicated ecologists and rangers, you will work with two elephant researchers of Bring The Elephant Home.

Will you join this unique expedition?

For our September 2024 field trip, we are recruiting eight elephant research assistants to help collect and analyse elephant behaviour data, collect elephant dung, identify individual elephants along with other activities, thereby making a valuable contribution to elephant conservation and management. During your stay, you will have a unique opportunity to learn about elephant behaviour, elephant identification, elephant tracking technology and conservation the challenges they face as well as contributing to sustainable solutions for a better future for elephants worldwide!

Elephant conservation expedition activities

You will get involved in multiple activities, which may vary from:

  • Track and identify wild elephants.
  • Use new elephant conservation technology.
  • Record elephant behaviour.
  • Measure elephant dung and collect dung samples.
  • Contribute to elephant identification kit and database.
  • Other tasks to support elephant conservation: (social) media, website, graphic design, etc.

Other benefits

  • Regular game drives with expert guides (typically, fieldwork takes up 7 days, followed by 3 days dedicated to data analysis and various other desk-based research activities).
  • Endless possibilities to emerge yourself in nature, form meaningful connections, and observe natural animal behaviour. 
  • Besides many opportunities to observe elephants, you will be exposed to numerous other species such as lions, rhinos, buffalos, giraffes and zebras.
  • An emerged cultural experience in one of the communities the Kariega Foundation supports.
  • Gaining experience at an international conservation organisation.
  • Staying in a beautiful location surrounded by wildlife. 
  • Network opportunities with like-minded people and collaboration with local partner organisations.

Elephant conservation expedition participant qualifications

The most important requirements are that you are passionate about elephants, and motivated to make a real change. We especially welcome people who:

  • Are independent, have great team spirit and dependability
  • Are accountable and dependable
  • Have an optimistic and flexible attitude
  • Have the ability to think in terms of creative and practical solutions.
  • Speak and write English proficiently
  • Are aged over 21 years old

We welcome a maximum of eight elephant research assistants with different skills and experiences useful for all activities. A few examples of skills we value: science (e.g. social, animal behaviour or environmental), communication (developing social media and educational tools), GIS, analysing tracking data, (conservation) education, and more.

Not ticking all the boxes?

If you are super motivated but not sure if you can meet all the requirements, you might be able to help us reach our goals in a different way. Please contact us with your ideas, and we can discuss the possibilities.

All funds raised from participating in this unique experience will contribute to elephant research and conservation projects. 

We look forward to your application!

Application and selection process

  • You can express your interest through this form.
  • After the application, we will contact you with more information about the program.
  • We will make a selection of suitable applicants and inform you personally. 
  • Before confirming your stay, we would like to have a video call to get to know you better, talk about your preferred activities, and decide which tasks would suit you and which skills are most needed for the program. 
  • As soon as possible after meeting you we will confirm whether you can join the program.
  • In case of any questions, please contact us at

Please express your interest as soon as possible!

Program costs

10 days: 2.550 euros.

  • This includes shared accommodation at Kariega Conservation Center, all meals (vegetarian), coffee/tea/water, (limited) internet access, boma area with a campfire, braai, and a rockpool.
  • All game drives in the beautiful Kariega Game Reserve and participating in elephant behaviour research, and one day trip to Addo Elephant National Park. 
  • The participation fee excludes flights, land transfers, and personal expenses (e.g. local SIM card, activities on days off, snacks, etc).

We can provide all applicants with personal fundraiser pages so you can raise financial support for your contribution to elephant conservation and limit your costs.

All funds raised from participating in this unique experience will contribute to elephant research and conservation projects. 

Photos by: Lesli Woodruff

Cancellation Policy:

Non-Refundable Deposits:
– Participants are required to pay a non-refundable deposit of 500 euro upon booking to secure their spot in the program. This deposit is typically not refundable regardless of when the cancellation occurs.
Cancellation periods apply, such as:
– Early cancellation: Cancellations made well in advance of the start date of the program (3 months) will be given a full refund but may lose their deposit depending on the circumstance.
– Last-minute cancellation: Cancellations made within 1 month before the start date will lose their deposit

– Extenuating circumstances: In cases of emergencies or unavoidable circumstances, such as illness or family emergencies there may be an exception. Participants may need to provide documentation to support their claim.
– Instead of a refund, participants may be offered the option to reschedule their participation for a future date, depending on availability and the organization’s policies.

News and updates

2024-04-11  New Field Program South Africa: Sept 2-11 2024
2024-03-15  What happens when you drop a fence: 5 observations
2023-11-07  Volunteer in South Africa for Bring The Elephant Home
2023-10-28  New volunteer program: March 5 – 14 2024
2023-09-28  Publication in Diversity

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