Location Description

Welgevonden Game Reserve is situated in the heart of the Waterberg and the Waterberg Biosphere Reserve. Vast, peaceful and incredibly beautiful, this is a breathtaking destination filled with rich cultural legacy and immense natural splendor. Boasting the Big 5 and many rare species such as the brown hyena, aardvark, pangolin and aardwolf. It is spread over 37 200 hectares in size and is situated a convenient 2.5 hour drive north of Johannesburg and 25 km west of the town of Vaalwater. Basic translation from Dutch implies “well found reserve” which is the ultimate description of this majestic piece of land that transforms at every opportunity. It offers breathtaking views of the African wilderness and offers memories that will last long after one has left. Explore between cheetah-­‐loved grasslands and savannahs to leafy wooded mountains cut by deep rocky ravines. There are perennial rivers that constantly flow throughout this reserve ensuring constant healthy vegetation and habitats for over 50 different types of mammals – without even mentioning the 250 species of abundant and prolific birdlife. The Bushman rock art offer a humbling experience should the delight of the natural surroundings overwhelm the senses.

Welgevonden Reserve is privately managed and has recently been proclaimed a Protected Area; it provides the spirit of true untouched wilderness. Historically the reserve has never allowed hunting and limits the number of guests on the reserve at one time ensuring minimal human contact and the ultimate wilderness experience. The perfect balance of biodiversity, conservation, research and natural living is evident at Welgevonden Game Reserve.

Project Overview

This Big 5 research and conservation project is very extensive in nature and volunteers will be expected to assist in any projects that are under way when they arrive on property. They will be directly involved with the Research Ecologist and will report to him/her on a daily basis. This is a very active project -­ volunteers have no time to get restless as they will be involved in the daily activities of the reserve and any exciting occurrences that may arise – such as seasonal controlled veld fires and game interventions.

This year the reserve is planning on releasing a large number and variety of new wildlife into the reserve, which will involve an extensive amount of:

  • Game capture and game relocation
  • Feeding of game in the breeding camps in the winter months
  • Fence line patrols
  • Anti-­‐poaching protocols
  • Daily monitoring of the newly released animals
  • Exposure to wildlife veterinary
  • Monitoring of vegetation
  • Alien plant control
  • Erosion control
  • View ancient Bushmen Paintins
  • Exposure to highly qualified and dedicated conservationists dealing in ground breaking conservation technique

Tasks and Duties

  • Be under instruction of the Research Ecologist on the property who is also a fully qualified trails guide
  • Assist with the research projects that are ongoing at the reserve e.g. leopard research, game road counts, vegetation experiments, game interventions and many more
  • Monitor trip cameras for nocturnal animal activity
  • Collect physical samples and data analysis for the monthly reports
  • Help with the maintenance of enclosures and upkeep of facilities
  • Participate in the daily running of the reserve [animal capture, veld fire control, anti-­‐poaching]
  • Animal tracking and monitoring. Report any unusual findings to reserve management for observation
  • Be the eyes and ears of the reserve and get actively involved in every aspect to guarantee you receive the African Bush Experience of a lifetime
  • Get involved with any veterinarian activities on property
  • The more you get involved in the activities the more you will enjoy your experience

Accommodation and Meals

Volunteers are accommodated in a luxury permanent tented site that is enclosed by electric fencing – keeping the animals out or in we wonder? There is a main building where the volunteers have access to a kitchen, social recreation area, research labs, and bathroom facilities with hot water, electricity and Internet accessibility. The bird hide is wonderful to relax in, the braai area and fire pit are perfect for evening sundowners while in the distance watching and hearing nocturnal life come alive as the animals make their great trek home, or awakening, for the night’s festivities. The swimming “gat” often attracts the flying kind but don’t let this stop you from wallowing like the hippo downstream.

Requirements

  • Personal First Aid Kit and any medication for illness
  • Plug adaptor
  • Hat, towel, sun cream and water bottle
  • Insect repellent
  • Sleeping bag for colder months
  • Binoculars, Camera and bird book for enthusiasts
  • A will and want to be part of a fully operational Big 5 Game Reserve