Your Conservation Experience

As a volunteer, you will join the Selati Research Team and be directly involved in our daily tasks. Each volunteer’s contribution is heavily valued as we would not be able to carry out our conservation work without the extra hands. You will contribute to real conservation through:

  • Hands-on fieldwork that supports the conservation management of the reserve
  • Authentic engagement with a small group of passionate people
  • Exposure to wildlife experts and day-to-day wildlife management practices
  • An opportunity to contribute towards building a conservation legacy

OUR GOAL is to provide education around conservation and wildlife management, facilitate an unforgettable experience with memorable moments, and utilise your extra hands to help us conduct our conservation work.

Volunteer Research-Activities


Selati Research is responsible for the reserve monitoring efforts. This includes monitoring our populations of lion, white and black rhino, cheetah, elephant and collecting data on leopard, elephant, hyaenas and more. As a volunteer you will be directly involved in the monitoring and radio tracking in the field.

Camera Traps

There are a large number of camera traps around the reserve. Selati Research maintains these cameras, which includes the changing of batteries, swapping SD cards in the field and processing the photos in the office. You’ll get to know the reserve’s different vegetation types as the camera traps are distributed over 27’000ha. Volunteers have the opportunity to see some of the more elusive species on the reserve through the eyes of our camera traps!

Data Collection

On every game drive, our volunteers help us collect as much data as possible to monitor species distribution and population dynamics across the reserve. Data collection and regular surveys are key tools for reserve management, and often help in detecting early signs of ecological declines. Get prepared for counting big herds of impala!

Special Operations

From time to time, animals have to be immobilised in order to collar, relocate, or contracept them for management purposes. Volunteers will have the chance to experience this incredible encounter through direct involvement in the operation. While we cannot guarantee a darting experience during your stay, most of our volunteers have been lucky enough to join us for an operation.

Office Work

In the midday break, volunteers will help with data input and processing camera trap photos. These activities enable a better understanding of how the work we do contributes to the larger picture of wildlife management.

Night Drives

Occasionally we go on night drives where we set off after 8pm in search of nocturnal animals which are not active during the day.

Education – you will learn about…

Wildlife & Nature

Learn about the reserve’s ecology, biology and interesting animal behaviour.


Learn how to monitor animals with radio telemetry and GPS tracking, along with the traditional method of using tracks and sign.


Understand the role that certain species have on the ecosystem.

Wildlife Management

Learn about how interactions among and between wildlife and its habitat influences the decisions taken to manage the reserve.

To make your adventure complete

Working in conservation is hard work, but the long and hot days are balanced with great fun and incredible sightings. We take time to explore the reserve through sundowners, climbing koppies, or even having a sleep-out in the middle of the bush! Braai, play games, and talk with like-minded people about wildlife & conservation.

There are lots of tourist attractions in the area surrounding Selati Game Reserve, including the world renowned Kruger National Park, and the scenic panoramic route. Upon request and availability we can organise excursions to a wide range of different local attractions. A set cost is charged per volunteer for each excursion.

From time to time, we enjoy a sleep out in the middle of the African bush under the open sky. We have a number of safe sleep out locations around the reserve, giving volunteers the chance to fall asleep under the stars and listen to the wild sounds of Africa. These experiences are subject to the availability of field guides.

Occasionally we go and visit Hoedspruit, play some soccer and eat out at local restaurants and pubs.

Sunday is Braai-Time! At least every sunday we braai and make a campfire to sit around talk about our adventures of the week.

We love a little competition during our game nights so feel free to bring some games to play!

A Day as a Volunteer

Summed up: Waking up to the sounds of nature, spending time in the bush and having fun in the evening. More in detail it means: Joining in on 2 game drives a day (one in the early morning & one late afternoon) where you will support us in the field – it’s where the magic happens. During the middle of the day, when temperatures are rising and the animals are hiding in shady spots, you will help us process data in the office. But don’t worry, you will also have enough time to relax, work on your own projects, read up on conservation topics or enjoy the animals visiting our waterhole in the camp.

Time* Activity

Wake up & research drive (3-4 hours)
(field work)

10.00-12.00 Back at camp & office time / relax
(Processing data and your free-time)
12.00-13.00 Lunch
13.00-15.30  Office time / relax
(Processing data and your free-time)
15.30 -18.00 Research drive / Sundowner (2-3 hours)
(field work)
18.30- Dinner & Game-Night/ Campfire

*: Time-Schedule can change due to weather, season and special tasks.

Volunteer Experiences

At the Heart of Conservation – Volunteering with a Wildlife Research Team in South Africa.

Celia, a german Selati Research Volunteer wrote a very interesting Blog about her time with us.


In September 2022 I got the chance to volunteer with Selati Research, a wildlife conservation and research program based in Selati Game Reserve. For a total of 3 weeks I joined the research team in their day-to-day duties and experienced first hand what it’s like to work as wildlife conservationist in the field. My absolute highlight during this time was the opportunity to take part in a very special field operation, where I got up close and personal with 2 wild lions. An experience I will never forget! Read more…