The Balule Conservation Project
Balule Nature Reserve
Greater Kruger National Park | South Africa
2016 & 2017 Dates
We are as flexible as we can be to suit our customers/volunteers dates and availability. As long as we have space on camp and there are staff around to meet you on arrival.
About the Balule Conservation Project
The Transfrontier Balule Conservation Program is located in Balule Nature Reserve which is within The Greater Kruger National Park region of South Africa. By volunteering on this project you will get a unique insight into the African wilderness and the wildlife that inhabits it whilst also assisting with vital conservation efforts. The money that volunteers pay to assist on this project goes directly towards funding the work and keeping the project running.
The project was set-up by Craig Spencer of Transfrontier Africa, South Africa. Also known as The Savannah Project, the project works closely with Elephants Alive (formerly Save The Elephants Foundation, South Africa (STE-SA) who support the research carried out by the project team and the students, interns and volunteers who assist with collating this data. Afreco Tours Ltd runs the Transfrontier Africa website from the UK and Afreco looks after the administration and bookings of volunteers, interns and students who wish to be involved. The money paid by volunteers, students conducting research and interns all goes towards the conservation efforts and running the camp, vehicles and other resources. Transfrontier South Africa is an NGO (not for profit) organisation and most of the staff do the work for very little or for no money at all.
What is the research for?
The project helps contributes to the overall management of the reserve by collecting data on wildlife and vegetation. It is genuine research supported by the Parks Board and other organisations. The primary focus was always on elephant herds and also predators (which it still is), although from time to time research might be undertaken other studies such as the effect of overhead power lines on giraffes. However, more recently Rhino research is a very significant part of the project in the wake of the poaching problem.
What research will you do?
During your stay on the project you will get involved in a wide variety of conservation activities. There are daily surveys to monitor the various animal populations within the reserve. You may be asked to assist with vegetation surveys (depending on the time of year), water point surveys, alien vegetation removal and the occasional trip into town to resupply. The project is very busy and involved in many aspects of the reserve, so you can expect to have a very varied and interesting time during your stay!
Where will you stay?
You will stay in the Big Five Game Reserve of Balule with animals free to roam as they wish. Indlovu Research Camp was newly built early in 2013 following a move from the project’s former home at Paradise Camp. The camp consists of basic but functional accommodation in chalets, an open air lapa/communal area, kitchen and open air bathroom.
The Black Mamba APU (Anti-poaching unit)
Transfrontier Africa is also heavily involved in working to stop the rhino poaching epidemic which is now sweeping Africa wherever rhinos still roam. Craig Spencer is also the brainchild of the the now famous all-female anti-poaching unit known as The Black Mambas! Money from both volunteers and donations and fundraising goes towards supporting this amazing group of dedicated women in the form of their wages, clothing, equipment and other necessary items. It’s been worth it too, they’ve had a huge impact reducing poaching in this area by 75%!
Monthly Volunteer & Intern Blogs
Each month the team based on camp in Balule Nature Reserve will keep us updated with the latest going’s on and achievements of that month, this is a great way to learn about what they get up to and learn more about the the good work that they do. If you are thinking of volunteering then this is a great read…
The latest blog for is for September 2016
- The September blog covers:
- Meeting some famous and important people within conservation circles
- The CITES convention in Johannesburg attended by the Black Mamba anti-poaching unit ladies
- The outcome for Pangolins
- Local community support for the protection of elephants & rhinos
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