A Day in the Life of a Volunteer at a South African Game Reserve

Last year I did something I have always dreamed of doing; I volunteered with wildlife in South Africa. I had an unforgettable experience at Kwantu Game Reserve which I will never forget. Here, I have written about what a day of volunteering involved.

A typical day at the Game Reserve would begin with the sound of lions roaring, who needs a man-made alarm when you have a lion? Over my 2 weeks at Kwantu Game Reserve, I grew fond of the sound of a lion’s roar.


Work commenced at 7:30am each day, though with the laid-back atmosphere at the reserve, 7:30 usually meant 7:45. One of the things I loved about volunteering at Kwantu is the range of tasks we would undertake. In the morning we might be doing anything from chopping trees down to feeding the predators in the rehabilitation centre. I would put all my effort into each activity, to the point where I obtained many blisters from chopping the trees!

At 9:00am we would have breakfast. Sometimes there would be homemade bread available which was delicious. Usually after breakfast we would have 20 minutes to go to the hotel reception area and relaxย and use the wifi.

At 10:00am our next activity of the day would begin. Again, this could be a whole range of activities from fence patrol to taking food to the local school. One day we collected rubble which we later used to build a road along the reserve. I loved doing this and feeling like I was working hard rather than sitting around.


Lunch would take place at 1:00pm and there was a different selection of food available each day, the best being the burgers.

Our final activity would take place from 2:00-4:00pm. This would often be a game count which was one of my favourite activities to do. We would drive around the reserve in a safari vehicle to count certain game on the reserve. Turning each corner, there was a huge anticipation of which animals might be waiting there. I saw a variety of the animals on the reserve including zebras, giraffes, ย elephants, hippos, springbok and many more. I finally got to see a lion on the reserve on a dawn drive the last day! This was one of my favourite moments and it made my trip.


Dinner would be served around 7:00 pm so the volunteers had some time to relax before and after this. Sometimes we would play on the tennis courts and often we would hang out on the patio outside our volunteer house, cub quarters. Relaxing with a game reserve full of exciting animals in the distance and with monkeys climbing among the trees around us was wonderful. I never wanted to leave!


After dinner we tended to relax around the fire or watch a film. Of course we had to watch The Lion King one night! We would sleep in a female dorm with around 15 beds and we ended the day how it started, with a lionโ€™s roar.

21 thoughts on “A Day in the Life of a Volunteer at a South African Game Reserve

  1. Wow, what in incredible experience! A once in a lifetime opportunity really. Thanks for sharing.
    I love Africa and it is my biggest dream to visit one day and see wild animals. Lucky you.


  2. What an experience! So crazy to think that your alarm is a real life lion and home made bread sounds delicious. Nice that you also get that internet break ๐Ÿ™‚


  3. This sounds amazing! I love volunteering with animals and would love to do this when we travel to South Africa!

    Can I ask how much it cost to do this? Did you have to pay for the experience or did you just pay for food and lodgings?


    1. Hi Tanya. It really was! What volunteering have you done so far? Would love to hear about it. This experience cost me around ยฃ800 for 2 weeks and it included the experience, food and accommodation.


  4. I live in South Africa and often visit game reserves – but as a visitor. It was so interesting to read a volunteer’s point of view. You know that you are making a huge contribution and that must be a great feeling. I’ve been wanting to visit Kwantu for a long while. Hope I get there soon.


    1. Oh wow, it must be lovely to live somewhere where you can see such incredible wildlife. It was great to know that I was doing hard work like building roads; hopefully I made a tiny difference being there. I hope you get to Kwantu one day and enjoy it if you do ๐Ÿ™‚


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