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African Big 5 & Wildlife Conservation Project
Volunteers and local kids playing Volunteers and local kids playing

African Big 5 & Wildlife Conservation Project

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    9

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Community Engagement

    8

  • Health & Safety

    9

  • Day to Day Life

    9

A wonderful experience

The African Big 5 & Wildlife Conservation Project is a big very well organized project. The staff is very friendly, patient and helpful. The Lodge has a swimming pool and I stayed in a cute rondafel. Luxurious!! Food is excellent. You go on drive almost every day and I enjoyed taking data, which makes the drive more meaningful. Then ID ing pictures to find out, which individual we saw, is very much fun. Sitting trees and weeding is a good work out! Together you feel you are making an impact!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    7

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

The time of my life

My experience volunteering in African Impact's Big 5 Wildlife Conservation Program was the best thing I've ever done. I really had the time of my life and fulfilled my life-long dream of experiencing Africa's wild in person. There were all sorts of magical experiences: encountering a leopardess with her cub for almost half an hour; sleeping in a tent in the bush to the sounds of lions, hyenas and elephants; and coming face to face (from the safety of a vehicle, obviously) with majestic rhinos. Weekend trips were also amazing: one day, we went to Kruger National Park and saw the entire Big 5 before breakfast! Overall, it was a great experience and totally worth the money. African Impact is very professional and Dumela Lodge is a great place to stay (the food is great! And trust me, I can be quite picky).

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

Mary's review

I loved staying with African Impact. I learned so much and the people were great. Every activity I did had a purpose and I felt like I was really making a difference. I highly recommend it to others, and I would love to return.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Community Engagement

    8

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

What an experience!

Not easy at first to integrate a group with people who speak only English when you are so bad with this language BUT everybody try to help you to speak and understand and this is so generous! At the end, I can say that it was not easy but I'm so glad to be in the African Impact family who shared me so many beautiful knowledges, friends, and happiness.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    8

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Community Engagement

    7

  • Health & Safety

    9

  • Day to Day Life

    10

Big 5 review

My stay at Dumela Lodge was absolutely amazing!
Starting from the first day, I knew I was going to have a wonderful time. The staff was super helpful, from the research managers to the kitchen staff. They make you feel at home from the very first moment you arrive there. Everybody working there is so very capable and excel in what they are doing (guides, coordinators, managers, security, kitchen staff). They have an amazing team working there, which makes it so very easy to acclimatize to the new surroundings. The amount of work the staff is putting into all the research and other projects happening at the lodge is unbelievable. As a volunteer you realize what an impact the organization you are working for is having with all the research and community work they are doing, which is I think a very important thing to experience when doing volunteering work. I am very grateful for all the incredible stuff I got to learn while going on game drives. And of course for all the other wonderful experiences I had while staying here.
It will always remain an unforgettable experience!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

Research at AI

I really enjoyed the stay with AI it was an overall amazing experience, wether it was the photography project or the research project.
It was excellent organized and the staff was happy to help me on every occasion and need that I had.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    8

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Community Engagement

    8

  • Health & Safety

    9

  • Day to Day Life

    8

Earlybird

My time in Dumela Lodge was really nice. I liked how most of the days I had to wake up really early, something that I do not usually enjoy back home. By waking up early I took more advantage of my time here and felt productive. I loved seeing so many wild animals in their natural habitat and recording data on them to help conserve their species. I also learned a lot through the presentations that the staff gave and from the research guides.

Overall Rating

8/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    9

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Living Situation

    7

  • Community Engagement

    6

  • Health & Safety

    8

  • Day to Day Life

    8

Highly recommended!

Overall, an enjoyable, rewarding - and sometimes challenging! - experience. The project work is fairly varied and therefore interesting. I would definitely recommend the project to others and will probably come back!

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    9

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Living Situation

    7

  • Community Engagement

    9

  • Health & Safety

    7

  • Day to Day Life

    8

Conservation of the Big 5: Research project (3 weeks)

I would like to underline how much I learned during my stay. The staff has incredible knowledge about the wildlife that surrounds us. This was a enriching experience for me and I enjoyed every seconds

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    9

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

Absolutely awesome!

My time in this project was incredible. I love the people and the program. I found a lot of friends and everyone helps me with my English and explain me if I have a problem to understand anything. The trips on the weekend are very good and makes fun. I had a very good time in South Africa. Thank you!!!!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

What an amazing experience!!

I volunteered for 2 weeks and that was my first time to ever come to South Africa. Although people said that two weeks are such a short time to experience it all, I fully enjoyed and learned a lot from African Impact. All guides and research teams were very knowledgeable, and I enjoyed listening to lots of facts about animals including tragedy about poaching. I will definitely spread the knowledge I learned from African Impact once I get back home. Thank you so much for the great experience, I would love to be back with my husband next time.

Overall Rating

8/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    9

  • Program Administration

    7

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Community Engagement

    8

  • Health & Safety

    5

  • Day to Day Life

    9

African Impact is awesome

Every single member of the Big 5 staff were amazing people. I could read the joy and enthusiasm that they felt about this project every time they talked to us, and it was absolutely infectious. Seeing all the animals were a once in a lifetime experience, and absolutely breathtaking whenever they were encountered. I loved contributing to their research on conservation and wildlife, and made me feel that in a small way, I was helping to ensure the survival of dozens of animal species.

Overall Rating

8/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    9

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Living Situation

    7

  • Community Engagement

    9

  • Health & Safety

    9

  • Day to Day Life

    8

6 weeks in the bush

I was in Dumela lodge for 6 weeks, a good and nice experience to meet different people from everywhere. I saw a lot of animals and some of them i didn't know that could existing. During this project, I decided to change my career and go to Canada to pass a specific exam about environment and animals protection. So, just a advice : don't think to much and DO IT

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

Kelly’s review

My time with African Impact at Dumela Lodge was incredible. All staff were very professional and welcoming and made my stay even better. The housekeeping staff were very friendly and nothing was too much to ask, they were happy to help in any way they could. The staff were very knowledgable with health and safety when I was unwell which was very comforting when so far from home. I would definitely recommend African Impact to anyone looking to get involved!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    9

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    9

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    9

Gap year South Africa trip

The experience as a whole was really amazing and allowed me to not only see new and incredible animals and habitats but also experience local culture. The work we were doing was really interesting but slightly less analytical than I had originally expected. The lodge itself was really nice from the delicious food to the comfortable accommodation and pool access

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Community Engagement

    8

  • Health & Safety

    9

  • Day to Day Life

    9

Laëtitia review

I really enjoy my stay here, it's so beautiful. The staff are amazing and very helpful. Dumela lodge is so nice, the accommodation is also perfect you just have everything you need. We also go on community projects and that's cool, because you see how people are here. I just LOVE this place and the people are AMAZING.

Overall Rating

7/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    9

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Living Situation

    7

  • Community Engagement

    7

  • Health & Safety

    8

  • Day to Day Life

    8

My feedback

I am very happy that i got invaluable experience and got to see so many wild animals in African bush that i have been dreaming about, which totally opened my eyes! It really helped that i could get help from Yuka in Japanese when i had some questions or problems.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    8

Yann's review

It is not always easy to choose to embark on an adventure, but I can say that I made the right choice for this one. It is a real chance to have the opportunity to help while learning in this type of volunteering. This project is a magnificent fauna and flora, many things learned and above all wonderful encounters.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

African Impact big 5

Very rewarding experience being able to experience the thrills of seeing these animals in there natural environment and do something to help at the same time, all the staff made me feel at home and very comfortable and all situations from being collected from the airport to camping out in the bush. There is so much knowledge between every one at the lodge which everyone is willing to share.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    8

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Community Engagement

    9

  • Health & Safety

    9

  • Day to Day Life

    9

Wout renirie

Had a great time here from day one. Love the drive's specially the one's at night. There was enough to do around the lodge in my spare time so i wouldn't be bored. The heat didn't bother me , and i just want to go back next year to be a assistant an make an even more impact for : Africa and the world.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

October 2017

I had an amazing 2 weeks volunteering at this project. The staff are awesome and so so knowledgeable, I have learned so much! Thank you to everyone for making my stay in South Africa a very memorable one.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    N/A

  • Day to Day Life

    10

Steve & Heidi's experience w/ African Impact

Our stay at Dumela Lodge during our two week research/conservation volunteer project was one of the most outstanding experiences of our travels abroad. This was our second Africa visit. What makes this program so exceptional is the process and variety of activities, personal growth opportunities, and encounters. From learning about important research that directly affects the environment, to researching during game drives, to working with children at the local school, to cooperating on physical conservation work, we were able to challenge ourselves at every turn.

Part of the reason we selected the Big 5 project was to see the game of South Africa. Instead, we came away with a wealth of knowledge and understanding about the South African bush, ecology, efforts for sustainability, and appreciation for the diversity of this amazing part of the World. It was really the staff that brought a thorough understanding and love of the land to each and every drive, and each and every life form.

We are active folks in our early 60s and quite a bit older than the average volunteer. This in no way affected our sense of inclusion. In fact, we feel that we were valuable contributors to the project because of our perspective. More folks should look into this opportunity and consider it as an option for part of their African Experience. It feels really great to come to a place and make a difference.

Every single staff member is 100% committed to this place. You feel this commitment when you are met at the airport, all through the project, and upon your bittersweet departure.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    9

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Community Engagement

    7

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    9

Valuable experience for everyone!

My experience at African Impact 'Big 5' in South Africa far exceeded expectations. I was so impressed with the everything from the overall organization of the volunteer program, to the dedicated, knowledgable staff. From the moment I arrived, the AI team provided an informative orientation, including scheduling and assigning duties. I was clear on my role and expectations. The other volunteers were extremely friendly and welcoming. The age range during my stay was from as young as 18 to having a few retirees in their 60's. Age did not matter as we all had the same goal- to learn and help gather research that will help us to better understand wildlife behaviours and how we can preserve and grow the species. I can't say enough about the AI staff - they exceeded my expectations! So friendly, helpful, committed and passionate about what they do. Thank you to everyone!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Community Engagement

    7

  • Health & Safety

    8

  • Day to Day Life

    10

A month of adventure, laughter and breath-taking moments

From my first day meeting a very happy Guide at the airport I have felt welcomed and a part of the African Impact family. The month spent at Dumela Lodge has been an rewarding experience. I have had some incredible sightings with the Big 5 and many other animals and has opened my eyes to the natural world surrounding me. I definitely would recommend this experience!!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

I would rather not leave

I feel like I really lucked out coming here. I fully believe in African Impact and the work that goes on here. Also to be able to offer such an experience to so many people from around the world , but also locally, is awesome.

Institution Affiliates:

World Youth Student & Educational Travel Confederation