Conserving Big Five at Shamwari

The Shamwari Conservation Experience is a once in a lifetime chance to get behind –the-scenes and involved with the conservation efforts of the world-renowned Shamwari Game Reserve.

Shamwari is a fully operational 25 000 hectare Big five game reserve and our experiences are based around the requirements of the various short and long-term conservation projects and the need for assistance by the award-winning Shamwari Wildlife and Conservation Department.

Shamwari boasts a multi-purpose student centre and other facilities geared to host several activities and get participants involved in various components of conservation. The experience is a true reflection of the day to day operational requirements needed to manage the game reserve and its resources.

Project Details

Shamwari Private Game Reserve is located 75 km outside Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape, South Africa. It has been voted the World’s Leading Safari and Game Reserve and Conservation Company for many consecutive years

  • Four rooms sleeping up to three per room (bunk bedded)
  • Sharing with en-suite shower or bath, toilet and basin per room
  • Cupboard shared with individual trunk per person
  • Communal safe
  • Lounge and dining room
  • Plunge Pool
  • Fireplace (braai or barbeque area)
  • Lecture or study room

Three meals are provided on a daily basis. Meals will either be served at the facility itself or taken as a pre-packed serving, depending on planned or as result of unscheduled activities. Vegetarians and other dietary requirements can be catered for if notified in advance.

Cooked breakfasts are served once weekly – generally on Fridays. There are no facilities to service Kosher or Halaal requirements but the supply of such meals can be serviced at extra cost, request and availability. Meals are prepared with exposing participants to an array of local dishes in mind and are generally taken on a self-service basis with the option of juice, tea or coffee. Still and spring water and soft drinks are available on site and with greater selection, from local trading stores.

Transfers from Port Elizabeth Airport are not included but are arranged through Worldwide Experience. 

Wi-Fi vouchers can be purchased to make use of the wireless network service.

The South African weather varies from one area to another, the Eastern Cape has a moderate climate all year round. 

Summer months in South Africa: November – April (ticks are rife during the summer).

Winter months: May – October (morning and evenings are cold).

There are several adventure and leisure based activities in and around the Eastern Cape and bordering the Shamwari Game Reserve. These include seasonal whale watching in Algoa Bay, surfing in the world renowned J-Bay’s, to adventure activities up the Garden Route and exploring the forests and coastline of the Tsitsikamma National Park.

On-site literature and information on leisure and adventure activities and operators is readily available and our team is on hand for local advice and support.



Linen (bedding)

Laundry once weekly

Cleaning twice weekly

All on-reserve activities

Tea, coffee &  tourism levy and 15% VAT

Your Programme

Due to the nature of working with wildlife and other conditions out of our control, this draft serves as an example of a typical experience to date, but may be adapted as suits the conditions at time of stay and as will be exercised at the discretion of our veterinary wildlife team to best suit and optimize the experience for all participants.

Game Monitoring: Rhino, Elephants, Predators With regular monitoring it is possible to identify individuals, compile information about the family structure and determine feeding and special ecology. Data collected is used to assist in the managing decisions for the reserve.

Game Count Annual game counts are conducted to establish the carrying capacity of the reserve. Game counts assist in the decision making of predator to prey ratios and the movement of animals on or off the reserve.

Telemetry Tracking Monitoring of some high profile animals like cheetah and leopard are required using telemetry tracking equipment as result of the neighbouring properties carrying livestock and the elusive nature of some of the species.

Restoration and Rehabilitation of Reserve Landscapes The need to return the once pristine landscape to its original splendour includes the collecting and removal of old fence lines and rehabilitating degraded and overgrazed land.

Management of Breeding Centre Management of breeding centre can include anything from veld (open country or grassland) assessment of conditions, mapping of breeding area, mapping of alien vegetation, monitoring animal numbers and managing water points.

Research Projects Undertaking of research projects with a focus on a value added outcome for the reserve or conservation as a whole, are viewed as an incumbency. These projects are often undertaken in conjunction with both local and foreign research and academic institutions and may range from elephant fertility testing to capturing data on lesser known species such as Brown Hyena.

Alien Plant Control Alien plants were introduced to the land by the farmers for different reasons and uses. Today these invasive plant life need to be removed to increase the natural biodiversity and decrease fire risk.

Born Free Foundation It is the mission of both the Born Free Foundation and Shamwari Game Reserve to promote the conservation of species and the protection of habitat while maintaining a humane and compassionate approach to the welfare of animals. Therefore, it is their goal to create an awareness of the horrific way in which wildlife is exploited in captivity around the world. An opportunity will be given on a weekly basis for individuals to volunteer at the Born Free Big Cat Sanctuary

Animal Rehabilitation Centre (ARC) Shamwari Animal Rehabilitation Centre was set up to aid in rehabilitating injured animals found on the reserve and surrounding community. The aim is to give the animal short term care and release it back into their natural environment.

Community projects The responsibility includes education of the community as to the role and benefit of conserving biodiversity and further stresses the importance of conserving our natural resources. Weekly trips are made into the local community to assist in various community projects that range from creating and maintaining vegetable gardens, recycling points, painting classrooms and building jungle gyms.

General Reserve Maintenance during a placement such as fixing fences, road rehabilitation, bush cleaning and building of bridges. This is all part of the on-going effort to restore the reserve to its natural beauty.

*Please note that the schedule is subject to change

Comprehensive Information Pack


Quick Overview

Country & Area  : Eastern Cape, South Africa

Nearest Airport  : Port Elizabeth Airport

Transfer Time     : ± 60 min

Duration              : 2 – 12 weeks

Minimum Age     : 16