Volunteers Academy

The Thula Thula Volunteers programme offers both local and international volunteers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get involved in wildlife conservation, reserve management and environmental studies. Thula Thula welcomes you to join a team of highly skilled and knowledgeable guides, reserve managers, and general nature lovers, in our efforts to continually develop a link between people and the wilderness. All proceeds from the Volunteers Academy go to the non-profit South African Conservation Fund to fund Thula Thula’s crucial conservation programmes including habitat expansion, anti-poaching and much else.

Wildlife Conservation

It is imperative that we take proactive measures to conserve and protect wildlife and their natural habitats.

Nature Conservation

Invasive species from all around the world have been introduced to Africa, where the favorable climate enables them to destroy indigenous species.

Community Work

The biggest challenge facing Africa today is education. Education is the key to conservation.

The Thula Thula volunteers Academy is situated adjacent to our Wildlife rescue and rehabilitation centre, in a secure fenced area, with the most magnificent view over the whole game reserve and Mkhulu Dam, this is one the elephant’s favourite spots and home to our hippo pod. Currently a maximum of 8 volunteers can be accommodated per session, one of the volunteers being from the local community on a complimentary basis. Accommodation is basic but comfortable in the 8 single man tents entirely lit by solar lanterns. There are communal ablutions for both ladies and men. Accommodation and all meals will be provided for you during your stay with us. (You are welcome to bring your own snacks for in-between meals as well as coffee if you prefer filtered or a specific brand. Please also bring your own drinks for sundowners).

Volunteers will be immersed into a 1 to 3-week program of living in the African wilderness, sharing experiences with others, growing their skills, and making a difference to the reserve. The programme will vary slightly throughout the year due to seasonal changes as well as the ever-shifting conservation challenges. Thula Thula offers a well-rounded program aimed at covering both the needs of the reserve, surrounding communities as well as providing a comprehensive, hands-on learning experience for the volunteers.

During your stay with us, volunteers will see themselves as “Assistant Conservation Managers”, as all the work done, and data collected will be utilized by Thula Thula for the ongoing conservation of the reserve.

Volunteer Courses

From 1st To 21st each month.
Check Out 22nd

Game reserve management activities will form a large part of the volunteer program keeping it interesting and will include some of the following:

  • Game counts
  • Sex and age ratio recordings of specific species (like giraffe)
  • Anti-poaching patrols & workshop
  • Snare sweeping & snare removal
  • Fence line patrols and repairs
  • Important species monitoring (rhinos, birds of prey, leopards, spotted hyenas, etc.)
  • Alien vegetation control
  • Soil erosion control
  • Reserve clean-up operations and litter patrols
  • Road maintenance and repairing of river crossings
  • Bush Clearing
  • Assisting in research projects
  • Elephant Impact and behaviour monitoring
  • Veld management
  • Grass counts and species recording
  • Basic bush mechanics
  • Any other conservation management activity that might “pop-up” at the time and for which the reserve would require your assistance.

The 21-day program will also include some of the items below, depending on time of the year

  • Thula Thula orientation and history
  • Camp Fire Stories – History of Thula Thula, history of mankind, history of Kwa Zulu Natal, history of Rhino poaching, history of the Zulu’s, African folk lore, African animals, The African Story of Plants
  • Mammal talk
  • Game Drives with focus on mammals, birding, vegetation, animal behaviour, elephants, rhino behaviour, predators.
  • Birding talk (bird identification, ecology, raptors & research)
  • Introduction to plants & vegetation
  • Bush crafts and skills
  • Basic ecology, symbiosis, and animal behaviour
  • Introduction to predator conservation, calls & behaviour
  • Nocturnal animal spotting around the VA
  • APU workshop and the importance of Anti-Poaching
  • Journaling – Your Thula Thula experience
  • Elephant identification, behaviour and monitoring
  • Indigenous plants and their medicinal uses
  • Vulture counts, species information, vultures for “muti”
  • Understanding community, reserve dynamics, community Work
  • Basics to tracking and signs of the wild
  • VA chores (firewood collection, gardening, general work, and projects)
  • Art & Crafts (jam making, making elephant paper, bird feeders, owl boxes etc)
  • Camera traps & identification
  • Rhino protection & monitoring
  • Introduction into alien invasive species and herbicide use
  • Grass identification and counts
  • Introduction into Thula Thula’s geology, finding fossils and what they mean
  • Frogs and their calls
  • Venomous animals and first aid responses
  • Work and upkeep at the Thula Thula Wildlife rehabilitation centre
  • Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre basic animal care and feeding


Are You Ready For Your Volunteer Academy Adventure?

Our Special Elephant Family Is Waiting For Your Arrival!

Enquiries & Booking

Please contact us for a booking or if you have an enquiry. One of our consultants will be happy to assist you.

Thula Thula's Commitment To Local Communities

As of the 5th of February 2020 a 1.5% community conservation fee will be charged in support of our local communities. This conservation fee will contribute to uplifting the local communities that surround Thula Thula, and utilized by the Fundimvelo Community Conservation Trust. Thula Thula’s commitment to enhancing the lives of our local communities is an integral part of our dedication to succeed in our conservation efforts.

We thank you for your continued support!

The Francoise and Lawrence Anthony Foundation