Expanding HORIZONS VOLUNTEER PROGRAM
Mongena Game Reserve is part of the 18000 hectare Dinokeng big 5 game reserve. The biggest threat to conservation today, especially to species such as elephant, lion, hyenas and other big game that require lots of space, is habitat loss due to farming and human pressure. To reverse this trend, conservation has to be sustainable, A to land owners and B to communities surrounding the conservation areas. If conservation does not benefit surrounding communities it is seen as a frivolous pastime for wealthy tourists. What we are practically trying to do is increase the size of the reserve by including previous cattle farms on the boundary. Our current project centers on the rehabilitation of a 3600 hectare cattle farm for incorporation into the Dinokeng Game Reserve, thus growing its size by 20 percent.
If a successful working model can be created there is an opportunity to expand it even further.
ORGANIZATIONAL GOALS AND OBJECTIVES
- Reversal of habitat loss.
- Volunteering programs.
- Job creation.
- Assisting communities in creating a better life and benefitting from conservation.
- Conversion of previous cattle farms for incorporation into the broader game reserve.
- Engagement of local communities and providing benefit to surrounding communities
No conservation project will succeed long term in the mission of conserving land and wildlife without a
broader and deeper engagement with the local community. Conservation without community benefit is
seen as a frivolous indulgence for the wealthy by the surrounding communities that feel isolated from it.
WHERE SHOULD THE VOLUNTEERS FLY TO AND FROM?
Volunteers should arrive at and will depart from the Oliver Tambo International Airport where they will be picked up and transported to and from the venue at the end of their stay.
IS ACCOMMODATION AND MEALS PROVIDED?
Accommodation is provided at the new Horizon Tented Camp.
Meals, consisting of breakfast, lunch and dinner will be provided as part of the package. There is nothing better than having a hearty meal cooked on an open fire at the end of hard day. Evenings can be spent around the bonfire watching bush television (the fire) and enjoying meaningful conversations under the gorgeous stars visible due to the absence of light pollution in the surrounds.
Any other snacks and beverages, meals and other entertainment off the venue are at own cost to the Volunteer. There is a small general supply store nearby.
HOW MANY VOLUNTEERS CAN YOU HAVE AT ANY TIME?
Eight volunteers can be hosted at this point in time.
WHAT WILL BE THE MINIMUM AND MAXIMUM DURATION?
A minimum stay of one to four weeks is preferable. However there is an option to extend the duration of the stay on a week to week basis.
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE WORK TASKS THEY WILL BE INVOLVED IN?
Due to the fact that the area we are in was previously a cattle farm adjoining the Dinokeng Game reserve which is the first free roaming Big 5 game reserve in Gauteng, our aim is to convert the area into habitat suitable for wild and free roaming animals and incorporation into the Dinokeng reserve, tasks will be as follows:
- Removal of old fences used for cattle farming.
- Conducting game counts when required and sex and age ratios of different species in the vicinity.
- Creating an indigenous plant nursery and landscaping around the accommodation.
- Demolition of old cattle kraals and dipping troughs etc.
- Bush walking for a couple of hours observing droppings, various plants, mammals, insects, birds, reptiles and
- Game drives in an open vehicle with the intention of viewing animals in their natural habitat.
- Lessons in conservation and the ecology of the area as well as animal behaviour monitoring.
- Removal of alien vegetation, anti-erosion work, road repairs and bush clearing.
- Monitoring of collared animals.
- Accompanying Rangers on anti-poaching patrols.
- Any other conservation activity that may pop up from time to time.
- Fire management depending on the time of year and fire regimes.
- Volunteers will assist with the building of the additional volunteer accommodation. There is a salvageable
structure that is ideal for further accommodation that we intend repurposing.
- There is another dilapidated building that we intend to salvage and renovate with the intention of
accommodating university students or other persons wishing to do research projects within the reserve.
WHAT ARE THE AVERAGE HOURS AND DAYS PER WEEK THEY WILL VOLUNTEER FOR?
Between five to six days per week depending on the tasks on hand. Sundays are regarded as a leisure days and Volunteers will be afforded trips to some of the nearby attractions namely:
- The Mongena Game Lodge for lunch, if they so wish, at their Kingfisher Restaurant, or just spending a
leisurely day around the pool.
- Visit the nearby diamond mining town of Cullinan where the Cullinan Diamond was found. Visit the quirky
little shops in the area and take in the architecture of a bygone era, or take a tour of the mine. There are
various eateries in the town for that leisurely lunch as well.
- Visit the Arlington Brewery and Cidery nearby and sample the various craft beers and ciders made. There is
a Pizzeria on site to quell the hunger pangs.
ARE THERE ANY SPECIFIC REQUIREMENTS?
Just a willingness to get ones hands dirty, a positive attitude and the will to make a difference in the task of reclaiming habitat for wild animals.
IS THERE AN AGE LIMIT?
Our minimum age requirement is 18 years of age and upwards.
ANYTHING SPECIFIC THE VOLUNTEERS SHOULD BRING?
HAND BAGGAGE (The limit is between 5-7kg depending on what airline you are using.)
- Medical and other insurance policies that you may have
- Airline tickets
- Mobile phone and charger and an international adaptor plug for charging electronic items.
- Contact numbers and copies of your travel itinerary
- Purse or wallet
- Spending money, R500 should suffice initially.
- Your credit cards
- Your driving licence and international driving permit should you intend travelling before or after your stay at
our facility or intend hiring a vehicle.
- Toiletries etc. Just keep the quantities of fluids permitted by airlines in hand baggage in mind.
- Any personal medications and if need be, a letter or prescription from your physician in case additional
medications are required.
- Laptop or tablet.
- Camera and spare film/cards.
SUITCASE (Limit is about 20kg depending on which airline you are using.)
- Bush clothing – at least 3 sets of sturdy khaki or bush green shorts, pants and shirts.
- Bathing suit – there is a swimming pool at the facility.
- Long sleeved tops and long trousers (keeps the mosquitos at bay, especially in the summer months.)
- Lightweight raincoat or jacket.
- Thick jacket with hood and a woollen hat. Mornings and evenings can be rather cold especially in the winter
- Sturdy and comfortable walking shoes/trainers and socks. Sandals as well.
- Your own basic first aid supplies such as headache tablets, antihistamines, tablets for gastro and any other
basic medications you require. We are not permitted to dispense items of this nature.
- Insect repellent.
- Work gloves
- Sunscreen factor 50+ and lip balm.
- A small rucksack.
- Sunhat or peak cap, preferably in a green or brown colour.
- Your day to day toiletries and a towel should you wish to make use of the swimming pool – bath towels are
provided at the facility.
WILL THERE BE ACCESS TO THE INTERNET?
Cellular phone and access to networks can be intermittent at times. On arrival in the country it is recommended that volunteers approach the Vodacom or MTN service provider counters and obtain a South African SIM Card. Data and voice packages are available for purchase from the service providers.
1 Week – $750.
2 Weeks – $1400
Additional week – $650