Park & Wildlife Management

Gain valuable work experience on the Balule Game Reserve in the greater Kruger National Park. Work with highly experienced field guides, research managers and ecologists in a big game environment. The program ensures scientific rigor and quality of data collection and it’s value lies in the coordinated research ensuring that management can fully utilize their output to make informed decisions. The program also benefits conservation through the income generated funding the predator monitoring and biodiversity surveys of the region.

Project Activities
The project is made up of four basic components and interns will be involved in each one of those:

  • Initial orientation – camp schedules, reserve regulations, operations, safety procedures to acclimatize and making interns more comfortable living and working in a big game environment.
  • Bush craft training – animal and tree identification, animal behavior, ecology, tracking, acquire useful and practical bush skills, dealing with potentially dangerous game, orientation and navigation, instructions on assisting with monitoring, surveys and data collection for the research projects, GPS and GIS techniques
  • Research projects
    • Predators – monitoring habitat utilization and populations of leopards, hyenas, wild dogs, lions, cheetahs and caracals using camera traps, tracking, surveying, and kill sites
    • Biodiversity – data collection and analyses of animal species assisting management monitoring the effects of fire management, elephant damage, alien plants and climate change
    • Conservation – receive hands-on experience in research methodologies and assist staff and researchers in survey techniques e.g. animal counts, bird point counts, pit fall traps, habitat assessments (tree and grass species composition) and the Cybertracker GIS project using high tech PDA’s
  • Practical reserve work (~15%) – erosion control, road maintenance, bush clearing

Interns will be allocated assignments and work responsibilities based on their training, skills and interest. The allocated tasks are related to your field of study and you will work under the supervision of field staff and a scientific coordinator. Interns must be flexible since the field work includes many different activities. Note: some activities are seasonal and therefore not all activities can be guaranteed to any one intern’s stay

Work Days

A 5-6 day week and 8h work day is typical, but interns may be required to work longer hours depending on research requirements, data collection times, emergencies e.g. flood damage or any other reserve management issue that may come up.

The Reserve

The 30,000ha Balule Reserve, intersected by the Olifants River forms part of the world renowned Greater Kruger National Park. Kruger Park is a world leader in advanced environmental management techniques and policies, and its unrivalled diversity of species offers a wildlife experience that ranks as one of the best in Africa.

Accommodation and Meals

Interns stay at the Rusermi Camp in the Balule Game Reserve overlooking the awesome Olifants River where hippo, giraffe, elephants, buffalo, lions, and many antelope species can be seen on a regular basis. Accommodation is in dormitory style housing with bunk beds, matrasses and sheets. The ablution facilities have hot and cold showers and flush toilets. Electricity (220V) is available for charging electronic equipment.

Food is provided and interns are required to prepare their own meals and packed lunch when working in the field. The camp is supplied with borehole water and is safe to drink.

Eligibility

Any person with a genuine love for nature and the outdoors is encouraged to apply. Interns must be reasonably fit and healthy to be able to walk in the bush and do physical work.

Arrival and Departure Dates

Starting and ending on the 1st and 15th of every month, interns are being picked up at the Hoedspruit Airport (HDS) outside the town of Hoedspruit. The group will be transferred at 3:00pm to the reserve. Interns will be dropped off at the Hoedspruit Airport by 10:30am for their return flight. Departure flights should be booked after 11:30am.

 Application Form

Application Process

  • The project runs throughout the year.
  • Any person above the age of 18 years is encouraged to apply.
  • Interns are required to book a minimum of two weeks.
  • There is no specific booking date. Once we have received your booking form you will be pre-booked on the program and be sent a confirmation letter.
  • After receiving the deposit, your place on the project is secured.
  • Eko Tracks will also send you a pre-departure field guide to assist you in preparing for the trip.
  • Full payments need to be made 2 months prior to the commencement of the program.

Prices          No price increase for 2017

2 Weeks            US$ 1,290
1 Month            US$ 1,950
1.5 Months       US$ 2,550
2 Months         US$ 3,190
2.5 Months      US$ 3,750
3 Months         US$ 4,350
Deposit:           US$ 500


Prices



Price Includes

  • Transportation from the Hoedspruit Airport to the camp and return
  • Accommodation and 3 meals a day
  • On site supervision and support of field staff
  • Project placement and management fee
  • All project components and field activities
  • Training manuals; use of PDA’s, GIS software, research equipment and textbooks

Price Excludes

  • International roundtrip airfare to Hoedspruit, South Africa
  • Compulsory travel, medical and evacuation insurance
  • Immunizations
  • Communication e.g. phone calls
  • Personal expenses
  • Optional personal travel excursions and adventure activities