research internship waterberg biosphere reserve south africa

Park & Wildlife Management

Earn Gain valuable work experience on the Balule Game Reserve in the greater Kruger National Park. Work with highly experienced field guides and research managers in a big game environment. The program ensures scientific 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.

Application Form

Project Activities
The project runs throughout the year and 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 research coordinators 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 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.


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.

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, matresses 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.

WiFi is available at a small fee.

Arrival and Departure Dates

This program is offered from a minimum of 2 weeks and up to 3 months. 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.

Prices: (2021)       Reduced prices for 2021

2 Weeks            US$ 1,150
1 Month            US$ 1,750
1.5 Months       US$ 2,350
2 Months         US$ 3,000
2.5 Months      US$ 3,650
3 Months         US$ 4,200
Deposit:           US$ 500

Please note HIGH SEASON SURCHARGE of US$50 per week (High Season 1 July – 30 September)

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

Why Travel With Eko Tracks

Variety: Our large variety of products, offer great travel opportunities for adventurers and outdoor enthusiasts with a passion for nature.

Expertise: With an intimate scientific knowledge of the African savanna and its wildlife, first-hand personal travel experiences and destination expertise, we offer a wealth of information to our clients.

Network: Having lived in Africa for more than 40 years and drawing on extensive long term business relationships we provide you with specially selected quality products.

Dedication: We are passionate about Africa with its large vistas, a plethora of wildlife unmatched anywhere else, and a diversity of cultures unique to this continent. But above all, we are dedicated to conservation through education.

Read Our Reviews

“I learned so much and the interactive field work and labs were especially beneficial. Amazing! The best choice I’ve ever made with my life. It opened my eyes to everything going on here and was life changing. Samantha, Veterinary Field Study 2018.”

“I learned a lot about conservation that I didn’t before especially about the elephant problem, and the effects of game farming, hunting, poaching in SA. Mary, Veterinary Field Study 2018

“This was an amazing program and I would do it 10,000 times if I could. I learned so much and got to participate and see so much that I never would have in any other program. Amanda, Veterinary Field Study 2018

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