Living in the bush at the 'Wild Frontier'

An exhilerating and worthwhile South African gap year experience with Hamba Africa

Where are you based and what sort of travel opportunities are there for people spending time on their gap year with you?

Our placements are based in the stunning North East area of South Africa, known as the "wild frontier" where you'll find a large amount of South Africa's game reserves and the world renowned Kruger National park, a 365km by 60km wildlife haven.

Those travelling with us will find some of the best wildlife and natural wonders Africa has to offer, from its iconic wild animals, to hidden temperate rain forests in the world's largest green canyon or simply breathtaking scenery and mountain views. Plus adventurous activities like caving, micro-light flights and waterfall jumps.

You will also have the opportunity to play a key role in our 12 conservation projects designed to preserve these magical places for future generations and travellers!

newspaper Communitites Land Conservation Teaching Adventure
start date Year round 2 weeks to 4 weeks
salary Volunteer project and Gap year experience
accommodation includedAccommodation included
food and meals3 meals a day
training providedTraining provided

What is it like staying/living in the bush?

We have a saying in South Africa "once the bush gets its hooks in you"...and no, we're not talking literally (we don't mean thorns!).What we mean is once you've experienced the tranquillity of an African sunset or the thrilling excitement when you stumble across a pride of lions on a game drive, you realise there is nowhere in the world quite like being here and you will never want to leave…. Which is why so many of our guests find themselves ‘hooked' and return to the bush again and again.

The rate of social and economic change in South Africa must be putting considerable pressure on the natural landscape. What is it like working to promote integrated development and conservation?

In recent years both in South Africa and across the entire continent, economic development and changes from traditional to more modern and arguably excessive lifestyles is putting growing pressure on nature.

The core ethos of Hamba Africa is to protect nature and its habitat, and we're dedicated to doing just that. With projects designed both to research and promote healthy bio-diversity whilst also investing in sustainable living and eco-industries throughout the local area.

By addressing the needs of both local communities and wildlife habitats, Hamba Africa and those who join us will work together to help bridge this gap. Some projects, like poaching, are challenging and require long term investment and education to shift mindsets and attitudes But as you watch progress being made and challenges being overcome, well it's a great feeling!

wild frontier gap year
wildlife project hamba africa
south africa wildlife

For people who wish to actively help protect the incredible wildlife in Africa, can you tell us a bit about the various conservation projects your guests can get involved with during their time with you?

The variety of conservation work available for guests and volunteers is exceptional In addition to game drives and bush walks they have the opportunity to play a key role in more than 12 conservation projects, some which we run independently and some which are run in conjunction with local partners or organisations.

The projects include:

Scientific research into White rhino behaviour helping us gain a better understanding of these animals needs and how to protect them in the future.

Veterinary and rehabilitation work, being hands on with wildlife and giving orphaned or injured animals a second chance at life.

Protecting ecosystems through, assisting anti-poaching patrols or removing invasive plant species or even managing the vegetation to prevent bush fires.

Surveying natural environments with new technologies like camera traps or plotting biologically significant trees with GPS systems.

Catch and release data collection with small mammals, birds and even insects to help understand animal populations.

Community engagement projects that support the local infrastructure and its economy: giving presentations with live animals to promote sustainability and foster local wildlife warriors to protect their natural heritage.

How can your guests use their Hamba Africa gap year with Hamba Africa to make a positive difference? With so many places to visit and projects available, what makes you unique as a wildlife gap year provider?

Through living and working with us, by getting involved with our conservation projects you will feel and see the immediate benefits of your actions as every snare is removed, every injured animal is helped and new data points are captured.

We keep in touch with our guests sending regular updates on project progress with photos, images and annual reports. We like to remind you of the long lasting benefit and value that your support and actions have had – our way of saying thank you..

What makes Hamba Africa so special is our commitment both to nature and to our guests. We are owned and run by ecologists and safari guides, individuals whose dedication to 'the Bush' and ecology are always at the forefront of our activities and can be reflected in the design of our placements. Equally our commitment to our guests is second to none; through joining us and supporting our projects you will not only have an unforgettable travel experience, you will return home with valuable new found skills and practical experience.

Our guides and tour leaders pride themselves on not just investing in nature, but in you, our guests, teaching you their knowledge and skill and helping you to foster your own passions and ideas. . . For guests with a background in conservation we even encourage you to run and implement your own projects!

Can you share some of the exciting experiences that people can look forward to?

Bush living and Travel week.

The experience of living and working in the bush is thrilling. The beauty of a game drive or the unexpected sighting of an animal whilst you're working on your conservation project never fails to delight; that chance of an animal sighting of a lifetime means there's always something to look forward to.

As if that wasn't excitement enough, we also run a travel week! Staying at a new location off the reserve, travel week focuses purely on travel and adventure where you can try some incredible adrenaline pumping activities.

Activities include micro-light flights, caving, white-water tubing, adventure centres, excursions to hidden rain forests, jumping off waterfalls into the Crocodile river (it's ok, no crocodiles actually live here), mountain hikes and panorama tours, horse safaris and much more!

What would you like your guests to take from their Hamba Africa experience at Hamba Africa?

We hope our guests will have created wonderful memories and emotions they will remember for the rest of their life. We also know they will have made great new friends; encountered breath-taking wildlife and stunning natural habitats and landscapes; surprised themselves trying new activities and pursuits; have a greater understanding and appreciation for the world we share with animals and plants; and mostly, that they have gained the insight to continue their work in conservation wherever their onward journey takes them.