Volunteering organised by Wild At Tuli is the experience of a lifetime!!
There are very few opportunities to volunteer in Botswana as well as the fact that it is considered an expensive destination to visit in Africa on safari, so by volunteering with us, you get an affordable opportunity to visit Botswana AND you get to experience one of the most pristine areas on the continent. Botswana as a country is very dedicated to its wildlife and has a large percentage of its land allocated as protected for its wildlife. The Tuli Block is largely uninhabited and there are vast tracts of wilderness where animals roam free with no fences to stop them - they get to live their lives as nature intended them to!!! And this is becoming increasingly difficult in an over-populated world.
This project is based in the Central Tuli Block in Botswana which is the south eastern part of the country. The Tuli Block is often called the Land of Giants and is famous for its herds of wild elephant, huge rocky outcrops and ancient baobab trees. The area is virtually unpopulated by people thus providing you with a true wilderness experience. Sleep out under the stars, watch the full moon and soak up the incredible sunsets that only Botswana can show you.
The Wild At Tuli conservation project is facilitated by two unique women who share a spirit of adventure and undying passion for the magic of the African Wilderness and its wildlife. They are in partnership with Projects Abroad in the United Kingdom who facilitate all who wish to volunteer on this conservation project.
They have spent decades of their lives saving wildlife and both are Trustees of one of the biggest Wildlife Rehabilitation Centres in South Africa. They realised that the only way to really make a difference is to preserve habitat. In 2007 they purchased a large tract of wilderness in Botswana’s ‘Big Five’ Tuli Block. i They have dedicated this land to wildlife and it has become a safe haven for all wildlife that passes through. This is the legacy they will leave to conservation.
Click here to read more about them.
Main Aim of the Project
The main aim of this Volunteer project is to provide a safe, habitable area for wildlife. Their land is virgin bush which has never been inhabited by people and so there is much work to be done to provide infrastructure in the form of roads and water holes, carry out accurate game counts, draw up species lists and conduct anti-poaching patrols with the aim of removing snares. Game viewing hides need to be built and if you are interested in birds there are nearly 400 species to be counted! We would like to start an indigenous tree nursery with the aim of one day being able to re-establish areas in need of trees.
But we don’t only want you to work, we want you to learn as well. We will give each volunteer valuable insight into working with wildlife and so part of your visit will be spent attending courses on Bird Identification, and An Introduction to Wildlife Rehabilitation. You will leave us with a lot more knowledge than when you arrived, and you will be able to call on this in years to come.
What work you will do
The work on this project will be varied according to the time of year as well as what is required to develop the Reserve. It will include helping with:
- Taking GPS co-ordinates of interesting sites found on the farm.
- Developing bird species lists and updating them
- Conducting game counts
- Building Viewing Hides
- Removal of old fencing wire
- Patrolling for snares
- Helping construct natural water holes for animals
- Developing Elephant Identikits
- Designing and marking new roads
- Helping build roads
- Development of an Indigenous tree nursery
- Tree Identification
- Erosion Control
On this project you will get involved in whatever is needed, but we want you to have fun and learn along the way.
You will attend lectures in our ‘bush classroom’, and will be given practical exercises to carry out to re-enforce what we teach you. Part of your stay with us will include attending two courses which are included in the price. Below are details of these courses.
Your ‘working hours’ will vary but usually be about 4 – 6 hours a day, after which you then get to freshen up and join us for some sort of activity – take a walk on our beautiful islands, go on game drives, or sit quietly at one of our hides and enjoy seeing the animals and watch the sunset.
Getting To Us
The closest International Airport is OR Thambo in JHB so that is where you need to fly in to.
We have a Tour Operator in JHB who, if there are at least 6 volunteers, will collect you and drive you to the Platjan Border Post where we would pick you up. The drive will take approximately 6 hours,
You can fly to from OR Thambo airport to Polokwane (formerly Pietersburg) and we have an arrangement with a company who will transport you to the Platjan Border Post where we will collect them.
Location of the Project
This project is in a remote area of South Eastern Botswana and there are no shopping facilities in the immediate area. The closest village is 25km away and has a couple of small General Dealer stores. Supplies are basic but you are able to get things like toiletries, cold drinks, basic tinned food etc etc. The next town, Bobonong, is about 80km away and has many more shops available however they are still quite basic. There is a proper grocery store, post office, Barclays Bank and internet café available. We have a Post Box there and could collect on a weekly basis should you receive post from home.
No specific qualifications are needed but volunteers must have completed their schooling and be at least 18 years of age. The language of the project is English so a reasonable understanding of it is required.
Accommodation is in a fully equipped tented camp in a magnificent setting in the middle of the Reserve
Walk-In tents are shared by 2 – 6 people and are equipped with beds and all linen. Volunteers need to bring along their own towels and a sleeping bag for occasions when we sleep out for the night.
The ablutions include hot and cold showers, flushing toilets and basins, and are shared.
You do your own laundry in the camp.
The camp has a kitchen with gas fridge, freezer and stove and is fully equipped with crockery, cutlery and glassware. There is no electricity in the camp but we do run solar-powered lights.
All meals are provided for you whilst on the project and this is participative. We have a roster and all volunteers are expected to take their turn preparing meals, etc. Much of the cooking can be done over a fire and we will teach you to bake breads and rolls.
Meals are simple and wholesome and we are able to cater for vegetarians if we are notified in advance.
There are books and magazines and a number of puzzles and games which you can use. There is a plunge pool in the camp where volunteers can cool off . Evenings will be spent either around the camp fire in the boma, sleeping out at one of the hides or going out on a night game drive. We do NOT allow any alcohol on the Reserve.
There are no Internet Facilities in the camp itself however there are areas on the farm where you get cellular signal so if volunteers have cell phones which can access mail, they will be able to. Should family need to get hold of a volunteer they are able to email or call us and we will pass on the message. There is intermittent cellular signal on parts of the farm but it is not guaranteed. Should we travel to Bobonong or Alldays you are able to use the Internet Café’s there.
Free time and activities available
There will be free time on weekends where you can catch up on sleep or relax in the camp. We can take you on walks/game drives and can arrange to go to other places in the area such as Solomon’s Wall which is a very interesting day out.
Contact Projects Abroad on their website, www.projects-abroad.org for all pricing and booking information.
Training Courses Provided
COURSE 1 - Bird Identification
This course will teach the beginner how to start to identify birds without having to page right through the entire bird book each time. It will teach you how to identify using beaks, feet, location, colours, behavior etc etc . It will also include details on the habits of some of the birds in our area as well as breeding and nesting. There will be a lot of practical aspects to this course where you will have the opportunity to observe various birds in different habitats and record what you have seen. The Tuli Block is very rich in bird life and there are nearly 400 species of birds here so we would like to start to build up a list of what we have seen.
This course will also equip you to identify birds in other areas of the world, simply by using the same technique.
COURSE 2 - Conservation Debate.
This discussion-based class is very interactive and encourages all who visit us to think about their daily lives at home and how they could make a difference. There is much discussion around wildlife and the welfare of all creatures as well as the habitat they live in and you will gain many insights into how we can help improve the plight of all who inhabit the planet.
Judi Gounaris and Helena Fitchat
P.O. Box 1433, Bobonong, Botswana
Tel: +267 7475 7513
Emails: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com