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Dusty Boots Travel

Shamwari Conservation Experience - South Africa

The Shamwari Conservation Experience is a once in a lifetime chance to get behind-the-scenes and involved with the conservation efforts of the world-renowned Shamwari Game Reserve. Possible activities may include game capture and other wildlife veterinary work, sleep outs on the big 5 reserve, orientation and nature walks and assisting in nocturnal and anti-poaching patrols.

  • Game Monitoring: Rhino, Elephants, Predators
    With regular monitoring, it is possible to identify individuals, compile information about the family structure and determine feeding and spatial ecology. Data collected is used to assist in making management decisions for the reserve.

    Game Count
    Annual game counts are conducted to establish the carrying capacity of the reserve. Game counts assist in the decision making of predator to prey ratios and the movement of animals on or off the reserve.

    Telemetry Tracking
    Monitoring of some high-profile animals like cheetah and leopard are required using telemetry tracking equipment as result of the neighbouring properties carrying livestock and the elusive nature of some of the species.

    Restoration & Rehabilitation of Reserve Landscapes
    The need to return the once pristine landscape to its original splendour includes the collecting and removal of old fence lines and rehabilitating degraded and overgrazed land.

    Research Projects
    Undertakings of research projects with a focus on a value-added outcome for the reserve or conservation as a whole, are viewed as an incumbency. These projects are often undertaken in conjunction with both local and foreign research and academic testing to capturing data on lesser known species such as the Brown Hyena.

    Alien Plant Control
    Exotic and alien plants were introduced to the land by the farmers for different reasons and uses. Today this exotic vegetation needs to be removed to be able to increase the natural biodiversity and decrease the likes of fire risk and better preserve our fast diminishing natural water sources.

    Animal Rehabilitation Centre (ARC)
    Shamwari‘s Animal Rehabilitation Centre, along with its registered veterinary clinic, was established to aid in the rehabilitation and even rescue of injured or orphaned wildlife, sometimes from surrounding game reserves and communities. The aim is to give injured animals the best possible care and focus on release back into their natural environment, participants may gain different types of exposure through this experience, which dependent on the needs and requirements of the operation at their time of stay, may range from merely observation, to a more hands-on animal care.

    Born Free Foundation Charity
    The Born Free Foundation Charity and Shamwari Game Reserve are both committed to the conservation of wildlife. Creating awareness and educating our guest and local population as to the importance of the protection and conservation of wildlife, we aim to promote the protection of habitat, while maintaining a humane and compassionate approach to the care and welfare of any captive animals. This centre offers a great opportunity to showcase and create awareness about the horrific way in which wildlife is exploited in captivity around the world. Our visits to the centre are conducted with the overall focus on education and raising awareness as to the plight and ill treatment of these and other captive animals. No breeding of cats is undertaken at the centre which is sanctuary for Lions and Leopards who are unable to be reintroduced back into the wild. Your interaction with this team may range from a personalized behind the scenes tour, to assisting with maintenance and cleaning of enclosures and at times even feeding and other tasks required to ensure that the cats enjoy the peaceful existence they deserve.

     Possible Activities Include:

    • Game capture and other wildlife veterinary work
    • Sleep outs on the Big Five reserve
    • Orientation and nature walks
    • Assisting in night and anti-poaching patrols
    • General Reserve Maintenance

    Off-Site or Weekend Activities (own cost)
    There are several adventure and leisure based activities in and around the Eastern Cape and bordering Western Cape districts. These range from seasonal whale watching in Algoa Bay, surfing J-Bay’s world-renowned Super Tubes, to bungy jumping at the Bloukrans Bridge and exploring the forests and coastline of the Tsitsikamma National Park. As part of your planning, should you wish to conduct any off-site or extra mural activities, our team will gladly advise you of the best and most suitable options and provide contact information for local adventure and leisure operators.


  • Monday  Arrival: Welcome, Health and Safety briefing and orientation of facilities Talk: Introduction to the History of Shamwari and Eastern Cape, followed by an orientation Game Drive on the reserve
    Tueday Talk: Basic Wildlife Conservation, Ecology and Management principles followed by visit to Animal Rehab and Rhino Awareness Centres Talk: Animal Population Dynamics followed by Tracking and Monitoring of Rhino on reserve
    Wednesday Visit to Born Free Big Cat Rescue and Education Centre with behind the scenes tour of the Sanctuary followed by a Bush Lunch Talk: The Conservation of flagship species of Africa - receive “Be The Ranger” subject matter followed by “Amazing Bush Race” on predator-free area.
    Thursday Talk: Predator Management, followed by practical Tracking session : Lion or Leopard Talk and Practical: Tracks and Signs of the Wild followed by Camera Trapping session
    Friday Late Breakfast, followed by briefing and visit to community - start elective project (e.g. Paint and Mural a Classroom or Sporting interaction) Packed Lunch with completion of community project or sporting interaction with local children
    Saturday Elective Off-Site Activity or at leisure on site Elective Off-Site Activity or at leisure on site
    Sunday Elective Off-Site Activity or at leisure on site Elective Off-Site Activity or at leisure on site
    Monday Talk: Anti-Poaching and Conservation Challenges followed by Rhino Tracking and Identification session Retrieval of Camera Traps on reserve - “siesta” with late afternoon start to APU night patrol and identification of nocturnal animals
    Tuesday Late morning start with “Be The Ranger” on reserve session Packed Lunch followed by Talk: Basic Wildlife, Ecological Management and practical task on Reserve
    Wednesday Predator Tracking and Monitoring Session: Lion or Leopard Cultural & History show and tell with Drum and Dance session
    Thursday Talk: Bush Skills followed by Reserve Rehabilitation: removal of exotic vegetation Elephant Tracking and Monitoring session on reserve
    Friday Late Breakfast Visit: Elective Community Project - e.g. host soup kitchen for local children at crèche Final Game Drive Experience on reserve
    Saturday Elective Off-Site Activity or morning activity on reserve Elective Off-Site Activity or morning activity on reserve
    Sunday Elective Off-Site Activity or morning activity on reserve Farewell Debriefing and Barbeque at Boma


Shamwari is approximately a 90 minute drive from Port Elizabeth Airport and there are several adventure and leisure activities in close proximity, which stretch down a beautiful coastline known as The Garden Route.

Frequently Asked Questions

The emphasis and drive behind the award-winning conservation initiatives at Shamwari Game Reserve have always been focusedon sound and ethical wildlife and ecological principles. The day-to-day work does not require human intervention and interactionthrough touch, but in times of crisis or true need for intervention, participants may be afforded the opportunity to safely get closeto observe and at times directly participate on a more hands on basis with the wildlife species.

You will generally get an opportunity to buy personals and sundries on Fridays when visiting the local community as part of our social responsibility drive. Although not carrying a vast array of items you should be able to purchase toiletries, cold drinks and other necessities from the local general dealers. The purchase of World Call cards for the paid telephone service can also be purchased in nearby Alicedale, which is about 12 km’s away.

For security purposes, we advise that you carry the minimum amount of foreign or local currency needed at any given time duringyour stay. We advise use of ATM’s or that you cash all Travellers Cheques in at a registered or known foreign exchange outlet atPort Elizabeth airport or if your transfer allows one of the major local banks in Port Elizabeth.

Although participants might have very personalised interests or be passionate about a particular species, we are proud to beable to offer an experience which is so diverse by nature and takes participants behind-the-scenes of the game reserve’s wildlifeoperations and exposes you to the various aspects of modern day conservation which include several ecological, wildlife andspecies management issues.

The student centre has been purposely built to facilitate exposure to various forms of conservation, wildlife, community and sports experiences. The streaming of particular common interest groups will differ according to seasonality and specific requirements, thus the facility may simultaneously host various experiences of a different nature, whether for individuals or groups. The age and background of participants may also differ and tolerance and acceptance in regard to shared communal resources is necessitated.

As both evenings and weekends are generally spent at leisure, there are several on and off-site activities for you to partake in. On-site activities range from playing pool and table tennis to making use of our swimming pool. If enjoying a movie or watching sport on-site isn’t for you, for those eligible by age, visits and socials at a local pub or restaurant are undertaken by participants from time-to-time. As these activities (off-site) are at own cost, participants generally share costs to make you average spend more affordable. More often than not, the friends that you make whilst at Shamwari will be using their leisure time as the ideal opportunity to plan and enjoy one of several adventure activities along the beautiful Garden Route coastline. As we have a comprehensive array of adventure brochures and contact details of reputable operators available, you shouldn’t struggle to find
more fun and excitement. Our staff will gladly advise you further pre, or on arrival.

Besides any required vaccinations advised by your country of origin or the authorities from the country in which you reside, being a malaria free area, we know of no vaccinations or treatments that are deemed as required pre, or on arrival in the Eastern Cape district, in which Shamwari Game Reserve is situated.

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