Each of your volunteer days starts after breakfast and ends in time to shower before evening meal. We'll all leave Umkhumbi lodge together each morning for the 10 minute drive to Ukuwela.
There's a ton of work to be done on the land but before you dive in we'll give you a one day course on bush skills, conservation concerns and anti-poaching techniques. After your first day you'll have a deeper understanding of why you're here and what you'll be doing.
The work can be quite strenuous, especially in the African sun, so breaks should be taken often. Always remember that you are working on a wild piece of land and although unlikely, you may come very close to an animal. During your induction we will give you clear instructions on how to act in such instances. We do not have elephants, rhinos, lions, or buffalo on Ukuwela. They're the ones you don't want to meet. You will, however, have the chance to see all these animals on your days off when we go to neighboring reserves.
Even the best laid plans in Africa tend to change month to month. It can be quite frustrating to Westerners, but after a while you learn to go with the flow. To this end we cannot guarantee the types of projects that you will be performing, but we're sure they won't change too much. Here they are:
Removing alien plants species
Like every other piece of land in the area alien plant species have taken hold. You'll be ripping these up by hand and basic tools. This will allow for the growth of indigenous vegetation, which is not only important to the natural order, it is a vital food source for animals as small as insects and as large as giraffes and a driver of biodiversity.
Removing Agricultural Debris
Ukuwela was once a farm, and like messy neighbors, they left behind some of trash like the plastic used to help grow their pineapples. Aside from being unsightly it is a danger if ingested by all animals large and small. You'll help return Ukuwela to a pristine habitat by removing the trash by hand.
Removing Old Fencing
Ukuwela was once subdivided and there are old fences that need to be removed now that we own the whole piece. You'll help dismantle and remove these wood post and wire fences.
Erecting New Fencing
Now that Ukuwela is one large wild area we can create a new, modern wood post and wire fence perimeter. You'll help us erect this new fencing.
Checking animal camera traps
Camera traps are remotely activated cameras that are equipped with motion sensors to snap a pic when something moves past. We have a number of these on the land to get photos of the shy and elusive animals. Camera trapping is a method for capturing wild animals on film when researchers are not present, and has been used in ecological research for decades.
- Checking our animal camera traps
- Walking the land to do species counts
- Going on foot patrol to find and remove wire snares