Buffelsfontein Volunteer Project
Situated on the R27 in the heart of the West Coast, you will find the private game and nature reserve, Buffelsfontein. Buffelsfontein is dripping with magnificent wildlife and superb South African scenery. The reserve is a tranquil setting and the perfect destination for a break-away to revive and relax. It offers a variety of facilities that are surrounded by the beautiful natural scenery of the West Coast. Being less than 60 minutes’ drive from Cape Town city centre makes it ideal for a quick get-away or day excursion.
The reserve which started out as a 1600-hectare cattle farm was bought by Mr Paul Loubser in 1993. Loubser realized the potential of the land to serve as a reserve and tourist destination and over time the infrastructure started to change with the introduction of a restaurant, bar and accommodation. Because of the weak perimeter fencing at this time, only smaller animal species could also be introduced. But this was all threatened in the summer of 2000 when the farm had a huge setback. A large fire destroyed almost everything on the cattle farm. This destruction included a high percentage of fencing, building structures, plant and animal life. But in the years that followed Buffelsfontein cattle farm rose from the ashes like a phoenix and was transformed into what we now know as the Buffelsfontein Game and Nature reserve.
Some of the wildlife that you could expect to see in the Game and Nature Reserve:
Lion / Cheetah / Rhino / Buffalo / Giraffe / Zebra / Blue Wildebeest / Red Hartebeest / Kudu, Eland / Oryx (Gemsbok) / Bontebok / Springbok / Duiker / Steenbok / Caracal / African Wildcat / Bat-eared fox / Cape fox / Genet / Grey buck / Mountain Reedbuck / Porcupine / Aardvark / Aardwolf / Honey Badger / Leopard / Ostrich and many bird species
Some of your daily duties will be to feed the animals daily, this includes the Lions, Cheetahs and Leopard. Cleaning of some areas where the animals stay. Daily driving around the fences to make sure all secure. Working with public by assisting our Game rangers on daily game drives. Accompanying the vet on routine visits and tending to sick and injured animals. Assisting in the kitchen preparing for functions. Working on building projects on the reserve.
|Duration||Costs in ZAR|
|2 Weeks||R19 800|
|4 Weeks||R35 800|
|6 Weeks||R49 800|
* Prices may very, final costs will be confirmed after the final application form is completed.
Q: Why do I have to PAY to volunteer?
Buffelsfontein Game and Nature Reserve is a private entity and do not get any funding from government. As a private reserve we need to pay for all feed, fences, vet bills and more. Some of our animals you will not find anywhere in the Western Cape within a 100km from the city centre. Therefore, we need funding to assist us in the running cost of this reserve and to preserve the animal and plant species.
Q: Where does my money go?
Your money, is used to pay for your accommodation, for the time you spend on the reserve, your 2 meals a day while you are at Buffelsfontein, your light breakfast that will be at your accommodation facility; as well as for the Buffelsfotnein Volunteer Project running cost, such as fuel for the vehicles, vehicle maintenance, feed and vet bills.
Q: What does the work involve?
Refer to project detail
Q: What does a typical day look like?
Volunteers leave their beach house at 7am in the morning. They will then be transported the 16km to Buffelsfontein. Arriving at Buffelsfontein you will meet up with the co-ordinator and receive the information of what will be happening for that specific day.
You will have brunch at around 10am and a late lunch at about 2pm.
You should be back at your beach house at around 5:30pm. This will give you enough time to have the best of two worlds – by going down to the beach or a restaurant or have a typical “braai” at the beach house.
Q: How much hands-on work will I experience with the animals?
On occasion some animals might need to be tranquillised for treatment, which is undertaken by qualified and trained personnel. Volunteers on those occasions then assist these professionals in whatever way necessary.
Some smaller animals on the reserve might also need your personal attention. Under NO circumstance will any volunteer be allowed to be alone around any of the wild animals and without a staff member with them. Also NOT allowed will be petting or touching of the animals.
South Africa’s climatic conditions generally range from Mediterranean in the south-western corner of South Africa to temperate in the interior plateau, and subtropical in the northeast. A small area in the northwest has a desert climate. Most of the country has warm, sunny days and cool nights. Rainfall generally occurs during summer (November through March), although in the southwest, around Cape Town, rainfall occurs in winter (June to August). Temperatures are influenced by variations in elevation, terrain, and ocean currents more than latitude.
Q: Do I need any specific skills or qualifications to volunteer at Buffelsfontein?
You should have a love of nature and animals, a positive attitude, able to take orders from personnel from Buffelsfontein, respectful of other cultures and have an understanding of the English language. You do not need any specific skills or qualifications.
Q: How long can I volunteer for?
You can volunteer for any amount of time ranging from two weeks to six weeks.
Q: Do I need a VISA?
There is NO “volunteering visa” or “working visa” required to join our project. You do not have to mention the word “volunteering” or “working holiday”, since you are effectively paying the team for your stay. Volunteers who join us from countries that do require a Tourist Visa to enter South Africa, enter on a 90-day “tourism visa”.
Q: Do I need Travel Insurance?
Yes. We will assist you in this regard. As with any international travel, you are responsible to ensure that you have personal insurance to cover your time in South Africa including illness, injury and loss. It is essential that you have adequate personal medical travel insurance in place, in the event of a medical emergency. There is mobile phone coverage within the reserves, and internet access.
Q: What do I need to pack for my time with Buffelsfontein?
A small rucksack to take with you each day on the vehicle to hold your snacks, water, sunscreen, hand sanitiser, binoculars, etc. Camera and lots of film or a large memory card – there are plenty of photo opportunities! A torch/flashlight/headlamp is ESSENTIAL and COMPULSORY. Spare batteries (for your torch/camera etc.) We encourage the use of rechargeable batteries, as opposed to disposable batteries which are not environmentally friendly. Cell phone if you have one (don’t forget your cell phone’s charger!) Plug adapters/converters for South Africa. (Our plugs here have 3 rounded prongs, 220-230V 50Hz). Mosquito and tick repellent. Lotion to soothe mosquito and insect bites A basic personal supply of first aid items (such as painkillers, eye drops, plasters for blisters, cold capsules, allergy meds, diarrhoea tablets, etc that you may need.) Your personal toiletries (shampoo/conditioner/soap/toothpaste etc), and any chronic / long-term medications you may require (enough to last you while you are with us).
If you wear glasses or contact lenses, it is advisable to bring spare/back-up options. Swimwear (there is a swimming pool on the Reserve and you will be staying close to the beach – some of you might decide to bring along your kayak or windsurfer). Spending money.
Q: Do I need to bring a mosquito net? What are the malaria risks?
No. You are not going to be in a malaria area.
Q: Do I need a plug adapter and if so, what kind?
There are indeed electrical outlets in the rooms. Electricity here is 220/230 volts, 15 amps, and is supplied through either large three-prong, or smaller two-prong plugs, in both cases with round pins.
Q: What vaccinations do I need?
There are NO compulsory vaccinations to visit South Africa, unless you are travelling from a yellow-fever endemic area (the yellow fever belt of Africa or South America), in which case you will need certification to prove your yellow-fever inoculation status when you arrive in South Africa. There are various “recommended” vaccinations (e.g. Typhoid and Hepatitis A), for travel to Africa and to South Africa, but these are not compulsory.
Q: How much will it Cost?
Please visit our project cost and dates page.
Q: How is Payment made?
We will need a 35% deposit payment and final payment 6 weeks before arrival date.
Q: Do I need to be a student in order to volunteer?
You do not only have to be a student to volunteer.
Q: What is the age range for Buffelsfontein volunteers?
We do not really accept volunteers younger than 18, but if accompanied by and adult we will make a decision on that if requested. Maximum age depends on your health
Q: How many other volunteers will there be?
We only accept a maximum of ten volunteers at a time on our Project
Q: Will I be able to contact my friends and family back home?
Yes, you will be able to if you bring along your own mobile phone.
Q: How safe is the environment we will be working in?
Our wildlife monitors are professional and well trained to lead you in the work. Appropriate supervision and instruction will be provided for all elements of your practical experience; we do consider safety in the bush to be of primary concern. A full safety briefing is given upon arrival.
South Africa, like other countries, do have criminal elements.
Q: What is the accommodation like?
The accommodation is a house 16km from Buffelsfontein and situated in the lovely town Yzerfontein, a sea-side village and offers unspoilt coastline with rocky and sandy beaches. Volunteers will share 2 per room. All rooms will have DSTV and its own bathroom. There are a entertainment area with a pool table, braai area and outside views of the ocean. Please view the gallery pictures of the house.
You will be able to make your own coffee and tea and a light breakfast in the morning. We will have some staff cleaning the house once a week and this will include clean linen.
Q: What is the food like?
Find information: http://buffelsfontein.co.za/restaurant-and-bar/. They will also be able to cater for vegetarians and vegans.
Q: How much spending money do I need to bring?
We cover all your accommodation, training, food and travel costs while you are at Buffelsfonein. You will be part of the volunteer program daily Mondays to Fridays. On Saturday and Sundays, our partner Company Eco South Africa Sport and Travel will take all the volunteers on excursions in and around Cape Town. This can include Shark cage diving, visiting animal sanctuaries, Peninsula day trips, wine tasting trips and so much more. You can visit: https://eco-southafrica.com/western-cape/ for more information in this regard. These excursions is not included in your package and you will need spending money for this, lunch and dinner on a Saturday and Sunday.
Your spending money will be for:
Emergencies / Any leisure activities / Purchasing gifts and curios / Alcoholic beverages (wine, beer etc.) /
Bottled water, should you choose to drink it / Mobile phone “airtime” vouchers or calling cards / Snacks such as chocolate, crisps, fizzy drinks etc. / Any additional grocery items you may want that are not provided by us / Meals eaten in restaurants / takeaways etc. on “time off”
Q: Is a volunteer allowed to go on hikes around the park during downtime?
No one is allowed to walk around within the reserves unless accompanied by a ranger who is qualified to deal with dangerous game on foot.