“Journey deep into the South Africa bush to volunteer on the world’s only white lion conservation project.”
The White Lion Conservation Project is based in South Africa’s Timbavati region, where the species originates. The project is currently home to six white lions and four tawny lions, and the staff at the site need the help of volunteers to support their vital work. This is your chance to contribute to the conservation of these uniquely beautiful big cats, helping to manage their habitats, track and monitor the lions, and study their prey to ensure that the pride has the best chance at a stable future in the region. In your free time outside of the project, you can visit the world-famous Kruger National Park, go on horseback safari, and immerse yourself in South African culture!
In 2003, a pride of rare white lions was introduced into the Timbavati region of South Africa. Since then, the population has thrived, proving that the species can be successful in the wild despite their apparent lack of camouflage. The project is currently home to six white and four tawny lions, and its aim is to integrate these lions together to form a new, genetically diverse pride. Since the white lion gene is recessive, it is important to make sure that future generations will be genetically diverse enough to thrive in the long-term – and introducing tawny lions into the gene pool is one way to achieve this.
Volunteers make a valuable contribution to this project, helping to support the project staff to achieve their aims. The project focuses on several conservation activities that impact the lions both directly and indirectly; alongside daily monitoring and tracking activities, habitat management is one other key aspect, with volunteers helping with erosion control and alien plant removal to ensure that the lions’ habitat is protected. Scientific research is another important part of the project, with predator/prey surveys carried out to ensure a better understanding of what size pride can live in the area, and what the region needs to sustain this pride. All of these activities help ensure that the white lion population is given the best chance at a sustained future in the Timbavati region.
Arrival: Touch down in South Africa’s Hoedspruit Airport and meet your project facilitator. Transfer to the project site (a car-ride of around 30 mins), stopping along the way to pick up some supplies at the local supermarket. Upon your arrival at the site, settle into your accommodation and get acquainted with the team and your fellow volunteers. Later, you’ll receive an orientation and safety briefing to prepare you for the days ahead.
Project Days: Each day begins at around 5:30 am (depending on the season), with some tracking and observation to check on the lions. Return to the project site for breakfast, before beginning your morning activities. Lunch will be between 12 – 2pm, before afternoon activities commence. In the late afternoon you’ll go on another game drive to check on the lions once more, before enjoying dinner at around 7pm. The evening is free for you to relax and spend some time with your fellow volunteers; go on a wilderness camp, take a drive to watch the sunset, or feast on a delicious braai dinner on a Friday evening! Sundays are free for you to spend exploring the local area, or participating in optional extra activities like horseback safaris or excursions to Kruger National Park.
Final Day: After one final breakfast at the project site, bid the lions and the project staff a fond farewell as you transfer back to Hoedspruit Airport. Board your return flight, or spend some more time travelling independently in South Africa!
- The rate shown is a 'from' price per person
- Click 'Ask a Question' up above to speak to the operator about this project's availability, departure dates, and costs
- A monetary contribution to the project itself
- Airport transfers
- Full orientation and support from the project staff
- A weekly food shop allowance
- Cooking facilities
- Laundry facilities (with a small fee)
- Weekly trip to Hoedspruit for food and other supplies
- Internet Access
- Travel and health insurance (please check you have one covering all aspects of the trip)
- Any other drinks or snacks outside of the game reserve
- Visa fees if applicable
- Any other services or activities not mentioned in inclusions - if in doubt, click 'Ask a Question' to speak to the operator!