African Savannah Conservation Volunteer Projects in Kenya
- Placement location: Soysambu Conservancy, Rift Valley
- Role: Wildlife research
- Main Research Focus: Micro-ecology of the Rothschild’s giraffe
- Local Environment: African Savannah
- Accommodation: Volunteer dormitories based at ranch house
- Price: From
- What's included? Food, accommodation, transfers to and from our specified airport, transport to and from work where required, insurance, personal webpage, induction and orientation, 24/7 support
- What's not included? Flights, visa costs, spending money
- Length of placement: From 1 week
- Start dates: Flexible
You can take part in a Conservation & Environment project in the Rift Valley in Kenya. This is a unique chance to live and work in the heart of a 48,000 acre reserve surrounded by the wild animals that Kenya is renowned for.
The Soysambu Conservancy is working to protect a vital tract of the Great Rift Valley. It's a haven and breeding ground for a diverse range of wild animals, with a particular emphasis on protecting the endangered Rothschild's giraffe.
The Soysambu Conservancy is based in the Great Rift Valley, approximately 3 hours north of Nairobi. It’s bordered by Lake Nakuru National Park to the west, and the volcanoes Ol Doinyo Eburru to the south and Menengai to the north.
Volunteers will be involved in numerous projects in the reserve but our overall aim is to contribute to the conservation and preservation of Kenya’s biodiversity through scientific research. This research is shared with other conservation authorities with similar aims to ensure the survival of Africa’s wildlife for future generations. All research takes place on SoySambu Conservancy under the skilled and experienced supervision of our local staff.
This project is perfect for anyone with a passion for nature and the great outdoors, it offers you the chance to get up close to some of the most fascinating animals found in Africa. You do not need previous experience to take part in this project. Volunteers are welcome on a gap year, a career break, for university research, or just for an opportunity to experience a very different way of life!
Here you will find answers to the following questions:
What is my role on this Conservation & Environment project?
Work consists of a combination of observational research tasks and practical hands-on work. The work is divided up among all of our volunteers using a weekly schedule. Volunteers on this project can take part in a wide variety of activities, such as:
- Endangered species research: Rothschild's giraffe and its micro ecology.
- Mammal, bird and plant population studies using observation and tracking techniques
- Removal of invasive plants
- Maintaining natural water holes for animals
- Road maintenance
- Taking part in mammal inventories using motion detection camera traps
- Learning skills in animal and plant identification
- Anti-poaching patrols
- Community conservancy work, for example introducing tree nurseries
Trained local staff are on hand to supervise activities and provide support.
Volunteers usually work five days a week. A typical working day will run from 8am until 12pm and again from 2pm until 5pm. However, depending on the activities volunteers may be required to start earlier or finish later or even work over the weekend.
What are the aims of this Conservation & Environment project?
The primary focus of this project is to aid in the conservation of Kenya’s native biodiversity. Consisting of 48,000 acres of diverse ecological significance, Soysambu Conservancy is home to more than 450 bird species and 10,000 mammals of over 50 species including 100+ Rothschild's Giraffe (10% of the world's population of this endangered species).
In working at Soysambu, we aim to aid the conservation of Kenya’s biodiversity through research and monitoring. Our special emphasis is to conduct research on the Rothschild's giraffe as part of a larger project with other reserves. This is vital research that could determine the fate of this subspecies.
Other animals on the reserve include buffalo, lions, zebra, waterbuck, impala, Thomson’s gazelle, eland, hyenas, leopards and hippos. These magnificent mammals along with hundreds of bird species and indigenous plants keep our staff and volunteers very busy in achieving our aims.
Kenya is renowned for being the ultimate safari destination and animals can be seen roaming wild along the roadsides. However, as the human population multiplies there is the continuous and increasing threat of poaching, pollution and damage caused through residential and commercial developments. It is through reserves such as SoySambu that havens are created for wildlife and the wilderness areas are allowed to flourish.
With such a wide range of research and practical projects at SoySambu Conservancy, volunteers will learn a new range of skills. These skills will include an increased awareness of the African bush, its animals and their ecology.
You can read more detailed information about the aims of the project in our Kenya Conservation Management Plan.
Where will I live on this project?
Volunteers live in the conservancy in a ranch house (officially called Congreve House), which has modified dormitory style accommodation. Dormitories will be separated according to gender. Congreve House has a wide open outside area for activities and a spacious and comfortable living area for relaxing or socialising. It offers options for both indoor and outdoor dining. There is a limited availability for single rooms at Congreve House and notice would need to be given to ensure this preference. There is solar power that is switched on in the evenings. There is currently no hot water for showers, but we are working to offer this soon.
- Drinkable water is provided
- Electricity is usually in the evening since they use solar power
- Mosquito nets are easily available here in Kenya and the volunteers can buy them on arrival
- Rain boots are very useful at the Conservation project because the terrain can get quite muddy. These can be bought in Kenya.
- Volunteers should bring their own sleeping bags and/sheets. Blankets will be provided
You can join the Conservation & Environment project in Kenya for one, two or three weeks if you don't have time to join us for four weeks or more. This project has been selected by our local colleagues as being suitable for short term volunteering for both the host community and the volunteer. Although you will gain a valuable cultural insight and work intensely on a variety of conservation activities please be aware that you may not be able to make the same impact as someone volunteering for a longer period. Volunteers joining the Conservation & Environment project for just one week should arrive at a weekend.