For many years, Rhino Revolution has managed a low-key volunteer programme, which has helped fund their mounted surveillance unit on a neighbouring reserve. This is an authentic conservation programme where volunteers get involved in mounted surveillance patrols as well as other conservation projects on the ground.
Rhino Revolution has now diversified and extended its volunteer programme in collaboration with Thornybush Nature Reserve. This will allow volunteers the opportunity of giving back to the exciting and ever-changing world of conservation in a Big-5 game reserve, all the while learning, and being part of the dedicated Thornybush K9 and mounted units.
Volunteer projects include working with field rangers on conservation projects such as eradicating invasive plant species, working with the K9 and Mounted units, assisting with monitoring habitat species, camera monitoring as well as projects such as rhino dehorning.
Due to the high incidence of rhino poaching in the Lowveld, dehorning is ongoing on the Thornybush Nature Reserve. As it is an open system, rhino from the Greater Kruger area roam onto the reserve and any horned rhinos are dehorned immediately as they enter Thornybush. Rhino dehorning is not a decision that the conservation community takes lightly. The reserve management are mindful that it would be preferable for our rhino to remain horned, however, dehorning has proved to be a valuable tool, along with stringent anti-poaching measures, in countering rhino poaching.
The Thornybush Volunteer programme is open to anyone over 18 and volunteers will be hosted in a rustic but well-equipped volunteer camp on the Thornybush Nature Reserve.
The Thornybush Private Nature Reserve is an easy 30-minute drive from the Eastgate Airport, which is serviced daily by flights from both Johannesburg and Cape Town.
There is also a daily shuttle service from Oliver Tambo Airport that is a pleasant 5-to-6-hour drive through scenic farmlands and over the Blyde Canyon pass into the Lowveld.
The closest town to Thornybush is Hoedspruit, which is a 45-minute drive from the reserve, and in their free time, volunteers will be able to explore the town and its restaurants as well as markets and shops.
On off days, volunteers may also experience several activities that are on offer in proximity including day trips to Kruger National Park, Panorama scenic route, Moholoholo Rehabilitation Centre, Blyde boat trip etc.
An indemnity form will be required before any activities on the Reserve are performed as all volunteers must be aware that they are working in an environment where dangerous game roam freely.
The volunteer programme offers an authentic experience with a diverse range of projects. Volunteers will enjoy a hands-on and exciting experience, living on a Big 5 nature reserve, where each day will bring a new highlight.
They will have the opportunity to work with experts in the conservation field and will be able to enjoy all that the South African Lowveld and surrounds have to offer!