On the Expedition
Survey the populations of giraffes, zebras, elephants, rhinos, and others in world-class South African protected areas.
You will work in teams of two, yourself and an armed guard, walking eight-to-ten-kilometer transects through classic acacia woodland, bushveld, and forest, starting at first light of dawn. Walking over a diverse landscape ranging from rugged hills to gently undulating terrain, you will make every attempt to observe all wildlife, including the park's full complement of predators, along the way. When you spot a herd or individual of one of the 15 target herbivore species, you will record the species, herd size, compass bearing, and distance. This is a rare chance to walk through scenery most people only see from a Land Rover. Your data will inform appropriate management interventions, ensuring the diversity of wildlife species in one of Africa's oldest wildlife reserves. In the evening, you will gather around the campfire under southern constellations to share the day's encounters.
Meals and Accommodations
An adventurous day in the bush is topped off by an evening meal of western fare or local dishes, such as braai (barbecue), cooked by camp managers who keep you well fed and watered. A comfortable mattress and pillow with your own sleeping bag, in a tent of one or two teammates, beckons you away from the dwindling embers. The camp is equipped with battery-powered lights, flush toilets, hot bucket showers, and the South African bush as your backyard. Nothing compares to the sound of a distant lion as you drift off to sleep.
About the Research Area
The research area lies on the eastern seaboard of the southern African subcontinent with the altitude ranging from 85 to 580 meters (280 to 920 feet) above sea level. The area has a coastally modified climate with much of the variability in the local weather being related to topography. The dry season period over which this project is planned is the time during which much of the controlled burning occurs in the park. The primary fuel for these fires is grass and it is very unlikely that the burning will influence the study.
Less than 50 kilometers (31 miles) away is the iSimangaliso Wetland Park; a RAMSAR wetland site and a World Heritage Site.