Askari Wilderness Conservation Programme
Askari provides volunteers with a lifetime opportunity that will never be forgotten; to actively contribute to and participate in the daily management, wildlife research and monitoring activities taking place on a game reserve in Africa. The programme fosters the conservation of wilderness and is based on Pidwa Wilderness Reserve in 25 500 hectares of untamed beauty.
I regularly do volunteer projects overseas, with a focus on wildlife/conservation. This project has been the best I've done, and I've worked in Tonga, Indonesia, China, Thailand and this was my 4th trip to Africa. The framework was well set-up, the facilities way better than I've experienced before and it was ethically focused and not on income generated from the volunteers. I felt very appreciated, respected and included. The coordinators were outstanding and that can make or break it in my view. Their passion was contagious! Great organisation and a good blend of activities. I learned heaps! 10 out of 10! Makes it hard to consider doing anything else really! "July 2016"
Returning for a second stay at Askari I knew this experience would be equally incredible. This time around was completely different and allowed our team to excel and contribute to Pidwa in new and exciting experiences. Askari and Pidwa have a way of inspiring positive change in the lives of participants. You leave with a reaffirmed understanding and responsibility to conservation. The lessons I have learned will be with me always.
Coming to Askari from half a world away gave me the opportunity to work with like-minded people, towards the larger vision of Pidwa. I truly admire the support and dedication the Askari team has for their work. Such passionate and inspirational people make it easy to learn from. In the beginning it seemed as though this was a once in a lifetime opportunity, however now looking into the future I have prospects of returning. Thank you for making an impact on my life Askari.
Having returned for a second time, I was continually blown away by the knowledge and passion shown by the Askari staff. My time at Askari will push on to be the highlight of my year. This programme is highly recommended.
My time at Askari has been one that has forever changed me and an experience that I will never forget. Being able to help and support a reserve whose main goal is to restore the landscape to it's original form is amazing. I can definitely say that going to Askari has helped broaden my outlook on restoration and given me a better idea on the practical side of things. I cannot wait until I can return here again.
The Askari programme is truly a rare experience. Their focus is on education, conservation, and restoration – which sets it apart from other reserve programs. I felt like my work was making a difference and that the people at Pidwa appreciated it. The reserve staff and guides were all extremely welcoming and quickly became close friends of mine. They were also very accommodating to the volunteer team, especially when sighting the fantastic wildlife species on the reserve. The wildlife at Pidwa is spectacular and jaw-dropping to say the least. The ecosystems are beautiful and the flora species made me fall in love with this country. I made memories at Askari that will last a lifetime, and I am sad to go. I will miss every part of the experience, but I fully intend to return to Askari. The experience is too good to not come back.
A month in a true wilderness with enthusiastic guides and everything from elephants to dung beetles to discover – what could be more amazing. I am closer to the top of the age range of volunteers and not that fit and I would say do NOT let age put you off – all the tasks and activities are manageable and give such a sense of achievement as you can see the benefits. Katie and Ed are both so enthusiastic and all the staff at Pidwa/Askari went out of their way to make the experience as great as possible for us. Book, come and enjoy – you will not regret this and you will leave a much happier person. This is true conservation, with real wild animals in the most incredible private place. March 2016
A month I will never forget! I can’t recommend the Askari conservation programme highly enough! From day one I loved every moment and Ed and Katie go out of their way to ensure you have the most amazing trip! The programme is really well organised so that there is a balance between the wow of seeing an elephant pass right by the vehicle and the conservation work involved to ensure their natural habitat remains. I have learnt so much in my time at Askari and feel incredibly lucky to have been part of this world and the fantastic work the whole team carry out on a daily basis. I am so happy I was able to contribute to this unique programme. Askari is a very special place and I think it’s safe to say it’s stolen a piece of my heart forever. March 2016
This programme far exceeded all expectations. I learnt an incredible amount about a wide range of conservation areas whilst getting up close and personal with the animals. The team are impressively knowledgeable and passionate about what they do. They warmly welcomed me into the Askari family and I can honestly say I’ve has the best time of my life. I will definitely be coming back to Askari and strongly recommend this place to anyone who loves wildlife, is prepared to get their hands dirty and has a keen interest in conservation. September-December 2015
My time at Askari was incredible. We do so many different activities, one day seems like two days. You can’t imagine what is happening in the bush until you see it for yourself. We participate in each task and choice about the bush. You become part of an awesome team where you make new friends. People who share the passion and who want to make a difference. Do not hesitate, just do it. This is adventure! - November 2015
My stay at Askari has been one of the most fulfilling experiences of my life. The amount of things I learned and saw was unique and soul-satisfying. Katie & Ed are amazing people in so many ways and I would love to come back for another stay at Askari
Askari Wilderness Conservation Programme is unlike any other volunteer opportunities I have heard of or experienced. The people here are truly passionate about the conservation, preservation and restoration of South Africa's pristine ecosystems and wildlife. It can be hard work at times, but to see the meaningful projects you are contributing to makes it all worth it. It is an unforgettable experience and I feel incredibly lucky to have been involved in this programme. A special thanks to Katie and Ed who have made my experience here infinitely better by providing the necessary support, knowledge and true passion for conservation to make this programme so fantastic.
I'm so very happy that I chose Askari for my south Africa volunteer program. The quality and knowledge of the team here is well above average - they are a superb team! I learned more than I expected and most importantly, I felt that I contributed to a highly ethical conservation program. "July 2016"
To put this wonderful experience into words is nearly impossible but I will try. Firstly Ed and Katie are 2 of the nicest people you could wish to meet. Their knowledge is amazing and enthusiasm to pass it on makes you want to try and use this knowledge to better yourself. The physical activities were very enjoyable and made you feel like you were really contributing something positive to the projects. We arrived as individuals and 4 weeks later leave as a very close knit team having experienced so much together. Anybody thinking of coming here, stop thinking and book your trip. I promise you will not regret it for a second and the experience will stay with you forever. Askari is a priceless diamond in the South African crown and must stay that way. Thank you so much for everything. - June 2016
The Askari Conservation Programme has far exceeded my expectations. As this is my second volunteer project in Africa, I came into this with a general idea of what to expect, but what I got was so much more. The staff could not have been better; everyone was so friendly, eager to help, extremely knowledgeable, and made my stay as enjoyable as possible. Not only was the wildlife spectacular, but all of the activities and projects we helped out with were so fulfilling and rewarding. From the second I got here I did not feel like just another volunteer, but rather felt as one of the team. This programme has truly made an impact on my life and I will never forget my time here at Askari. - June 2016
Askari is a unique project where one can truly get to experience the African wildlife. Do not come here expecting to find lions or cheetahs that you will pet and touch, because this is not that type of project. But what you can find in very friendly staff, extremely knowledgeable guides such as Ed and Katie and memories to last a lifetime. Thank you Ed and Katie. - June 2016
Askari has been the best trip I’ve ever been on. Since it was my first time in Africa I had no idea what to expect but since day one it’s been amazing. The guides are not only very educational with lectures, they work alongside us the entire month on the reserve and have become close friends by the end of it. This program truly shows you all the work that goes into running a reserve. Pidwa also stays true to its mission towards conservation and is a special place. I feel honoured and incredibly lucky to find such a gem and will always cherish the memories I made during my time here. I would recommend it to anyone who wants a genuine African adventure while learning a lot along the way. Thanks so much Askari, hope to be back soon. - June 2016
I had no idea what to expect when I went to Askari. But my stay here was above all expectations. The staff involve you in everything what is happening around here. They know a lot and teach you really much. The camp you live in is absolutely beautiful and real luxury. I have done and seen so much in the past 4 weeks. Amazing things from nyala and sable relocation to impala poo spitting competition! I was not into birding at all, birds were just boring flying things to me. But the way they teach you about birds and with the enthusiasm made me really like birds and birding. My stay here has confirmed to me what I want to do after I am done with school. It has been an amazing time here for me. - June 2016
I wasn’t sure if it would be possible for my second visit to Askari to be even better than the visit last year but it was!! Amazing sightings all month long, new animals, birds & reptiles & a never ending learning experience about the South African bush & all it’s intricacies. Askari has yet again proved it is the only volunteer programme anyone should consider if they’re serious about working hard, contributing to real wildlife conservation and making the most of an invaluable opportunity. The team at Askari are passionate, dedicated and fully committed to ensuring the best experience for all their volunteers – regardless of age, background & experience. Thank you again for an incredible month, I’m already planning my next visit!
I felt privileged to work as a volunteer at Askari, that I could share in the vision of a wilderness reserve managed for habitat and wildlife conservation as the first and only priority. And have such fun doing it! We slept under the stars one night and watched the sunrise with lions roaring in the distance. We watched hyaenas play and elephants wander up close. We rescued trees strangled by wire and murdered more prickly pear than I can remember. Thanks so much to the Askari staff Katie & Ed, and Pidwa staff Andrew and Elricht for their incredible knowledge, good company and honesty about the management dilemmas facing wilderness reserves and national parks under pressure on a crowded planet. It was a great experience.
Askari was hands down the greatest experience of my life. The staff are amazing and friendly and the backbone of this reserve is strong. When you're not enjoying the countless wildlife you are partaking in meaningful activities that lead to the longevity of this reserve's ecosystem. I would suggest it for all who want to make a difference in their own and this earth's life.
Best way to learn about wildlife and vegetation, conservation and reserve management. Came here with the idea to learn a lot about the animals, leaving Askari with way more knowledge that only about the animals. Thanks for everything. - February 2016
In the beginning I was looking for a wildlife volunteer job. Thee are a lot of opportunities. But I read good reviews about this project so I choose this one and it was great. We have seen and done a lot, it was informative and we had a lot of fun. Of course to see the animals in wild was very great. I recommend this project to everybody. Maybe I will come back. Thank you Ed and Katie for this wonderful time February 2016
It isn’t one of those volunteer programs where the project is running and the volunteers are extras. Here the volunteers are vital for the functioning of the program. We were always doing something important and were always aware of the rationale behind every activity.
You leave Askari knowing that the time you spent as a volunteer did make a difference to the running of this benchmark reserve. The experience will change your life and leave you wanting to return again and again.
This month has been one of the best of my life! I feel like I now have a greater understanding of the ecological balance of life out here.
I have been on a few volunteer projects around the world but especially in Africa and I can honestly say Askari is by far the best value and the most amazing project. I highly recommend it anyone and think you are crackers if you don’t consider spend some time there.
My time at Askari was amazing! I really want to come back and stay longer. The surroundings are beautiful and you really feel like you are doing something useful.
Well where to start . . . every aspect of my two week trip on the Askari Wilderness Conservation project was amazing. If you’re looking for a volunteer project with a huge variety of activities, wildlife everywhere, great food, fantastic homely accommodation, no two days the same, great value, friendly and knowledgeable staff, then Askari is for you.
I especially liked the focus on creating a wilderness area, as large as possible, to house endangered animals while developing the native habitats those animals need, rather than creating a maximally stocked reserve built for taking tourists on safari.
It’s fantastic because we are not only working but enjoying the wildlife of the place and the staff are always able to answer every question and explain you the features of the animals.
Plus, I now have the best stories to tell in the pub about holding scorpions, camping next to rhinos, hearing a wild lion roar, watching cheetahs hunt.
Unforgettable! Unmissable! Sensational!
The closeness to the animals you get to experience here teaches you an even greater respect for them and their habitat. Definitely an experience I will remember with great joy for the rest of my life.
Askari was a more than satisfying experience for someone looking to see a great part of South Africa. I think you all do an excellent job of maintaining the reserve and properly teaching the important and current values of wildlife conservation. I will recommend Askari to anyone trying to visit South Africa for its wildlife.
As someone who has been involved in quite a few volunteer projects, I can honestly say Askari is one of the best. Fun, interesting and you leave feeling you have done good with your time. The staff are awesome and make your experience here fun and rewarding.
This experience has been extremely life-changing. The knowledge and experiences I gained here have helped me learn a lot more about myself. The small group sizes allow for a more intimate experience with the wildlife.
I have greatly enjoyed my 2 weeks here at Askari. The team was very welcoming and friendly and I would definitely consider returning as 2 weeks simply isn’t enough time to experience the beauty of Pidwa and all it has to offer. I have seen some amazing things which I will look back on with the fondest of memories from experiencing the elephant darting, not once but twice, to watching young hyaenas run around with flowers in their mouths and identifying some incredible wildlife. These are just a few of the things that have made the past 2 weeks truly special. Thank you.
I very much enjoyed my time here in the African bush and was so happy to return as the intern. It just goes to show that hard work and commitment really pays off. It was almost 5 years ago since I was last here, so I’m really pleased this opportunity came to fruition. I enjoyed every sighting, big or small. Seeing the big 5 was just the icing on the cake. January - February 2016
Having been at Askari 3 years ago I have been following it’s progress on facebook with Katie’s great picture. 3 years later I am back in South Africa and it would have been rude to not pop into Askari for 2 weeks. It was just as much fun as I remembered , if not even better with the additions of the pool, sable station and the bird loving South African bloke. So cheers guys. December 2015
At 56 years old I am the oldest person on the project but fitted in very well, this is testament to the staff and also a great bunch of volunteers. The project was very well planned and the daily itinerary was also varied and interesting. The knowledge of the staff was excellent and the games at the house and on drive made it fun whilst learning. I would urge anyone, young or old, with a passion to make a difference for Africa wildlife to sign up. This may well be my last trip to Africa as a volunteer. I would just like to say thank you for making it the best. January 2016
Absolutely loved my time here at Askari, complete mixture of learning about the conservation work that is done here, physical but rewarding tasks like fence clearing, and incredible wildlife encounters, alongside sleep outs and braai's. Ed and Katie are awesome and so much fun - would definitely recommend anyone to volunteer at Askari. January 2016
My four weeks at Askari have been at times exhausting, at other times breathtaking, but always inspiring and rewarding. The dedication and enthusiasm the team here is very contagious.
Every day means new tasks, and you will get to participate in and contribute to many of the various challenges and tasks that managing a game reserve is.