Kendrick Import’s Weblog
another weblog from Kendrick Imports

Elephant Whispers Volunteer Programme.

This volunteer programme is  unique in that it offers volunteers the opportunity to work on community based and wildlife projects. The project is based in Hazyview in South Africa on the edge of the Kruger Park.

Volunteers  on this project are able to tailor their experience according to their strengths and to meet the aims they have set out for themselves.  All volunteers get the opportunity to work with tamed and trained elephants, horses, wildlife as well as working within the local communities on a 2000 hectare wildlife conservancy.

Liam I met Liam from Surrey in England this week, he will be based at Elephant Whispers for two weeks and within his first two days as a volunteer had ridden horses for the first time, ridden an elephant, learnt how to weld and was about to free range with elephants.  In store later this week Liam will assist with a local community project – probably the school who need help with their library, visit the local snake park and find out about the snakes he might encounter whilst out in the bush and a visit to the Kruger Park with the possibility of an overnight stay in a hide there!

This programme gives volunteers a unique blend of animals and people and is actively looking for people who can “give” to the scheme.  The following is a list of activities a volunteer can become involved in.  It is not exhaustive and not all activities are available all of the time.
Educational programmes whereby our volunteers visit local community schools and assist teachers in making education more enjoyable for the school children. The volunteers will help children learn English, Math’s etc, as well as assisting the teachers to enhance their educational presentation by making and providing educational tools such as posters etc.
Fund raising events to help programmes within the community.
Helping the community develop and run craft projects such as, elephant dung paper making, vermiculture and compost, paintings, basket weaving and curios etc. This will include marketing the products.
Helping the women in the community by developing a “Women’s Club’. This club will cover aspects such as AIDS, Family Planning, Family Budgeting, Hygiene and Nutrition.
School sports lessons i.e. football, rugby, volleyball and cricket
Anti poaching patrols — looking for snares and poacher presence.
Census of animals, insects, birds, trees, grasses etc
Clearing of waterways and road maintenance
Electric fence maintenance
Fire control — creating fire breaks.
Invasive species plant control and eradication
Wildlife management
Work with researchers on conservation projects
Educating the community about sustainable conservation

Each student will get ample opportunity to interact with our elephant by accompanying our trained and certified elephant handlers with the elephant whilst they conduct their daily activities such as free-range feeding, interactions and rides.
Assisting with the elephant project by cleaning out stables, cutting bana grass and invasive plants for the elephant to feed on during the night whilst they are intheir stables and assist in the day to day running of the elephant.

Learn to ride / ride horses — fence patrols and anti-poaching will be conducted on horseback.

Work with students from Onderstepoort Veterinary University in Pretoria on research concerning elephant and wildlife on the conservancy if a project is running.

Working in an Inguni Cattle Breeding Project in conjunction with the Sandford Community.

Other opportunities available to volunteers are:
Learn how to handle a 4×4
Poitjie pot and braai cooking
Game Capture Experience (subject to availability)
Work with wildlife veterinarians (subject to availability)

Included in the Volunteer Scheme are:
Trip to go the Kruger National Park (a bush sleep out may be available)
A visit to Moholoholo a wildlife rehab centre
A trip to the Cheetah breeding project
A view of the Panorama route
A visit to the local snake park with a demonstration of the snakes you may encounter in the area.

As well as the included activities, volunteers will have time to take part in other local activities at their own expense.  These include white river rafting, quad biking, hot air ballooning and miro lighting.

Comfortable rooms "more like a hotel"

Comfortable rooms "more like a hotel"

The accommodation at Elephant Whispers is not your run-of-the-mill volunteer scheme standard.  The rooms are twin beds (with the opportunity of a double room upon request), and are more like hotel rooms than a type of hostel!!  They all have en-suite rooms with fantastic grounds, a swimming pool, volley ballarea, communal bar area and spacious dining room.

between 2 and 4 people per room

between 2 and 4 people per room

The scheme will have up to 17 people at any one time and volunteers can sign up from 14 to 56 days.

Sean Hensman who facilitates the programme

Sean Hensman who facilitates the programme

The scheme is facilitated by Sean Hensma who has many years of experience in the bush. He is a qualified FGASA Guide and has worked with a variety of animals. He has a passion for animals and conservation, and is dedicated to sharing his knowledge and expertise about the African Bush ”Veld” its inhabitants, and how it all fits into a changing world.  Volunteers will be working side by side with full time personnel at Elephant Whispers when assisting with feeding and animal care of the various animals.

Volunteers will need a suitable range of clothing for their time at Elephant Whispers, which is detailed on the Elephant Whispers web site.  The clothing required will include sturdy boots such as Rogue boots, thick cotton shirts such as the Of African Origin range of Safari clothing, a wide brimmed Rogue hat or cap, and a tried and trusted insect repellent such as Bug Geroff.

For more information about the scheme contact Sean Hensman direct at

To book through a UK agent contact Adrian Faulkner who will give you all the help you may need.  He can be contacted at or on e mail

One Response to “Elephant Whispers Volunteer Programme.”

  1. Hi – are your volunteer programmes for a set period of time or are there a range of different opportunities with varying programmes? Additionally, what are the costs involved?
    Thank you

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