During the expedition, your team will be based at campsite in the heart of a private wildlife reserve at a scenic spot overlooking a dammed lake.
* Please note that not every expedition has couples’ or single's accommodations available. Please call or email Earthwatch to check for availability prior to reserving your space(s) on the team.
There are three different accommodations at the reserve. You may sleep in a two-room brick house, a wooden cabin, or a walk-in safari tent, depending on the number of team members and the gender makeup of the team. The house sleeps up to eight people in two separate bedrooms. There are three tents that sleep two to four people and have an en suite bathroom with flush toilet, sink, and shower. The two wooden cabins have an en suite bathroom, and can accommodate up to four volunteers, but are generally kept to two when possible. Most people will share a sleeping area with one or two others of the same gender. Although not guaranteed, it may be possible to accommodate couples or single room requests, depending on group size, on a first-come, first-served basis—please inform Earthwatch if you would like to request either of these options. Beds, pillows, duvets, and sheets are provided, but you must bring your own warm sleeping bag during the winter months (June, July, and August). Sleeping bags are not necessary for teams during the South African summer (October–January teams). A camp attendant will sweep up and clean bathroom facilities.
* Earthwatch will honor each person’s assertion of gender identity, respectfully and without judgement. For both teen and adult teams, where logistics dictate single-sex accommodations or other facilities, participant placements will be made in accordance with the gender identity the participant specified on their Earthwatch Participant form and/or preferences indicated in discussions with Earthwatch.
Bathroom facilities include hot showers and flush toilets. Hot water is supplied by a wood-fired or gas boiler.
The electricity at the site is generated by solar power. It is 220/230 volts AC, 50 Hz. Most plugs are Type M (three round pins) but some plugs with two smaller pins are also found on appliances. U.S.-made appliances may need a transformer. The campsite has electrical outlets, so cameras, cell phones, iPods, etc. may be charged during the day. Please do not bring unnecessary electrical equipment, as the system at the campsite is easily overloaded and charging capabilities will be limited. This will help preserve energy for other camp necessities. Some equipment (e.g., rechargeable batteries) can be charged at the Wildlife Reserve with the permission of Operations Manager Lynne MacTavish. We advise, though, that you make sure to bring all batteries required for camera equipment, etc. as it can be very hard to find them locally. Please also bring the correct adaptors for South African plugs.
The cellphone reception at the camp has greatly improved, so volunteers can use smartphones to gain access to the Internet. Please ensure that you register for international roaming in your own country. SIM cards may be purchased at the Johannesburg airport upon arrival. MTN service provider has the strongest reception in our area. The Internet connection is very slow, so it is impossible to Skype at the reserve. On the recreational day, you can use the Internet at Kwa Maritane Lodge for about R50 (US$5.40). You can’t connect your own computer to the Internet at camp; in the case of an emergency, Lynne will bring her laptop with Internet connection to the camp. It may be possible for project staff to download photos onto a computer if you bring appropriate cables, etc. If you’d like a copy of photos taken during the expedition, we suggest you bring a memory stick.
DISTANCE TO THE FIELD SITE
The reserve is about a 15-minute drive from Pilanesberg National Park’s entrance and about 40 minutes from Kgaswane Mountain Reserve. The team will be transported around the Wildlife Reserve in open-topped vehicles, but closed vehicles will be used at all other sites and on public roads. There are no services in walking distance. The nearest town is Mogwase, a 15-minute drive from camp.
FOOD AND WATER
A local chef will prepare breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Lunch and dinner will be a mix of international and local cuisine, including traditional South African meals such as poitjiekos (game stews) and braais (barbeques), using free-range game from the game reserve. You don’t need to assist in shopping, food preparation, or clean up, unless you want to. In the occasional event that the team wishes to bring a picnic or braai on a day trip, you may be asked to help prepare your own lunch.
Most meals will be eaten communally on site in the eating area. When we are working in the Pilanesberg National Park, a picnic dinner will be eaten at one of the game-viewing hides in the park.
Lynne runs an on-site shop that sells snacks, drinks, postcards, and project merchandise, such as T-shirts and hats. To make purchases at the shop, place your order in the order book provided, and Lynne will bring the requested items that evening or the following day. Your shop bill will be calculated at the end of your stay. Lynne takes Great Britain Pounds, U.S. Dollars, and South African Rand; shop accounts may not be paid by traveler’s checks or credit cards.
Alcohol consumption is not permitted by minors or on teen teams regardless of local law. It is permitted on adult teams, and available for purchase at the camp.
The following are examples of foods you may find in the field. Variety depends on availability. We appreciate your flexibility.
- Breakfast: Cereal, fruit, toast/bread, jam, tea, coffee, occasionally hot breakfast
- Lunch: Salad, quiche, soups, bread rolls
- Dinner: Braais, stews, pasta, potatoes, vegetables, vegetarian options, dessert
- Snacks: Fruit, biscuits, crisps (potato chips); chocolate, etc. may be purchased from the on-site shop at your own expense
- Beverages: Clean drinking water available on site
SPECIAL DIETARY REQUIREMENTS
Please alert Earthwatch to any special dietary requirements (e.g., diabetes, lactose intolerance, nut or other food allergies, vegetarian or vegan diets) as soon as possible, and note them in the space provided on your volunteer forms.
We can accommodate vegetarian, vegan, gluten free, nut free and lactose free diets but very specialized diet accommodation is not guaranteed and can be very difficult due to availability of food, location of field sites, and other local conditions. You have special dietary needs; it is recommended that you bring supplemental snacks.