Wildlife Warriors - Advanced Anti-Poaching Experience

South Africa

Do you have a passion for the outdoors and a desire to actively contribute to the protection of endangered and vulnerable animals? Gain practical experience in advanced anti-poaching techniques and work alongside conservation professionals to understand the challenges facing those dedicated to protecting endangered species.

Poaching of Africa’s rhino has increased 10-fold during the last decade, and once again this ancient animal faces extinction. In 2007 there were just 13 rhino poached in South Africa; by the end of 2017 that number had risen to 1,028, with the illegal killing of rhinos spreading from South Africa into neighbouring Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Namibia.

This anti-poaching programme gives volunteers an in-depth understanding of conservation ethics and practices. You will gain experience in the critical environmental factors involved in successful wildlife protection and long term conservation.

No other anti-poaching programme has the credibility and experience of this Wildlife Warriors course. The bush school has been running for more than 20 years and your instructor has upwards of 30 years experience in specialist anti-poaching training and advanced safari guiding, including the ongoing training of National Parks rangers and conservation professionals throughout Africa. You are in the best hands.

Learn advanced anti-poaching techniques and take part in real life wildlife operations. This is a serious wildlife course based in the heart of the African bush. Actively contribute to the protection of vulnerable species.

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Quick Facts

Who can join: Volunteers aged over 18 years - student and family groups will be considered
How long can I stay: 10 days +
Accommodation: Tented camp
Transfer time: 3 hours
Pick up from: Johannesburg, O.R. Tambo Airport
Meals: 3 meals a day
Course numbers: up to 10
Start dates: Throughout the year
How much: from $1,695 (dependent on group size and course duration)


This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to immerse yourself in some of South Africa’s finest wilderness areas, live in close proximity to wild animals, and be involved in genuinely meaningful and important work to preserve some of Africa’s most iconic species - most notably the white rhino.

About the Course

The anti-poaching course is based in the game rich Waterberg region of Limpopo, in northern South Africa (approximately 4 hours north of Johannesburg). The region is home to a variety of big game including white rhino, leopard, hyena, buffalo, giraffe, wildebeest and a variety of antelope. Participants on this course will have the opportunity to study a huge range of mammals, birds and reptiles in their natural environment.

Poaching of rhino in South Africa has increased 10-fold during the last decade, and one again this ancient animal faces extinction.

Increasingly, private organisations and individuals are supporting the Department of Environmental Affairs in focusing on rhino protection and security, in the hope that the species may be left in peace to thrive once again.

Your instructors

The bush school has been running for more than 20 years, and your instructor has more than 30 years of experience in specialist anti-poaching training and guiding. His experience, qualifications and training are the culmination of decades of learning during his time in the South African Special Forces and South African Police Service. His specialist area of knowledge is dangerous game and he has instructed on bush survival and anti-poaching courses for many years. The organisation has been accredited by the South African Wildlife Society and the Department of Environmental Affairs, and all his staff are leading training providers, responsible for the instruction and ongoing advanced training of rangers, conservationists and students from around the globe.

What you'll be doing

What will I be doing?

The course is 80% practical, so the vast majority of your time is spent on patrol in the field, learning first hand about the environment and wildlife around you.

Learn about all aspects of poaching: the illegal bushmeat, ivory and rhino horn trades, and the economic factors involved in small and large scale poaching. You will engage in active anti-poaching measures to prevent poachers from attacking wildlife.

The course covers:

Wildlife identification and tracking

Volunteers undertake daily foot and vehicle patrols, and go on night drives to discover the kingdom of the nocturnal creatures - including leopard and hyena

  • Big game and mammal identification and behaviour studies
  • Bird and reptile identification and behaviour studies
  • Learn big game tracking skills, focusing on rhino tracking
  • Learn human tracking skills and carry out practical exercises
  • Tracks and spoor identification
  • Understand signs of animals and humans in the bush
  • Monitor the movement of endangered and threatened species including nocturnal animals

Anti-Poaching training

  • Develop an understanding of poachers and the poaching industry - learn about what has driven the increase in large animal poaching in recent years and what can be done to counter it
  • Anti-poaching techniques and patrol procedures - learn about patrol planning, identifying poaching hotspots, the art of camouflage and surveillance, and ambush planning
  • Undertake snare patrols and the removal of traps and snares
  • Learn day and night navigation skills
  • Advanced firearm handling
  • Arrest and search procedures - learn how to undertake a legal arrest, a vehicle search and man a road block


  • Ecology - learn about the relationships between plants and animals, and the impact of one on the other. Study the different ecosystems in the area and learn about the consequent distribution of wildlife
  • Conservation practices
  • Wildlife law
  • Basic first aid and snake bite treatment

At the end of the course you will receive a certificate of participation recognised by the South African Police Service (SAPS) and the International Anti-Poaching Foundation (IAPF).

Course itinerary

Each course is different, but most 10-day short courses follow the same basic itinerary. 

Day 1

Meet your instructor and the other members of your group at O.R. Tambo, Johannesburg International Airport in the morning, and transfer by car to your first stop, a game lodge 1 hour north of Johannesburg.

Afternoon: Orientation and welcome.

Day 2

Depart after breakfast to your base in the Waterberg region (approximately 3 hours).

Afternoon: settle in and game drive.

Days 3 to day 8

The course will include a mixture of classroom learning, (bear in mind your classroom could be a chair under a tree, or around the fire!) and practical field work in the bush. The programme is very hands-on and you should be prepared for some foot-based tracking and walking across different terrain. Some nights you will perform night patrol, and there may be early mornings for big game tracking.

Day 9

Transfer to the game lodge to relax before your journey home. At the end of the course there will be a short exam to recap all you have learnt, and a certificate presentation, followed by a farewell dinner.

Day 10

After breakfast there is an opportunity to purchase souvenirs from the local market. You will be transferred back from the lodge in time for your return flight or onward travel from O.R. Tambo Airport.


On the first and last night of the course you will stay in a safari lodge approximately 1 hour from Johannesburg, for your initial orientation and final presentation.

For the remainder of the course, you will stay in the bush in a permanent tented camp, a three hour drive from the lodge. The military-style camp is basic but comfortable. Each tent has beds, mattresses and pillows, but participants must bring their own sleeping bag, and we recommend bringing a liner as well, especially during winter. There are shared ablutions, hot and cold running water and flush toilets. 

The camp is unfenced and allows the free movement of animals such as rhino, buffalo, hyena and even leopard, who have been know to roam through the camp.

You will receive three meals per day during your stay, prepared for you by the camp’s resident chef. Tea and coffee are available throughout the day, plus juice and water. The camp has limited access to other drinks, but alcohol is available in moderation at an extra cost.

There is no electricity in the camp, but should you need to charge phones or cameras, this can be done occasionally at the main camp, about 2km away. There is also WiFi and main camp if required in an emergency and there is usually phone signal in the area. However, we say, it’s the perfect time to get away from it all and enjoy being off grid!

Rates & Dates

When can I join the anti-poaching programme?

Volunteers can join the course throughout the year - ideally joining with other participants on a group experience. 

Current course dates with availability:

8th - 18th June
10th - 20th August

Private individuals can usually be accommodated on dates to suit. Please enquire for more details.

Project pricing 2018:

Individual participants: $1,875
Groups of 2-6 participants: $1,695

All fees are to be paid in US Dollars. Please enquire for fees if you have a group larger than 6 people.

What’s included in the cost?

  • Course fee
  • Accommodation including two nights in a safari lodge
  • Three meals per day plus unlimited tea, coffee, juice and water
  • Return airport transfers (to O.R. Tambo International in Johannesburg)
  • Instruction - the course is conducted by a highly qualified and SA Special Forces expert
  • Certification - the course is recognised by the South African Police Service and the IAPF
  • Conservation levy (payable to the reserves where you will be based)
  • Comprehensive orientation plus full supervision
  • Equipment and materials required to do your work

The cost does not include:

  • Flights or transport to South Africa (OR Tambo International, Johannesburg)
  • Visa fees - variable depending on nationality
  • Personal expenses such as souvenirs, drinks, gifts
  • Pre and post-course accommodation or activities
  • Travel insurance (compulsory) which must include cover for emergency evacuation and repatriation
  • Administration fee ($40)

View our booking terms and conditions

Complementary projects include:

Rhino & Elephant Conservation, Zimbabwe - experience how private game reserves manage the safety and security of their rhinos.


Who should participate on this course?

No experience is necessary, but a passion for the outdoors, an adventurous spirit and a desire to contribute to the protection of endangered and vulnerable animals are absolutely required. You should also be able to speak and understand a reasonable level of English.

The course is perfect for bush craft companies, youth groups or individuals who want an adventurous and educational international experience. The course has previously accommodated groups of scouts and cadets, school and college students, ex-military groups, rugby teams and private companies.

The course can be tailored to suit the age range, skill level and interests of particular groups.

You will experience the real Africa in a safe environment and be on the front line of big game conservation.

When can I join?

The course runs throughout the year - you can either join other participants who have already booked, or we might add another block to suit your dates. We try to accommodate each group or individuals preferred start and end dates.

How old do I need to be?

The minimum age for this project is normally 18, but student and youth groups can be catered for. There is no upper age limit, but if you are over 65 we will need a completed medical form signed by a doctor.

The project will consider applications from families with children aged over 12, please enquire for details.

How many people will there be?

Individual students and groups of all sizes can be catered for. If your group is larger than 10 people, additional instructors may be required to provide adequate attention and supervision.

How fit do I need to be?

There is a fair amount of foot-based tracking and hiking through different terrains. A moderate level of fitness and all-round good health will make your time more comfortable.

How long is the course? Do I get some time off

Including your orientation and final presentation, the course is 10 days long. Longer or shorter bespoke courses for groups can be organised to suit (costs will vary). You will get breaks during the heat of the day to relax and recharge.

When can I arrive?

We advise that participants arrive the day before the course starts. This allows for any problems with flight delays and ensures that they can meet their instructor at O.R. Tambo Airport on the morning of the course start date. We can recommend a number of accommodation options close to the airport.

Who are the instructors?

You can be very sure that you are in good hands.
Your lead instructor has 30+ years experience in Africa working in countries including Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe. He is an advisor to many international private and public sector organisations who need guidance when travelling and taking part in expeditions in Africa, and is a Level 5 Specialist Game Ranger & Survival Expert, specialising in Dangerous Game. He has gained his qualifications, experience and training from being a former member of the South African Special Forces and Police Service, and is a SASSETA (Safety, Security, Sector Education & Training Authority) Accredited Skills Development Facilitator.

He has supported and trained HM Armed Forces (UK), HM Customs & Excise (UK), US Special Forces, the British Lions, the England rugby team, the British Scouting Association and the British Schools Exploring Society.

If necessary, other experienced instructors will assist your course leader.

Do I need any special vaccinations?

The course is conducted in a low-risk malaria area. There are mosquitoes around during the summer months (October - April), so we recommend bringing mosquito repellent and wearing long sleeves and trousers in the evenings. Please visit your local travel clinic for up to date advice on vaccinations.

Project Gallery - Wildlife Warriors - Advanced Anti-Poaching Experience


Wildlife Warriors - Advanced Anti-Poaching Experience I can t really say anything else about my trip than: perfect, amazing, beautiful, homesick to Africa and when can I go back? It was a trip of a lifetime! I joined two projects, the Wildlife Warriors in South Africa, and the Big 5 National Parks Programme in Zimbabwe. To be honest, I loved every second of my time in Africa, both South Africa and Zimbabwe! The projects were totally different and they showed me new ... Antoinette W, Netherlands Read More
Wildlife Warriors - Advanced Anti-Poaching Experience I had a fantastic time on the Wildlife Warriors Anti-Poaching Course and I really want to thank you all for this opportunity. I am very happy and satisfied with everything, and will spread the word about both Conservation Travel Africa and Les! Everything was organised so smoothly and someone from Conservation Travel Africa were always on hand to answer any questions and doubts. In the field, Les was a great host, a fantastic teacher and ... Fabio C, Italy Read More
Wildlife Warriors - Advanced Anti-Poaching Experience I was overloaded on experiences and impressions. I still haven t put it all together. The anti-poaching-training and the week I spent after with our instructor touring in KwaZulu Natal was just amazing. I keep on reflecting, searching for words. Les had a very good way of bringing the nature, the understanding of nature, the conservation, the understanding of conservation and in the end the connection to poaching and anti-poaching, to our understanding. All single pieces ... Silke M, Germany Read More

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