Explore your passion for African Wildlife Conservation!

UmPhafa Private Nature Reserve offers internships to people who have a passion and an interest to learn about conservation and Reserve Management. Whether you are studying some form of Nature Conservation or would just like to have the experience of a lifetime our internship is for you.

The internships are by run by our Reserve Management Team which ensures that interns are mentored by our most senior and experienced staff members. It is a fantastic and rare opportunity to work alongside a team with many years of experience and gain creditable work experience whilst knowing that your contribution is having a direct influence on the well-being of the flora and fauna on the reserve.

Check out the video below created by Emma Barker, who spent three months on UmPhafa.

How to Become an Intern

Interviews are held at Colchester Zoo or by phone or Skype once an application has been completed. The minimum stay is 4 weeks, but you can join the team for up to 3 months, and placements are available year round. After successful application, scheduled dates of placement will be allocated based on the applicant’s preferred month of commencement.

Action for the Wild is a non-profit organisation and therefore internships must be self-supported.

2023 Four-week or more placement: Contribution of £1,320 for stays of four weeks will be required, with an additional contribution of £680 per four weeks thereafter.

Please contact wendy@colchesterzoo.org for more information about our Internship dates.

– Pre-departure support
– Airport pick-up and drop off (Durban King Shaka airport)
– Long term experienced staff
– Safe and basic accommodations (usually shared) 
– WiFi at the accommodation
– All meals
– Welcome induction and location orientation 
– All necessary project equipment and materials
– Research training 
– Wildlife identification techniques
– Teamwork experience 
– 24-hour in-country support
– Confidential professional reference (where requested)
– Return flights to Durban King Shaka airport
– Medical and travel insurance 
– Visa costs (if necessary)
– Personal kit
– Extra local excursions and personal shopping

Apply Here

Download our 4 – 12 week application form Download our full information pack

Please send your completed internship application form and an introductory email to:
If you are applying for our 4 – 12 week internship please also include a CV.


Emily Leete (2 months – November – December 2022)
“An amazing 2 month, so educational. I could never have learnt this much even with 10 years plus in a lecture hall, I would recommend it to anyone who is interested in Conservation and animal management.”

Mollie Crump (3 Months – October – December 2022)
“My trip exceeded my expectations, I have learnt so much more than I expected and opened my eyes up to so much more about the animal industry and Conservation. Made me question future career choices. The people, the atmosphere the whole experience has been phenomenal and everyone makes you feel like you have been there for months.”

Emma Barker – (3 Months – October – December 2022)
“Incredible! The best 3 months, if you have a passion for conservation, it’s a really good experience.”

Izzy Swanston – (1 month – August – September 2022)
“I enjoyed my placement lots, was structured and loved seeing the animals in their natural environment and I loved all the knowledge I gained.”

If you are interested in taking part in a RESEARCH PLACEMENT please click here for more information.

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