Conservation Education Internship in South Africa

Spread awareness of the endangered status of the ground hornbill in South African communities

Here’s a wonderful opportunity to join a South African conservation charity on a mission to protect the ground hornbill, an endangered African bird. As a conservation education intern, you’ll help the organization spread important information on the ground hornbill in local communities; a diverse and exciting internship in a stunning natural environment.

The threats to the ground hornbill’s survival are multiple, and the approach to the bird’s conservation needs to be multifaceted. An important element is spreading awareness in local South African communities, where various superstitions and wrong assumptions prevail about the bird. As an intern, you’ll assist with mapping these beliefs, developing effective education materials, and running workshops.

This conservation education internship is a unique opportunity to combine research with practical education experience, while getting a grasp of the day to day running of a wildlife conservation project. It’s also an opportunity to live and work in the African bush, as you’ll be based in a Big Five game reserve.

  • Learning outcomes of this communications internship;
  • Practical experience in hosting conservation education lessons, and in developing education materials
  • An understanding of NGO management and impact reporting
  • Experience in conducting field research and doing surveys
  • International work experience
Cape Town, South Africa
Environmental NGO
Facilitation, Research, Reporting, Monitoring, Education, Tree planting
8 Weeks


The Ground Hornbill Project is dedicated to ensuring the survival of the ground hornbill, an iconic bird that is classified as ‘endangered’ in South Africa. The threats to this iconic bird are multiple; their habitat is decreasing, they suffer from secondary poisoning, and they get electrocuted by transformer boxes. Moreover, ground hornbills are killed for traditional medicine, and sometimes targeted because of their territorial behavior.

To fight the drastic decline of the ground hornbill populations across Southern and East Africa, the Ground Hornbill Project has taken a multi-faceted approach that includes research, the provision of artificial nests, and the complex rearing and reintroduction of redundant second-hatched chicks that would naturally die of starvation. To fight misconceptions about ground hornbills, and reduce incentives for killing the birds, the nonprofit also runs education campaigns in local communities.

The Ground Hornbill Project is based in Mabula, a game reserve north of Johannesburg, but its work spans across the African continent. It’s the only organization fully dedicated to the preservation of the ground hornbill.


What you’ll do

As a conservation education intern, your tasks may vary depending on your skills and the needs of the project, but they will likely include some of the following;

  • Help digitalize educational materials
  • Help develop new educational materials
  • Do research in local communities focused on beliefs and superstitions about the ground hornbill
  • Assist with taking surveys in communities
  • Help host workshops and lessons in local communities, educating community members on the ground hornbill
  • Assist with monitoring and evaluation of the conservation education program
  • Possibly get involved with some fundraising and digital marketing activities
  • Strong research and communication skills
  • An ability to adapt to different cultures
  • A grasp of educational theories and approaches, and ideally some experience in education
  • A strong passion for spreading awareness on conservation issues
  • Drivers license (you will have to do some driving and upon arrival you have to take a small test)
  • A flexible attitude, as you’ll be living and working in the bush, where things can be unpredictable
  • A passion for wildlife conservation and the work the Ground Hornbill Project does


During this internship, you’ll get to live and work in a game reserve, surrounded by wildlife. You might wake up to elephants roaming past your room, lions roaring in the distance, and monkeys playing on the roof. The nearest town, Bela Bela, is about 45 minutes from the reserve.

Your accommodation is a five minutes drive from the office and you will have your own room, access to the common room, shared kitchen (where you can prepare your meals) and a swimming pool.


Internship start and end dates are flexible and will be discussed with your during the selection process.

What you’ll pay (2023 rates)

8 weeks USD 2,162
12 weeks USD 2,809
16 weeks USD 3,456
20 weeks USD 4,104
26 weeks USD 5,074

What you are paying for:
  • Careful matchmaking. It takes time to find the right internship for each person, and we take this process very seriously.
  • Initial interview with one of our team to gauge your skills, interests, and desired learning outcomes.
  • An orientation program with your supervisor.
  • Regular check ins during your internship with you and your supervisor.
  • Your own account on a career development platform that offers content and courses focused on exploring different career opportunities
  • Troubleshooting if needed
  • A reference letter at the end of your internship
  • Airport transfers, support on the ground and accommodation based on a single room
  • Flights
  • Visa, medical and travel insurance costs for the duration of your placement – must include cover for repatriation
  • Males, drinks, snacks, and items of personal nature (f.e. curios, gifts, clothing)
  • Costs for additional excursions or activities

Optional extra:

Personal Development Sessions
To help you optimise your personal and professional development during your internship, we offer individual monthly sessions with a professional consultant. These 1,5-hour sessions offer opportunities to set goals, reflect on your experience, and ensure your internship will benefit your career as much as possible.
Monthly fee: USD 65
Workshop: Exploring the Nonprofit Landscape
To give you a full understanding of the nonprofit sector in Africa, we offer one-off individual online workshops by a South African digital marketing and fundraising specialist. You’ll learn about the needs of the nonprofit sector, best practices in nonprofit management, and sustainability of fundraising initiatives. You’ll also be given a large amount of useful resources.
Workshop fee: USD 65
Bela-Bela, South Africa
Wildlife conservation NGO
Education, monitoring, research, community outreach 
Min. 8 Weeks
From USD 2,162

Everyone at the Mabula Ground Hornbill Project is so dedicated to the conservation of the incredible and unique Southern Ground Hornbill, on top of being friendly and welcoming. I had a great time interning at the project and learned a lot. I'm looking forward to visiting again.

Natalie, United States, Bird research & Conservation Internship
  • Help spread awareness of the need to actively protect the ground hornbill, an iconic African bird that is endangered
  • Work with local South African communities to map conceptions of ground hornbills
  • Enjoy varied tasks that include research, monitoring and evaluation, developing educational materials, and running education workshops
  • Be part of a passionate and driven team of biologists and conservationists
  • Live and work in the African bush, surrounded by a wealth of wildlife and stunning nature
8 WEEKS USD 2,162
12 WEEKS USD 2,809
16 WEEKS USD 3,456

See Detailed Rates



If you’re ready to apply for this internship, here’s what to do:

Fill in the application form (it will show in a new screen) which includes sharing your CV with us.

We’ll set up a call with you to go through your application.

If we feel it’s a good match, we’ll set up a call between you and the supervisor for this internship.

If everyone’s happy, we’ll provisionally confirm your placement! We’ll then send you  all the information you need.

We’ll then send you the invoice for the deposit. Only once we receive payment of the deposit your placement will be confirmed.


Or if you’d just like to ask us some questions about this internship first, just fill in the contact form below. We’ll be happy to assist!


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