Can you recommend any credible volunteering projects with endangered wildlife with the option of combining a backpacking trip in an interesting African region after my stay? Maria, via email 

I assume you’re looking for a short-term volunteering trip as you are combining it with backpacking, but this won’t come cheap as charities incur administration costs to organise volunteers. Make sure you understand how your money is being spent – good volunteering programmes should be able to tell you this.

For example, Wildlife Act states on its website that 69 per cent of its fees go on food and board. It offers a two-week conservation programme of monitoring endangered species in southern Africa for just under £750. A pricier alternative, at £2000, is Jubilee Ventures, which offers a two-week programme working in Kenya’s Amboseli and Tsavo West National Parks with elephants or lions. Both give you an opportunity to observe endangered species in the wild and contribute to projects working for their survival.

If you opt for the Wildlife Act programme you will be based in Zululand. From here you are in easy reach of Durban, a cosmopolitan city which is often overlooked in favour of Cape Town. If you have long enough you could take one or two internal flights to see more of South Africa, heading over to the west coast to check out Cape Town and the Garden Route, a picture- perfect coastline which offers hiking, canoeing and stunning beaches.

Lonely Planet’s Laura Lindsaywill give you the benefit of her infinite wisdom if you email a question to If your question is answered, you’ll win a Lonely Planet guide of your choice.


Photo: Getty