ABOUT OUR
VOLUNTEER PROGRAM

Work and learn on a family run wildlife and livestock ranch in the heart of the lowveld, just a stone’s throw away from the world-renowned Kruger National Park.
 
- A Unique Regenerative Ranching Experience -

FIRSTLY,

WHAT IS REGENERATIVE AGRICULTURE?

Regenerative Agriculture is a holistic farming and ranching style that nourishes both people and biodiversity.  It is farming and grazing practices that, among other benefits, can reverse climate change by restoring soil and ecosystem health, if applied correctly it will leave our biodiversity, soil, water and climate in better shape for future generations.


Without protecting and regenerating our soil it will be impossible to feed the world, keep global warming in check, or halt the loss of biodiversity.

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WHY REGENERATIVE AGRICULTURE IN A WILDLIFE AREA?

Due to man made infrastructures and rules many of the larger migratory animals have been excluded from our ecosystems such as large buffalo and elephant herds as well as zebra and wildebeest herds, that their migration routes are no longer possible.  We use cattle and sheep to mimic the ancient migration functions and restore a natural balance within our environment so that it can once again thrive as nature intended.

Every human being plays a role in food production systems, whether you are actively working in the agricultural value chain or are just a consumer of food. A conscious interest in the food on our plates and the environment in which we exist can assist us in realizing the importance of sustainable food production for the future. Together with agriculture, the ecosystem in which we live is impacted by every decision we make and creating a greater awareness of how we impact this ecosystem has a lasting effect and can help maintain the balance and diversity of nature.


By paying attention to current environmental issues and deeply understanding the origin of food, you can have a great impact on renewable agriculture and can help nourish our world in the future.

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COMMUNITY WORK

"MAKING A POSITIVE CHANGE"

Bushwillow Creek is involved in a skill sharing programme with a local NGO ‘Meat Naturally’ that focuses on local community livestock farmers to improve their grazing practices, herd health, grazing cover crops and market access.

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HOW CAN IT HELP YOU?
 

If you are looking to begin your journey into the world of regenerative agriculture, then Bushwillow Creek is a great place to start!  You will get first had experience working a livestock and wildlife ranch, learning essential skills you’ll need for farm upkeep and maintenance, working with animals and the process of planting, growing, and harvesting crops.

 
Whether you are a student looking for experience during the holidays, a graduate hoping to gain a better insight into the industry, or even someone looking to start their career and wanting to gain some new skill sets then the experience and knowledge gained is so diverse it can be applied to many areas of agriculture and wildlife management.

Working in the regenerative agricultural industry offers exciting and rewarding job opportunities such as:

  • Agricultural/Bioresource engineering

  • Animal Scientist

  • Animal Nutritionist

  • Veterinarian

  • Animal Health technician/nurse

  • Agricultural economist

  • Environmental consultant

  • Animal breeding specialist

  • Agricultural journalist

  • Agronomist (soil and plant)/Pasture/soil scientist

  • Agricultural technical services

  • Entomologist/Zoologist

  • Food science & technology

  • Horticulturalist/plant pathologist

  • Microbiologist

  • Agricultural statistics

  • Meat scientist

  • Aqua culturist

  • Biochemist

Industry sectors:

•    Government departments
•    Banking/financial institutions
•    Academic and research institutions
•    Agri-businesses
•    Media companies
•    Consulting firms
•    Crop/seed companies

Coupled with the environmental benefits that are associated with the industry, regenerative agriculture results in an immensely satisfying career path.

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WHAT TO EXPECT DURING YOUR STAY

 

This is a mid-scale working ranch.  Our goal is not simply to ranch sustainably but to ranch regeneratively. Our ultimate goal is to leave this little patch of bush in a healthier more productive condition than it ever was before we started.

  • As on any Ranch there are always some daily chores to be done, but ranching where we do, comes with many challenges, a seemingly normal day can turn into an exciting and highly eventful day in the blink of an eye.

  • Nature is our office and classroom, and because of this we often see free roaming antelope, birds, reptiles and even the occasional leopard or spotted hyena just by going about our tasks at hand.

  • Although there will be some basic lectures, most aspects of what we do will be through participation with methods, safety procedures and how and why we do it being explained before we start every new activity. 

  • We will also focus on mammal, bird, reptile, insect identification, and help to build your knowledge base of our area, this is of real importance as this can be used as indicators, if we are managing in the correct direction of regeneration or if mistakes are being made.  This is the preferred feedback loop for us.  Diversity in every possibly way.

  • During your stay we will also focus a bit on tracks and signs as this offers us a window into a world of what has happened in the past, as well as habitat requirements, and feeding and resting patterns of both wildlife and livestock 

  • Learn how to manage for plant and species diversity in both natural bush and irrigated pastures. 

  • Enjoy hands on experience with low stress herding, livestock health, herd management and grazing planning and implementation all to improve soil health.

  • We are predator friendly, but our livestock still matters, so we employ daily and weekly strategies to protect our livestock like kraaling sheep and cows with calves at night and herding during the day. 

  • We also have livestock guardian dogs and donkeys to deter predators, learn what roles they play and what their limitations are.

  • Learn how to use predator kraaling and mob grazing technics not only as a predator insurance but most importantly to kickstart soil and water cycles and to create firebreaks.

  • The use of pruning as a tool to rejuvenate poor and historically overgrazed areas.  And the identification and removal of alien invasive plants.

  • Our water feedback loop is another important one, the more water we can infiltrate into the soil the better everything responds, for this we employ a few different strategies from using livestock as a tool, building leaky weirs and swales, to correct road placement and drainage.

  • Learn how to make activated biochar at scale for soil improvements, the application there of and uses.

  • You will gain first-hand experience learning about environmentally adapted livestock and why it is so important. Learn the risks and the management of livestock in an area such as ours that has high internal and external parasite loads. 

  • Learn the role of using poultry as parasite and fly control, while they pay their way at the same time. 

 

USEFULL INFORMATION

  • Location: Hoedspruit, Limpopo, South Africa

  • Duration: 6, 12, 24 weeks

  • Dates: 1 July 2022

  • Good comprehension of English is required

  • Skills: Practical energy and a willingness to learn and participate in a myriad of activities that is required to navigate routine and non-routine activities associated with regenerative ranching in a wildlife area.

  • Minimum Age: 18

  • Documents: Copy of passport, visa’s, enrolment form, letter of motivation, proof of medical insurance

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Accommodation

 

  • Accommodation is located on the ranch in a comfortable safari style camp.

  • All meals will be included with breakfast and lunch on a self-service basis and a cooked meal being served in our dining area which will also double up as our lecture area.

  • Participants will share a safari style tent on a raised deck with a maximum of one other person per room with shared ablution facilities.

  • The camp will be our starting point for every day and from here we will go to the various parts of the ranch to complete activities, either by open top game drive vehicle or on foot.

Price Options: 

6 weeks: R48 500

12 weeks: R88 000

24 weeks: R160 000

What’s Included:

  • Accommodation in shared rooms

  • Three meals per day including tea, coffee, water

  • WIFI is available at Camp but cell phone reception is intermittent

  • Laundry Service once weekly

  • Town Trip once a week

What’s not included:

  • International Flights to OR Tambo

  • Local Flights / Road transfers to Hoedspruit

  • Comprehensive Medical and Travel Insurance

  • Visas

  • Toiletries

  • Extra food / drink items

  • Eating out at Restaurants & extra snacks 

  • Any extra activities off the farm

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WHAT OUR STUDENTS SAY?

“This program was eye-opening for me as a future animal scientist. Discussing our industry in a natural environment where the value of everything that we were taught at university is seen in the soil, vegetation, and animals. The course made me realize of what is to come and how to prepare for entering the animal science industry. I will be entering the industry with a regenerative mindset, for we have a major impact on food security for future generations. The first thing that struck me when we arrived was the overall peacefulness of the farm. We stayed in a luxury tent on a deck overlooking a small river teeming with life.


The tents had comfortable beds with clean white linen, emphasizing the luxury in the bush feeling. The bathroom facilities were always clean and stocked. The dining area has a big table perfect for hosting large groups, here we enjoyed all our meals with a beautiful dam in the background. Right next to the dam is a bon fire area where they lit us a fire each night, the atmosphere was so relaxing while enjoying drinks, around the fire under the stars. The farm provided us with a feeling of serenity and being one with nature.
 

Daniel and Lisa Erasmus were wonderful hosts, always friendly and catered to all our needs. During our stay at Bushwillow Creek ranch for our Livestock and Wildlife in Harmony course we were introduced to regenerative farming. The owner and farmer of Bushwillow Creek, Daniel Erasmus interacted with us throughout our stay. As young animal science students we tend to think we know a lot, but after meeting Dan I realized how little we know about, well everything especially regenerative farming, and my mind was blown.

 

We learned everything from African cattle breeds to breeding naturally wireworm resistant sheep, from using 17 different types of grasses and legumes to rotational kraaling systems. The influx of knowledge in understanding how to work with nature was enormous. I have realized that in some areas sustainable farming is not a viable option anymore due to the area being degraded. The answer is regenerative farming, where you put more back in a natural way than that you are taking. To understand the power of regenerative farming I will suggest a visit to the farm for seeing the method in person. It was amazing to see the difference in biodiversity, soil health and animal performance where regenerative farming is being practiced.

 

This experience was eye opening, and I will definitely be implementing this method in my own
farming practices one day as well as in my career as an animal scientist. There is still so much to learn, and I want to thank Dan and Lisa for their hospitality and the amazing experience.

 

Thank you for adding to the success of my journey.”

- Marlize Grobbelaar

"BECOME A PIONEER FOR OUR PLANET"

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Application:

If you would like to apply, please complete our application form carefully and we will contact you as soon as possible.

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