Activities and Programme

A view of the Western Soutpansberg from Diepkloof.
Currently the SCBC has two programmes on offer: Internship/Researcher and Research Assistant. If you are interested in participating or need more information please contact us.


The SCBC can facilitate any interns or researchers who wish to conduct research based on any of our current focus areas. We have several projects which you can fall into. However if you are interested in conducting your own research and have something in mind please get in touch as the SCBC is always willing to venture into new areas of research.

Some degrees require students to participate in an internship where they must conduct their own research and write a report, we are also able to assist these students.

The current research areas we have to offer are as follows:

Reptile Distribution
• Leopard Tortoise Ecology
• Fossorial reptile microhabitat
Habitat selection
Social structures of Flat Lizards
Altitudinal selection
Dragon Lizard home ranges and habitat selection
Amphibian habitat selection
• Spawning site selection
Herpetological sampling techniques
A male Soutpansberg Flat Lizard (Platysaurus relictus)

Microhabitat selection

Opisthathalmus lawrencii

Myriapodology (Millipedes and Centipedes)
Microhabitat selection
Species inventory and identification

Bird atlassing

A Woodland Kingfisher

Mycology and Lichen
Species identification
Species distribution
Species microhabitat

A collection of lichen species on a rock.

Students will be required to pay monthly rent of R4200 (subject to fluctuation). Rent must be paid in cash.

As part of the programme there is an opportunity to accompany us on herpetology research expeditions or night drives (looking for reptiles) for an extra fee. These fees would cover accommodation and travel to the other sites. Fees are provided upon request.

Research Assistant 

If you are looking to gain experience in the field and would like to be able to participate in an extended programme which will allow you to dip your feet into different areas of research, then this is the option for you. This programme is also ideal for participants who want to stay for two months or less.

As a research assistant you will be required to help us and our other students with their research projects. This will allow you to gain experience on a number of different research techniques. This programme also gives you the opportunity to travel to different sites in the Soutpansberg.

Typically during the programme the majority of your time will be spent in the field assisting with a number of projects.

The cost for this programme is currently set at R400 a day and the sum is required either by direct debit before arrival or in cash on arrival. Approximately ⅓ of your time will be spent traveling with the remaining time spent assisting others and taking hikes over the mountain.

An example of the types of skills and knowledge you will acquire during your time here are as follows:

- Setting up and maintaining Pit Fall and Funnel Traps for small vertebrates and invertebrates
  • Sampling small animals using non-lethal trapping techniques, processing specimens and creating data. 
Setting up drift fences for trapping

- Reptile and Amphibian Identification and Data Collection for Conservation
  • Collecting and documenting specimens and submitting data to projects that are monitoring and atlasing species. One of our primary objectives at the SCBC is to have an on-going long-term herpetological survey to find what species occur in the Soutpansberg. The list continues to grow as we uncover species not thought to occur in the area.
Weighing the endemic Lygodactylus incognitus

- Basic Tracking
  • In an area where human activities have been part of the environment for decades, the wildlife tends to be wary of people and this has resulted in their becoming secretive. Often the only clues we have of animals in the area are the tracks they have left behind. Participants will leave with some basic tracking skills.
A civet track

- Bird Identification and Bird Conservation Data Collection
  • Birds are strong indicators of biodiversity and the SCBC is constantly collecting related data. Participants will learn bird identification techniques through sight and sound. Participants will also take part in avian data collection through participation in the South African Bird Atlas Project.
White Fronted Bee-Eater

- Basic Ecology and Conservation in a Changing World
  • Participants will leave with a greater understanding of ecology and conservational issues in a local and global sense. Working in a Unesco Biosphere Reserve will give the participant an introduction to the challenges facing conservation in a changing world. Further, the experience at the SCBC will demonstrate how it is possible to live a life where conservation is a fundamental guiding value.

- Macro Photography
  • Because the SCBC uses non-lethal data collection techniques, documenting specimens properly is vital. Learn how to make the most of your camera’s macro function.
Having fun photographing reptiles

Please note the fee required for either of our programmes does not cover meals, medical costs, consumables for research, transport from an airport or transport for any private travelling. Participants will be collected from Louis Trichardt (our nearest town) for free.
Matobosaurus validus, the Giant Plated Lizard.

Game-viewing and safari expeditions into surrounding game reserves and national parks can also be arranged on request.

Ictinogomphus ferox, Common Tigertail

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