South Africa - Lion Park
Volunteer up close and personal with Africa's rare lions, cheetahs, giraffes, hyenas and other indigenous wildlife.The Johannesburg Lion Park offers a fun and interactive volunteer experience for those who love animals and wish to assist with conservation efforts.
|Location of Project||Outskirts of Johannesburg|
|Project Length||Min 2 weeks - Max 8 weeks|
|Arrival Airport||O.R Tambo International Airport|
|Volunteer Work||Handling of the animals, food preparation, feeding and maintenance work, hosting tourist|
|Number of Participants||Up to 18 international volunteers|
|Age||18 - 70|
|Accommodation||Equipped safari tents for up to 4 people|
|Food||Breakfast and lunch provided; volunteers buy and cook their own dinner|
|Support||Local in-country team and 24hr emergency support|
|Airport Transfers||Included on arrival day (Mondays)|
|Pre-Departure Kit||Full project details are sent following registration|
|Orientation||All necessary training and introductions are provided upon arrival|
|Travel Insurance||Comprehensive travel & health insurance with volunteer abroad coverage|
|Extras||Daytime excursions and an authentic South African dinner at a restaurant|
What's Not Included
Johannesburg is the largest and most modern city in South Africa, with many different attractions to offer. Its urban center boasts skyscrapers and architecture not often seen in Africa, while on the outskirts of the city lie hills, gardens, and parks. While visiting, immerse yourself in the historical and cultural context of South Africa by visiting their wide array of museums and theaters.
About the Project
Established in 1965, The African Lion Park is home to more than 86 lions, including the rare white lion.The park also boasts other animal species, such as cheetahs, wild dogs, hyenas, giraffes and a variety of antelope species indigenous to Africa.The park allows wonderful up close views and other once-in-a-lifetime interactions with these animals.
The Lion Park is a member of PAAZAB (The Zoological Institute of South Africa), reflecting the high standard of care that is provided to all animals in its habitat.
The general aim of the Lion Park is to increase public understanding of African wildlife and to educate the public on the conservation of the ecosystems where such wildlife reside. Visitors and volunteers play a crucial part in conservation, education and animal care. In addition, the park has a breeding program for the rare white lion, already extinct in the wild. Volunteers that are interested in ecological concepts will find this project fascinating and stimulating.
Volunteer Work and Contribution
Volunteers will assist with the daily tasks of feeding and caring for the animals, cleaning and maintaining the animal enclosures, and interacting with visitors to the park on a daily basis. The visitors vary greatly, and include both locals and foreigners, giving volunteers a chance to interact with local populations and participate in cultural exchange (such as school groups).
Tasks can include:
- Preparing bottles and food for lion cubs and other species
- Cutting up meat for older lions
- Cleaning the nursery
- Walking cubs from the nursery to "cub world" (an interaction sure to enjoy)
- Cleaning animal enclosures and general maintenance of the visitors area
- Acting as a tour guide for visiting groups
Schedule: A typical volunteer day starts at 8am to the call of the African birds and is between 5 to 8 hours long. The work day can last until 5pm and is varied, interesting, educational, and stimulating. Volunteers get two days off during the week (not during weekends since the weekends are the busiest time for the park).
Accommodations: the volunteer accommodations are on the premises of the Lion Park. The facilities are shared safari tents (up to 4 people per tent) overlooking the herbivore savannah area which hosts zebras, giraffes, oryx, springboks impalas, ostriches, and more. Each night at the Lion Park, volunteers will be lulled to sleep by the sound of lions roaring and hyenas laughing, jackals calling, and the sight of beautiful stars.
- Volunteers will be staying in shared tents for 4 people with electricity
- Beds with linen are provided
- Bathroom facilities include clean and hot showers, basins and mirrors. There are 5 showers for the volunteers.
- Fully functional kitchen
- Electric points are available in tents for light and chargers
Food: volunteers receive breakfast and lunch daily, and will get the chance during their stay to go to an authentic African restaurant on us. Dinner isn't included - volunteers will go to a store to purchace groceries once a week for dinner. Vegetarian friendly (if there are any other special food requests, please let us know upon registration).
Laundry: laundry machines available free of charge.
Internet: internet is available in the main building/restaurant free of charge.
This Lion Park is conveniently located about 15 minutes from various pubs, bars, clubs and casinos, making this the ultimate destination for the volunteer tourist looking for a hands-on experience with the animals during the day, and a chance to experience a bit of the local flavor at night. Volunteers are sure to have an uproarious experience at the Lion Park of South Africa. Evening activities will also occasionally be offered to the volunteers. These can include a screening of a wildlife documentary or a group outing.
Also, the park's staff will take the volunteers on the following excursions:
- Day safari to a national game reserve
- An African dinner at a nice restaurant
- A day with the elephants at an elephant sanctuary
A trip to the crocodile and reptile park
- Min age 18 - max age 70
- Basic English
- Good physical fitness
- Motivation to work with animals
- Full travel & medical insurance
Here's an excerpt of Stephanie's experience:
Check out our Volunteer Blog at blog.goeco.org
A day in the life of a volunteer
Our arrival at the Lion Park commenced the best two weeks of our lives. The staff let each of the volunteers become familiar with the routine at their own pace, and they led by example rather than assigning tasks without supervision. Their patience and genuine love for the animals inspired the volunteers to become a part of their world and touched us on a very personal level. They quietly and quickly assessed each of our strengths and preferences and put us to work in a capacity that took these into account, resulting in happy, more productive volunteers.
Each day we woke up to a beautiful sunrise and a walk through the zebra-and-ostrich-filled tent camp to the kitchen and a quick community breakfast. Then to work. To my wife's delight there were several days-old lion cubs in the nursery requiring constant attention from the staff and volunteers. Each morning she helped prepare their formula. My job was to cut meat for the older cubs, rake the public area, and clean the enclosures of the older animals. This provided me with a level of contact with the animals that I had never envisioned. When our other duties were complete, we could usually be found acting as human shields between the young lions practicing their hunting skills and an unsuspecting public. We left a lot of our blood on African soil...and loved every minute of it.
(written by a past volunteer)