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South Africa - Monkey and Wildlife Rehabilitation Center

Join us in South Africa and learn about conservation, have hands-on experience with incredible primate species, make new friends, and immerse yourself in a new culture!



Fast Facts

Location of ProjectNear Tzaneen, Limpopo Province
Project LengthMin 2 weeks - Max 12 weeks
Arrival AirportPhalaborwa Airport
Volunteer WorkHandling of the animals, food preparation, feeding and maintenance work
Number of Participants5 - 24 international volunteers
Age18 - 80
Age Exceptions This project accepts volunteers who are younger than 18 years old with a letter of consent from a parent or guardian.
Family Option This project accepts families with children as young as 6 years old.

What's Included

Food3 meals a day
SupportLocal in-country team and 24hr emergency support
Airport TransfersIncluded from Phalaborwa airport on both arrival and departure days
Pre-Departure Kit Full project details will be sent following registration
Orientation All necessary training and introductions provided upon arrival
Insurance Comprehensive travel health insurance with volunteer abroad coverage

What's Not Included

Flights, personal expenses and visa (if required)


This project is located in the Limpopo province of South Africa. This province borders three of South Africa's neighboring countries: Botswana, Zimbabwe, and Mozambique. Limpopo is rich with national parks and wildlife; it is a spectacular part of the country.


About the Project

This rehabilitation center was established to accommodate and provide a temporary sanctuary for wildlife casualties, rehabilitate them to a point of self-sufficiency, and ultimately reintroduce them into nature. This center has been operating from its current premises since 1995. At first, the rehabilitation center only worked with monkeys and two indigenous species of bush babies; however, they have expanded to accommodate baboons as well as various other animal and bird species. Many of these primates have been injured or orphaned, and therefore must fully mature before they can be released. The center aims to make at least 2 releases each year. This involves quite a bit of organization, research, and monitoring making volunteers a valuable resource in the rehabilitation process.


Volunteer Work and Contribution

You will be involved in many tasks at the project, such as maintenance and construction of the center, feeding animals, cleaning their enclosures, and handling animals.  You will work alongside the full time staff to rehabilitate the monkeys which can be released and provide ongoing care for those that cannot.  You will be able to learn about the behaviors of the monkeys, how the monkeys function as a troop and more.  Seasonally, you can expect to take part in the planting or harvesting of food which is used to feed the monkeys.  

A typical day: At 6:30 am, before having breakfast, you will start the day with cleaning out the cages and feeding the animals.  After breakfast and lunch, your main tasks will be to care for the animals, repair enclosures or work on special projects.  After dinner, you will feed the nocturnal animals.

Weekends are free after the animals have been fed and cleaned, but please be aware that during the week free time is limited. 

*Please note that volunteer activities and schedules can change at any time based on the needs of the project.


Living Arrangements

Accommodations: You will stay in dormitory-style rooms with shared showers and toilets. Dormitories can sleep between 2-9 people. Couples are able to receive private accommodations. The rooms are on-site and a mere 500 meters away from the animals.

Food: You will be given three meals a day. You will also have the opportunity to buy snacks and drinks in town (30 km from the center) twice a week. *If you have a specialized diet (i.e. Gluten-Free), please let us know upon registration. Some diets are difficult to keep based on the availability of certain foods. 

Internet: There is WiFi for an additional fee of ZAR25.00 per week. You will be asked to use the internet between 16:00 & 18:00 in the afternoon, except in the case of an emergency or upon your arrival (to let family know you have arrived safely). During weekends you will have more time to use the internet. 

Laundry: Laundry services are available for a small additional fee. Sheets, duvets and pillows are provided. It's recommended to bring a sleeping bag as well.


Travel Highlights

There are plenty of activities and attractions in the area including visiting the biggest baobab in the world, visiting a local village and touring the area through tree top canopies. You can also take a trip to the famous Kruger Park or hop on a bus to tour Cape Town or Johannesburg.  South Africa has a popular wine route that is great to travel as well as spectacular beaches and water sports all along the coast. There are also some fun games to take part in at the center after work. 

Please note, any excursions with the rehabilitation center are subject to availability and number of volunteers interested (6-8). 


Minimum Requirements

  • Basic level of English
  • Flexibility and open mindedness
  • Suggested minimum stay of one month
  • Full travel & medical insurance
  • Prepared to work hard
  • Immunizations (please consult your doctor)


Here's an excerpt of Angie's experience:



"In the afternoon the volunteers would take the baboons down to the river and watch them play and socialize for about an hour. This also gave us time to socialize and become very close friends and family. The baboons would grab my legs and hands when they wanted me to carry them as we walked down to the river. This was my favorite part of the day."

Read the rest of her story on the GoEco blog!


Here's an excerpt of Francesca's experience:



"One of my favorite aspects of my project was “baby time.” On this day, one group would be in charge of taking care of the baby monkeys. We fed them bottles, spent time in their enclosures, took the baboons to the river, prepared their night boxes, and much more. This allowed us to develop a connection with the baby monkeys, which was so unique."

Read the rest of her story on the GoEco blog!


Here's an excerpt of Darion's experience:



"Seriously though the bonds you can create with any of the animals at the center is amazing, I never thought a monkey could mean so much to me. I really didn’t realize how much they could get into my heart. No matter your mood or your circumstances, those cuddles will surely put a smile on your face that you won’t forget."

Read the rest of her story on the GoEco blog!


Here's an excerpt of Sarah's experience:

  "Before lunch was pool time, my favorite time of day. The baby baboons were let out of their cage and jumped onto the volunteers to be taken down to the pool. We would spend over an hour playing with the baboons as they ran around the pool, went swimming, and climbed and chased after each other."
Read the rest of her story on the GoEco blog!

Here's an excerpt of Nurit's experience:

  "In my stay at the center there was a baby rhino that was abandoned by her mother, which was no less than incredible to see and be a part of. All the volunteers were really nice and friendly and I got to build relationships with people from all over the world that will last a lifetime!"
Read the rest of her story on the GoEco blog!

Check out our Volunteer Blog at blog.goeco.org to read experiences written by GoEco volunteers from all over the world!












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