goeco@goeco.org   |   USA: +16464819981

South Africa - Tiger, Lion, and Wildlife Park

Volunteer with rare species of tigers and lions in this beautiful region of South Africa. Learn about conservation of Africa's large cats and have a great time with an international team of up to 32 volunteers.



Fast Facts

Location of Project20 minutes from Port Elizabeth
Project LengthMin 2 weeks – Max 10 weeks
Arrival AirportPLZ in Port Elizabeth. Connection available from Johannesburg.
Volunteer WorkHands-on care of tigers, lions and other animals, general maintenance of the park, conservation education
Number of ParticipantsUp to 32 international volunteers
Age18 - 40

What's Included

AccommodationIncludes housing in wooden cabins (inside the park!)
Food3 meals a day
SupportLocal in-country team and 24hr emergency support
Airport TransfersFrom the Port Elizabeth airport
Laundry Laundry will be done for you by the staff
Travel Insurance Comprehensive travel health insurance with volunteer abroad coverage
Pre-Departure Kit Full project details will be sent following registration

What's Not Included

Flights, personal expenses, visa


This project is located in the outskirts of Port Elizabeth, in the Seaview region of South Africa. The region features hills overlooking the sea and the city below, and is at the end of the famous Garden Road.


About the Project

This incredible predator project was founded 16 years ago by the Park's staff, who after early retirement dedicated themselves to the preservation of African wildlife. Since the 1970's the population of lions in Africa has decreased by 80-90 percent, due to poaching, reduction of natural habitats, and disease such as Tuberculosis and feline AIDS. 

Since its founding, the park has extended its activities to include the care and preservation of other species of wildlife who originate in Africa, and large cats that originate outside of Africa (i.e. Bengal and Siberian tigers).

These days, the park’s main focus is operating as a wildlife educational park by introducing more species of wildlife and predators in order to extend the knowledge that people have. Since these animals will be living a captive life in the park, the park prefers to get them as young cubs so they will be well adjusted to this environment.

The park also provides care for the rare Siberian Tigers and White Bengal tiger.

The number of lions and cubs who are at the Park can change at any moment - be ready for surprises! The Park may adopt cubs a week before your arrival, or move lions that reached adulthood to another area in the park (and thus they will no longer be at the care of the volunteers).


Volunteer Work and Contribution

Most work that is done by volunteers revolves around care of all the animals in the sanctuary. This can include but is not limited to:

  • Food preparation and feedings of lion and tiger cubs (includes cutting raw meat)
  • Taking cubs for walks around the reserve
  • Cleaning enclosures/maintenance
  • Data collection on the cubs and adult cats
  • Environmental education for tourist and school groups
  • Rehabilitation programs for orphaned or injured animals from the wild
  • Helping out in the park restaurant during a busy period or event

In addition to these tasks, the goal of volunteers is to help preserve the park in any way necessary, and tasks will be based upon the needs of the park during your stay. You will also get the opportunity to participate in exciting weekly training sessions for volunteers to learn about survival skills in the wild, tracking, animal behavior, and more. Rusty and Janice, the founders of the park, will be happy to discuss their ideas about conservation, plans for the park, etc.

As a volunteer you will be expected to handle and prepare the meat for the cubs and sanctuary animals on a daily basis. This involves cutting and weighing pieces of meat and then feeding it out appropriately. 

Work schedule: the park is open from 9am to 5pm for the public. However, volunteers work on a rotating schedule with duties and feedings allocated each day. You will be expected to help wherever necessary. Looking after the baby animals, where most of the volunteers’ time is spent, will include morning and evening feeds.

  • 07:00- 09:00: Morning duties- walking cubs, feeding animals, cleaning enclosures and raking.
  • 09:00- 09:45: Breakfast.
  • 09:45- 13:00: Project time- mandatory for all: bush walk , maintaining enclosures, building enrichment toys, checking for snares, road repairs, alien plant removal etc.
  • 13:00-14:00: Lunch.
  • 14:00- 16:30: Animal Quality time- mandatory for all: all cubs and sanctuary animals must get "human quality time" during those hours. Volunteers should rotate between ALL animals' enclosures.
  • 16:30- 17:00: Food preparation for all animals. 
  • 17:00- 17:30: Evening Duties- walking cubs, feeding animals, cleaning enclosures, cleaning cub kitchen.
Volunteer work is not for the fainthearted, as daily project time often involves building, maintenance work, checking for snares, alien plant removal, cleaning enclosures, etc. 

One day can be taken off for every week worked. You can take two days off in a row every second week if you prefer. 


Living Arrangements

Accommodations: during their time on the project, volunteers will be housed in cabins inside the park (imagine meeting a free-roaming giraffe on your way to breakfast). The wooden cabins will house no more than 4 volunteers per cabin and include a shared bathroom with hot water and electricity. There is a main lodge with a common room, living room with an entertainment system, and a fully equipped kitchen. The lawns outside the cabins host a picnic and BBQ area. We can arrange accommodations for both couples and groups of friends.

The housing resides inside the reserve itself, where giraffes, zebras, wildebeests, and antelopes roam free, so more often than not you'll be living right alongside the animals.

Food: the program includes 3 meals a day. Breakfast – rotating menu prepared by the kitchen staff and laid out for you to dish for yourself. Lunch – rotating menu prepared by our kitchen staff who also wash up afterwards. Dinner – self-catered; you can either prepare your food in the restaurant kitchen or take your ingredients to the communal  Wildlife cabin kitchen to prepare and eat there.

Laundry: laundry will be done for you by the staff.

Internet: wi-fi is available at the park for 150 Rands for the duration of your stay.


Travel Highlights

The park is located about 20 minutes from Port Elizabeth, a beautiful and charming town with a gorgeous boardwalk, antiques, an artist market on Sundays, and many shopping malls.

Volunteers will have one day off per week to travel and they are welcome to explore the region, which includes:

  • Addo, the national elephant park (30 minute drive)
  • Jeffery's Bay, a beach town (35 minute drive)
  • The world's longest bungee jump, an elephant shelter, a monkey park and a bird reserve (45 minute drive)

The on-site volunteer coordinators will be happy to discuss the many options for extra trip options during the stay, however extra activities are not included in the cost of the program.


Minimum Requirements

  • Age 18 - 40
  • Good level of English
  • High level of independence and flexibility
  • Skype interview possible based on application
  • Full travel & medical insurance.
  • Immunizations (please consult your doctor)



Here's an excerpt of Gabriella's experience:

  "By spending time with the animals, I learned the behavior of lions, tigers and the other wild animals in the park and how they differentiate themselves from one another... All these incredible memories are imprinted in my mind and my heart. I will never forget this fantastic journey!"

Read the rest of her story on the GoEco blog!


Here's an excerpt of Ashleigh's experience:

  "It was like nothing I could have imagined, South Africa really opened up my eyes to what the world has to offer. One of my favorite experiences was going in with the older tigers – Shushu and Fei, they are huge and absolutely magnificent. It was unlike anything I could have imagined, and they came up to me and greeted me with a lick and a nudge as they calmly stayed around for photos and hugs!"

Read the rest of her story on the GoEco blog!


Here's an excerpt of Timna's experience:

  "When I first arrived, I was dazzled by all the new kinds of (wild!) animals I got to see here, the amazing ocean view and all the interesting people I met from all over the world. I got to stroke a full grown lion and Or, a big female Bengal tiger, jumped on my back and hugged me (no claws or teeth!). . . One time I went for a run and met a giraffe on my way. I stopped while she just hovered over me, staring, until she turned and walked away."
Read the rest of her story on the GoEco blog!


Here's an excerpt of Camila's experience:

  "From day one, we were already learning and starting our routine schedule. This included meat and bottles preparation, feeding, cleaning enclosures, project activities, animal quality time, helping with the visitors, and having a lot of fun. Helping take care of the animals with the schedule was already great and amazing, but what I didn’t expect was the magic I discovered behind the daily basic activities..."
Read the rest of her story on the GoEco blog!


Here's an excerpt of Jennifer's experience:

  "Volunteering in South Africa at the Tiger and Lion Park was the most rewarding experience of my life. It was amazing to interact with the beautiful animals on a day to day basis and get to know their individual personalities and observe their behavior with one another. I knew when I signed up that the animals alone were reason enough for going, but what I did not expect was the time spent with the other volunteers to impact me so greatly."

Read the rest of her story on the GoEco blog!


Here's an excerpt of Shimon's experience:

  "I volunteered for two months in the South African Tiger and Lion Park in March, 2011. The park specializes in the rehabilitation and breeding of different endangered wildlife species. The park focuses most of its efforts on expanding the White Lion population... What you see in the video is the welcome I received from the lions when I returned from Capetown. Enjoy"

Read the rest of his story on the GoEco blog!


Check out our Volunteer Blog  at blog.goeco.org 


"Volunteering at the park has been one of the best experiences of my life, which is why I've returned so often! Not only is it incredibly interesting to learn how to care for the animals and their behaviour, but also lions and tigers give the best hugs! Every day is enjoyable and you can't help falling in love with each and every cub. I have also been blessed to work with such lovely staff and fellow volunteers; I have made friends for life. I simply cannot wait to get back out to the park."

Chloe, United Kingdom, Past Tiger and Lion Park Volunteer





Recommended By