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.
|Location of Project||20 minutes from Port Elizabeth|
|Project Length||Min 2 weeks – Max 10 weeks|
|Arrival Airport||PLZ in Port Elizabeth. Connection available from Johannesburg.|
|Volunteer Work||Hands-on care of tigers, lions and other animals, general maintenance of the park, conservation education|
|Number of Participants||Up to 32 international volunteers|
|Age||18 - 40|
|Accommodation||Includes housing in wooden cabins (inside the park!)|
|Food||3 meals a day|
|Support||Local in-country team and 24hr emergency support|
|Airport Transfers||From 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
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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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 Ashleigh's experience:
Here's an excerpt of Timna's experience:
Here's an excerpt of Camila's experience:
Here's an excerpt of Jennifer's experience:
Here's an excerpt of Shimon's experience:
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