South Africa - Wildlife Rehabilitation Center
Volunteers are needed to assist with this exciting conservation project for the care and rehabilitation of African wildlife. Experience the African bush up close near the incredible Kruger National Park.
|Location of Project||33 km from Hoedspruit, Limpopo Province|
|Project Length||Min 2 weeks - Max 8 weeks|
|Arrival Airport||Eastgate Airport, Hoedspruit|
|Volunteer Work||Handling of the animals, daily cleaning, food preparation, feeding and maintenance work|
|Number of Participants||20 international volunteers|
|Age||18 - 80|
|Accommodation||Bungalows for 2 – 4 people|
|Food||3 meals a day|
|Support||Local in-country team and 24hr emergency support|
|Airport Transfers||Included on arrival day|
|Pre-Departure Kit||Full project details will be sent following registration|
|Orientation||All necessary training and introductions provided upon arrival|
|Travel Insurance||Comprehensive travel & health insurance with volunteer abroad coverage|
What's Not Included
About the project
Nestled in a picturesque setting at the base of the Drakensberg escarpment in the Limpopo Province of South Africa, this center has become a haven for the rehabilitation and care of abandoned, injured and poisoned wildlife.
Wildlife is brought to the center from all corners of South Africa, and once healthy enough, are re-introduced into their natural habitats. Those animals that cannot be returned to the wild due to the nature or extent of their injuries are cared for at the center and are used to educate the many people who visit us each year, both from across South Africa and abroad.
Another important function of the center is breeding. The center has successfully bred and released into the wild the endangered Crowned Eagle, Serval, and many others.
This center is a non-profit organization, relying completely on the support of the public.
Volunteers will be involved in many aspects of conservation and animal care. They will also work and live with volunteers and professional staff from around the world.
If the volunteer wants to enhance his or her chance to see/handle babies, we recommend they come from November-March which is our baby season.
Volunteer work and contribution
Volunteers will be involved in many aspects of conservation and animal care under professional supervision.
- Hand-nurturing of orphaned animals from cheetah cubs to warthogs.
- The care and welfare of the permanent residents which, because of the nature of their injuries, cannot be released back into the wild.
- Daily cleaning of animal enclosures, scrubbing their bed mats and feeding the animals.
- The treatment and care of sick and injured animals which can subsequently be released back into the wild.
- Assisting with the upkeep of the center such as road maintenance, removal of alien vegetation, etc.
- Attending call-outs to capture animals for relocation or to be brought into the center for treatment. This may be by darting or humane trapping.
- Wildlife veterinary work, which would be mostly observational.
- Game capture and relocation when appropriate.
Volunteers' hours are usually 7am until 5pm and they're expected to help wherever necessary. Due to the nature of rehabilitation work, nothing is predictable or guaranteed.
Accommodation, Food & Facilities
Separate male and female accommodation is provided (2 - 6 to a room) in a comfortable brick and reed bungalow. There are shared bathrooms with a hot shower and flushing toilets, as well as a large kitchen and living area. Linen and towels are provided, but please supply your own bathing towel.
Three delicious meals are provided at the Forest Camp Lodge, which means walking 10 min through the bush to get there, for breakfast and lunch. For supper, volunteers get a bush ride by vehicle to and from the lodge, which gives them a chance to see nocturnal animals in the evening.
Internet: None on site, Internet cafe near the camp
Laundry: Washing service available
Not just work...
Quiet time is on Sundays, and although volunteers still tend to the feeding of all the animals, there is ample relaxation time. If volunteers want to get active, educational trips can be organized for an extra fee to nearby attractions, including the stunning Kruger National Park.
- Min age 18 - Max age 80
- (Average age of volunteer 18-25) All ages welcome
- Basic English
- Good physical fitness
- Motivation to work with animals
- Full travel & medical insurance
- Immunizations (please consult your doctor)
Here's an excerpt of Ziv's experience:
Check out our Volunteer Blog at blog.goeco.org to read and see pictures from Ziv's experience at the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in South Africa, and other experiences written by GoEco volunteers from all over the world!
My trip to the Rehabilitation Centre was incredible. Since this was the first time I was traveling abroad alone, this was the perfect trip for me. The volunteer program is very well established and the coordinators are very welcoming and accommodating.
Daily duties start early in the morning with the cleaning of enclosures and feeding of the animals. A delicious breakfast is then served at a nearby lodge- just a short bushwalk away. Afterwards, more cleaning takes place. In the afternoon, there is typically a break where volunteers may spend time with the animals, relax, or go on various scheduled trips to nearby attractions. Volunteers typically feed their assigned animals later on during afternoon rounds. In the evening, volunteers go to dinner at the same lodge as breakfast and relax in the common room afterwards.
Nothing is certain from day to day. I had the opportunity to go on a "hippo run" to feed the wild animals on the property, take a baby black rhino for a walk, watch a pack of wild dogs feed, bury one of the centers beloved lions, see the rare "king cheetah," and much more. Friends of mine who stayed at the center for a longer period of time also had the opportunity to help capture a wild leopard, cut up a donated elephant carcass, and sleep under the stars with wild animals nearby.
It was the trip of a lifetime! If you can, go for at least a month!!! It is completely worth it- you will see and learn so much!
-Jessica T., GoEco Volunteer in South Africa, 2010