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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.



Fast Facts

Location of Project33 km from Hoedspruit, Limpopo Province
Project LengthMin 2 weeks - Max 8 weeks
Arrival AirportEastgate Airport (HDS), Hoedspruit
Volunteer WorkHandling of the animals, daily cleaning, food preparation, feeding and maintenance work
Number of Participants20 international volunteers
Age18 - 80
Special Note There is limited availability for certain dates June through August, please inquire before registration.

What's Included

AccommodationBungalows for 2 – 4 people
Food3 meals a day
SupportLocal in-country team and 24hr emergency support
Airport TransfersIncluded on arrival day and departure day
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)

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 birds, 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.

Volunteer hours are usually 7am until 5pm and they're expected to help wherever necessary.

Please note that, due to the nature of rehabilitation work, nothing is predictable or guaranteed, including which types of animals are at the center at any given time. 


Accommodation, Food & Facilities

Accommodation: separate male and female accommodation is provided (2 - 6 to a room) in a comfortable brick bungalow. There are shared bathrooms with a hot shower and flushing toilets, as well as a large kitchen and living area. Linens are provided, but please supply your own towel.

Food: three meals are provided per day. Lunch is served up at the Volunteers House. For dinner, volunteers get a bush ride by vehicle to and from the lodge, which gives them a chance to see nocturnal animals in the evening. Twice a week volunteers go out for dinner. Once to Moholoholo Ya-Mati (no extra charge), and once to a local restaurant which is not expensive but is at an additional cost. This is optional and if you do not want to join, you can notify the coordinator who will arrange a meal at the lodge.

Internet: There is internet access at the volunteer house for about USD$1 per hour.  

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.  


Minimum requirements

  • Basic English
  • Good physical fitness
  • Motivation to work with animals
  • Immunizations (please consult your doctor)
  • Rabies vaccination is strongly recommended due to the nature of the work at the center

Here's an excerpt of Kimberly's experience:

  "I was able to also meet a lot of amazing people from volunteers to the actual staff. There are those who are going for veterinary school and those who are not. The vets will be able to assist in more things such as emergency procedures. However, those without the vet background like me will also be able to participate in a lot of amazing things such as flying a vulture to a glove or help with the ambassador training for the cheetah program."

Read the rest of her story on the GoEco blog!


Here's an excerpt of Kristen's experience:

  "Volunteering at the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center was truly one of the best experiences of my life. There is so much interaction with the animals and education about South African wildlife and conservation; spontaneous opportunities to experience something unique are bound to pop up."

Read the rest of her story on the GoEco blog!


Here's an excerpt of Melissa's experience:

  "I got up at 6 am, 7 days a week to start my day. I would go up to the clinic to begin feeding rounds before breakfast. We each had certain animals that we were responsible for and we fed and cleaned them. I took care of honey badgers, a porcupine, rabbits, guinea fowl, vultures, African wild dogs, and owls. After all of our rounds were over, all of the students took a hike through a beautiful stretch of forest to a lodge nearby..."

Read the rest of her story on the GoEco blog!


Here's an excerpt of Ziv's experience:



"While I stayed there we were scheduled a shift to go out in the bush to nurse two cheetah cubs and the baby rhino.  This experience for me was beyond wonderful – to be surrounded by animals from dusk ’till dawn, all the while in close contact with them. Every night I fall asleep to the sounds of hyenas answering the roars of lions... this was a one-of-a-kind experience "

Read the rest of his story on the GoEco blog!


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
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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